If you have "no place to go," come here!

So long, G.W.F. Hegel!

Jack Crow writes:

It's time to dump Hegel. To be done with a search for secret keys, overarching Meaning, the Spirit of Things and History, and special knowledge.

The work which faces us doesn't require a vanguard party. It does not need obedience to a doctrine, or the direction of professional revolutionaries who believe themselves armed with the secrets of an embodied and personified History, or the universe, or the mystical unfolding of dialectic processes.

That doesn't mean we should stop organizing.

It's just that we should probably not be - we leftists - so bourgeois, meritocratic, university educated and ruling class about it.

The working class, the colonized, the oppressed, the alienated and the poor don't need theories conjured up in academic discussions, in the coffee houses which line the well paved streets of upper class neighborhoods. They don't need special vocabularies and essays on superstructure, intersectionality and sociocultural meta-meta critique.

They need the bosses done with, the cops stripped of their weapons, the jailhouses broken and soldiers deprived of wars to fight for capital and Capitols.

If you - if we - aren't willing to do that, it's time to admit what side you're actually on...

'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. Amen to no vanguard party. That's been tried with outcomes that are, to say the least, regrettable. Ditto professional revolutionaries. Yes to more organizing, heck, of almost any sort ("social capital"). On the other hand, what was accomplished in Egypt, ten to one, involved a lot of coffee. Special vocabularies, too; slogans, at least. Training. Study. Those are all meta. But it behooves us to get out from beyond our keyboards, every day, if only in the smallest ways first. Spring!

NOTE * In my university town, the adjuncts have a worse deal than the classified personnel. Yet they think of themselves as somehow.... not working class. It's very odd.

No votes yet


Submitted by hipparchia on

the adjuncts have a worse deal than the classified personnel. Yet they think of themselves as somehow.... not working class. It's very odd.

it's the same way here. possibly it's universal.

Submitted by jm on

those who primarily work with their hands and backs and those who work primarily with their minds--I've long been fascinated by this social dynamic (particularly since the great myth of American Exceptionalism rests on the faulty foundation of ours being a classless society).

I think it is universal, at least in industrial societies. And it extends well beyond academia. I've experienced disdain from office workers (because I wear a sweatshirt to work, my hands get dirty or whatever, I don't know) even though I'm pretty sure my compensation exceeds theirs.

It's that whole Star-Belly Sneech thing.

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

Mostly the Introduction to the Philosophy of History, I'm not the most qualified to dismiss Hegel; however, I can agree with the argument Jack Crow advances: that we must cease finding formulae with which to advance history, and turn to action instead.

But it's interesting that someone brings up Nietzsche in the comments, because Crow's argument brings to mind another thing I've read, Nietzsche's excellent essay On the Use and Abuse of History for Life. In it Nietzsche advances the point that spending too much time analyzing the history of present circumstances has the effect of paralyzing those who analyze it, making them so steeped in the past that they cannot create anything new. Nietzsche argues, to some extent, in favor of 'forgetting,' that is, casting aside history and acting as if the whole world is new.

Submitted by Sufferin Succotash on

...reading something somewhere about how the point isn't to interpret the world correctly, but to change it.
I wonder who wrote that.

Submitted by lambert on

... but that goes for everything, yes?