We have given Marx his due here but he is in a way holding the left back, and we have also proceeded critically because he produced a perspective that has unwittingly discombobulated socialists and communists: our critique is really of Marx’s theories, rather than his mostly acute empirical analysis of class and ideology.
If only Marx had stuck to what he did well (look at the great Manifesto, with help from Engels) and not tried to produce a Grand Theory of History: stags of production theory and ‘historical materialism are dead letters at this point and make the very mistake he charged the classical economists with: confusion of theory and ideology. Marx’s theories are really ideology disguised as theory. Why not simply let the cat out of the bag: the case for communism is much stronger made with an elaborate theory claiming historical inevitability. The game soon passed into the hands of the capitalists, witness Fukuyama’s brand, an equal failure, to be sure.
The problem beyond this is that after pronouncing communism a stage beyond capitalism, he failed, refused, to produce a viable model of what was aiming at, a disastrous lacuna to be filled by Stalin.
Marx is thought of as a purely European phenomenon. But his radical politics were indelibly shaped by his encounters with American life. Source: Marx’s America