READING GUIDE TO: Hall S, Critcher C, Jefferson  T, Clarke J, Roberts B  (1978) Policing The Crisis: mugging, the State and law and order  London: Macmillan

A fuller summary

Chapter 1 the social history of a moral panic. The press invented the term  'mugging' with a series of stories  [one of which was concerned with four black youths from Birmingham which led to an early intervention by Critcher, and the start of the  'mugging project' at the CCCS]. Mugging was never a legal term. There had been earlier panics and over street crime dating from 1863, and a new one began in 1972. A term was then  'naturalised' and given statistical antecedents. A British police officer had just returned from the USA, and might have brought the term back with him. Press attention was focused by the courts issuing exemplary sentences in the name of public interest, and public safety. Their justification was that there had been a rise in violent crime. Police activity increased as a response, and a number of prominent figures intervened, including the Home Secretary, and the Duke of Edinburgh. Public support grew. The campaign soon took on racial undertones, so that mugging became synonymous with street crimes committed by black youths. 

This book offers a criticism of each of these steps. The statistics used are seen as ideological; the courts are not getting softer  (page 12); long sentences are not an effective deterrent  (page 13); mugging is a fluctuating phenomenon rather than a steadily growing one. 

The preferred analysis fits the notion of a moral panic as in the work of S. Cohen: a threat appears, it is stereotyped in the media, moral entrepreneurs arise to condemn and explain it, the panic declines also merges into folk memory. Effects of that moral panic were real however, which points the importance of reactions to crime: crime is not a simple 'disease', nor a simple phenomenon. There are important neglected aspects of mugging. 

The career of a label. The term mugging has American origins. Like all labels, it mobilises a  'referential context', or possesses connotations. Mugging became a symbol for American social problems and social crisis, involving anxieties about drugs, black people, urban crime and so on, and the reaction to those problems from Nixon's  'silent majority'. Crime became a symptom of social disorder, leading to a defensive mentality among respectable white people. The American crisis was focused on by the British press -- as usual, America is seen as the future for Europe. Press reporting here reproduced these  'already - forged connections' between crime, black people and the decline of cities. In this way, mugging and its connotations were made familiar to British public. The label was applied to Britain in a general sense before any concrete instances occurred  (page 23). There was a general process of translation and  'naturalisation'-- and several particular press articles are identified  (page 23f). The  (American) future was still to come, but the rot was apparent in the soft morality of the 1960s, and heavy sentences were called for to prevent further decline. As a final  'common touch' for a British audience, a mildly anti-American note was apparent too -- we did not want to end like them. 

So, the concept did have a career of progressive naturalisation, but this was not based on actual experience. It was already present in its most sensationalised form, already there in anti-black anti-riot fears and panics  (a potential backlash page 28). 

Chapter 2 the origins of social control. 

It has already been argued that crime can be seen as ideological, as a symbolic threat. Ideological displacement is responsible for moral panics. Displacement is the work of the media, but actual work is done in courts and so on as well -- there is a necessary  'passage from the closed institutional world of control culture to the forum of society as a whole'  (page 30). The courts and the media collude to present certain crimes as abnormal: for example a judge's remarks about  'waves' or  'epidemics' of crime are seen as relevant and newsworthy by the media, and they are of course intended for the media. Further, there is an ideological consensus among judges, with no counter-definitions. 

Specifically there had been some reconstruction inside the law, following certain anxieties about permissiveness, summarising from press reports about judges. The judiciary had been subject to attacks on 'permissive legislation' [lenient sentences] especially in terms of young offenders. To some extent then, the panic was generated by the judiciary. 

The police also had a new interest in their public image, under the leadership of the new chief constable of the Metropolitan Police  [the controversial Sir Robert Mark]. They too had structured and amplified events -- and these activities had produced the crime waves in the first place. The press had constantly ignored the  'political' aspects of black arrests too  (page 39). Black people and 'underground' elements had already been targeted by the police, leading to issue such as  'anticipatory arrests' and the activities of special squads in black areas. Police activity produced a self-fulfilling prophecy, especially as far as black youth was concerned  (page 42). So the context of the issue of relations between the police and black people was important

  1. it was even the case that some key police officers in the early trials were ex-Rhodesians (page 43 ) [Rhodesia was the colonial name for Zimbabwe, and it had declared independence from Britain in order to pursue apartheid policies]. 
  2. the changes in policing in London, including the quick reactions squads , or the notorious Special Patrol Groups had led to looser 'bonds between the police and the community' 
  3. there were rising feelings of hostility in law-and-order and anti-immigrant campaigns. Law-and-order had always been concerned mostly with youth, crime, or political dissent, while the police were able to express, and anti-immigrant feelings more freely. 
As a result, there was a new focus. The notion of  'police versus blacks' became the  'paradigmatic relation' to the mugging phenomenon (page 51). It tapped a long history, and the media helped explore the social side rather than the legal social control side. 

Chapter 3 The social production of news 

This is about how the media works to articulate and structure public opinion. We can start with news values, as outlined in Cohen and Young, or Galtung and Ruge. The analysis will turn on how newsworthy events have to be novel and yet familiar, how this exposes them to the overwhelming influence of dominant ideas, and how these ideas become fitted to the professional ideologies of news professionals. This is not a conspiracy theory, or one based on the class ownership of the media -- the structures of news production are 'relatively autonomous', but they do reproduce the interests of the dominant groups 'in the last instance' (page 57). Indeed, the media depend for their effect upon appearing as quoting authoritative sources, and as obeying the rules of impartiality: this enables them to pose as mere representatives of opinion. 

The media lend legitimacy to the views of reality implicit in those official sources, and thus serve to symbolically reproduce the institutional order of society. The authorities become primary sources, able to set agendas, they  'command the field, set the terms of reference' -- for example, race relations are defined in terms of numbers of immigrants  (page 59) and this is difficult to break out of those terms. Thus,  'in the moment of news production the media stand in the position of structured subordination to the primary definers' (page 59). This is how the media strengthen the role of ruling ideas. 

The media also transform -- work is performed on the raw materials provided by the powerful, in order to turn them into news. This happens via selection and coding into language forms, the media's version of the language of the public  (page 61). Media products are different, but within the range set by ideological limits, so the media translate the views of primary definers into the public idiom, into stock popular imagery. In this way, the link between everyday language and official discourse is disguised: the latter is popularised and then returned to the public  'inflected with dominance and consensual connotations' (page 62). The media are neither free, nor limited to simple reproduction -- they transform. Editorials also show the range. They can represent the public or speak for the public. In this way they can produce an  'amplification spiral' (page 63), since powerful interests also read  'public opinion' in the press. In this way, the press seems neutral: this is the dark side of their  'independence'. 

Counter-definitions are usually denied access, or fitted into the dominant agenda, leading to 'strategic areas of silence' (page 65). The media can conflict with the State, as in investigatory journalism, but the  'prevailing tendency is to reproduce, amidst all their contradictions, the definitions of the powerful, of the dominant ideology' (page 66). 

Crime makes the news, and serves as a dramatised reassertion of the values of society  [standard Durkheim here]. Crime is very newsworthy, fitting all the values listed by Galtung and Ruge, especially because of its perceived negative consequences. It is especially open to influential authoritative sources such as the police or the courts. Journalistic balance is not so appropriate in reporting crime, so there is more of a focus on what should be done  [rather than what causes it?]. The media are any to have a special influence too. They often deal with crime using images of pollution and stigma  (page 70), and it is  'not merely coincidental that the language used to justify action against any group of potential troublemakers deploys... the imagery of criminality and illegality... directly... or by association; for example student protesters...' (page 70). 

The history of mugging is a good example. It had a cycle of mentions in the press, offering at first novel then broader concerns, and often featuring  'bizarre'and  'violent' characteristics  (two of the features of newsworthiness in Galtung and Ruge). So new forms of exotic personal attack met the need for bizarre aspects, while violence was over- represented for news purposes. The campaigns run by the Mirror demanded a more power for the police and because there was public concern over crime, and even the courts could justify increased jail sentences because everyone knows that crime is on the increase because of what was in the press. There was 'effective ideological and control closure' as a result -- the media had become an ISA, unwittingly, and while retaining its relative autonomy! 

Chapter 4 balancing accounts

How the media actually works can be illustrated by examining one of the key episodes in the mugging moral crusade -- the one that occurred in Handsworth, that had been discussed earlier in CCCS work. Hall et al claim to offer the reader a  'neutral' account of the event in this chapter [unlikely -- their views on the media as ideological had already been formed and expressed in various articles]. 

The media, local and national, used at the word  'mugging' in their headlines to describe the events  (although it was not used in the courts) so as to ensure 'that the "debate" which follows would be heavily inferentially structured from the outset'  (page 84). One theme in the press was to contrast the youth of the offenders with the length of the sentences, which led to a discussion about appropriateness of the sentences. Most papers were in favour of long sentences, and they worked to link these long sentences to Government thinking and the general law-and-order issue. There were some differences -- so the Daily Telegraph focused on the rationality of the crime and then projected the issue as a judicial matter  (turning on thr appropriateness of the law and sentencing). The Daily Mirror dramatised and personalised, and operated in moral commonsense terms. It offered a balance by contrasting the points of view of the mother of a mugger and a spokesman from the Police Federation. So, the balance was around youth versus sentences, but the definition of the issue ignored explanations and causes. There were editorials and features on the background to the events but the news was more open. 

Turning to explanations and ideologies, it is difficult to think of alternatives in crime and punishment, leading to copy in the Times, on the general issues of law. The Telegraph discussed the general problems of crime, while the Daily Mail claimed the crimes were so savage that the sentences should be a so too, invoking a theory of human nature and instincts. The Sun did offer a  'radical' approach [this was before Murdoch owned it] -- society needed to be transformed rather than legal penalties increased -- and discussed the toleration of special views of privileged writers as a form of  'institutionalised dissent'. 

In each case the concrete case was generalised. There was a general emphasis on the victim --'Debate and conflict are both ignored through empathy with the victim as citizen'-- thus it becomes self evident that savage punishment is required. The press wrote in a one-dimensional language, which is immediate and direct rather than dealing with concepts  [Hall et al may be quoting Seabrook here?]. 

The background to the piece was gathered via the codes of journalism -- to focus on people, places and experiences. These ideologies place us in a familiar context, they normalise 'lay ideologies' especially in terms of the victim. They deny any background causes, in effect  [Hall et al might have problems with 'background causes' anyway? They themselves wish to avoid social determinism -- page 97]. The press established images of the offenders in features and in editorials -- they were depraved, hard core, possessing pathological tendencies. Through the notion of inadequate socialisation, the issue was racialised too. Handsworth was blamed as a criminal patch, a ghetto, a place populated by immigrants. There were some exceptions -- for example, the Daily Express argued that Handsworth was not all bad. This is a mere  'throwaway humanism', however, marginal to the argument  [a convenient way to deal with exceptions to the grand CCCS thesis?] There was no real explanation, merely a set of associations -- race, crime, housing, unemployment -- explored in detail. Even the Guardian offered no explanation, the typical limit of a liberal perspective. [In the next chapter, chapter 5, the Daily Mirror of the late 1970s comes in for particular criticism:  'left-liberal in politics, but often solidly Conservative on social, moral, and penal questions: the ventriloquist of working-class corporatism' (page 125)].

So what of press balance? On occasion, muggers were balanced with victims, but the nasty associations attached to the former were already established  (page 105). Barthes is cited on page 106 to comment on the notion of balance as a kind of magical behaviour  [apparently rather like the notion of malicious egalitarianism in Adorno, where people are treated equally, but equally badly, as it were]. Generally, when the press did refer to the environment as associated with crime, they did so in order to complete a short circuit, a simple association, rather than a set of complex links [echoes here of Marx's criticisms of positivists operating  'at the surface']. The press generally preferred a vaguer 'moral pollution' explanation. The background cannot be explored, say Hall et al, because it is too political, so images are drawn rather than analyses pursued -- images of the ghetto, of youth, and their families. This helps localise the problem as well as popularise it, leading to easy solutions especially moral ones. 

Chapter 5 Readers' letters 

These are also analysed by the team and in general they offered another amplification spiral, operating between letters and news. Of course published letters had been selected to in general, news seemed to define the issues for the writers: the letters were all about the sentencing rather than the causes of the crime. There were some exceptions, though, and the development of some lay ideologies of crime such as versions of liberal versus traditionalist theories  (whether it was the environment or some general moral decline, that was to blame). Some letters refer to brutalism, and some to their own experience, but there is a  'consistent deep structure'-- valuing concrete experience over abstract reformism  (page 124). Hall et al doubt that these concrete experiences are all that concrete, since, for example they seem to refer to abtstract notionss like those of  human nature, and, of course, the press has helped to form those experiences [cf the quote cited at the end of the notes on Chapter 4, but which belongs here really --about the Daily Mirror as a 'ventriloquist' etc]

The letters to the local press, in Birmingham, are also unusual: some even refer to a 'marxist model' to explain the events ( page 126). But there are also traditionalist letters, with themes of moral discipline, written by respectable who have distanced themselves from their colleagues. Liberal letters tend to be twice as long, because they  'had to argue harder'. 

Some people wrote private letters to the families of the muggers, and these show a broader level of public opinion, something more like a  'moral majority' [seems a bit odd here --more likely to show the views of 'cranks'?]. They can be seen as clear and condensed versions of public ideology, sometimes with additional personal experience. They often referred to racial aspects of the events, sometimes mentioning a number of outgroups.They often fell into the  'revengist' category, advocating brutal punishments, and pursuing racial and sexual themes. Often, abusive stereotypes enabled sadistic vengeance -- simple versions of evil, people as vermin and so on  [Hall et al refer to the connections between race, sexuality and sadism in the famous Authoritarian Personality studies -- this is odd because they aren't supposed to like Adorno and his work much -- pages 133 and 134]. 

These opinions seems to have been formed before the specific effects of the media on the issue -- from the reservoir of common-sense and received wisdom which the media crystallise and raise to the public level  [and sometimes moderate, which Hall et al seem to have forgotten]. The authors still seem uncertain about this process though, and want to see the media as largely to blame. They talk of a convergence between public opinion and the media, claiming that both the informed by ideological structures, and by a limited repertoire of frameworks and explanations. There are lots of differences between them, of course, and no one single ideology -- but all are generated by a limited set of ideological paradigms:  'themes, premisses, assumptions, the "questions presuming answers", the matrix of ideas' (page 138). 

[I think the conclusion to this chapter demonstrates well the usual problems with CCCS work on ideology and popular culture. In the early phases of the project, only the bourgeoisie entertained unpleasant ideological views, but by this stage, it is apparent that proletarians do as well. As usual, instead of pursuing this issue as a concrete matter, the gramscian line seems to be one of trying to make it fit the existing themes of the of  'dominant ideology','articulation', or 'hegemony'. Thus we have a very limited debate about whether working-class racism is  'top down'or genuinely popular -- I find bourgeois sociological investigations, like those of Cashmore, much more illuminating].

Chapter six

What are the core images in ideologies of crime or and in images of society? Traditionalist ideologies seem universal, because they do reflect or correspond to different positions and experiences. Respectability is a good example -- it is apparently universal, but for the middle-class it stands for competitive success, while for the working-class it values work over poverty and crime. It is also one of the moral issues that divide the  'roughs' and the  'respectables'  [a famous distinction within the working-class in the UK]. Since respectability is also valued by the middle-class, it acts as  what Gramsci calls 'cement' between the classes. Work is central to self-esteem, in both class and and can lead to a [Labourist?] condemnation of unearned income in particular. 

Discipline is seen as a natural characteristic, even if accompanied by a  'sense of irony'. Again it crosses class membership and can notes respectability and deference to authority. There are contradictions, however, and as in the splits between traditional and deferential working-class Conservatives  (page 144). [Again, this is a classic finding in British studies of working-class Conservatives, although the division is usually expressed in terms of  'differential' as opposed to  'pragmatic' voters]. Because discipline is seen as a matter of emotional control, discussion of it quickly turns to an emphasis on the family and its functions -- and here Hall et al quote Reich (page 145). 

The city is an image of civilisation, and offers a particular sense of space for the proletariat: changes in the City helps focus other dislocations. [Here, traditionalism seems to offer a way for the respectable working-class to react to the loss of the urban community. Of course, in earlier studies of youth subcultures, CCCS authors were to see the aggressive territorialism of skinheads as the reaction of less respectable working-class youth to the same loss.] 

There is also a general image of England, as a place of tolerance, moderation and solid values. Of courses this is connected to imperialism, and a sense of superiority over foreigners. 

The law has unambiguous and contradictory image: it represents an ideal society, and it raises awareness of oppression. This reflects the ambiguities towards crime, so that theft from shops is OK, but not theft from friends. In this way, the law is both a buttress of some native code of justice and an interference with it. Crime is perceived as a real problem -- after all there are working-class victims of it -- so that the traditional attitude has a real objective basis in working-class experience. However, bourgeois ideology plays upon the fear of crime to reproduce capitalism  (page 149). For one thing, the law permits non illegal [but pro capitalist] bourgeois crimes. Further, crime serves as a way to mobilise the other images, in a way that looks as if it is universal. 

Ruling class ideology leads to empiricism: we know this from Marx's attack on Bentham which argued that Utilitarianism was the natural outlook for the bourgeoisie. However, empiricism represents a stance by the working-class too: this appears as an argument that common-sense is superior to theory, for example. This is rooted in reality, and offers an aspect of the solidarity of the working classes in practical work, but it is still limited. Hoggart apparently argued this  [and we know that Willis 1976 did as well -- see file]. In this way in a practical outlook offers a good example of an  [authentic and genuinely popular] working-class response to experience, but one which is within dominant ideology. In a similar spirit , ideas are valued which can be tacked on to existing ideas without challenging them: the result is working class  'corporatism' which operates within 'an outer limit of horizon and thought' (page 156). Working-class corporatism is different from the general ideas of the ruling class, featuring localised and situated judgements, and often leading to contradictions between general and local attitudes. However,  [pragmatic] common-sense qualifies and makes exception to hegemonic ideas, rather than challenging them. 

Social anxiety arises from social change, which leads to scapegoating. Changes arise from affluence, from social and geographical change, and this leads to embourgeoisment or apathy  [the Affluent Worker studies found privatisation was a more general outcome, which might fit apathy, but not embourgeoisment]. Working-class people experience a sense of loss, of their family and of their earlier loyalties  (page 158)  a kind of left-wing anomie. This refers back to the notion of youth as a hopeful metaphor in the 1950s and 1960s. Black and Asian people appear as symbols of the changes in British society, they symbolise anxieties about social change, sex, social disorder, neighbourhood, housing, recreation, and law and order. They become negative reference points for the respectable working-class, eventually becoming folk devils, symbolising the negation of effort. It has already been argued that muggers have become folk devils, of course. 

Moral entrepreneurs link working class anxieties to middle-class anxieties  [there are largely literary examples here, page 161]. The atmosphere of progressivism and moral decline, permissiveness and so on is related particularly to the influence of the low middle-classes: this has led to a moral backlash, to fear and loathing of progressive intellectuals. Traditional liberals are now adrift between traditional world views and these newer ones: they have failed to connect with the 'rational core' of working-class experience, they have taken  'too academic' an approach  [ I personally think that the CCCS writers are very vulnerable to the same criticism!]. 

The media mobilise these deep fears through moral panics, as we have seen. What explanations, ideologies, or vocabularies of motive are there for crime? Explanation is for most authors are piecemeal, and draw on images which are designed to control: they are not really logical, consistent or coherent. They contain sediments from common-sense, ideological traces which are used in [journalistic] bricolage. They weave together explanations from the judiciary, other media, and the lay public. 

In the specific Handsworth case, the focus on irrationality led to predominantly psychologist accounts. The media offered little account of the environment, and where they did, this was to connect in various bits of cultural knowledge. They thought they were offering a  'typology' (page 168), but they were offering caricatures. These caricatures are useful for the analyst, since they  'command and construct the skeletal syntax, the elementary forms of the collective mental discourse of a great many English people about crime and its control'. They described structures of thoughts and feeling  [an obvious reference to Williams's famous analyses], or 'practical ideologies' [a more orthodox Marxist term, used by the likes of Althusser, or Volosinov]. 

These practical ideologies are linked to more organised theories of crime. Such organised  theories are constructed from the perspectives of the dominant social classes and from certain traditions which 'weigh upon the living' [a reference to Marx's analysis in the 18th Brumaire ...]. We have no other mental equipment  [well, this is where Althusser's project to ground a marxist science comes in]. In this case we find particular traces from traditionalist concepts -- the notion of Law as divine (the corollary of seeing crime as evil); law as based on custom  (so crime can be seen as deviance). 

A proper history of law and jurisprudence [offered on page 172] yields a marxist account  [to no one's real surprise]. There was an early view that crime was an indicator of social order, leading to a positivist revolution searching for the causes of crime, and a specialised study of it in Criminology, designed to lead to changes in policy. Assumptions were still psychologistic and individualistic, with social factors appearing only as matters exempting people from individual responsibilities. This still underpins the view that social accounts of crime are soft, permissive, or intellectual -- this issue again has a rational core, since the Welfare State in Britain has not largely supported the respectable working-class [or eradicated the social problems of the rough working class]. The ambiguities extended to views of crime especially, for liberals, leading to a marked absence of their spokespersons from debates about particularly spectacular crimes. 

In conclusion, at least such arguments might have helped to break the simple conspiracy theory linking the ruling class and the media, and done much to challenge the view of a single coherent English ideology. Underneath the apparent universality are antagonisms showing a struggle for hegemony focused on this central issue of the problem of authority. The authors now argue for a different level of analysis, going beyond crime, and building on a general theory of crisis in the State, based on Gramsci  (page 177). 

Chapter 7

Why did mugging appear as a particular phenomenon? On the surface, it arose from tensions between the police and black people, rather than from an increase in street crime as such. Lots of other moral panics included a concern about rising crime. So the reaction to crime should be the starting point. 

Hall et al are not saying that the episodes were invented, nor making any attempt to excuse them, nor indulging in moral judgment about them  (page 183). They are interested in why there was such an over reaction, however, and for this they think we should look at the structure of society. Perhaps labelling theory, as in transactional labelling, is responsible for the increasing crime? Hall et al believe that 'larger and wider' forces are also at work not just those at the micro level --  'we feel the need of a vantage point which is able to consider the longer term, a larger role which the legal institutions play... in the maintenance of the stability and cohesion of the whole social formation' (page 185). [Is this an argument?]. 

There are specific issues of course, like the issue of normal and political crime and control. Historical examples focus on political crimes like Chartism  (Hobsbawm and E P Thompson are the sources for this). These were clearly fluid and highly politicised matters, which shoppers focus on the process of criminalisation. It is easy to get universal disapproval for criminal offences, of course. Lots of ideological work was needed to insist that Chartism involved criminal offences. Occasionally, we witness transitions the other way too, when political offences are decriminalised after the struggle. However, at the end, the criminal law is the last defence of private property, and there is always a  'rough harmony' between the law and the interests of the dominant class  (page 190). This is often disguised under the false unity and camouflage of authority, often in order to educate the subordinate classes. The law is also rationalized in itself, and is unable to be openly partisan  (page 193). Thus there were working class victories.. But these were still merely regional histories of the capitalist State [ ie exceptions]. Such victories could also be seen as functional, or as upholding the right of universal criticism, or whatever. 

The different control agencies are linked together via a  'societal control culture' (attributed to Lemert!)  (page 194). Such a culture is really an ideology, however, and this helps us develop away from labelling theory's  'historical and material void'. Studying this control culture should lead to marxist theories of the state and state apparatuses: the law  'must be' posed as an issue of the State and class conflict  [another one of these  'musts' -- why? Because rival Althusserians had put it on the agenda?]. 

The law in welfare parliamentary democracies operates in the conjuncture of the crisis in hegemony. We need to understand this via a detour into Marx's general concepts of civil society and political economy. The law may be determined in the long-term, but it also displays unevenness and relative autonomy  (page 196). The law appears as a moderator, above the class struggle, and this relative autonomy guarantees its ultimately reproductive role [a repetition of the analysis on the media, of course]. Hall et al cite the marxist concept of darstellung here [roughly meaning a complex rather than an expressive totality] We know that marxist analysis warned us of the dangers of taking this surface as the real -- is applied to the commodity, the misleading appearance of wages, or of surpluses, the positivism of bourgeois economics, or of conventional views of the State. 

The role of the State in maintaining hegemony is only one aspect of its function: Gramsci saw the State in general as making civil society conform to the economic structure (page 201). Specifically in capitalism, it does this via the 'free' institutions -- labour, the markets and so on. The system needs control at other levels than the economic, especially a juridical apparatus to manage private property and contract, an educational system to reproduce labour, a cultural apparatus to ensure conformity. The State produces order and cohesion, discipline as well as coercion. The legal system  'educates', it is an instrument to create a new civilisation, which is only possible if it earns a large measure of consent. Hegemony, defined here as a  'universalisation of class interests'  (page 203 ) is achieved via the State, since the State is crucial in the formation of alliances, and suppliers the necessary means to extract costs from dominant groups in the interests of the system as a whole. The State is an organ that can compromise when necessary, and manage  'unequal equilibria' (page 205). It therefore must have relative autonomy, and cannot act merely as a 'committee of the bourgeoisie'  [as Marx and Engels argued in their 1848 Manifesto]. The system needs regulation by some  'ideal total capitalist'. The State regulates through ideology, culture, and politics; it preserves the invisibility of class, promoting instead the idea of citizenship, or can be some  'general will'. Political concepts come to dominate other ideological spheres too -- including the law, the most autonomous and the most authoritarian sector precisely because of its close tie to the State. This explains the autonomy of the law and how it is able to displace its direct partisan control on to other spheres; its long-term function to preserve capital; the way it conceals non-legal differences; the way it presents the social relations of the State in a legitimate form. It also explains the connection between law and order! 

There are wide differences in specific laws in different countries, but basic functions performed in any  'normal' consensual State. We have had different types of State in the history of Britain: a laissez-faire system, where politics dominates, leading to struggles over political representations leading to a mass franchise, leading in turn to a great expansion of the State as it launched educational reforms, or welfare, in order to  'moralise the poor'. The basic stimulus for these developments can still be traced to the shift from absolute to relatives surplus value  (page 211) and the emergence of rival national capitals: this led to an attack on a working-class including deskilling and welfare provision, and to attempts to dominate but not lead the working class. The massive extensions of post-War Keynesianism, corporatism, the attempt to manage the economy so as to draw  'the class struggle on to its own terrain' led to failure in Britain, and therefore a crisis in hegemony  [when? The 1960s? The industrial upheaval in the 1970s?]. The result was a massive attempt to achieve popular consent via pluralism or the notion of a common value system  [called elsewhere 'the cultural moment']. 

The current consensus indicates the success of this attempt at domination, the result of naturalising class struggle  (page 216). But there is still crisis in Britain, arising from a clash of particulars, but generalised [ie perceived generally]. This crisis has led to a tilt towards coercion, as an  'exceptional moment', and eventually maybe to an  'authoritarian consensus', although this runs the risk that it will unmask 'general interests' and therefore polarise society. [We see here many of the threads of what became the analysis of Thatcherism].

Chapter 8 Law and Order Society 

We need an economic analysis, but none is available, so we shall start with the superstructural level. The panic about mugging shows a shift from consensual to coercive views of society, from the post War period to the 1970s. We need to focus on ideology, and to define it as Althusser does -- as a real relation but also as imaginary [I think the phrase actually is as an imaginary relation to the real relations]. The media is one key terrain which is relatively autonomous and which thus reproduce his contradictions and struggles. We can understand the moral panic as a surface manifestation of crisis, as the key ideological form in which the crisis is fought out, as the main way to win the consent of the'silent majority' to an increasingly coercive use of the State. Lots of moral panics refer to social, moral aspects of social life, which are generalised and amplified, which produce a societal reaction from the  'control culture', and which then lead to a general panic about social order. These in turn lead to various law and order campaigns, for example those of Heath and Nixon. In this way, moral panics are maintained from the top, leading to an increasing  'control posture' by the State. 

Amplification takes place via  'signification spirals' (page 223)  including the convergence of two or more activities -- as in  'student hooliganism', for example  [a term coined to elide student protest and hooliganism in the 1960s]. In reality, there are some convergences between politics and crime, of course, as in left-wing campaigns for gay rights. However, criminalising political activity is a substitute for argument  (page 225). It demonstrates an ideological function, its legitimises control culture. 

The process involves thresholds -- there is an escalation to the next level if a low threat is amplified above a certain threshold, as when deviance becomes illegal. The presence of violence, all potential for it seems to be important here. Escalation is often described in terms of notions of soft drugs as the thin end of a wedge, or a demonstration as incipient riot. This process can be found in the analysis of two newspapers in particular. 

Back at the general level, there were a number of attempts to stabilise capitalism in the 1950s --  'Butskellism' [a convergence between the policies of Conservative and Labour parties, then led by Butler and Gaitskell]; Keynesian economics; Fordism to raise productivity; the harmonisation of capitals; affluence; the ways in which the Conservative Party were able to identify a concern for working-class interests as their own; the success of the mixed economy; the emergence of new classes. There was wage militancy, but general acceptance of the system. The main ideological work was to convince all parties that progress would deliver. Affluence became a Barthesian myth, leading to technical descriptions of advanced capitalism as  'post-capitalism', or announcing the end of ideology. This stability had to be constantly managed, however, at the economic, political, and ideological levels. 

The economy cracked first. Political challenges arose from the New left and from counter cultures, leading to a general unease with materialism. General anxiety produced a vulnerability to moral entrepreneurs, and panics in terms of crime  [flimsy and repetitive, in my view]  (page 234). Youth became a metaphor for the problems of the new materialism, and its excesses, and led to moral panics about Teds, and patterns of escalation. The escalation ended in the Profumo scandal, with its  'whole "affluent" cast of performers...' (page 235). 

The Social Democratic variant of political management attempted regulation via growth and modernization, leading to corporatism. Productivity had to be increased in order to sustain affluence, this meant greater exploitation, and rising resentment was dealt with by appealing to nationalism, via the notion of the Labour Party's  'social compact' between the State, Trades Unions, and capital. Growth became a technical matter, with faith placed in a technological revolution. A risky alliance was pursuit to capture electoral power. This disciplined consensus stood in marked contrast to 1960s permissiveness. Eventually, it was threatened by a industrial action like the seamen's strike  [a major strike in the 1970s] which is immediately treated as a threat to the nation, a conspiracy by politically motivated men, or the work of extremists  [ironically, one of the leaders of the strike was a certain John Prescott, now a leading light and deputy Prime Minister in the  'New Labour' government of 1997]. 

The consensus failed under economic pressure  [the need to control inflation while allowing substantial wage rises, and while spending increasingly on the welfare state -- I still prefer the version of this analysis offered by Habermas]. Increasing dissensus about how to manage the crisis coincided with a moral backlash. There were fears of a politically motivated conspiracy, and general anxieties focused on immigration, or student revolt. Politics was dominated by increasingly escalative language. 

The effects of 1968 were particularly acute, ['1968' has become a shorthand term for a series of student - led upheavals, demonstrations, and political protests which were in the news from about 1966 until about 1972 or 3. The upheavals ocurred in the USA, and in Europe, including those countries under the influence of the Soviet Union, notably Czechoslovakia]. Hall et al see the events  [about which they were very silent at the time, and in which they played little part] as a revolution by the lumpen-bourgeoisie, as a mere crisis of the superstructures, a series of politico-cultural happenings. The events induced one of the main slogans of counter- revolution -- law and order. The media labelled student activists as hooligans, indicating an irrational and unknowable group, manipulated by professional agitators, especially in the panics over the large demonstrations against US involvement in Vietnam. The British politician Enoch Powell made some inflammatory speeches about 'race' at the same time --  'race' became a rival theme or metaphor for the crisis. It was an immediate, concrete issue mobilised by the political skills of Powell, able to fill the vacuum left by pragmatism after the end of consensus. It played a major part in the new ideology of Englishness. 

This sort of convergence and escalation continued to produce a sense of national threat. Permissiveness saps moral strength, criminals and student militants threaten order, industrial struggles hold the country to ransom. The law itself came under threat: the London gangsters the Kray brothers came to prominence in 1969; the law had to be defended in Ulster, where there were new civil-rights upheavals; there were debates on problems presented by drugs and pornography; there were disturbing pop festivals, as a focus for press anxiety. In 1969, student protest erupted at the London School of Economics, and the press finally solidified the distinction between 'moderates' and 'militants'. All this led to cultural polarisation. Student politics threatened to become street politics, while single-issue politics emerged, such as those concerned to stop the Springbok tour  [as a protest against apartheid policies of the South African government]. In the USA, the counter-culture had become politicised, after a famous and violently policed demonstration at the Democratic convention in Chicago. The women's liberation movement offered perhaps the greatest threat to the bourgeois order (page 254) . Moral entrepreneurs galvanised the backlash. 

The events of 1968 were superstructural, featuring lots of first generation socially mobile youth  [a less hostile term than 'lumpen bourgeoisie' at least!]. There is still no proper analysis available. The participants saw liberalism and tolerance as repressive and so offered a negation of them  [some of these terms come from Marcuse's classic One-Dimensional Man, often seen as a the key text of the 1968 activists]. The events were probably also functional for capitalism in the end -- they legitimated sexual permissiveness, for example. 

In 1970, all the contradictions came to intersect  [by chance?]. Working-class militancy was becoming decisive, on the economic front and so on the front of the State as well. The ruling class was becoming consolidated, and they were hardening their hearts for repression -- again, the events of the 1960s had weakened their political repertoire, especially in terms of winning consent. The Labour and Conservative parties were engaged in restructuring capital, rather as in France of the 1870s, as described by Marx's 18th Brumaire...  [sorry if this is obscure -- it means that the government were modernising capitalism, almost against the will of any actual capitalists]. There were deeper economic roots to this crisis, requiring a squeeze on wages, and a new repertoire of controls, including an incomes policy and the 'social compact' mentioned before. [Basically, the government was agreeing to maintain good levels of welfare spending in exchange for wage restraint]. 

However, there was a wave of unofficial strikes, a bloody-minded refusal by the rank and file, using their  'subterranean anarcho-syndicalist reserve impulses' (page 269). This was beaten back by the ruling class, using local offensives too, including workplace mechanisation, an assault on the local leaders [the dismissal of radical shop stewards in the motor industry especially]. Local restructuring included fixed rate rather than piece rate wages and productivity deals. There were more general offensives as well, stemming from the ownership and tough management policies of American capitalists, who were often able to turn to foreign markets, and some States-supported mergers and monopolies which led to further shake-outs of labour. Finally, at the end of the period, new legal means were introduced to face down strikes, especially by the Conservative government, after earlier Labour timidity. 

Chapter 9 Law and Order Society [as well]

A new hard government line emerged  [nothing compared to what was to come!] with the return to power of the Heath Conservative government. The law-and-order theme was prominent in order to reassure the silent majority, and it linked vandalism, street demonstrations, and industrial unrest. Some liberal newspapers, like the Guardian, were critical, but they could be ignored. Enoch Powell continued to pursue themes seeing black people as  'the enemy within', and gained some mileage as an example of how the liberal establishment works to stifle populist protest. This helped strengthen the right wing version of  'the hard conspiratorial centre and its soft woolly headed deluded periphery' (page 276). Heath's  triumph in the election marked a  'profound shift in the relations of force between the contending classes... This shift in the character of "hegemonic domination"... must not be missed'. Thereafter, the State was set to collide with the Labour movement and the working-class. 

It was not immediate, though. The law-and-order campaign even fizzled slightly just before the election. This is the British way to do things -- to 'move sideways into Armageddon' [sic!]  (page 278). But the State was now mobilised, ready to use coercive mechanisms, especially the law as the only recourse. The first target was to be anarchic disorder, then an attempt to restrain the solid working-class. 

The Conservative government emphasised the national consensus, the silent majority, the moderate mainstream, which excluded all other views as extremist, including  'extreme' wage demands, which were to be regulated by a new Industrial Relations Bill. This initiative was backed by the media who also took a strong condemnatory line towards  'militants'. There was no concerted campaign to link it all up, and other legal crackdowns were combined -- student protesters at Cambridge University received heavy custodial sentences (they were convicted of riotous assembly), while, after a series of confrontations between black people and the police, new trespass laws were introduced to control demonstrations, and conspiracy laws were used against squatters. The State was ready to escalate to the use of violence. 

The Conservative government were planning to join the European market, and to release market forces to revitalise capitalism, rather than pursue the policy of harmony and corporatism followed by Labour. They were prepared to use the law to contain any discontent produced by the 'dash for growth': they demonstrated their power against the post office workers and the power workers, both of whom went on strike. Again though economic growth failed to appear and finance capital was the only sector to gain. The government did win some industrial disputes though, helped by the media, but the Industrial Relations Bill mobilised the whole trade union movement against it. 

The law was added to and overhauled, and new forms of policing were included, in what was in effect a State conspiracy to combat a supposed left-wing conspiracy  (page 285). Civil liberties were withdrawn, as in the Prevention of Terrorism Act  [still in force!]. The law was to take on pornographers and permissives, like the editors of Oz [tried and convicted of publishing an obscene work -- an adult comic, rather like the more recent Viz]. A right wing, Christian organisation called the Festival of Light threatened to prosecute anyone producing unconventional theatre  [and did bring a success prosecution of a play on the grounds of blasphemy!]. Permissiveness was seen as a background of violence, and there were strong moral protest in all sectors, including the legendary National Viewers' and Listeners' Association, which lobbied against permissiveness in broadcasting. All these factors converge at the threshold of violence [that is, help the State cross that threshold into violence?]. 

In Northern Ireland, troops were introduced to enforce government policy. The Immigration Act of 1971 began a series of laws designed to reduce immigration and restrict nationality. The police and the army increasingly became counter- insurgents. Subversion was defined as any form of extra-Parliamentary politics. A great deal of urban guerrilla imagery was deployed, based on stories about the IRA and PLO -- ironically, some of this might have tempted isolated radicals to join the Angry Brigade  [a group responsible for a small wave of bombings in Britain, mostly directed against banks and Conservative politicians]. The Angry Brigade helped the media connect violence and alternative politics, as  'vanguardism' classically does for marxists, especially for respectable academic ones. This, and the mugging panic, offered a pretext for the State to crackdown. There was still militancy from the organised working class, with major strikes in shipyards and coal mines. 

In 1972, there was still violence in Ulster and Vietnam, and a confrontation with the Conservative government. The new legislation was opposed by working-class organisations and there were protests -- in one famous episode, five dockers were jailed, and then released. Strikers were able to organise flying pickets and sympathetic action: their initial success led to both new laws, and to new attempts to incorporate trade unions. The escalation of violence in Ulster, and episodes of international terrorism, were seen as  'senseless' and irrational.  'Race' became an issue with the expulsion of Ugandan Asians causing fears of black people  'flooding' into Britain. Domestically, there were new tougher policies by the police, including action against muggers. The crisis was  'recurringly signified in terms of its violence', and and this was irrational violence, incomprehensible violence. There is issues were linked up even though there were no  'tangible or concrete connections at all, except rhetorically'-- an editorial in the Sunday Times is cited as an example, page 301. 

The emergence of the law in these areas also unmasked its impartiality. It is also abnormal to find such close ties between the State, the economy, and civil society. This may be a typical or an exceptional form -- it is too early to tell. 

It is clear that mugging is only one moment - with its own inner history:  'If it relates to the "crisis in hegemony", it can only be via the shifting balance and internal relations between different State apparatuses in relation to the management of the crisis' (page 305).  [so some backtracking here?]. The panic could have happened earlier. The other particular struggles make the general case too:  'We believe then that the nature of the relation to "mugging"  can only be understood to in terms of the way society -- more especially the ruling class alliances, the state apparatuses and the media -- responded to a deepening economic, political and social crisis' (page 306). The politico-juridical complex and level of  State dominates -- it is best aware of the needs of the capitalist mode of production in a global recession. 

In 1973, a new economic crisis arose from the inflation in oil prices. This led to an immediate wage policy, and an early wage claim from the miners. Mr Heath inaugurated an ideological onslaught in the name of the nation. The  'national interest' became the interest of the government, as far as the media were concerned. There was a hunt for reds. The whole nation was to be involved in the struggle, fire the imposition of a three-day week, and extensive power cuts. These events led to the 1974 election and defeat for the Conservatives  [no explanation for this ability to resist an ideological onslaught?]. 

Since then  [until this book was written, 1976] the working class remained confident, and there was a return to corporatism, but spreading recession led Labour to gradually  'sacrifice the working-class to capital' while keeping just enough support to govern and manage the crisis. Labour was able to transfer the costs of the recession to the working-class without losing Trades Union support, or alienating the middle-class by high taxation  [more or less the thrust of government policy ever since] -- they were simply no other solutions left. Actually, there was just one exceptional form of government left  [a hint at a possible shift towards symbolic, or fascist, politics] -- there were some panics about conspiracies against the nation and the State launched by a lunatic right spokespersons, while in reality there was an increasing use of the charge of conspiracy in actual court cases. 

There were some new moral panics too, one in particular that centred on  'progressive education'.[ five pages are devoted to this, pp310--5, but I wearied -- it's pretty well-known anyway, turning on low standards, trendy teachers, subverts, permissives, and the need to blame schools for low achievements and por economic performance. It is all still with us, as is the State crackdown that resulted -- enforcing tests and 'proper teaching', breaking the powers of teacher unions, cutting wages, increasing coercive management and State surveillance and all the rest of it] 

The police and the courts were seen as too inefficient. Police were increasingly armed, civil rights withdrawn. There was an attack on the bureaucratic (and welfare) State, from both right and left, increasingly on the grounds of its expense  (page 313). There was a new interest in elitism, in competition, in the small businessman as a hero, on the State as demotivating people. Finally, there was the emergence of Thatcherism: Heath turned out to be a Kerensky, holding on to social democracy, while the New Right mobilised. Thatcherism made links with earlier bits of English ideology, as described earlier, while appearing as a petty bourgeois (another victimised and resentful group). 

It is clear that there is a crisis now! Britain's economic base is 'uneven', in the process of being transformed to late capitalism. There is a struggle for hegemonic leadership from different blocs and alliances. On the left, Labourism has become a hegemonic alternative to run capitalism. The crisis grows from the emergence of the State as a major regulator, escalating economic conflicts into political ones  [as in Habermas?]. There is a crisis in popular consent and social authority, leading to alternatives such as  'managed dissensus', which is necessary drift to repression. But this coercive management also wins consent from below -- as in the notion of  'legitimate coercion' (page 320). The state offers a sense of direction, to replace a sense of loss. Ruling class misrecognitions are linked to  'misconceptions of crisis in popular consciousness' (page 322). 

These events arise in two stages: first, displacement, where false resolutions of problems are achieved in moral panics -- a  'first phenomenal form' (page 323). Then follows convergence, where isolated issues become a general conspiracy, leading to a law-and-order society with the new expanded State to countervail, and (popular)  'iron times' to get us all through the crisis. 

Chapter 10 the Politics of Mugging

Mugging has been dealt with from the perspective of society rather than the perspective of the individual, and we have seen outlined the formal possibility of an explanation. Mugging was never entirely a problem of black youth, but largely one. How did this happen? It was not apparent at first although it was implied, by locating mugging in places where black people live. A policy of increasing policing in black areas also linked crime to black ghettos.'Race' was never mentioned explicitly even then, but appeared in discussions of  'environmental' causes, and penal issues. The discussion hardened into a simple  'social problem' perspective, linked to a recognition of the alienation of  'West Indian' youth, even in police reports. 

The race and class aspects of the crisis were synchronised. Increasing harassment of black youths politicised them, and black people tended to be a poor and unemployed, the first victims of recession. So policing black people became equivalent to policing the crisis. The conversion of the police themselves to seeing this as a social problem could be seen as an attempt to shift the blame back to the politicians  [in my view, the police had also learned the vocabulary of sociologists on courses and in the courts]. A double strategy, if hard and soft policing, was pursued  (the latter included community policing) over determined by Labour sympathy for liberal causes and the need to support official policies on race relations rather than encourage black militancy. 

There was some evidence for an emergence of a black panic in 1976, both among judges, and other classes. The racist National Front party prospered and grew: another sign of the effectiveness of connecting the crisis to  'race'. This panic was reinforced by police surveys of crime, immigration panics, media stories about the privileges claimed by black people, and Enoch Powell's speeches.'Riots' or protests began to involve the Asian communities. The Notting Hill Carnival became a site for protest and riot. 

Official statistics localise mugging in black areas, as representatives of inner-cities and their problems. Unemployment homogenises the black population too. Competition with the poor whites increases --  'black crime becomes the signifier of the crisis in the urban colonies' (page 339). 

There are general mechanisms at work to racialise the crisis too: regular routine discrimination against black people; schools as reproducing the social relations, even if there is some resistance as in Willis. Black cultural capital is particularly devalued in the culture of the school, via struggles over language, for example. Black people are discriminated against at work  [a famous study by Castles and Kosack is cited here]: black people are more subject to deskilling, or likely to appear in 'the reserve army of the unemployed', more likely to appear as migrant workers with fewer rights, especially after the 1971 Act. An harassment and unsettling process towards such workers can be seen as driven by the requirements of capital. There are also residential issues and factors including an inability to get housing -- this produces splits among black people, and also indicates the long history of using 'race' to split the working class socially. These factors operate at the structural level, and so are resistant to policies designed to change attitudes, or piecemeal reforms (page 346). 

Race is the dimension in which struggle and resistance appear for black people too. There are specific differences between Asians and West Indians, males and females, but there are signs of organised resistance to white racism after the first  'race riot' in 1958. Black people desired not to be assimilated but to be incorporated differently, or to remain separate, as inner colonies,  'native quarters', with their own economic activities, including  'hustling' necessary activity for survival involving brothels, drugs and general fixers. These sorts of activities, which actually  'indispensable to the colony' (page 352) was less common in Britain, until unemployment and the politicised rejection from white work and from schools led to an experience of rejection by black people and cultural resistance. The latter includes struggles over worklessness, with attitudes ranging from rejection to pride  [there are references to studies of black youth here, and the whole issue was to be revisited in later CCCS work such as The Empire Strikes Back]. Black people began hustling as a temporary solution, as was  'doing nothing': the turn to crime is fully explicable, via empathy [ a pretty strange technique for marxists?]  (page 359). 

Black people drift into crime, as usual but it becomes transformed in their consciousness as a rising from racism.  [this is supported by a lot of confident stuff about the existence of various logics of behaviour, page 360, and the construction of a  'typical biography.' on page 361]. There are, of course, dangers of seeing crime as a political response. [This follows the stern warnings about developing radical criminology from marxism in the famous critique by Hirst, but  Cohen's warning about 'moral nihilism' seem equally appropriate ]. 

Black forms of resistance draw upon different backgrounds than those of the classic white working-class -- for example, they can include some comparative experience. But there is a general consensus,  [among marxists] of the general inadequacy of  'lumpen' forms. Hirst is mentioned here [see file], and there is a response: Marx condemned lumpenproletariat criminals  [as  'scum'], but they were disorganised. Anyway, are black criminals lumpen proles? Must all criminals be lumpen proles? Black people are better described as Marx's  'reserve army'. It is no longer possible to see unproductive labour as insignificant -- for example we now realise that unpaid domestic labour is of great importance in the reproduction of labour power, even if it is 'unproductive'  [in Marx's terms, unproductive labour is labour that does not directly generate surplus value]. We can make an analogy with black labour  (page 369) including the argument that establishing an identity for each sector or caste within a class is a crucial first step towards an effective politics, rather than idealising that class as a whole. We can see black refusal to work as a strategy. The wageless are not necessarily lumpen proles. Black people already have a cohesive identity because of their colonial experience: they are not a rootless mass. 

This analysis links with the  'Italian school' (page 372) -- the most important capital is now the social capital of monopoly capital. Lack of this social capital produces a mass of deskilled workers, where possession of some of it produces a flexible worker. The old forms of resistance are now inappropriate: we need new  'spontaneist' forms, and black Resistance happens to be one example. To clinch this argument, consider the case of Darcus Howe  [then a black leader, now a media personality], writing on the cultural vibrancy of the workless black person, on their cunning, on how they had been politicised in Trinidad. This shows that such people are important in the Third World, even if they are technically  'unproductive'. 

Black people in Britain belong both to the Caribbean and to Britain, and their histories. They can oscillate, so that Caribbean forms can look like lumpen prole forms to Britons. There is a Caribbean history of formal and informal employment, and there has been an impact of Fanonism [a condition described by the writer Franz Fanon]: the experience of almost double rejection, and the consequent drift into crime. Finally, there are important layers within the underclass, and it is wrong to describe them all as lumpenproletarians. 

At the impact of Third World marxism also denies an exclusive role to the proletariat. Fanon, though, is the most important writer -- for him the underclass is revolutionary, or at least they can be won over for revolutionary organisation for. Fanonism is an important feature in American black consciousness, and the colonial war is an important metaphor for the urban struggle, as in the concept  'internal colony'. This metaphor had to be adopted rather than making a classic appeal to the proletariat, since  'race' is an essential mode of experience. The Black Panthers [American black militants] just had to find a role for the hustler, as the only positive role model, compared to the more negative options for black people. This strategy was not only affirmative of the life of the community, but was intended to transform it, and harness the power latent in that community. 

To summarise, we must go behind acts to examine conditions, to look at the structures affecting black youth, to examine a race, class and reproduction, and how black people become  'secondary' (page 390). The crisis occurs on all three levels -- economic, political, and  ideological -- so that  'Crime is one perfectly predictable and quite comprehensible consequence' (page 390)  [because crime also operates at the three levels?]. Crime is not the best solution, however and there is a need to stop the criminalisation of all black people. Nevertheless, race is the form in which black people become conscious, and experience themselves as living in an internal colony, and this can produce activities which look criminal. Of course crime itself is not a political act, but it can be an expression of  'oppositional class-consciousness' (page 391). Wagelessness is an example of making a virtue out of necessity: it is a proto political act, but it is not a fully developed confrontation with capital. Black people are sub proletarians, a reserve army, migrant labour -- describing them as lumpenproletarians is only one way to grasp their position, and and one which misses are the political and ideological levels, and the potential for resistance there. There is a struggle to change criminal into political forms: the solution emerges and struggle itself  (page 394). [a rather fashionable and politically correct decision to  'trust the people' here -- I doubt if Gramsci would have approved]. 

Race is central at each level; race is the central modality, the major medium through which classes experience. Race offers real relations, with real effects, it is not just a a diversion from class relations. Sectional is a necessary defensive strategy, since it is impossible at the moment to unify the struggles of the black and white working-class  (page 395), although whole class action is needed. Crime is a material practice, which separates and lends ideological strength to political separation, and this is the problem and for black defenders of criminals.[ Hall et al had in mind here, perhaps, their own students at the CCCS who included black militants like Paul Gilroy, and who were to argue for a much stronger defence of worklessness and 'crime' in their own eventual CCCS 'special' The Empire Strikes Back].

The debates about mugging confirm the separations. But it is connected to work refusal which is a viable political strategy  [a very apologetic, creeping, half-hearted defence of mugging, in my view, followed by a 'political' critique]. Black people can be an important political force, even though they failed in Algeria and in the USA. There, they lacked an active politics, a struggle, a strategy to turn quasi rebellion into politics. At best, they developed a  'proto political consciousness'a rather than an  'organised political class struggle' (page 397). They need to break with the system and transform it.