George Orwell’s Novel “1984”
In 2015, George Orwell’s novel “1984” entered the top of the best-selling books. It is called prophetic; it is still considered “a masterpiece of antitotalitarian thought” and a kind of bible anti-communists. About why this work is only an ideological product of the “cold war,” full of lies, clichés and unjustified hyperbolas, written down to the heap by a two-faced informer, but why this novel is still relevant today (Orwell 10-314). Until now, this book continues to excite the minds of the reading public, inspiring musicians and artists. Until now, having read it, young people begin to carry nonsense in the spirit of “socialism is slavery and totalitarianism!” Until now, Orwell himself is considered by many to be a brilliant analyst, master of the word and generally a prophet. The anti-Soviet (including the so-called “democratic socialists”) novel takes a worthy place on the shelf, while the fans of the USSR are ready to arrange its mass burning (Orwell 10-314). The expressions “Big brother follows you,” “newspeak,” “room 101” and others are used today everywhere – from journalism to memes. And still “1984” and today has an impact on the formation of the political thinking of society and therefore needs analysis and criticism (Tyson 1689–99).
As a young man, the Englishman George Orwell maintained revolutionary views close to Marxist. However, by the thirties, he was aware that the degeneration of the political system of the USSR was leading the country further and further from the ideas of socialism. In 1936, he took part in the Spanish Civil War as part of the detachments created by the Workers’ Party of the Marxist Union (POUM), who fought both against the fascist supporters of Franco and against the Stalinists (Orwell 10-314). Throughout the further biography of Orwell, his political views undergo a curious deformation. In the book Orwell and Anarchism, Nicholas Walter writes about the situation of the late 1940s: “Edward Morgan Forster considered him to be” a real liberal, “Fenner Brockway was a libertarian socialist, and Kirk was a left-wing Social Democrat. Orwell was both a socialist and an individualist. “In Soviet papers, he was identified as a” Trotskyite at some point this was indeed true. But if Trotsky, revealing the contradictions of the development of the Soviet Union and exposing the “traitors of the revolution” in the person of partocrats, did not lose confidence in the need to struggle for socialism and stood in the position of critical support of the USSR, Orwell gradually became skeptical and disappointed. This frustration has ended quite ugly. The writer, who was beating repressions, denouncing and ideological processing of the population in the Union, himself became a snitch and not the last important ideological machine.
There is an opinion that Orwell wrote this work “not about the USSR,” someone even sees here a criticism of Western capitalism. But, given the content of the novel, these versions, in my opinion, are untenable (Orwell 10-314). The world is divided between three totalitarian socialist superpowers – Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia, which are constantly fighting with each other (Tyson 1689–99). They are fighting, as it turns out, not for victory, but for the sake of the process – to keep society tense and destroy surplus products, while maintaining a low standard of living for the population. The population is divided into several parts (Scoville 830–45). The disenfranchised inhabitants of the “disputed” regions between the powers are engaged in slave labor. Spills are an unruly majority, creating the main benefits of society. Members of the Outer Party – live a little better than the gaps, work in the ministries, relentless supervision follows them through devices that are ubiquitous everywhere – telecines. Finally, members of the Inner Party – the elite of society, it does not live as richly as the noble bourgeoisie of a bygone era, but they do not need it, as it turns out, because their goal is power for power. The latter is covered by the image of the powerful and mustached Big Brother. Well, you understand who his prototype became (Orwell 10-314).
In Oceania, where the action of the novel takes place, the dominant ideology is English socialism (which is Anastos), retaining only a purely conditioned connection with the Marxism from which it originated. The party holds the population in the strictest subordination, isolating the “infidels” even by gestures or expressions. Around ruin, a deficit, a ban on sexuality and pleasure. Around brainwashing and denunciation. Several ministries work to support universal control: the Ministry of Love is engaged in repression and surveillance, the Ministry of Peace is waging war, the Ministry of Abundance is poisoning people with hunger, the Ministry of Truth is conducting propaganda, is engaged in every minute falsification of documents, changing the past. At the top of the pyramid is Big Brother. The main enemy of the state is Emmanuel Goldstein, sketched from Trotsky. The main slogans: “Freedom is slavery,” “Ignorance is power,” “War is peace” (Scoville 830–45).
The main character, Winston Smith, is almost the last one who realized the flawedness of this system. He very successfully acquires a companion-debaucher Julia, seeking to release repressed sexuality. However, their upcoming riot ends pitifully – for Smith for seven years as untiringly watched, playing in “cat and mouse.” In the dungeons of the Ministry of Love, both are morally broken. As the main character of the book, Winston Smith (and here Orwell remembered his Marxist past), “all the hope for a breakthrough” (Thomas 419–44). Billions of workers around the world, with their physical and mental abilities creating the benefits of civilization, but regularly abused, stultified, oppressed – only they can change society for the better. The only question is that this time they should be even more conscious and organized than a hundred years ago – otherwise, then some new George Orwell will blame on some new Big Brother (Orwell 10-314).
It is necessary to live long enough in the West to see that democratic socialism is quite possible and that even – terrible dictum – Marx is not so terrible as it was smeared by Soviet diamonds. Marx in the West is respected as a sociologist who drew attention to the economic determinism of social phenomena – another example of the inevitable and in pure science operating reductivism; The Marxist myth of the proletarian messiah is of little concern to even the people who are genuinely concerned with the need to improve his life (among such people was Orwell). The proletarian in the West is an empirical phenomenon and not a metaphysical concept. We in the USSR, disbelieving in the proletarian myth, unwittingly engaged in building their mythology: our idea of the West was a real myth (Orwell 10-314).
Naturally, Orwell, who knew the western life first-hand, was far from idealizing this life. Among his other experiences was the experience of serving in the colonies, where he felt for the first time the injustice of many realities of the British world order, rightly called imperialism. He has a small text – an essay on “Murder of an elephant,” in which the physical reality of the direct experience demonstrates the colonial existence and psychology of people on both sides of the barrier that separates the ruling and the ruling. The colonies are not free, Orwell said, based on his own living experience (he served for five years as a police officer in Burma in 1922-27).
Orwell in this little essay was able, no more than to expose the myth of the burden of the white man. It took to kill the rabid working elephant, and all, naturally, expected that it would make a white man, a sag. The irony of the situation was that the elephant calmed down and peacefully grazed in a field – it was enough to wait for the missing master who would take him to the stall. But the position obliged: since you are a lord, so should behave accordingly, and the same expecting from you and grinning natives. Thus the entire system would suffer, based on a misconception of the superiority of white people over all others. The knightly code of conduct, in this case, demonstrated its meaninglessness. The elephant simply did not need to be killed; but how many such symbolic elephants – and real human lives – were sacrificed to dead dogmas, obsolete systems of the world order. Orwell demonstrated in this petty case that, dominating over others, a man himself becomes a slave. And again, it is curious to imagine how the sub-Soviet intellectual Westernizers would react to this text, whether he knew them at that time (Orwell 10-314).
It’s hard, of course, to forget the fact that Orwell’s books – his most famous works “1984” has provoked protests and even resentment from many Western socialists. These protests can be divided into two categories with a certain assumption: some did not allow the very possibility of associating with socialism the idea of a totalitarian society (the so-called “friends of the Soviet Union” sounded loudest here), the second category, much more numerous, consisted of people indignant at the fact that Orwell portrayed England as a totalitarian country, in which, by definition, this is impossible (Bounds n.p.).
The concept of socialism, given here by Orwell, emphasized the national character of socialism, regardless of his or her social group. For Marxism, there should be everyone who works for hire, who do not have an independent income and thus a guaranteed future. Socialism should give these guarantees. In essence, this is the program of the so-called welfare state, the welfare state, eventually implemented in Western Europe and many significant elements in the United States. Redistribution of income, that is, high taxes on the properties, did not pass the American society, although, of course, the structure of American life cannot be called socialist.
Against which in socialism from the very beginning was Orwell – this is against the sectarian tendencies in it connected with this or that doctrinal ideology (Bounds n.p.). This ideology, in particular, he considered Marxism. The enemies in the socialist movement for Orwell were and still are the Communists. He particularly strengthened himself in this position during the Spanish Civil War, witnessing how the government of Republican Spain, inspired by Soviet influence and under the direct leadership of the GPU emissaries, suppressed the movement associated with the POUM, an independent socialist group that was extremely popular among the broad masses. Associated with the POUM, Orwell himself almost became a victim of this purge. He tells this in detail in the book “Dedicated to Catalonia” (White 73–95).
Communism from the very beginning had no chance in Europe, and the Communist parties of different countries degenerated into advertising agents of the Moscow regime. Instead of pointing out that backward should be learned from the West, and not be an example to him, the Western Communists pretended that purges and executions in the USSR were a healthy phenomenon that any sane person considers an imitation for Europe. And that’s how he explained the book “The Scottish Farm,” which became his first bestseller in 1945:
The English, perhaps, are ready to carry out revolutionary changes in a bloodless way more than many other peoples. If where it becomes possible to destroy poverty without destroying freedom, it is in England. Attach the British efforts to make their democracy work; they would become political leaders of Western Europe and, possibly, of some other parts of the world. They could offer the desired alternative to authoritarianism, on the one hand, and American materialism on the other (Orwell 10-314). Analysis of the works of Orwell shows that he appealed to the principle of partisanship in two cases: first, to expose the claims of this or that figure to the supra-class objectivity; second, to justify specific practical solutions. In both cases, partisanship was understood not as a formal membership of a political party, but as a measure of the direction of the real activity of an individual, institution, or social organization. For Orwell’s highest manifestation of partisanship was the communist partisanship, which consisted in loyalty to Marxist teaching, strict adherence to the requirements of party regulations and current decisions of party leadership (Ingle 335–37).
Neologism “partisanship” appeared in work “1984” here Orwell contrasts the “objectivist” and the “materialist,” that is, the Marxist, and proves that the materialist is more consistent than the objectivist and more fully and more fully carries out his objectivism. This is followed by the famous words that materialism includes, so to speak, partisanship, obliging, in any evaluation of the event, to take a direct and open view of the point of view of a particular social group. So, the principle of partisanship appears as a methodological principle of scientific knowledge, like, say, the principle of historicism. The objectivist illusion of classlessness and non-partisanship is dismissed as hypocrisy and deception. True knowledge of social phenomena and processes, says Orwell, can be achieved only through the prism of Marxist party spirit; hence, the requirement for scientists, writers, and cultural workers to rely on their work as a methodological basis for Marxist ideology (Ingle 335–37).
The revolutionary charge of Marxism-Orwell’s was emasculated, and the dialectical theory was deliberately dogmatized. It is no accident that Stalin, Khrushchev, and Brezhnev declared themselves to be faithful to Orwell’s, constantly referring to the classics of Marxism-Orwell’s. The dogmatization of Marxism-Orwellism opens wide possibilities for manipulating public opinion and controlling ordinary consciousness. The control of ideology determines the control of social psychology, the control of public consciousness as a whole. A ready-made, simplified, emotionally taught and centrally-inculcated worldview is not only easily assimilated by the masses but also mobilizes them to act in the right direction.
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