Surely Marxists should have learned not to defend the ruling classes of out-and-out repressive theocracies like Iran, even if they do constitute ‘regional bulwarks against imperialism’. Nor does the US embargo excuse Cuba’s lack of multiparty democracy and trade union rights.
But these errors flow from the stupidity and reductionism of the leaderships of such far left currents as embrace these positions, rather than being in any way intrinsic to Marxism per se.
Marx, remember, was a German public intellectual living in exile in Victorian London. That specific class-divided social formations are riven with internal tensions, which consequently explode with ugly results, cannot meaningful be attributed to him, or to any other individual.
Myself, I agree with Osler’s defence of Marxism, but disagree with his dismissal of Kolakowski and of Kolakowski’s supporters Christopher Hitchens, Nick Cohen, Oliver Kamm, Harry’s Place. The critique is important.
This was also posted at Harry’s Place,which is rather decent, no pun intended, of the Harryites. As usual there, the comment thread is toxic, but scroll down to Michael Ezra’s comment.