Bearing the above in mind, I was recently told (by a well-educated American) that I was making a mistake by referring to George Orwell, and by describing groups like 'Amway' and 'Herbalife' as occult totalitarian movements hiding behind the reality-inverting camouflage of 'American-style free-market capitalism': not because this description is inaccurate, but because today, most Americans haven't a clue who Orwell is or what he actually wrote about. As if to prove the validity of that analysis, an evidently ill-educated commentator has attempted to inform me that I don't know what I'm talking about, because 'Orwell was a critic of Marxism and Socialism: not of Capitalism.'
In reality, if George Orwell had lived longer, he would almost certainly have written the sequel to 'Animal Farm - A Fairy Story,' in which a new generation of manipulative pig leaders emigrate to the USA, where (with the Bible in one trotter and the Stars and Stripes in the other) they create 'Animal Inc.' and begin to enslave, and exploit, their fellow creatures, by offering:
'New All-American Animalism - a Step-by-Step, Equal Opportunity Plan to Build a Christian-Inspired Business and Achieve Total Financial Freedom in 2-5 years!'
At this point, it might be helpful to examine what Orwell actually wrote about :
Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a German philosopher/economist, acknowledged to be the founder of ‘International Communism’ (i.e. the radical Socialist ideology - the adherents of which reject individual enterprise and advocate a world-wide revolution in which all private wealth will be abolished and the means of production, distribution and exchange, forcibly taken into collective ownership). Marx himself came from a wealthy and devout Jewish family. He studied, law, history and philosophy, but he was particularly influenced by the works of the German philosopher, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831). Using a form of radical thinking developed by Hegel (who sought to challenge received wisdom), Marx found early fame with his theory of ‘dialectical materialism,’ in which he stated that ‘political and historical events are due to a conflict of social and economic forces caused by man’s material needs.’ By 1844, Marx (aged 26) was openly challenging the establishment in his homeland.’ Whilst exiled in Paris and then Brussels, he began to collaborate with Friedrich Engels (1820-1895). In 1848, Marx witnessed a series of major political and historical events: the second French revolution, the abdication of the Emperor, Louis-Phillipe, and the declaration of the second French republic. At this time, Marx (aged 30) and Engels (aged 28) published the ‘Communist Manifesto,’ calling for the total transformation of society by the abolition of private wealth. After radical Socialists failed to take control of Paris (May-June 1848), and moderate republicans installed Louis Napoleon Bonaparte as the Prince-President of France (1849), Marx withdrew first to Cologne and then to London. He developed a thought-provoking, new terminology for challenging the establishment’s own version of reality. In 1867, Marx (aged 49) published ‘Das Kapital’ (Volume 1). By the end of the 19th century, the collected works of Karl Marx had become preferred reading not only for authentic Socialists and intellectuals, but also for the latest generation of cult instigators. Unfortunately, it was possible to enslave the masses by peddling the myth of future redemption in an ‘International Communist’ Utopia; a problem that Marx recognised, but which he failed to stop prior to his death.
The ‘Bolsheviks’ ('Majority') were originally a self-righteous minority-group of ‘Marxist-inspired extreme-Socialists,’ led by Vladimir Ilitch Oulianov (1870-1924) a.k.a. ‘Lenin.’
|Tsar Nicholas II|
The 'Bolsheviks' emerged from the many traumatized Russians, who, like ‘Lenin,’ had been exiled from their homeland for dissenting from the traditional fairy story that the ‘Tsar,’ and his heirs, were ‘anointed by God.’
‘Lenin’ first infiltrated and then subverted the moderate Russian Social Democratic party, by packing a conference (held in the 'Brotherhood Church,’ Hackney, London, August 1903) with his own followers. In 1912, the ‘Bolshevik/Russian Social Democratic party’ became the ‘Russian Communist party.'
In July 1917, Tsar Nicholas II was compelled to abdicate. In October 1917, a provisional Russian government was overthrown in the ‘Bolshevik’ revolution.
The ‘Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’ was created by the leadership of the ‘Russian Communist party’ in July 1923. It comprised most of the Russian Empire overthrown in the 1917 revolution. ‘Lenin,’ who (in 1918) had been severely wounded in the head in a failed-assassination attempt, was the ‘USSR’s’ first ‘Comrade Leader.’ However, the new State was in ruins. A bloody civil-war had crippled both agriculture and industry, and millions were already dead or dying. ‘Lenin’ steadfastly pretended moral and intellectual authority whilst sanctioning a series of evermore heinous crimes, but, within a year, he was dead.
|Stalin Lenin Trotsky|
A struggle then developed between a faction led by Lev Davidovitch Bronstein (1879-1940) a.k.a. ‘Trotsky,’ and ‘Lenin’s’ nominated heirs, led by Joseph Vissarionovitch Djougachvili (1879-1953) a.k.a. ‘Stalin’ (‘Man of Steel’).
When, in 1929, ‘Trotsky’ was exiled and ‘Stalin’ took power, he might as well have of called himself ‘Tsar.’ To casual observers, the ‘USSR’ appeared to be governed by ‘democratic committees’ of which the ‘politburo’ (‘policy board’) was the most powerful. In reality, the ‘USSR’ was a one party totalitarian State maintained by the unquestioning obedience of its core-minority of well-fed ‘apparatchiks.’
The majority of Soviet subjects lived in squalor, manipulated by the reality-inverting Soviet press, ‘Pravda’ (‘Truth’), and terrorized by the ‘KGB’ (‘Committee of State Security’). ‘Soviet’ children were obliged to attend State schools before they could talk. They were trained to denounce all dissidents (including their own parents). One of ‘Stalin’s’ favourite terms was ‘Economic Planning.’ Every ‘Plan’ was doomed to fail. When it did, another one was already in place with a different title: the ‘Two Year Plan’; the ‘Five Year Plan’; etc. According to ‘Pravda,’ prosperity would arrive in the future, if everyone forgot about themselves and worked for the collective good, but, in the ‘USSR,’ the future never came.
In 1929, ‘Stalin’ (the son of a shoemaker and a former, trainee Orthodox priest) instigated a ‘Plan to collectivise agriculture and expand heavy industry.’
Within 12 months, he had created a famine in which probably more than 25 millions men, women and children eventually perished.
1937-1938, ‘Stalin’ ordered the execution of at least 1 million ‘Comrades’ (including approximately 35 000 army officers).
1929-1953, approximately 18 millions people were systematically categorized as ‘Saboteurs’, ‘Terrorists’, ‘Enemies of the People’, etc. They were put on show-trial and condemned to serve indefinite prison terms in the ‘Gulag’ system (‘Main Directorate of Camps’); probably 10 millions did not survive. Officially, none of this existed. When Soviet dissidents escaped to the West in the 1930s and testified to what was really occurring, they were systematically ridiculed by ‘International Communists,’ for whom the truth was unthinkable.
‘Trotsky’ spent 11 years travelling the world trying to organize an opposition to overthrow ‘Stalin,’ but in 1940, he was murdered by a 'Soviet' agent in Mexico.
In the late 1940s, escaped 'Soviet' dissidents again published the truth in the West. For a while they were silenced by malicious lawsuits filed by ‘Stalin’s’ lawyers who were armed with compromising information gathered by the ‘KGB.’ After WW II, the 'Soviet' myth infected Eastern Europe, spawning a series of reality-inverting ‘Socialist Republics.’
After ‘Stalin’s’ death in 1953, a new generation of ‘Comrade Leaders’ denounced his abuses. They accused him of having been at the centre of ‘a personality cult.’ For a while, the new regime managed to repair the old Utopian lie, but the ‘USSR’ went effectively-bankrupt during the 1980s in an failed attempt to keep pace with American military spending. By 1991, the ‘Soviet’ press could not maintain its absolute monopoly of information in the face of satellite television.
In 1920, more than 70 years prior to the demise of the ‘Soviet Socialist’ lie (and before it had even acquired its title), the Welsh philosopher and mathematician, Bertrand Russell, spent a month travelling in Russia. He followed a delegation of bedazzled, British Labour party members and trade-unionists. They’d been on a pilgrimage to witness the birth of what they believed was going to be the world’s first ‘Marxist’ Utopia. On his return to London, Russell published ‘The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism;’ a now largely-forgotten book, but which contained a remarkable insight:
‘I cannot share the hopes of the Bolsheviks any more than those of the Egyptian anchorites; I regard both as tragic delusions, destined to bring upon the world centuries of darkness and futile violence.… The principles of the Sermon on the Mount are admirable, but their effect upon average human nature was very different from what was intended. Those who followed Christ did not learn to love their enemies or turn the other cheek.… The hopes which inspire Communism are, in the main, as admirable as those instilled by the sermon on the Mount, but they are held as fanatically, and are likely to do as much harm.… The war has left throughout Europe a mood of disillusionment and despair which calls aloud for a new religion as the only force capable of giving men the energy to live vigorously. Bolshevism has supplied the new religion.’
In 1920, the words ‘totalitarian’ and ‘totalist’ were not available to Bertrand Russell. Although ‘totalitarian’ was originally coined circa 1922 by the leadership of the ‘Italian Fascist party’ to peddle their own fairy story, the word wasn’t recorded in its modern pejorative sense ('of or relating to any centralized dictatorial form of government requiring complete subservience to the State - a person advocating such a system') until circa 1929.
In 1945, George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) published ‘Animal Farm, A Fairy Story’ (Martin, Secker & Warburg, London). This best-selling book is the most-celebrated allegory of the 20th century. In it, Orwell exposed ‘Soviet’-style totalitarianism by presenting fact as fiction. With a perfect sense of irony, he described how, at a moment of vulnerability, an entire nation can be fooled into accepting a Utopian fiction as fact.
‘Animal Farm’ begins in ‘England’ on the ‘Manor Farm,’ where animals live in ignorance and allow themselves to be exploited by their cruel owner, Mr. Jones…. One night, a prize white boar, ‘Old Major,’ recounts his ‘Dream of an Animal Republic without whips, where no animal goes hungry and the strong protect the weak.’ He inspires his ‘Comrades’ to rebel. When ‘Mr. Jones’ gets so drunk that he forgets to feed them, the animals chase him off.
Two literate young boars, ‘Comrades’ ‘Napoleon’ and ‘Snowball,’ take command by offering to build ‘Old Major’s Dream.’ They paint a line through the word, ‘Manor,’ on the farm gate, and paint the word, ‘Animal,’ in its place.
They paint the ‘Seven Commandments of Animalism’ in white letters on the black wall of the barn:
1. ‘Whatever goes on two legs is an enemy.’
2. ‘Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.’
3. ‘No animal shall wear clothes.’
4. ‘No animal shall drink alcohol.’
5. ‘No animal shall sleep in a bed.’
6. ‘No animal shall kill any another animal.’
7. ‘All animals are equal.’
The animals are generally illiterate, but they are so willing to please that they trust ‘Comrade Snowball’ to form committees to run the farm. He draws up a complex plan to construct a giant windmill. However, after defeating ‘Mr. Jones’ counter-attack, ‘Comrade Napoleon’ turns on ‘Comrade Snowball’ with the help of an ambitious young boar, ‘Comrade Squealer,’ and the mercenary farm dogs. ‘Comrade Snowball’ is exiled and diabolized. He is falsely accused of having been the secret agent of ‘Mr. Jones’ and he is blamed for every misfortune (including bad weather). Gradually, the animals are dissociated from external reality and driven into a state of paranoia. Their only source of information is ‘Comrade Squealer.’ The animals toil from dawn till dusk constructing the windmill believing that this will be for everyone’s benefit.
However, the pigs move into the warm farmhouse and live off the fat of the land whilst the other animals are left to freeze and starve outside. ‘Comrade Napoleon’ employs a human lawyer and begins to trade the farm’s produce with neighbouring human farmers. They cheat ‘Comrade Napoleon’ by giving him counterfeit money.
The farm is then invaded by humans with guns and explosives. The animals suffer heavy losses. They fight-off the humans, but the windmill is destroyed. Two young pigs are obliged to make false confessions that they were ‘traitors.’ They are publicly executed by the farm dogs (on ‘Comrade Napoleon’s’ orders). A string of animals make false confessions of guilt, and they too are publicly executed. The rest of the animals are powerless - the ego-destroying truth that they’ve been deceived, is unthinkable.
‘Comrade Napoleon’ begins to style himself as ‘Comrade Leader, the Father of all Animals’ and for a while he pretends to be dying. The pigs start to wear clothes and to drink alcohol.
Although he has been the bravest defender of the farm and its hardest worker, when he becomes too old and sick, the loyal cart-horse, ‘Comrade Boxer,’ is taken away to a glue factory. All along ‘Comrade Napoleon’ and ‘Comrade Squealer’ have been subverting the ‘Seven Commandments:’
‘No animal shall drink alcohol (to excess).’
‘No animal shall sleep in a bed (with sheets)’
‘No animal shall kill another animal (without just cause).’ etc.
Eventually, the ‘Seven Commandments’ are reduced to just one:
‘Comrade Napoleon’ and the other pigs begin to walk on two legs. They are observed by the animals through the windows of Mr. Jones’ farmhouse, drinking alcohol and playing cards with a group of capitalist farmers. The humans praise the pigs for running a farm where the ‘lower animals work harder, and are fed less, than on any other farm in England.’ The capitalists even want to copy the pigs methods. ‘Comrade Napoleon’ decides to change the name on the gate back to the ‘Manor Farm.’ Finally, the animals look at the pigs’ faces and realise that they have become indistinguishable from humans.
‘Animal Farm’ is now generally regarded as a satire of the ‘Soviet’ Empire. ‘Old Major’ is Karl Marx, ‘Mr. Jones’ is Tsar Nicholas II, ‘Animalism’ is ‘Soviet Communism,’ the ‘Manor Farm’ is the Russian Empire, ‘Animal Farm’ is the ‘USSR,’ the ‘animals’ are the 'Soviet' Peoples, ‘Comrade Napoleon’ is a combination of ‘Lenin’ and ‘Stalin’, ‘Comrade Snowball’ is ‘Trotsky,’ ‘Comrade Squealer’ is the Director of ‘Pravda,’ the ‘farm dogs’ are the ‘KGB,’ etc.
Shortly before his death, Orwell explained exactly what he meant:
‘I thought of exposing the Soviet myth in a story that could easily be understood by almost anyone and which could be easily translated into other languages. However, the actual details of the story did not come to me for some time until one day… I saw a little boy, perhaps ten years old, driving a huge cart-horse along a narrow path, whipping it whenever it tried to turn. It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way that the rich exploit the proletariat.'
George Orwell’s final book, ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ (Martin, Secker and Warburg, London, 1949), subtitled ‘A Novel,’ was originally to be entitled ‘The Last Man in Europe’ or ‘Nineteen Forty-Eight.’ In this, Orwell again presented fact as fiction. He set his story in ‘London,’ the chief city of ‘Airstrip One,’ the third province of ‘Oceania,’ itself one of 3 centrally-controlled Empires (including, ‘Eurasia’ and ‘Eastasia’) which are permanently at war with one another. In ‘Oceanea,’ drab austerity is the order of the day, but the smiling image of the ‘Leader’, ‘Big Brother,’ is everywhere, along with thought-stopping slogans:
‘WAR IS PEACE.’
‘FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.’
‘IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.’
‘BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.’
The book’s central character is ‘Winston Smith,’ a deluded bureaucrat working for the ‘Ministry of Truth’ (i.e. the State-run propaganda machine). ‘Winston’ is, however, secretly struggling to establish his individuality. Although it is absolutely forbidden, he writes down the procedures by which he has been programmed to accept and disperse fiction as fact. In ‘Oceania,’ ‘Ingsoc’ (the ‘English Socialist Party’) controls everyone’s mind. This is achieved by maintaining an absolute monopoly of information using a constant repetition of reality-inverting key words and images. The English language is gradually being pruned down to a formulaic, childish jargon, ‘Newspeak,’ designed surreptitiously to handicap its users’ capacity to think critically. ‘Emmanuel Goldstein’ is portrayed as the ‘Enemy of the People’ and ‘Commander of the Brotherhood’ (a ‘network of evil conspirators’)… All sexual desire and activity (other than for the purpose of procreation) is deemed a ‘sexcrime’… children are used to spy on their parents… ‘Oceania’ is following a never-ending series of ‘3 Year Plans’… clocks have 13 hours… society is ordered into 3 rigid groups - the majority ‘Proletariat’ (who live in poverty and total ignorance), a minority of unquestioning ‘Outer Party Members’ (who have had their memories wiped) and a smaller minority of ‘Inner Party Leaders’ (who alone have access to the truth). ‘Winston’ has a sordid affair with ‘Julia,’ a fellow ‘Outer Party Member’ who prefers to use sex as a means of rebellion. The couple meet an ‘Inner Party Leader,’ ‘O’Brien,’ who pretends to identify with them. He talks of ‘revolution.’ ‘O’Brien’ turns-out to be an agent provocateur. He has ‘Winston’ and ‘Julia’ arrested by the ‘Thought Police’ and tortured. Finally, something snaps in ‘Winston’s’ mind. He betrays ‘Julia’ and declares his ‘love’ for ‘Big Brother.’
Whilst many contemporary, left-wing, British intellectuals were unable to see beyond the Utopian propaganda, Orwell looked only at the quantifiable evidence and realised that, internally, the so-called ‘USSR’ was about as far removed from an authentic Socialist republic as it was possible to get. However, mainstream British Socialists of Orwell’s generation (i.e. the leadership of the Labour Party and the trade union movement), although influenced by Karl Marx, also traced their egalitarian beliefs to non-conformist Christian Churches. Consequently, it wasn’t that difficult for them to begin to face the truth when it first leaked out.
In the UK, during the 1930s, ‘Stalin’ came to be almost universally recognised as a brutal despot. In 1939, all but the most-deluded British communists had to confront reality when ‘Stalin’ signed a ‘non-aggression pact’ with Adolf Hitler.
After 1941, when the ‘Nazi’ lie invaded territory controlled by the ‘Soviet’ lie, and Britain and the USA became allied to the ‘Soviet' despots, it became a matter of expediency to deny reality again. Consequently, in 1945, it was almost impossible for Orwell to get ‘Animal Farm’ published.
Five years later, the former had been turned into an animated film and the latter into a motion picture. Ironically, these productions were secretly supervised by an organization known as the ‘American Committee for Cultural Freedom’ (i.e. the propaganda Dept. of the CIA).
|'The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought — that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc — should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever.'|
Although Orwell included an extensive appendix to ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ entitled, ‘The Principles of Newspeak’ (in which he clearly explained that, in any totalitarian system, reality-inverting language and imagery are used to stop subjects from thinking), when the book was first published at the beginning of the Cold War, many westerners (particularly right-wing politicians and journalists) imagined it to be a criticism of Socialism. Orwell died within a few months of publication, and his American publishers did not attempt to correct this misconception (it was good for business). However, the following is what Orwell had to say in response to the first, crass reviews of ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four:’
‘My recent novel is not intended as an attack on Socialism or on the British Labour Party (of which I am a supporter), but as a show-up of the perversions to which a centralized economy is liable and which has already been partly realized in Communism and Fascism. I do not believe that the kind of society I describe will necessarily arrive, but I believe… that something resembling it could arrive.’
How right Orwell was, but (just like Bertrand Russell 30 years before) few people seem to have taken much notice of his timely warning.
David Brear (copyright 2013)