: Having at least a cursory understanding of these men is essential to understanding what is happening in the world today.
I disagree. To understand what is going on in the world you have to have a great capacity for critical reason and be inattached to any sectarian or exclusive thinkers.
The ideas of these people are alright on certain points but arent these points made just aswell by sociologists, physcologists, economists and simple mere activists like me or you? They are therefore of no real, real significance, they are interesting and thought provoking but you could read them and decide they where libertarian socialist heros or read them and decide the soviet union never put a foot wrong, so it's better to just build on experience and personal struggle as much as great grand thinkers.