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Book Review: 'China and Russia - the New Rapprochement'

Best of Friends (Almost)

'China and Russia: the New Rapprochement'. By Alexander Lukin (Polity. £16.99)

The Sino-Soviet split of the 1950s and 60s involved a conflict between the two most powerful countries that claimed to be heirs of Lenin. There were small-scale border disputes and the Chinese leadership denounced the Russian bosses as revisionists. But, with major political changes in both countries since then, they are now ‘close but not allies’. Here Lukin tracks the history of the relationship between Russia and China and its current status, which he says is ‘the natural outcome of developments in international relations’. His book contains a lot of information but is often a rather dry read.

Exhibition Review: Slaves of Fashion

India was one source of the cotton that was used in the mills of Lancashire and so clad many people. An exhibition by The Singh Twins at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool deals with this and other aspects of the production of raw material and finished clothes, emphasising the role of European, especially British, colonialism; it is on until 20 May and then moves to Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

A series of light boxes and paintings, together with contemporary objects, make up the display. The works include many references to historical events and individuals, mainly from other collections in Liverpool; for instance, one Indian woman, who grew up in Britain and campaigned for women’s rights, is depicted wearing a ‘Votes for Women’ badge from the Women’s Social and Political Union.

Book Review: 'Hinterland - America’s New Landscape of Class and Conflict'

Far From Wealth

'Hinterland: America’s New Landscape of Class and Conflict'. By Phil A. Neel. (Reaktion Books. £14.95)

The hinterland is the area of the US outside the wealthy cities, ‘the growing desert beyond the palace walls’. It can be divided into the ‘near’ parts, the mainly suburban areas outside the central parts of cities, and the ‘far’ parts, primarily the rural areas but also including urban wastelands where much housing has been demolished. Even the far hinterland, however, has a great deal of industrial space, from factory farms to logistics complexes and mines, and is dominated by the informal economy of the black market and production of illegal drugs.

Book Reviews: 'Fighting Fascism', 'Poverty Safari - Understanding the Anger of Britain’s Underclass', & 'Marx’s Theory of the Genesis of Money'

Misreading fascism

'Fighting Fascism'. By Carla Zetkin, (edited by Mike Taber and John Riddell. Haymarket, £10.99)

This booklet reproduces two main writings of Zetkin on fascism: her report and resolution presented at the Third Enlarged Plenum of the Communist International's Executive Committee in June 1923, and her speech to the German Reichstag in 1932.

Carla Zetkin was an iconic left-wing German Marxist and close friend of Rosa Luxemburg who opted for the political line taken by Lenin and the Bolsheviks, becoming a champion of the Third International. She stayed on the side of the Third International although not without some regrets, even during the rise and 'splendour’ of Stalinism.

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