Tuesday, 24 November 2009


So what if the new proletarian position is that of the inhabitants of slums in the new megalopolises? The explosive growth of slums in the last decades, especially in the Third World megalopolises from Mexico City and other Latin American capitals through Africa (Lagos, Chad) to India, China, Philippines and Indonesia, is perhaps the crucial geopolitical event of our times. It is effectively surprising how many features of slum dwellers fit the good old Marxist determination of the proletarian revolutionary subject: they are "free" in the double meaning of the word even more than the classic proletariat ("freed" from all substantial ties; dwelling in a free space, outside the police regulations of the state); they are a large collective, forcibly thrown together, "thrown" into a situation where they have to invent some mode of being-together, and simultaneously deprived of any support in traditional ways of life, in inherited religious or ethnic life-forms.

While today's society is often characterized as the society of total control, slums are the territories within a state boundaries from which the state (partially, at least) withdrew its control, territories which function as white spots, blanks, in the official map of a state territory. Although they are de facto included into a state by the links of black economy, organized crime, religious groups, etc., the state control is nonetheless suspended there, they are domains outside the rule of law.  


  1. for the UK read the sink estates where theres no hope, no future, no aspiration.... its getting like 76 all over again .... and the Tories are coming too just to make it worse.... like they give a damn about anyone....oh the joy

  2. 2Dray/
    Tell me about it, left Blighty in 83 and haven't been back since 86! Do I miss it? What do you think...

  3. Nothing terribly new there, the favelas of rio for instance began in the 1960's, they are states within the state, with a strange code of conduct enforced by the drug gangs within their patch. The police rarly enter and when they do hell breaks lose. Its the same acoss latin america, I visited a favella when I last was in rio, if you know someone its ok otherwise dont bother, its another world,poor, violent, but what else is there for these people.