There's a point implicit in a recent post of mine that should be elaborated. It's that Marxism and freedom are not only compatible - contrary to what the small sample of historical experience suggests - but that freedom actually requires Marxism.
I say this in part because there's a strong libertarian strand within Marxism. Jon Elster, one of Marx's best interpreters, has written that Marx "condemned capitalism mainly because it frustrated human development and self-actualization."
For Marx, the ideal society was one in which "the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all." This is a society that not only abolishes wage slavery, but which is hostile to, among other things, gender essentialism and transphobia.
Also, we must remember that there's a sharp distinction between the Marxist and non-Marxist left. Marxism is not about lifestyle politics. It doesn't think that a priority of government should be to tell workers what to eat or how much to save. Indeed, because Marxists believe that bosses are exploiters, they are sceptical of managerialists' claims to know what's good for us - because such claims to superior knowledge are an ideological cover for a claim to power.
Nor - unlike soft leftists such as Murphy and Toynbee - do Marxists think that Britain is a family with the wrong members in control, and all would be well if only people of courage, intellect and integrity were in government. (The fact that this has so rarely happened doesn't seem to trouble the soft left).
Instead, the Marxist view of the state - as a "committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie" - is much closer to James Buchanan's public choice theory than it is to the soft left's notion of the state as a tool for improving the lot of workers.
So much for the compatibility between Marxism and freedom. Why do I say the latter needs the former?
It's because right libertarians have something in common with soft leftists such as Toynbee, in that they seem to think it sufficient for good government that people merely come round to their way of thinking. Marxists, however, know that this is not sufficient. They see that big illiberal government arises from capitalism.
One reason is that a lot of the motives for restricting freedom arise from capitalism. If you're on the right, you can interpret demands for living wages and employment regulations as a way in which workers demand protection from excessive exploitation. If you're on the left, you can regard illiberal impulses such as hostility to immigrants, transsexuals or the disabled as the product of an ideology that is generated by capitalism.
A second reason is that, in a market economy, the state is like everything else, there to be bought. The upshot is that, as I've said, crony capitalism is the only feasible capitalism.
For these reasons, freedom requires not just that people wise up, but that the basic power relations which generate unfreedom be abolished. As Marx wrote:
When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character.
You might object that this is improbable. True. But this doesn't invalidate Marxism, but merely tells us that real freedom is improbable.