CHAPTER 1
Marxism in the Postcommunist World

If we could agree on what “Marxism” is—or was—then the task of evaluating its possible future in the post-cold war world would be relatively simple and noncontroversial. But there is no agreed definition of Marxism. There used to be something more or less official called Marxism-Leninism, and, as opposed to it, there was something called Western Marxism, which had its roots in the Hegelian and Weberian rereading of Marx that was initiated by Georg Lukács in History and Class Consciousness (1923), developed by the Frankfurt School's program of critical theory, and thematized in MerleauPonty's Adventures of the Dialectic (1955). There was also a related debate that peaked in the 1960s concerning the priority of the orientations of the young and the mature Marx, the humanist philosopher as opposed to the historical-materialist political economist. Although other distinctions and debates within the family could be introduced—for example, Austro-Marxism with its stress on the nationality question or Gramsci and his concern with culture and hegemony—it is best to begin from a simple dichotomy: on the one hand, there is the reading of Marx that can be generally put under the notion of historical materialism, and, on the other, there is a more

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