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Book Reviews: 'The Dilemmas of Lenin', & ''The Corruption of Capitalism - Why Renters Thrive and Work Does Not Pay'

The Dogma of Lenin

'The Dilemmas of Lenin', by Tariq Ali (2017)

Opening this book, you might expect to find a Lenin who is an open-minded, flexible, freethinker. This was not the case – and anyone who has ever met a Leninist will tell you a better title would have been ‘The Dogma of Lenin’.

Exhibition Review: The Return of Memory

Outside the Home arts centre in Manchester stands an unsubtle statue of Frederick Engels, removed from Ukraine. Inside the centre is an exhibition ‘The Return of Memory’, of contemporary works from the ‘New East’, relating to the centenary of the Russian Revolution, and on till early January.

It includes a number of displays, from videos and murals to photographs and an installation that involves cabbages grown from one of the world’s oldest seed banks. Gluklya presents ‘Clothes for Demonstration Against False Election of Vladimir Putin’, which contains slogans relating to Putin’s re-election as president of Russia in 2012: for instance, ‘Two terms in office – make the next one in prison’, ‘Your election is a joke’ and simply ‘No’.

Chinese ‘Marxism’: Not Even Trying

China has been run on supposedly Marxist lines for nearly seventy years, yet nowadays its rulers do little more than pay lip service to the idea that there is anything Marxist about the social system there. ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’ is the standard official description of the wages-prices-profits set-up that is really one form of capitalism.

Book Reviews: 'Lenin the Dictator - An Intimate Portrait', 'October - The Story of the Russian Revolution', & 'Battling the Gods - Atheism in the Ancient World'

Lenin the Democrat?

'Lenin the Dictator: An Intimate Portrait'. By Victor Sebestyen. (Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 2017)

Lars T. Lih in his 800 page 2009 work Lenin Rediscovered: ‘What Is to Be Done?’ in Context argues that Lenin ‘must be thought of as a Russian Social Democrat because his fundamental project was to help build a party in Russia that was as much like Western social-democratic parties as conditions allowed – and where conditions did not allow, to change them to the revolutionary overthrow of the Tsar.’ Victor Sebestyen’s new book is the antidote to this.

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