Seminar of the NYC Marxist Hegel-Studies Collective
Marxist Education Project
Conducted by Russell Dale
Hegel’s philosophy has had a great influence on much of what has happened in the world since his time (1770-1831) and is crucial to understanding much of modern social thought and philosophy as well as to understanding Marxism and the socialist tradition in its varied aspects.
Hegel himself died in 1831. In Berlin, where Hegel had taught for nearly a decade-and-a-half up to his death, a small group of philosophers – the so-called “Young Hegelians” – struggled with questions of interpreting Hegel in terms of the actual conditions of life in Germany and Europe at that time. The questions that this group of philosophers dealt with ranged from questions of re-interpreting religion, to the nature of the individual, society, and the state. Both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were involved in the work of the Young Hegelians, and ultimately it was the rejection of much of the thinking of Hegel and the Young Hegelians that allowed Marx and Engels to formulate what became the general outlook we today think of as Marxism.
In this seminar, we will study various works of the Young Hegelians including David Strauss, Ludwig Feuerbach, Bruno Bauer, Max Stirner, and others, and including as well some early writings of Marx and Engels themselves.
The philosophy of Hegel as well as numerous of the Young Hegelians also included reactionary, racist/white-supremacist thought, which we will give special critical attention to. The rejection of Hegel and the Young Hegelians by Marx and Engels is also in important ways a rejection of the racism and white-supremacy and all that that has historically entailed in the development of contemporary capitalist society. This theme will be of fundamental importance in this class as will be the critique of the system of patriarchy – the oppressive subordination of women to men – the struggle to end such oppressions being fundamental to Marxism.
The course will run for 14 weeks on Friday evenings from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM starting September 16, 2016 and continuing until December 16, 2016. We will be reading the book The Young Hegelians: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence S. Stepelevich. (Arrangements will be made for students who cannot buy a copy of this book which costs about $12 online in a Kindle edition, or from about $25 and up for a used copy on abe.com or elsewhere.)
Russell Dale is an activist and a philosopher. He teaches philosophy at Lehman College, CUNY. He taught classes on Hegel and various other topics for the last six years. Russell is also on the Manuscript Collective and Editorial Board of the Marxist journal Science & Society, as well as on the Local Station Board of radio station WBAI, 99.5 FM (wbai.org).