[Marxism] the need to understand Hegel

michael a. lebowitz mlebowit at sfu.ca
Tue Jan 17 09:20:00 MST 2006

Myles Sullivan wrote:
>Fellow Marxmailers,
>Lenin said that understanding Hegel is necessary for a proper understanding
>of Marx.
>I am now trying to understand Hegel, and I do believe my head will implode
>without quick intellectual intervention and assitance.
>Do others agree that Hegel must be understood, especially his Logic, in
>order to develop one's understanding of Marx?
>What secondary texts, Marxist or otherwise, are out there that could help
>me to understand good ol' Hegel.
>Thanks for the help.
>M. Sullivan

         I agree completely and emphatically with Lenin on this, and 
I think the best place to begin is with Volume 38 of Lenin's 
Collected Works (the 'Philosophical Notebooks'), the notebooks from 
his reading of Hegel (and from which his statement about the 
IMPOSSIBILITY of understanding Marx's CAPITAL without understanding 
Hegel's LOGIC comes). When you read those notes, you see that this 
emerges as a conclusion, you see these notes as a process of 
developing an understanding-- so much so that the statement is almost 
anti-climatic; i.e., it is a record of discoveries. (A journal, 
Studies on the Left, that I was involved with ran an article on the 
text in the early 60s with the section heading, 'The education of 
V.I. Lenin'.) What makes it an especially exciting text is to read 
Hegel through this revolutionary's eyes. Given the subsequent grasp 
of Hegel by Marxists, it is well to remember, too, Lenin's next 
statement (which should be understood, too, as self-criticism): 
'Consequently, half a century later none of the Marxists understood Marx!!'
         in solidarity,

Michael A. Lebowitz

Professor Emeritus

Economics Department

Simon Fraser University

Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

Currently based in Venezuela. Can be reached at

Residencias Anauco Suites

Departamento 601

Parque Central, Zona Postal 1010, Oficina 1

Caracas, Venezuela

(58-212) 573-4111

fax: (58-212) 573-7724

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