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Most current debate on multiculturalism revolves around fundamental conflicts within liberalism. The liberal hegemony has meant that the intense and detailed debates that accompanied the evolution of Marxist social democracy have been relegated to the historical margins. The Marxist debate starts from a very different perspective. Its focus is not the individual, but society as a whole. This article is a re-examination of these debates and of their historical interpretations in order to throw a new light on issues today.