[OPE-L:2880] Re: Marx and Hegel

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@acsu.buffalo.edu)
Date: Fri Apr 21 2000 - 10:16:52 EDT

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nicola taylor <nmtaylor@carmen.murdoch.edu.au> said, on 04/21/00 at 04:16

>Lenin was a revolutionary and he clearly didn't think it an unproductive
>use of his time to read Hegel.

    Counterpoint: Luxemburg was a revolutionary who found repugnant the
"Hegelian rococo ornamentation" of *Capital, Vol. 1* (actually, I think
she rather exaggerated).

    Back to Lenin, Neil Harding's work claims, after intensive study of
Lenin and Lenin's role in Soviet history, that Lenin's life project
collapsed during Lenin's lifetime but after the Revolution. If correct,
is there a connection between Lenin's intensive study of Hegel was in
1914-15 and errors made after the Revolution? I have now read enough of
Dunayevskaya to know that she, the most pro-Hegelian Marxist I have ever
read, thinks Lenin's error was to insufficiently take account of Hegel.
But that is only her answer and she has not been discussed on this list to
the best of my recollection.

>It is academics like you, Paul, who seem
>most reluctant to delve into philosophical background materials! I find
>this odd.

    Strange formulation, almost ad hominem: On the one hand, most on this
list are academics with varying opinions on Hegel. On the other hand, if
I am to be a certain type of "academic", what type would it be, given that
we haven't met and are unlikely to know each other's political practice?

>I think that we SHOULD ask people to read Marx, if they are attacking

    Asking a Mayor Guiliani to read Marx is a waste of time and would not
change his class interests. Reading and reading for real understanding is
not an abstract intellectual act.

> It's a debatable point whether the people outside the Gonzalez home are
>attacking Marx, except in a round-about way to promote their own
>anti-Castro cause. Conversely, in Zimbabwe, Mugabe is promoting a
>so-called 'Marxist' agenda - attacking white farmers, to draw attention
>away from himself. Are you attacking Hegel, or promoting Althusser?

    The Miami demonstrators are attacking "communism" as they believe it
originated in Karl Marx. Their whole social culture is very anti-Marxist.
Regarding Mugabe, Stalin engaged in similar acts and actually he was a
prodigious reader. More generally, I have to ask you and Jerry what is
the point of asking a member of the dominant class to read Marx? you
expect them to change their material interests? I don't. I would only
expect their reading of Marx to result in a sharpened attack!

    On "are you attacking Hegel, or promoting Althusser", that's a hard
one to answer. This whole work of mine on accumulation of capital is
trying to get to the bottom of that issue and neither Hegel nor Althusser
are a focus. I think Hegel could be a focus if someone were to argue that
struggling for "definitions" of concepts is inconsistent with an Hegelian
interpretation. I don't recall John Holloway's position on Hegel, but one
reason I asked him if he opposes struggling for definitions is to know if
there is a problem with the very act of attempting such a work as I have
been doing. Neither he nor others have argued on this list against
struggling for definitions per se (John only opposed a struggle for one
specific definition -- that of "class"; John in turn was opposed by Jerry
who is Hegelian influenced and thinks struggling for definitions is

    This has led me to tentatively conclude that the work I have
undertaken is not inconsistent with either a Hegelian or a non-Hegelian
interpretation of Marx. Thus, this discussion has been of benefit,
although it has rather surprised me and I don't know quite what to make of

    From this paragraph I hope you can understand another aspect of why
Hegel hasn't drawn my attention.

Paul Z.

P.S. To date I still have been unable to obtain Sieber's work, as
interlibrary has been unable to locate a copy. So, I'm still stuck with
Marx's quite favorable citation, at least twice over eight years, to this
non-Hegelian interpreter of Marx's work. I remain intrigued.

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