Marx always predicted that the development of capitalism as a social system would be punctuated by major crises, which would become progressively deeper and broader until the system itself was swept away. What he could not have foreseen was that the development of Marxism as a theory would also be marked by crises, both of belief and of method, which have periodically threatened its survival. In this respect at least Marxism has achieved a unity of theory and practice. No crisis has been so profound for Marxism, however, as the crisis brought about by the collapse of Communism in Europe after 1989. With the disappearance after seventy years of the Soviet Union, the first workers' state and the first state to proclaim Marxism as its official ideology, Marxism as a critical theory of society suddenly seemed rudderless, no longer relevant to understanding the present or providing a guide as to how society might be changed for the better. Marx at last was to be returned to the nineteenth century where many suspected he had always belonged.
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