The REDSTAR2000 Papers

Listen to the worm of doubt, for it speaks truth. - Leftist Discussion

Orwell Again??? January 16, 2005 by RedStar2000

Afraid so. There are some things that "come up" over and over again...unfortunately.

We're still a long way from the time when Animal Farm and 1984 gather dust in basement library stacks...the proper place for such reactionary literature.



Animal Farm is a legitimate analysis of betrayal and the usurping of revolutionary ideals. Just like 1984, Orwell conceived it is as an attack on Stalinism in defence of genuine revolutionary socialism. The only "reactioneries" in this thread are the hypocrites who attack "Leninism" but feel a queasy sentimentality for Stalinist tyrannies.

Quite frankly, disgusting.

Well, isn't this interesting?

Here we have two works by Orwell which have been compulsory reading in high schools throughout the English-speaking (capitalist) world for more than 50 years...curiously characterized as "in defence of genuine revolutionary socialism".

Isn't that "really nice" of the ruling class to do that "for us"?

And let's not overlook the "queasy sentamentalities for Stalinist tyrannies". It's one of those bombastic phrases that sounds as if it ought to mean something.

Almost Orwellian, if you take my meaning.
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on January 4, 2005


Shockingly enough redstar, the authorities at least not of the modern day, are not plotting specifically against the possibility that a socialist revolution may occur, and do not edit the reading list in schools accordingly.

No, I expect by this time the crap is there just simply because it's been there a long time and "does no harm" (from their point of view).

But when those books were added to the list, it was not because they were considered "beacons of hope" for revolutionaries.


Perhaps it has occurred to you that this book is on the reading list, because it displays the quality and standard of writing, which those who build the curriculum, wish to see emulated by students.

Yes, we can never rule out sheer literary incompetence, can we?

Sort of like a music appreciation course featuring "top forty hits" from the 1950s.


Lord of the Flies is also on the reading list for most schools...

Not surprising. Better writing than Animal Farm or 1984...but even more reactionary.

Humans are rather "beastly", aren't they?


More likely it is selected because it is a good book, written in a manner more likely to be understood and enjoyed by children, rather than works such as Wuthering Heights, or Ludwig Feuerbach & the End of Classical German Philosophy.

Here you seem to be saying that "it could be worse"...and you'll get no argument from me on that one. Compulsory reading lists usually range from the merely dreadful to the monumentally boring. Did they make you read any of the tedium perpetrated by Sir Walter Scott?

I will grant that putting together a reading list that would be both "progressive" and of good literary quality would not be an easy task.

But of course those are not their real purposes, are they?
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on January 5, 2005


From this you'd think that red star was a Stalinist.

Of course you'd think that, since you didn't bother to read the thread.

Try it, why don't you...actually read the thread before you jump to a conclusion based on a moronic summary of someone else's views.


No, the books aren't beacons of revolutionary hope. They are allegories, satires and analytical perceptions of human power, attacks on the reactionary including an indictment of the media offices he worked in.

I can see you have a real future in the world of "lit-crit". You might also want to read the whole your perception of those works is, well, skewed badly, to be charitable about it.


Orwell is widely regarded in the world of literary criticism as a master of English prose, which I think the quality of his essays attest to.

Indeed, prior to the two works in question, he wrote quite well.

But it is not his earlier work that makes the "assigned reading lists".

As you know.


I don't think the issue is some bourgeois conspiracy to provide a selection of 'capitalist ideologues'...

Why not? You think they are "above" such things?

Schoolboard member #1: "Hey, here's a couple of books by some English guy that really make communism look like crap."

Schoolboard member #2: "Sounds good to me; let's do it!"


I don't see progressive literature being black-listed to the extent that seems to be suggested.

Well, ask yourself this? Did you, in the course of your school reading, come across even one book that suggested even the possibility that what exists now will not be "eternal" but might actually be replaced with something better?

I know I didn't...but that was a long time ago and it's possible that schools are not as wretchedly reactionary as they once were.

On the other hand, look at the sort of things that some have posted...and it sounds like they're just as bad as they were in the 50s.
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on January 5, 2005


By the exact same token I do not believe your babbling conspiracy nonsense, because you offer no proof.

True, I have not researched the archives of school board meetings back in the 1950s to locate the discussions on adopting Animal Farm or 1984 as part of the compulsory reading lists.

So I have no "proof".

There's also no proof, by your rigorous standard, that Hitler ordered the extermination of the written order has ever been located and there is no account of anyone ever receiving such a verbal order directly from him.

So Hitler had nothing to do with it, right? *laughs*


It was a pretty good analysis of what went wrong with the Soviet Union.

No it wasn' best it was a description and a seriously inadequate one at that.


Animal Farm was a good book, I liked it's message.

Which was, 'power is a magical thing that turns pigs into people'.

And books like Animal Farm turn people into (anti-communist) pigs.


The book is one of my alltime favs. My parents bought it for me when I was 6.

An appropriate gift, perhaps, for a child of six. But still one of those "Bible Stories for Kids" books.


Orwell was a visionary.

And his vision was "revolution is useless".

The vision of a reactionary.
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on January 6, 2005


There are plenty of left wing leaning teachers at my school. I think people that interpret Animal Farm as anti-communist are interpreting it wrong and failing to get the whole point of the book which is that power is corrupting, and that the USSR wasn't remotely communist, what's so anti-communist about either of these?

Yes, "power is corrupting" what?

Is there any suggestion in Animal Farm that things would have gone differently if power had been in the hands of all the animals from the beginning?

Is there any suggestion that some animals thought that domination by certain "leading pigs" was a really bad idea and should be struggled against?

Isn't the central point of Animal Farm the idea that "if you overthrow the humans, then a minority of the animals will become the new humans"?

If you overthrow capitalism, then a minority of the revolutionaries "will" always become the new capitalists.

That is an anti-communist says that revolution is hopeless even if you win.

The same message delivered at greater length in 1984.
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on January 6, 2005


He wasn't attempting to discredit the entire Communist movement, it was a satire of what happened in the Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union, the revolutionaries DID become the new Capitalists.


Animal farm is a parody of the USSR, and particularly Stalin's selling out of the revolution. Anyone who considers this an attack on communism is wrong, as for that to be the case the USSR would have to have been communist.

What neither of you mention is any place in the book where it is ever suggested that things could have been otherwise.

If Orwell was not attacking the whole possibility of emancipation, then why does he never suggest that there's any possibility of altering the course of events in the USSR or anywhere?

Sure, it's "possible" that he was "only attacking Stalin/Stalinism"...but remember, he was writing fiction. That means you can put in stuff that didn't really happen if you want to make your point clearer.

Animal Farm could have ended with a scene of a new generation of animals who, having learned the lesson of the pigs, would have proceeded on the basis of permanent animal equality. No leaders!

1984 could have ended with Winston Smith coming into contact with a real revolutionary underground.

Except in "Orwell's world", there's no such thing!

I think his real intent, based both on what he said and what he didn't say, was to discredit the whole idea of communist revolution.

Another fault of the "only the USSR" interpretation is that, in the 1940s, it was the USSR that was clearly (if wrongly) identified with communism itself throughout the world.

Unlike today, in those days anyone who said s/he was a communist was automatically linked with the USSR.

Perhaps in the U.K. with its alleged abundance of "left-wing teachers", kids who read those books get an explanation that takes communism "off the hook". I'm skeptical...but it's possible.

In the U.S., I am confident that it never happens.


As for those who call the book reactionary, please explain why the authority figures and capitalists are portrayed as pigs?

One reason might be that pigs are considerably more intelligent mammals than...sheep.

Your question assumes that Orwell shared the vulgar prejudice against pigs as "filthy swine"...when, of course, it is human treatment that's responsible for their "filth". Pigs, when they have the choice and opportunity, are probably cleaner than dogs...though not as clean as cats.
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on January 6, 2005


Ahh but you forget the most important factor of the book, this is not just Orwell’s world, it is Orwell’s nightmare world, and such organisations could not exist, not with a society he was trying to create. A society where secrets are impossible to keep, and there is no real hope of success.
-- emphasis added.

Exactly my point!!!

The reason those two books became compulsory reading for kids is to teach them that there is no real hope of success in any revolutionary alternative.


As I recall [we] were told little about the social and political history which the book was written to commentate on. We were left to reach our own conclusions; the lessons were more focused towards things like character development, and literary skill. What you would expect in an English class, not politics of the 1940's.

Yes, you were left to reach your own conclusion -- without being aware that Animal Farm was "just about the USSR".

Or perhaps you were aware...but how many other kids were?

While reading this "literary work" you were learning how to look at revolution itself -- and, in fact, it shows in your whole political outlook that you display in your posts here. You "don't like" doesn't "appeal" to you.

I don't just blame Orwell for that...but reading him certainly didn't do anything to help your politics!

(To speak about "character development" in those two works is absurd, by the way. The characters are card-board cut-outs that do not change or develop at all.)


Because that didn't happen in the Soviet Union.

I repeat: in a work of fiction, you are allowed to put stuff in that didn't happen.

If you want to.


Seeing as you pass up literary merit in preference for a Stalinist tendency, why don't you rewrite the books with your optimistic ending and put a strong peasant woman on the cover, with burgeoning biceps and three sacks full of grain.

Well, who knows, perhaps someday someone will.

Or perhaps they'll write a much better novel about the USSR with both positive and negative aspects of life there.

But your suggestion of a "strong peasant woman with burgeoning biceps" is unlikely to be followed...though what you have against such women is a puzzle that we can leave for another occasion.


It is ridiculous to dislike 1984 just because it lacks nice little musically, smiling bits of SOCIALIST REALISM that Red Star seems to hanker after so much.

Where in this thread did I express an admiration for "socialist realism"?

I didn't, of course...but that never inhibits my critics. If you have no real argument, just make stuff up.

For all of its "literary merits", 1984 might well be labeled anti-socialist realism.


Disregard because it's pessimistic? Why? He's not writing political propaganda for a party he's writing a novel to express his sentiments, sentiments shaped by illness, a shaking of his convictions that had happened throughout the war.
-- emphasis added.

Yes, "a shaking of his convictions" indeed!

From left to right is a genuine "shaking".

As to pessimism in the genre in general, no, I don't care for it. Real life is sufficiently pessimistic for me.

But it's not pessimism in the abstract that made Orwell compulsory reading in high's very specifically pessimism about revolution.


The crucial part of the novel as far as the author's personal message is concerned is where the Party's representatives tell Winston that the retention of power is ALWAYS an ends and never a means.

But that, of course, is false. It was false under Stalin and it was false even under Hitler.

Power always exists in order to "do something"...not to just exist for the sake of existence.


It is worth noting that after the publication of his two last novels he said that he was very concerned by the conservative interpretations and reiterated that they were not intended as an attack on the Labour movement in Britain as was often suggested.

Good joke! As if the British "Labour" party was ever revolutionary.


Again why should he colour it any other way? He's not writing the 'Red Star Manifesto for the Good of the People'.

No, he's writing about "what will happen" should you ever listen to "old pigs" like redstar.


...if they actually want to understand him rather than just moan about him not being a Marxist. It doesn't mean you're evil.

Sometimes it does.
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on January 7, 2005


You dislike Orwell because he did not add that political advert right at the end, never mind it would have ruined the books, and totally destroyed any hope of them gaining any credibility.

Not to mention the drop in sales!
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on January 7, 2005


RedStar, now why in the hell would Orwell write an entire book based on real events in the Soviet Union, and then at the very end change what happened?

Gee, I dunno, duh, maybe so that people wouldn't give up on the whole idea of think?


Some people will never learn.

Don't assume that other people share your handicap.
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on January 8, 2005


Now I'm gonna start writing some satires about life in Western Capitalism equally underlining the good and positive elements of that society.

This would seem to be well within your talents...but you do have plenty of competition.

Good luck.


Don't play it dumb. You're more than intelligent enough to know what references I'm making.

Yeah, I was trying to be "nice"...which usually is dumb.

Your caricature of socialist realist visual art comes directly from the bourgeois "art world"...where pissing on a canvas is considered an "artistic breakthrough".

See, I can play caricature too! *laughs*


I took the polemical liberty to state what I did on the basis that your central objection to the books is that they don't slot into your world view and can't serve for your propaganda machine, as he concurs.

Quite. But the books "slot into" the capitalist world view as if they were written for that purpose...which they were.

That doesn't bother you guys, does it?


From your talk of wishing Orwell to break the tone of his literature in order to place in some tub-beating, pro-revolutionary call to arms it is not a great extrapolation to pull.

No, it could (and should) have been done in a very "low key" way; a novel is not a call for insurrection.

But there's no way to do it at all if your view is that "revolution is hopeless".

That was his view! If you can't effectively refute that, then everything else you've said is just "book-chat".


This is too big a question to address properly here but there is a psychological structure to power far more potent than even the genuinely perceived ends. This is what I believe Orwell is talking about.

That's just psycho-babble.


These were the petty allegations of the conservatives and they were levied at the workers' movement, if the Latin derivation is too esoteric.

Those conservatives, whoever they were, had a much deeper appreciation of Orwell than you do -- they saw a useful weapon against revolution and latched onto it with gusto.

As in the U.S. And it has been thus ever since.


Yeah of course, Orwell wrote books with the sole objective of maximising his profits. Oh sorry - and of course to discredit the progressive project.

I think the latter was his primary motive -- but one can never disregard the former in capitalist countries.

Writers have to eat like everyone else.


Do you think that "Brave New World' would be such a wonderful satire on Plato's Republic if at the [end?] Huxley decided to impose his conception of the utopia?

You have an odd conception of the word "satire"...there's nothing humorous about any of these books. Mark Twain was a satirist; Orwell and Huxley were not.

Animal Farm is an allegory, not satire. 1984 and Brave New World are dystopian novels...not satires.

You may think it inconsistent of me, but I would see no reason to tamper with the text of Brave New World at all. I've never heard of high school kids being made to read it...possibly the authorities think it's "too pro-drugs". *laughs*

Orwell is a different matter.
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on January 8, 2005


satire 1. A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit.

2. Irony, sarcasm, or caustic wit used to attack or expose folly, vice, or stupidity.


caricature A representation, especially pictorial or literary, in which the subject's distinctive features or peculiarities are deliberately exaggerated to produce a comic or grotesque effect.


dystopia 1. An imaginary place or state in which the condition of life is extremely bad, as from deprivation, oppression, or terror.

2. A work describing such a place or state: “dystopias such as Brave New World” (Times Literary Supplement).

I see nothing in the way of "irony, sarcasm, or caustic wit" in is entirely dystopic and as grim as a terminal diagnosis.

As the Times Literary Supplement agrees with my view of Brave New World, I need not comment further.


First off Orwell's two books are not compulsory reading (I never did them at school) and Huxley is a regular on reading lists.

Well, schools differ, perhaps. I find it outrageous that Orwell's reactionary shit is evidently still widely read in schools...even if it has fallen off the "compulsory" lists in some places. (Note that if "literary merit" were the real criterion, they could have chosen other Orwell works...written before he became a reactionary.)

Think about it! We have a huge thread on Orwell's crap more than 50 years after publication. Where's our huge thread on Steinbeck, Dos Passos, Hemingway, London, Dreiser, Lewis or any of a dozen other early or mid-20th century authors who were far superior from a literary standpoint to Orwell?

Orwell is still in print and still read for only one reason: the anti-revolutionary content of Animal Farm and 1984 is still considered "useful instruction for the young".

Very useful!
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on January 9, 2005


More importantly your conception of satire seems very narrow-mind[ed].

Perhaps...I was using, not the more dubious Wikipedia.


Orwell takes trends and fears and stretches them into the region of absurdity, in order to expose people's folly.

I don't see that at all! The "problem" in 1984 has nothing to do with "human folly" -- quite the contrary, Orwell's totalitarianism "works" and there's nothing to suggest that it won't work forever.

What is "satirical" about that?


Oh and interestingly enough I came across a UK English literature school paper. Here are some of the questions (and incidentally it was in a category of contextual comparison for Satire)



2: In what can Gulliver's Travels be seen as an influence on Orwell in the writing of Nineteen Eighty-Four

They were both written in English. Other than that, you tell me. Swift indeed was a satirist and a very good one.


3: Orwell stated that his novel was NOT an attack on Socialism or the British Labour Party. What, then, is he attacking?

The possibility of successful revolutionary change for the better. (Yes, the "obvious target" was the USSR...but he went much further than that, to the delight of bourgeois educators.)


4: What use of Double Think and Newspeak does Orwell use in this novel? Can you recognise these in 1930s society and/or modern society or do you think they are confined to the parameters of the novel?

The use of "terminology that lies" (newspeak) has theological roots...from the late medieval Christian apologetics most likely.

Orwell did write an essay on the corruption of political language, after all.

It's quite likely that he derived "Double Think" from communist sources at the time of the Stalin-Hitler pact (1939) followed by the abrupt reversal of 1941.

So how'd I do? Don't tell me, I failed again?

I guess I don't have "what it takes" to suck-ceed in academia.
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on January 10, 2005


1984 is not a vision of the future. The notion of cameras in every room, such omnipresent thought police, the amount of eradication of language etc... are not things that the reader with half a brain is supposed to think might actually happen. They are inflated to expose the failings of such an idea.

If that's how you read it, then that's how you read it.

I don't think Orwell intended 1984 as a literal vision of the future...but I think the implication is that "this is how it will be if the communists win".

I think this is a common reading among the general public -- though perhaps not in academia.

I think readers of the late 1940s and early 1950s read it literally as an anti-communist work...and swiftly elevated it to the pantheon of required reading for the young.


Orwell in 1984 satirises those many people who believed that technology could be used for everything to control society.

Again, I fail to understand your interpretation. Aside from the television/camera sets, there isn't any "new technology" in 1984.


Like Swift, Orwell denounces those who advocate efficiency and scientific logic over humanity.

??? The "big brother state" was, all things considered, efficient only in controlling a rather docile population. Of "scientific logic" I found no trace...indeed, I don't think you could even "do" science in newspeak.


As I have established beforehand, it is an attack on the Western world, not just Stalinism and National Socialism.

I think that's an impossibly surrealistic reading.


He takes it as a given that these two modes are disgusting. What he wants to do is expose capitalism.

And that's just totally "off the charts".

He's "exposing capitalism" by writing a dystopic novel without capitalists???


But his point was that people were doing the same things in supposedly 'liberal' society; modifying and corrupting language to impair our understanding and thought capacity.

That point is made in the essay...not in 1984.

I don't think the essay is on the reading lists.
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on January 10, 2005


Also what about the revolutions that we hear are beginning to take place in farms everywhere at the end of Animal Farm?

I just glanced through the on-line text of Animal Farm (Chapters 9 and 10) and found no mention of revolutions on other farms.

You had me worried there for a minute.


Just out of interest what's your interpretation of Brave New World?

So many decades have passed since I read it that I hesitate to attempt a "definitive" comment.

As I remember, it was something of a eugenic-consumerist dystopia...a cross, perhaps, between the Third Reich and the United States ("in the year of our Ford").

To me, it was an uninteresting novel...not one I've ever been tempted to go back and read again.

If someone were to ask my personal recommendation, I'd suggest the "cyperpunk" novels of William Gibson offer a more interesting "dystopic" projection...and with plenty of rebellion as well.


So that kids could answer questions on why it wasn't an attack on socialism or why Orwell was repelled by big business after their double Sartre lesson?

Want to re-phrase this one? I have no idea of your meaning here.

No only did kids in the 50s not read Sartre; I don't imagine any of their teachers had ever heard of the guy.


It's the use of technology that is so absolute, and an absurd extrapolation of talk at the time.

In the 1940s? Have you ever seen a picture of a television camera from that era? They were huge. Putting one in each room in an entire city would be like putting a grand piano in each room in a city. Ok, maybe an upright piano.

I think Orwell probably borrowed the idea from Jeremy Bentham who came up with that pan-opticon prison idea (where the prisoner never knows when he is being watched and must therefore assume that he's always being watched).


No he's exposing capitalism by showing that the societies of 'liberal democracies' can just as well degenerate into totalitarianism as sovietism.

Perhaps that is what he intended -- though I personally don't think so.

But if that was what he intended, then where's the linking mechanism? All of the overt features of 1984 suggest "communist totalitarianism"...including the wretched and declining standard-of-living.

Even that famous "punishment" -- having your head enclosed in a cage with a ravenous rat -- comes from a story concocted by an anti-Soviet refugee from the USSR in the 1930s.

Indeed, how do we know that some of his ire was "not directed against" the British Labour party? They were in power in the U.K. in the late 1940s and rationing didn't end until 1950 or so...perhaps he did think that Labour was "en route" to Stalinism.

Just because he said otherwise is not necessarily the "final answer".


And as a point of information did you know that Homage to Catelonia only sold about 50 copies a year at first because the intelligentsia condemned it for portraying Communists in a bad light?

Probably doesn't sell that much better now -- I'm sure it's not on the reading list at most schools.
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on January 14, 2005


We see this in Animal Farm when Animalism is suppressed by farmers after word of the Rebellion and its apparent success spreads and animals turn rebellious. Though we hear little of these other societies, the idea that revolutionary social change is bound to occur in them comes in the form of what the farmers think when they listen to their animals singing Animalism's hymn, "Beasts of England".

Perhaps so (I don't want to read through the whole text again myself)...but that doesn't challenge my central contention.

The conclusion of Animal Farm is that a new ruling class has taken over that is "just as bad" if not "actually worse" than the old one...and there is no sign that it will ever be otherwise.


It was published in 1932, so I doubt the Third Reich is under scrutiny.

The Nazis became a "big deal" in the international press after the elections of 1930 and "eugenics" had enjoyed more than three decades of "intellectual respectability".


The book is actually a satire on Plato's Republic...

If you say so...personally, I can't imagine why anyone would bother. It's not as if Plato was a "hot topic" in 1932.


Calling this a 'surrealistic' reading would be even more absurd than when it was leveled against the reading of 1984...

No, I didn't use the word "surrealistic" with regard to your understanding of Brave New World...but rather correctly with regard to your reading of 1984.

Your contention that Brave New World is based on Plato's Republic may be quite accurate -- I have no way of knowing that one way or the other. My knowledge of that ancient reactionary comes from the critique by Karl Popper...which seems to me to be a definitive argument against actually reading Plato -- unless one is suffering from insomnia.


You said that it was solely a common appearance on reading lists to discredit socialism; I'm saying then why do kids get told things like 'It's not an attack on socialism - what is Orwell then attacking?' or asked to research his time in the Spanish Civil War, or the effects of big-business etc...

None of those things happened in the 50s or 60s in the United States. I doubt very much if they are at all common now.

You must have gone to an exceptional school!


I'm also saying that the fact that Marx, Camus, Dickens for example are also frequent school material suggests that the web of conspiracy is weak.

High school students reading Marx or Camus as part of their required reading???

Damn, I wish I'd gone to your school!

Dickens, of course, is quite another matter. Here's an "online summary" of A Tale of Two Cities...


A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is one of Dickens’ two historical novels, the other being Barnaby Rudge, the two cities in question are Paris and London at the time of the French Revolution. Perhaps unsurprisingly Dickens seems to disdain the aristocracy. The heroic nobleman, Charles Darnay, renounces his status in opposition to his uncle, the Marquis de St Evremonde, and the evils of oppression he represents. Meanwhile, Dr Manette the physician has become aware of the Marquis’ ill-practice through a young peasant and his sister who have been hideously treated. After Darnay leaves France, he falls in love with Manette’s daughter, Lucie, and they are married. The story continues after Darnay’s happiness with Lucie as he returns to France during the Terror to save a servant. Darnay is arrested and condemned to death. The final section of the novel is concerned with the question of whether he will survive or be punished for his noble act of rescue, and whether or not the Englishman Carton who resembles Darnay will be able to save his life. It is a story of great sacrifices being made for the sake of principle. The novel is notable for its vivid representation of France during this troubled time and was modeled on Carlyle’s The French Revolution. Although contemporary critics saw it as humourless, it has become popular since then due to film and dramatic adaptations.

You better believe we had to plow through that crap...yet another example of the "revolution sucks" literary canon.


Hm, sci-fi. I'm sure it's very good and all but I'm not sure I could get into it in a huge way. I prefer the meat of political, social, emotional and philosophical indictment (wow, what a pretentious sentence!)

Yes it is...but that's not the real problem.

You see guys like Orwell, Huxley, Dickens, Plato, etc. as "stars"...blinding you to the quality of your own era.

Sure, 90 per cent of science fiction is crap.

Guess what? 90 per cent of everything is crap!

Gibson is worth reading; Orwell after Homage to Catelonia isn't. And after the short Trial of Socrates, Plato is shit.


Maybe, the situation is actually based from his experiences at prep-school.

Wow! I thought my school was a shithole...but his must have been really bad!

No, the "rat-cage punishment" story really was in circulation before Orwell used it in 1984.


Do you know that I read 1984 and Animal Farm myself when I was ten and eleven, and this was actually the point when I started to believe in progressive politics (for want of a better term)!? So it worked on me anyway. [Cue witheringly sarcastic comment from RS.]

I don't think that "withering sarcasm" is called for here...we all have "odd beginnings" of one sort or another.

The first "radical" book that I read, for example, was Dwight MacDonald's Memoirs of a Revolutionist...certainly one of the strangest political books ever written.
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on January 15, 2005


I woulda thought that you would disregard the work of such a reactionary, or capitalist-ideologue (or whatever label you give them) as Karl Popper! The second volume of the work I believe you are referring to (Enemies of a Free Society?) being 'Hegel and Marx'.

Popper is "not so good" on Marx...he doesn't like meta-historical narratives at all.

But he's excellent on Plato and Hegel...rips them to shreds! In fact, the followers of those two reactionary frauds are still howling like stuck pigs over Popper on the internet to this day...a sign of how good a wrecking job he did on them.

Perhaps the best way to describe Popper would be as a late-blooming bourgeois revolutionary...back in the "Age of Enlightenment", he would have been one of the giants.


No-one in the set seemed to think it was reactionary, and when someone mentioned it objectively the teacher described such a view as 'imbecilic'!

Ah, but he didn't have me to contend with. *laughs*
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on January 15, 2005


Orwell vs. the Proletariat; Chapter 7 of 1984

And here is a more detailed critique of Orwell's actual political life during the period 1984 was being written.

Orwell's status as the secular saint of socialism is built on a myth

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· What is Communism? A Brief Definition June 19, 2003
· A New Communist Paradigm for the 21st Century May 8, 2003
· On "Dialectics" -- The Heresy Posts May 8, 2003
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In a capitalist "democracy", all the electoral "options" are bad ones.  

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