Labor power  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The lumpenproletariat (German Lumpenproletariat, "rabble-proletariat"; "raggedy proletariat") is a term originally defined by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in The German Ideology (1845), their famous second joint work, and later expounded upon in subsequent works by Marx. In Marx's The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (1852), the term refers to the 'refuse of all classes,' including 'swindlers, confidence tricksters, brothel-keepers, rag-and-bone merchants, organ-grinders, beggars, and other flotsam of society.'

In the Eighteenth Brumaire, Marx and Engels describe the lumpenproletariat as a 'class fraction' that constituted the political power base for Louis Bonaparte of France in 1848. In this sense, Marx argued that in the particular historical events leading up to Louis Bonaparte's coup in late 1851, the proletariat and bourgeoisie were productive and progressive, advancing the historical process by developing society's labor power and its capabilities, whereas the 'lumpenproletariat' was unproductive and regressive.

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