George Orwell

From ProleWiki, the proletarian encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

George Orwell was a prominent essayist and novelist, who called himself a 'democratic socialist'. However, he was considered a left wing anti-communist due to his anti-communist views, which led him to even collude with imperial Britain[1] in stark contrast to the anti-authoritarian virtues he claimed to espouse.

Prominent Works

Homage to Catalonia

Orwell's first real seminal work was the 1938 Homage to Catalonia, a memoir of his personal experience serving with the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) in Revolutionary Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War. Despite mostly an anarcho-communist region at the time, Orwell cites Revolutionary Catalonia as the basis for his hardline dedication to democratic socialism, as well as his self-proclaimed anti-authoritarianism. There is likely some ingenuousness in his words though, as the POUM was famously anti-Leninist and Orwell from this point forward dedicated most of his literary career to denouncing/"satirizing" Marxism-Leninism. It is to note that Orwell initially tried to get a trip to Spain through the Comintern-organised International Brigades. However, Harry Pollitt rejected him due to his lack of understanding party politics and lack of anti-fascist convictions.[1]

Animal Farm

Animal Farm is a 1945 novella that is meant to be an allegory for the founding of the Soviet Union and Stalin's rise to power. In the story, a farm of animals chase out their drunken owner and establish their own self-governing farm, only for a small group of pigs to effectively take all the power. Eventually, one particularly narcissistic pig named Napoleon sends guard dogs after the other pigs, making himself the undisputed ruler of the farm and oppressing his fellow animals into eventually acting just like humans. This is "supposed" to be an allegory for how Stalin lead the Soviet Union to effectively become a shadow of its former self - an authoritarian capitalist state just like its enemies - and to this day the book is one of the most famous and respected pieces of anti-communist fiction. This book helped solidify Orwell's identity as an anti-communist leftist, and is also arguably what gave significant rise to the "not real socialism" argument for AES.

1984

1984 is a novel set in a dystopian vision of the United Kingdom (referred to as Airstrip One). The novel is a thinly veiled panegyric to the plight of Trotsky, who is represented in the novel by the character Emmanuel Goldstein. He is reviled by the ruling Ingsoc Party, which is supposed to be an allegory to Stalinism. 1984 is influential in political spheres due to concepts such as Newspeak (phrases such as wrongthink are often used by the far-right today) as well as the popularization of the ideas of Big Brother (totalitarianism) and mass surveillance.

Criticism

Despite his anti-authoritarian virtues, Orwell composed lists of personalities noted to be sympathetic to the Soviet Union, the assigned comments reeking with homophobia and antisemitism.[2] Orwell's allegorical criticisms of the Soviet Union were published during the Second World War, thereby providing propaganda against the USSR at a time where many socialists were defending it in the fight against Fascism.

Among Leninists it is commonly pointed out that Orwell was an unashamed supporter of Leon Trotsky, and wholeheartedly believed in the idea that he was an innocent man wrongly persecuted by his fellow Bolsheviks. Being a democratic socialist, Orwell was obviously not a fan of revolution in general, which explains his general disdain for vanguard movements as a whole, and why he favored the more decentralized nature of Revolutionary Catalonia.

References