Of Hegel and Bernie Sanders

McNally, David
http://davidmcnally.org/?p=944

Publisher:  David McNally
Date Written:  14/03/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20594

My concern is not with Bernie Sanders (basically a New Deal liberal) but with the social dynamics of the Sanders phenomenon. What is going on when we see a surge of mass support for someone who identifies himself (however inaccurately) with socialism? What is the social process driving this unexpected shift in political goals and ideas toward the left? What lies behind the re-entry of socialism into the mass vocabulary of political life?

Abstract: 
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Excerpt:

True statements , Hegel pointed out, are frequently trivial. It is correct, but trivial to point out that 1+1=2. This simple statement of identity is true—and uninteresting. Such formalist approaches to truth merely go around classifying things, “labelling and pigeon-holing everything,” as Hegel put it. So it is with statements to the effect that Bernie Sanders is not a genuine socialist. True, but trivial; true, but uninteresting. My concern is not with Bernie Sanders (basically a New Deal liberal) but with the *social dynamics* of the Sanders phenomenon. What is going on when we see a surge of mass support for someone who identifies himself (however inaccurately) with socialism? What is the social process driving this unexpected shift in political goals and ideas toward the left? What lies behind the re-entry of socialism into the mass vocabulary of political life? What openings might this signal for radical socialism in the age of austerity? And here we come back to Hegel. Real truth, Hegel argued, grasps the process of becoming of things, rather than resorting to trivial statements of fact. Truth is concerned not with static statements (Sanders does not equal socialism), but with “the coming to be” of dynamic processes—with their “dialectical movement.” So, come on leftists. Have no illusions in Sanders himself. But pay attention to the social dynamics of the Sanders phenomenon. Something is blowin’ in the wind. Let’s learn from it and see if it can’t be pushed further. If we stand there and carp about it, the winds of change will simply pass us by.

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