This book is in many ways more about logic than it is about political economy. Or, more accurately, it is an attempt to develop the logic of political economic relations in the United States since the Second World War. I have devoted this Appendix to an examination of the logic of dialectical materialism because I want to understand that philosophy as a method of inquiry and exposition for the historical developments that I discuss throughout the book. I first consider some of the logical problems which dialectical materialism addresses. I then discuss the assumptions and logical-historical method of dialectical materialism.
Lenin records in his Philosophical Notebooks, where he examines and critiques Hegel’s philosophy: “It is impossible completely to understand Marx’s Capital, and especially its first chapter, without having thoroughly studied and understood the whole of Hegel’s Logic. Consequently, half a century later none of the Marxists understood Marx” (Lenin 1981:180; his emphasis). He states also: “Dialectics is the theory of [Hegel and] Marxism. This is the ‘aspect’ of the matter (it is not ‘an aspect’ but the essence of the matter) to which Plekhanov, not to speak of other Marxists, paid no attention” (ibid.: 360; his emphasis). My study is one long argument to support this view by understanding identities through contradiction, the unity of opposites, as they are expressed in practice, in human social activity. 1 If it is true, as Lenin states in his conclusions about dialectics, that dialectical materialism allows us to understand the logical and historical development of “any and all particulars” (ibid.: 359), then Marxism means taking any and all social phenomena in their own development and change and understanding the relationships which they presuppose and posit. Rather than viewing Marxism as a collection of “sacred texts” from which present developments can be deduced, the use of inductive, as well as deductive, analytical and synthetic methods must be combined to understand any and all particulars of social development in their own right, as products of their own interconnections and evolution. This means always testing and retesting any and all conclusions of the founders of Marxism against the