Communism failed and was, given its internal weaknesses as well as the vitality of its opponents, bound to do so. However, it should not be forgotten that this attempt to escape the conventional path of capitalist development was for a time remarkably successful, not least in the ideological and military challenge it posed to the west but was in the end forced to capitulate, and to do so almost without a semblance of resistance. ... Communism was not just a utopian project: it was a dramatic response to the inequalities and conflicts generated by capitalist modernity. The continuation of many of these same inequalities and conflicts today suggests that further challenges, of an as yet indeterminate nature, will result.I'll try to post a deeper analysis later.
[via Brad DeLong]