Dialectic

Interview: Hegel, history and revolution

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Terry Sullivan and Donny Gluckstein spoke to Socialist Review about Hegel, history and dialectics and why we still need to understand them.

Why should any socialist today care about Hegel? Wasn’t he just a difficult, abstract, bourgeois philosopher?

We would argue Hegel is worth careful attention even though he is a difficult, abstract and bourgeois philosopher and reading him is “like chewing gravel”. That was one reason to write a book that makes the core of his thought accessible. What is significant is not this or that particular piece of writing, but the overall method and approach that he adopted. This was applied by Marx in his time, and can and should still be applied by socialists today.

Q is for quantity and quality

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How is it that history makes an unexpected leap forward?

Take the sudden onset of the economic crisis. We were told this could never happen again, but banks are failing, the financial system is in turmoil and a recession is opening up beneath our feet.

The recession is hardly the only example in recent years of a sharp disruption to the flow of events. The 9/11 attacks and their consequences were utterly unforeseen, and marked a turning point after which many important things in the world were never the same again.

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