Rockmore’s pronouncement of the death of “political Marxism” is typical of the outlook that prevails in academia: that is, the end of the U.S.S.R. signified the end of Marxism. But what is the basis of this assertion? Nothing more than the unstated premise that the politics of the old Soviet bureaucracy represented Marxism. This premise says far more about the social and political outlook of the professorial fraternity than it does about Marxism. On what basis have academics established equivalence between the reactionary nationalistic politics of the Kremlin and the world scientific outlook of Marxism? Generally, they simply ignore this question entirely. From their lofty heights they look upon the real political struggles waged over many decades by revolutionary Marxists against the Kremlin oligarchy as mere “sectarian squabbles” for which tenure-track professors have no time. It was enough for them to recognize that the power of the Kremlin bureaucracy was, at least until 1991, real. In other words, the bureaucracy controlled a powerful state, and also had the ability to dispense considerable patronage—some of which was used to finance international symposia which stylishly left academics were always glad to attend.
– David North