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mercredi, 29 juillet 2020

La Ferme des Animaux (1954): Pouvoir, Révolution et Cochons - PVR

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La Ferme des Animaux (1954): Pouvoir, Révolution et Cochons - PVR

 
 
Oyez à tous ! et bienvenue dans cette nouvelle présentation, aujourd'hui je vous ai choisi un bon film (oui c'est enfin arrivé) 'La Ferme des Animaux' ou 'Animal Farm' de son titre original, un dessin animé de 1954 qui a la particularité d'être à la fois le premier grand film d'animation réservé aux adultes et d'être une puissante critique envers les pouvoirs centralisés pour ne pas dire un mot que l'algorithme de youtube adore et de la révolution Russe ! Bon alors comme vous allez vite le constater le film en lui-même n'est pas des plus joyeux ça sera donc un peu moins rigolo que d'habitude mais je l'ai quand même trouvé intéressant et j'avais envie de vous le partager, donc voilà ça sera une présentation plus 'basique' qui résumera entièrement le film en un peu moins de 15 minutes suivi de quelques explications sur celui-ci, en tout cas j'espère que ça vous plaira et je vous souhaite un bon visionnage !
 

mercredi, 27 mai 2020

Armer manipulierter Orwell

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Armer manipulierter Orwell

von Viktor Timtschenko

Ex: https://www.compact-online.de

George Orwell hat ein Buch über Nationalismus geschrieben, verstand ihn aber in  unorthodoxer Weise. Dennoch versuchen politisch-korrekte Intellektuelle ihn für linksgrünen Globalismus zu vereinnahmen. Viktor Timtschenko hat ebenfalls ein Buch über Nationalismus geschrieben, und verteidigt den berühmten Kollegen gegen seine Fehldeuter.

Gottbegnadete Menschen dürfen das. Sie dürfen einen Vogel „Tisch“ nennen und schreiben: „Ein Tisch sitzt auf dem Baum“. Und sie dürfen ein Vogel-Buch „Über Tische“ nennen. So ist es mit dem erstmals auf Deutsch erschienenen Buch von George Orwell „Über Nationalismus“.

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Nationalismus ist nicht gleich Nationalismus

Zugegeben: Von Anfang an klärt der berühmte englische Autor („Farm der Tiere“, „1984“) den Leser über die „Vogel-Tisch-Problematik“ auf: Er hat sich „für die Bezeichnung ‚Nationalismus‘ entschieden, aber wir werden gleich sehen, dass ich dieses Wort nicht im üblichen Sinne verwende“. Allerdings! Was ist unter dem Nationalismus in diesem 1945 geschriebenen Artikel gemeint? Orwell hüllt sich nicht in Metaphysik: „Der Nationalismus im erweiterten Sinne, wie ich ihn verwende, umfasst Bewegungen und Neigungen, wie (jetzt aufpassen! – V. T.) den Kommunismus, den politischen Katholizismus, den Zionismus, den Antisemitismus, den Trotzkismus und den Pazifismus.“ Was hat das mit dem „konventionellen Nationalismus“ zu tun?

Da Orwell nicht ohne Grund vermutet, dass der Leser etwas irritiert sein könnte, nennt er „auf der Hand liegende Beispiele“ des von ihm neu definierten Nationalismus: „Das Judentum, der Islam, das Christentum, das Proletariat und die weiße Rasse sind allesamt Gegenstand leidenschaftlicher nationalistischer Empfindungen.“ Und fügt hinzu: „Ein Nationalist ist jemand, der einzig und allein – oder überwiegend – in Kategorien konkurrierenden Prestiges denkt.“ Und die Nationalisten eifern nicht um die Belange einer Nation, sondern einer „eigenen Machteinheit“ – Sekte, Organisation, Gruppe von Gleichgesinnten oder beispielsweise der Partei der „Sozialisten, deren Nationalismus die Form des Klassenhasses annimmt“.

Also hat ein Nationalist, wie Orwell ihn definiert, nicht unbedingt etwas mit Nation und Rasse am Hut. Das ist einfach ein engstirniger indoktrinierter Mensch, der blind(wütig) seine „Sache“ verteidigt, keine Argumente wahrnimmt und in schwarz-weiß-Kategorien denkt – und diese Doktrinen können religiöser, politischer, aber auch ethnischer Natur sein. Das Pamphlet „Über Nationalismus“ ist eine Invektive gegen Sturheit und Besessenheit, gegen Obsession und Rechthaberei. Das ist ein Text nicht über die Politik, sondern über die „Geisteshaltung“, über die „Emotion“, wie Orwell selbst erklärt oder „eine Mentalität, eine zum Habitus gewordene Ideologie“, wie Gustav Seibt in der Süddeutschen schreibt.

Durchaus aktuell. Aber wie!

An dieser Stelle darf nicht vergessen werden, dass Orwell den Essay eigentlich über die damalige Geisteshaltung der britischen Intelligenzija schreibt – und manche Kunstschaffende (exemplarisch Gilbert Keith Chesterton – der mit den Krimis um Pater Brown – , sowie Evelyn Waugh und T. S. Eliot) kriegen ihr Fett weg: „Die bei der Intelligenzija vorherrschende Form von Nationalismus (wir erinnern uns, wie breit er den Begriff gefasst hat – V. T.) ist selbstverständlich der Kommunismus“, den Orwell nicht auf die Mitglieder der Kommunistischen Partei begrenzt, sondern alle „Russlandfreunde“, was zu diesem Zeitpunkt Stalinfreunde bedeutete, einbezieht.

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Schonungslos deckt Orwell die Fälschungen auf, die diese, von ihren Ideen besessenen, Propagandisten produzieren. Fakten werden von ihnen unterdrückt, „Zitate aus dem Kontext gerissen und so bearbeitet, dass sich ihr Inhalt verändert. Ereignisse, die, so das Gefühl, nie hätten stattfinden sollen, bleiben unerwähnt und werden letztlich geleugnet.“ Ein Beispiel: „1917 ließ Tschiang Kai Schek Hunderte Kommunisten bei lebendigem Leib verbrühen, und doch wurde er innerhalb von zehn Jahren zu einem Heroen der Linken. Die Neuordnung der Weltpolitik hatte ihn ins antifaschistische Lager befördert, und so hatte man das Gefühl, das Verbrühen der Kommunisten ‚zähle nicht‘ oder sei vielleicht nie geschehen“, berichtet der Literat.

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Eric Blair_(George Orwell) from his Metropolitan Police file.
Foto: The National Archives UK / No restrictions. Wikimedia, CC0

Also, „so das Gefühl“: „Lückenpresse“ und Haltungsjournalismus gab es schon damals auf der britischen Insel! Es gibt auch andere recht aktuelle Bezüge in dem vor 75 Jahren geschriebenen Text. Als einer der Formen des Nationalismus beschreibt Orwell die Anglophobie der englischen „Intellektuellen“: „Innerhalb der Intelligenzija ist eine spöttische und dezent feindselige Haltung gegenüber Großbritannien mehr oder weniger Pflicht.“ Etwas später schwappt diese Haltung auch nach Deutschland über, es erklingt nun „dezent“ „Deutschland verrecke!“ und „Bomber Harris“, der – unter anderem – 1945 Dresden in Schutt und Asche legte, wird mit Applaudissement bedacht.

Was ist das für ein perverses Phänomen, dass die Menschen ihr eigenes Land hassen, welche Geistesverfassung besitzen sie? Orwell aus dem Jahr 1945: „Natürlich wollten englische Linksintellektuelle nicht wirklich, dass die Deutschen oder die Japaner den Krieg gewannen, aber viele von ihnen zogen einfach einen Kick daraus, wenn sie sahen, wie ihr eigenes Land gedemütigt wurde.“ Der Unterschied zu Deutschland ist schon gut sichtbar: Die von Orwell beschriebenen Hasser saßen damals nicht in der britischen Regierung. Deutlich beschreibt der Schriftsteller und Zeitzeuge die Wendehälsigkeit, „Bigotterie“ solcher linken „Nationalisten“: „Auf dem europäischen Kontinent rekrutieren sich faschistische Bewegungen überwiegend aus Kommunisten – in den nächsten Jahren läuft die Sache möglicherweise in die entgegengesetzte Richtung.“  Meinte er, dass aus Faschisten „Anti-Faschisten“ werden? Läuft!

Die Ikone wird instrumentalisiert

Warum publiziert Mainstream den alten Orwell’schen Essay gerade jetzt? Die Frage ist leicht beantwortet: Weil der Nationalismus auf dem Vormarsch ist. Politische Parteien, die die Interessen ihrer eigenen Völker und nicht die Interessen der anderen Völker und globaler Konzerne in den Vordergrund stellen (exemplarisch „Amerika zuerst!“), gewinnen an Zuspruch. Die AfD in Deutschland, Lega in Italien, Viktor Orban in Ungarn, der Nationalisten in Belgien, Dänemark, Estland, Finnland, Schweden, Frankreich, Polen, Slowakei verbuchen Erfolge. Großbritannien ist aus dem EU-Imperium raus. In den USA, in Russland, China, Pakistan, Indonesien, Kambodscha, Indien, Südkorea, Japan, in der Türkei sind Nationalisten an der Macht.

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Daher bekommt der linksgrüne Mainstream kalte Füße. Woher die Stärkung des Nationalismus kommt, möchten sie nicht ehrlich beantworten oder vermögen es nicht. Einziger Ausweg: man sucht (auch in historischen Mottenkisten) nach Prominenz, die sagt (oder sagen sollte): Nationalismus ist eine ga-a-a-nz böse Sache.

So kommen sie auf Orwell, einen der bedeutendsten Schriftsteller der Weltliteratur. Da sich die Herausgeber der Antiquiertheit des Textes bewusst sind, versehen sie die nicht einmal 40 Buchseiten des originalen Orwell mit einem opulenten Nachwort des Soziologen Armin Nassehi. Mit vielen Verrenkungen macht er dabei eine gute Figur und, wie der NDR-Rezensent Alexander Solloch bemerkt, schafft es immerhin „in einem leicht aktualisierungsneurotischen Abschnitt, den Nationalismus, von dem Orwell einst sprach, mit den heutigen ‚Klimaprotesten‘ (und mit Brexit! – V. T.) in Verbindung zu bringen.“
Das ist der Publikationsgrund Nummer zwei.

Der Mainstream, sowohl der politische als auch der mediale (samt Armin Nassehi), schwört auf die „sozialistischen Ansichten“ Orwells. Das stimmt nur so weit: Orwell war Sozialromantiker, ein Sozialträumer, der an irgendeinen „Sozialismus“ glaubte, der in der Realität gar nicht existierte (und nicht existiert). Was gab es da? Es gab den von Orwell rigoros abgelehnten Sozialismus Stalin’scher Prägung in der Sowjetunion, wo Millionen (politische) Häftlinge den Belomor-Kanal und Eisenbahnlinien in Sibirien bauten, es gab in Palästina sozialistische Kibbuzim, die unter Verzicht auf das Nötigste das Paradies auf Erden zu erschuften suchten. Beide „Projekte“ sind bitterböse gescheitert. Aber was Orwell nicht erleben konnte, war der Pol-Pot-Sozialismus der Roten Khmer in Kambodscha – mit Millionen Toten, der Sozialismus in China mit Freiheiten à la Platz des Himmlischen Friedens, der Sozialismus der Entbehrungen in ganz Osteuropa, in Nordkorea und auf Kuba. (Fortsetzung des Artikels unter dem Werbebanner)

Aber geniale Autoren, wie Orwell einer war, sind auch deshalb genial, weil sie in ihren Werken nicht ideologisch geblendet sind. Die Logik der Erzählung an sich, die erschaffenen Charaktere führen den Autor oft zu literarischen Erkenntnissen, die seinen eigenen Überzeugungen diametral gegenüberstehen. Einen ähnlichen „permanenten Kampf des Autors mit dem Helden“ bemerkt Literaturwissenschaftler Jakow Sundelowitsch auch bei Fjodor Dostojewskij. Der Autor Orwell glaubt an seinen romantisierten „Sozialismus“, die Gestalten, die aus seiner Feder kommen, entlarven aber das unmenschliche Wesen dieser politischen Ideologie. Deshalb heißt totalitäre Herrschaft in „1984“ – „Engsoz“, englischer Sozialismus.

Ein Beispiel von dem „ersehnten Sozialismus“ gibt Orwell in der „Grammatik des (sozialistischen – V. T.) Neusprechs“: „Das Wort frei gab es zwar im Neusprech noch, aber es konnte nur in Sätzen wie ‚Dieser Hund ist frei von Flöhen‘, oder ‚Dieses Feld ist frei von Unkraut‘ angewandt werden. In seinem alten Sinn von ‚politisch frei‘ oder ‚geistig frei‘ konnte es nicht gebraucht werden, da es diese politische oder geistige Freiheit nicht einmal mehr als Begriff gab und infolgedessen auch keine Bezeichnung dafür vorhanden war.“

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Orwell als Apologet des Sozialismus? Keineswegs! Eher entschiedener Gegner des Überwachungsstaates, der Meinungsmanipulationen, political correctness und der gendersensiblen Sprache. Die beabsichtigte Schmähung des Nationalismus durch einen überzeugten „Sozialisten“ ist mit der Veröffentlichung des Buches „Über Nationalismus“ also weit daneben gegangen. Daraus wurde ein Schuss ins eigene linke Bein. Die Versuche vieler Rezensenten, Orwell umzuinterpretieren (indem man das Orwell’sche Verständnis für „seinen“ Nationalismus einfach weglässt) und aus dem Text einen Strick für den modernen Nationalismus zu drehen, sind kläglich gescheitert. Der Text ist aktuell, der Text ist brisant, und zwar nicht, weil er die Liebe zur Nation anprangert, sondern weil er den heutigen verlogenen politischen Eliten einen Spiegel vor ihre Fratzen hält.

Orwell, George: Über Nationalismus, dtv Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, München, 2020.

dimanche, 24 mai 2020

How the British Empire Created and Killed George Orwell

 
Martin Sieff
Ex: https://www.strategic-culture.org
 

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), happily amplified by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in the United States which carries its World News, continues to pump out its regular dreck about the alleged economic chaos in Russia and the imagined miserable state of the Russian people.

It is all lies of course. Patrick Armstrong‘s authoritative regular updates including his reports on this website are a necessary corrective to such crude propaganda.

9789352662197_p0_v1_s550x406.jpgBut amid all their countless fiascoes and failures in every other field (including the highest per capita death rate from COVID-19 in Europe, and one of the highest in the world) the British remain world leaders at managing global Fake News. As long as the tone remains restrained and dignified, literally any slander will be swallowed by the credulous and every foul scandal and shame can be confidently covered up.

None of this would have surprised the late, great George Orwell. It is fashionable these days to endlessly trot him out as a zombie (dead but alleged to be living – so that he cannot set the record straight himself) critic of Russia and all the other global news outlets outside the control of the New York and London plutocracies. And it is certainly true, that Orwell, whose hatred and fear of communism was very real, served before his death as an informer to MI-5, British domestic security.

But it was not the Soviet Union, Stalin’s show trials or his experiences with the Trotskyite POUM group in Barcelona and Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War that “made Orwell Orwell” as the Anglo-America Conventional Wisdom Narrative has it. It was his visceral loathing of the British Empire – compounded during World War II by his work for the BBC which he eventually gave up in disgust.

And it was his BBC experiences that gave Orwell the model for his unforgettable Ministry of Truth in his great classic “1984.”

George Orwell had worked in one of the greatest of all world centers of Fake News. And he knew it.

More profoundly, the great secret of George Orwell’s life has been hiding in plain sight for 70 years since he died. Orwell became a sadistic torturer in the service of the British Empire during his years in Burma, modern Myanmar. And as a fundamentally decent man, he was so disgusted by what he had done that he spent the rest of his life not just atoning but slowly and willfully committing suicide before his heartbreakingly premature death while still in his 40s.

81+J0d0FB8L.jpgThe first important breakthrough in this fundamental reassessment of Orwell comes from one of the best books on him. “Finding George Orwell in Burma” was published in 2005 and written by “Emma Larkin”, a pseudonym for an outstanding American journalist in Asia whose identity I have long suspected to be an old friend and deeply respected colleague, and whose continued anonymity I respect.

“Larkin” took the trouble to travel widely in Burma during its repressive military dictatorship and her superb research reveals crucial truths about Orwell. According to his own writings and his deeply autobiographical novel “Burmese Days” Orwell loathed all his time as a British colonial policeman in Burma, modern Myanmar. The impression he systematically gives in that novel and in his classic essay “Shooting an Elephant” is of a bitterly lonely, alienated, deeply unhappy man, despised and even loathed by his fellow British colonialists throughout society and a ludicrous failure at his job.

This was not, however, the reality that “Larkin” uncovered. All surviving witnesses agreed that Orwell – Eric Blair as he then still was – remained held in high regard during his years in the colonial police service. He was a senior and efficient officer. Indeed it was precisely his knowledge of crime, vice, murder and the general underside of human society during his police colonial service while still in his 20s that gave him the street smarts, experience, and moral authority to see through all the countless lies of right and left, of American capitalists and British imperialists as well as European totalitarians for the rest of his life.

The second revelation to throw light on what Orwell had to do in those years comes from one of the most famous and horrifying scenes in “1984.” Indeed, almost nothing even in the memoirs of Nazi death camp survivors has anything like it: That is the scene where “O’Brien”, the secret police officer tortures the “hero” (if he can be called that) Winston Smith by locking his face to a cage in which a starving rat is ready to pounce and devour him if it is opened.

I remember thinking, when I was first exposed to the power of “1984” at my outstanding Northern Irish school, “What kind of mind could invent something as horrific as that?”) The answer was so obvious that I like everyone else missed it entirely.

Orwell did not “invent” or “come up” with the idea as a fictional plot device: It was just a routine interrogation technique used by the British colonial police in Burma, modern Myanmar. Orwell never “brilliantly” invented such a diabolical technique of torture as a literary device. He did not have to imagine it. It was routinely employed by himself and his colleagues. That was how and why the British Empire worked so well for so long. They knew what they were doing. And what they did was not nice at all.

A final step in my enlightenment about Orwell, whose writings I have revered all my life – and still do – was provided by our alarmingly brilliant elder daughter about a decade ago when she too was given “1984” to read as part of her school curriculum. Discussing it with her one day, I made some casual obvious remark that Orwell was in the novel as Winston Smith.

My American-raised teenager then naturally corrected me. “No, Dad, ” she said. “Orwell isn’t Winston, or he’s not just Winston. He’s O’Brien too. O’Brien actually likes Winston. He doesn’t want to torture him. He even admires him. But he does it because it’s his duty.”

She was right, of course.

But how could Orwell the great enemy of tyranny, lies and torture so identify with and understand so well the torturer? It was because he himself had been one.

“Emma Larkin’s” great book brings out that Orwell as a senior colonial police officer in the 1920s was a leading figure in a ruthless war waged by the British imperial authorities against drug and human trafficking crime cartels every bit as vicious and ruthless as those in modern Ukraine, Columbia and Mexico today. It was a “war on terror” where anything and everything was permitted to “get the job done.”

51pSghEsMsL._SX305_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThe young Eric Blair was so disgusted by the experience that when he returned home he abandoned the respectable middle class life style he had always enjoyed and became, not just an idealistic socialist as many in those days did, but a penniless, starving tramp. He even abandoned his name and very identity. He suffered a radical personality collapse: He killed Eric Blair. He became George Orwell.

Orwell’s early famous book “Down and Out in London and Paris” is a testament to how much he literally tortured and humiliated himself in those first years back from Burma. And for the rest of his life.

He ate miserably badly, was skinny and ravaged by tuberculosis and other health problems, smoked heavily and denied himself any decent medical care. His appearance was always abominable. His friend, the writer Malcolm Muggeridge speculated that Orwell wanted to remake himself as a caricature of a tramp.

The truth clearly was that Orwell never forgave himself for what he did as a young agent of empire in Burma. Even his literally suicidal decision to go to the most primitive, cold, wet and poverty-stricken corner of creation in a remote island off Scotland to finish “1984” in isolation before he died was consistent with the merciless punishments he had inflicted on himself all his life since leaving Burma.

The conclusion is clear: For all the intensity of George Orwell’s experiences in Spain, his passion for truth and integrity, his hatred of the abuse of power did not originate from his experiences in the Spanish Civil War. They all flowed directly from his own actions as an agent of the British Empire in Burma in the 1920s: Just as his creation of the Ministry of Truth flowed directly from his experience of working in the Belly of the Beast of the BBC in the early 1940s.

George Orwell spent more than 20 years slowly committing suicide because of the terrible crimes he committed as a torturer for the British Empire in Burma. We can therefore have no doubt what his horror and disgust would be at what the CIA did under President George W. Bush in its “Global War on Terror.” Also, Orwell would identify at once and without hesitation the real fake news flowing out of New York, Atlanta, Washington and London today, just as he did in the 1930s and 1940s.

Let us therefore reclaim and embrace The Real George Orwell: The cause of fighting to prevent a Third World War depends on it.

lundi, 02 mars 2020

Le contrôle des mots dans 1984 d’Orwell

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Le contrôle des mots dans 1984 d’Orwell

par Quraishiyah Durbarry

Ex: https://echyelledejacob.blogspot.com 

“Les frontières de mon langage sont les frontières de mon monde” (Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus logico-philosophicus)

“On ne commande pas aux âmes comme aux langues”, affirme Spinoza. C’est le langage qui définit une société et crée la cohésion au sein d’un peuple. Contrôler le langage est l’apanage de l’État, que ce soit un État créé dans un but utopique, démocratique ou totalitaire car le langage permet d’avoir accès au logos du peuple, et ainsi commander leurs « âmes ». Dans les Histoires florentines, Machiavel relève comment pour conditionner l’homme, toute politique doit nécessairement passer par la logique, en se tissant par le biais du langage. Continuant la même idée, Hobbes affirme que l’humain peut facilement être assujetti par un système langagier qui amalgame la peur et l’orgueil. Ainsi si l’État créé une situation de frayeur et de fierté simultanées, il créé en même temps un peuple obéissant qui de lui-même serait prêt à renoncer à ses droits pourvu qu’il ait l’impression, fausse certes, d’être en train de faire ou encore de dire ce qu’il faut.
 
Le langage comme outil de contrôle politique
Le contrôle utopique du discours


On peut penser que « contrôle utopique » est un genre d’oxymore qui met en parallèle deux idées contraires. Or, en nous basant sur le Kallipolis de Platon, nous voyons que tel n’est pas le cas. Comme dans un état dystopique, l’État utopique doit contrôler le langage pour contrôler le savoir du peuple. Dans La République, l’État est géré par un groupe de philosophes qui choisissent ce qui est bien pour la population en se donnant pour but le bien-être du peuple, au lieu du contrôle absolu qu’est le but avoué de Big Brother, mais la similitude entre les deux états est plus que dérangeante.

Par exemple pour créer les « guerriers » de l’État, Socrate établit les lois du discours qui doivent nécessairement être basées sur la vérité selon lui. Mais pour Socrate sa vérité est la seule qu’on puisse concevoir pour ne pas corrompre les jeunes esprits par le mensonge et la fiction. Il décide donc que pour la bonne gouvernance il faudrait bannir tout simplement certaines fables, et même les idées qui relèveraient du mensonge :

« … jamais dans un État qui doit avoir de bonnes lois, ni vieux ni jeunes ne doivent tenir ou entendre de pareils discours sous le voile de la fiction, soit en vers soit en prose, parce qu’ils sont impies, dangereux et absurdes. »

Dans les deux cas, utopie ou dystopie, c’est l’État qui détient le pouvoir de discerner entre le bien et le mal et dans les deux cas le libre arbitre individuel est sacrifié. Dans L’Orange mécanique d’Anthony Burgess nous voyons comment l’État en voulant réprimer ce qu’il considère mal, réprime le libre arbitre et de ce fait réprime l’homme aussi. 

novlangue.jpgLa Novlangue

Le novlangue est la langue inventée par le Parti pour remplacer l’ancilangue à Océania. Le novlangue n’est pas traité uniquement dans la trame du roman, mais Orwell consacre également une partie importante au développement de cette langue dans son appendice. En 1984, le Novlangue est encore en mode décollage, même si le dictionnaire novlangue est à sa onzième édition et ce n’est qu’en 2050 qu’il effacera complètement l’ancilangue. Se rapprochant de l’hypothèse Sapir-Whorf, selon lequel c’est le langage qui détermine notre perception du monde et que chaque société, différente de par leur système linguistique, développe des pensées et des réflexions distinctes, Orwell dépeint un monde inconscient, manipulé par un système de langage élaboré. Dans son essai Politics and the English Language publié en 1945, Orwell émet déjà l’idée de la corrélation qui existe entre la langue et l’esprit. Le novlangue, pour le but du Parti, se développe donc en s’appauvrissant. Dans un premier temps, toute connotation associée aux mots est éliminée, puis on procède par éliminer les synonymes et les antonymes. La langue devient rigide, ne permettant aucune souplesse d’esprit, aucune émotion d’y traverser. La grammaire subit le même traitement. Tout était simplifié de telle façon à ce que la personne réfléchit le moins possible, ou ne réfléchit pas du tout.

Le novlangue a comme fin de sectionner la pensée en découpant la langue afin qu’il ne reste que des mots domestiques pour les robots de l’angsoc. De ce fait, il est planifié et instauré de manière à éliminer systématiquement, et plus efficacement que la torture, le crime par la pensée, et toute autre forme d’hérésie. 

Le langage comme contrôle de la pensée

Pour Orwell, la situation politique reflète le langage et si l’un est corrompu, il s’ensuit que l’autre doit l’être aussi. S’appuyant sur les constructions de la langue anglaise, il démontre comment le langage est utilisé dans la politique pour créer une fausse impression de sécurité, pour rassurer le peuple à obéir sans réfléchir. L’Océania est continuellement en guerre. Cette guerre a deux buts. Premièrement de garder le peuple dans un État de frayeur et deuxièmement de faire de sorte que le peuple soit satisfait et même fier de cette guerre. De ce fait, au lieu de mettre l’emphase sur tous les manques, l’État utilise un langage hautement positif. L’emphase est mise sur les victoires, sur la capture des ennemis, sur des augmentations imaginaires et aucune mention n’est faite des bombardements continuels, sur la qualité de vie misérable ou sur la diminution permanente des ressources.

Dans Le Cru et le Cuit, Claude Lévi-Strauss démontre comment dans une région où la cuisson de la nourriture est inconnue, le peuple n’a pas de mot pour signifier le concept « cuit » et comme dans « la langue il n’y a que des différences», il ne possède pas de signifié pour désigner le concept « cru ». De la même façon, le novlangue éliminait toute idée de révolte en supprimant d’abord les mots et ensuite les concepts mêmes qui sont associés à ces mots :

« On remarqua qu’en abrégeant ainsi un mot, on restreignait et changeait subtilement sa signification, car on lui enlevait les associations qui, autrement, y étaient attachées. »

C’est le concept hégélien qui stipule qu’on ne peut penser ce qu’on ne peut dire. De même selon Boileau « ce qui se conçoit clairement s’exprime clairement et les mots pour le dire viennent aisément. » Ainsi donc, il faudrait retenir la conception anti-platonicienne et anti-idéaliste qui voudrait que les choses n’existent pas en dehors des mots qui servent à les designer.

Orwell relève aussi comment l’orthodoxie commande une certaine forme de répétition, tant et si bien que le langage ad absurdum résulte en un reductio ad absurdum de la logique. Dans 1984, les orateurs du Parti inculquent le même genre d’orthodoxie par leur jargon à la fois répétitif et inflammatoire. Dans ce système de répétition, les mots deviennent que des sons, du bruit qu’on émet à la gloire du Parti et ne véhiculant aucun sens à part bien-sûr la célébration du Parti. Ainsi les chansons accomplissent ce but à la perfection car elles permettent à la fois l’apprentissage par cœur sans réflexion et la scansion du Parti. 

Inversion de la logique
« Le gros mensonge »

C’est par une manipulation psychologique élaborée que le Parti arrive à ses fins dans 1984, s’infiltrant subtilement dans le cerveau tant et si bien que la personne même ne se rencontre pas qu’elle a été lobotomisée. Inverser la logique de l’individu c’est changer sa perception de telle façon qu’il devient impossible à cette personne d’avoir un quelconque raisonnement approprié :

« Par manque de compréhension, ils restaient sains. Ils avalaient simplement tout, et ce qu’ils avalaient ne leur faisait aucun mal, car cela ne laissait en eux aucun résidu, exactement comme un grain de blé, qui passe dans le corps d’un oiseau sans être digéré. »

Dans Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler utilise le terme « Le Gros Mensonge ». Le gros mensonge est l’utilisation d’un mensonge, si grand, que personne ne croirait que quelqu’un puisse avoir eu l’audace d’avoir inventé une telle chose. Le public se laisse facilement manipuler par une voix autoritaire et au lieu de remettre en question la rhétorique étatique, ils préfèreront croire à n’importe quelle ineptie. « Big Brother », les termes ne sont pas anodins, représente ce parent qui veille sur eux, et crée dans leur esprit l’image de cette personne primordiale à leur sauvegarde. Les citoyens sont donc psychologiquement amputés de toute forme de rébellion. 1984, jouant sur les mots et la parole, crée un climat langagier envahissant où l’individu est amené à croire à tout ce que le parti proclame, même s’il détient des informations contraires. Par exemple, après avoir proclamé une diminution dans la ration de chocolat, le Parti annonce qu’il y a en effet une augmentation de ration et le peuple l’acclame sans se poser des questions.

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Le peuple utilisant différents niveaux de compréhension, de fanatisme ou même d’intelligence va boire les paroles de l’état qu’ils ont été amenés à croire infaillible, allant même jusqu’à mettre en doute leur propre conception de l’histoire. Par exemple, durant le rassemblement pour la semaine de la Haine, le parti change d’allégeance politique de sorte que son ennemi devient son allié et son ancien allié devient son ennemi et le peuple, par une prouesse d’imagination, accepte cela en rejetant la faute sur Goldstein, l’adversaire choisi de Big Brother, qui a dû changer leurs bannières. 

La double pensée

Selon Philippe Breton, la manipulation consiste à construire une image du réel de telle façon qu’il a l’air d’être réel. Océania est un état délabré où les gens croient quand même à la richesse, où le peuple est courbé et malade mais croit quand même à la vigueur, où c’est la pénurie qui règne et les gens croient à l’abondance.

La double-pensée est un mot novlangue signifiant « contrôle de la réalité. » C’est le fait d’accepter deux idées opposées, simultanément et absolument. Elle est utilisée comme arme de manipulation psychologique de sorte que la personne soit incapable de penser par soi ou même de voir la contradiction dans leurs idées et accepter plus facilement les « gros mensonges ». Ce sont les mots qui permettent la contradiction, mais utilisées à perpétuité les contradictions deviennent admissibles, voire même analogues. Ainsi les slogans du Parti sont eux-mêmes construits sur les propos antinomiques :

« La guerre c’est la paix. La liberté c’est l’esclavage. L’ignorance c’est la force. »

De même, toutes les choses dégoûtantes sont décrites par des mots élogieux pour faire avaler la pilule à la population, par exemple la cigarette de la Victoire et le Gin de la victoire. Tout comme les noms des ministères : le ministère de la Paix s’emploie à faire la guerre, le ministère de la Vérité s’occupe des mensonges, le ministère de l’Amour se consacre à la torture, et le ministère de l’Abondance s’attèle à créer la famine. Le terme « canelangue » de même est insultant quand il est utilisé contre un opposant mais élogieux pour décrire un partisan. Et le mot « noirblanc », qui peut résumer le but machiavélique du parti et son système de double pensée, veut dire : faire croire à quelqu’un que le noir est blanc s’il est appliqué à un opposant mais signifie une croyance absolue dans le parti et ne pas seulement dire mais croire que le noir est blanc quand c’est voulu par ce dernier.
2+2=5

En 1939, Orwell écrit déjà qu’il est « possible qu’on arrive à une ère où deux et deux font cinq quand le dirigeant le voudra. » 1984 est essentiellement axé sur le contrôle psychologique de la personne. Même si la torture physique est présente, c’est le contrôle mental qui est la priorité du Parti. La manipulation mentale, qui passe principalement par le langage, est si subtilement distillée dans l’inconscient que la population ne se rend même pas compte de son endoctrinement. Même Julia qui se révolte contre le Parti ne pouvait avoir d’autre mémoire que celle du Parti.

« Dire de ce qui est que cela est, et dire de ce qui n’est pas que cela n’est pas, c’est dire la vérité » selon Aristote dans sa Métaphysique. De là découle l’idée que ce qui est vrai est réel. Or, la réalité de quelqu’un peut ne pas être partagée par un autre car l’imaginaire de chacun est différent. Mais dans 1984, le Parti travaille à ce que l’imaginaire soit le même pour tout le monde, la même réalité doit être partagée par tous et ainsi la même vérité sera détenue par tous.

Le Parti ne peut admettre que les gens puissent réfléchir par eux et procède donc à détruire toute logique chez la personne. Au début du roman, Winston écrit :

« La liberté, c’est la liberté de dire que deux et deux font quatre. Lorsque cela est accordé, le reste suit»

En détruisant même cette simple logique mathématique, le Parti détruit toute forme de réflexion et d’indépendance mentale. De sorte qu’il n’y a plus de réalité objective mais seulement la réalité à laquelle le Parti veut faire croire. Se basant sur le système de la double pensée, le Parti habitue la personne à accepter toute sorte d’incohérences. Pour soumettre la personne, il ne suffit pas de lui faire croire à une notion fallacieuse, mais de croire à ce que le Parti veut lui faire croire, et d’y croire seulement parce que le Parti lui demande de croire. C’est pour cela que 2+2 peut faire 3 si le Parti le veut. Cette croyance établie, même les personnes intelligentes comme Syme n’arrivent pas à voir hors la logique du Parti. Une fois guéri, Winston peut lui aussi accepter les dichotomies sans se questionner et finalement trace 2+2=5. 

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Effacement de la mémoire
La propagande


Comme système totalitaire, Océania a recours à une propagande minutieuse pour endoctriner sa population. Elle passe par le bourrage de crâne, à instaurer la crainte, à modifier et contrôler les comportements de tout un chacun et surtout à changer et à recréer la connaissance.

Les enfants sont lobotomisés, comme dans La République de Platon où l’éducation de l’enfant est prise en charge pour ne pas le laisser corrompre par d’autres idées. Selon Bertrand Russell, une éducation autoritaire aide à créer des esclaves aussi bien que des despotes car la personne accepte l’idée que la seule relation possible entre deux personnes est une relation où l’un ordonne et l’autre obéi. L’association des Espions et de la Ligue de la jeunesse, à l’instar d’un certain Hitlerjugend, travaille à soumettre les enfants et les femmes, qui sont parmi les plus fervents adorateurs du parti. Tout comme le contrôle de l’acte sexuel, qui devient important pour un état totalitaire où la frustration sexuelle est dirigée vers le fanatisme. Dans les deux textes, les femmes sont instruites à avoir une répugnance pour le sexe qu’elles ne devaient accomplir que dans le but de la procréation.

Les phrases, les mots, et les images ne laissent aucun répit, aucune liberté. Par exemple les mots « facecrime » et « crime de la pensée » qui décrivent des crimes qu’on commet par ses expressions ou par sa pensée, c’est-à-dire si la personne n’a pas montré l’expression ou la pensée attendue de lui. En plus, la présence de la Police de la Pensée qui surveille les moindres gestes renforce cet état de terreur. Winston craint même qu’il puisse se trahir de dos ou dans son sommeil.

Il y a un vrai culte de la personnalité, emprunté au régime mussolinien, autour de Big Brother. À commencer par le terme affectueux « grand frère », les membres du parti ne doivent pas seulement vénérer mais aimer Big Brother. Ainsi les défilés dans les rues sont récurrents et chaque jour les membres sont soumis aux « Deux Minutes de la Haine ». La propagande pour être effectif joue sur l’affect de la personne. La figure de Goldstein créer par le Parti pour représenter l’ennemi est efficace car elle pousse la haine des membres à son paroxysme même Winston ne peut que se laisser emporter, et parallèlement accentue l’amour pour Big Brother.

La propagande est si réussie que Winston depuis le début ressent de l’amour envers O’Brien et même à la fin, quand ce dernier est en train de le torturer, il ne peut s’empêcher de l’admirer. Le but de la propagande de l’Océania est d’arriver justement à un amour inconditionnel à l’égard de Big Brother. Le Parti vise à posséder l’esprit de tout un chacun, l’endoctrinement absolu. Winston ne peut mourir tant que ses sentiments ne changent pas et de façon lugubre, pour montrer la victoire totale de Big Brother, le roman se termine par cette phrase en majuscule :

« Il AIMAIT BIG BROTHER » 
 
Mutabilité de l’Histoire

Poussant à l’extrême la notion que ce sont les gagnants qui écrivent l’histoire, le Parti utilise ce concept pour ratifier l’Histoire de sorte à effacer la mémoire des personnes. Le Parti commence par détruire le passé, tout ce qui a trait aux souvenirs est irrémédiablement abattu et toute chose véhiculant un morceau d’Histoire est impérativement modifiée. Sans informations du passé, ou encore sans les moyens de comprendre ses informations, il ne serait même plus nécessaire de censurer l’Histoire hétérodoxe. La manipulation de la langue est utile dans ce qu’il n’affecte pas que le présent, mais a de l’emprise sur le passé aussi bien que le futur.

Winston Smith travaille au Ministère de la Vérité, dont le but est de propager le mensonge. Son travail consiste à changer l’histoire au fur et à mesure que les évènements changent. Le passé est rectifié, remanié et changé tant de fois que le passé même n’existe plus. Il est intéressant de noter que le tube dans lequel les informations désuètes sont jetées pour être oubliées s’appelle « trou de mémoire ». L’écriture-même qui est un acte de transcendance perd de sa fonction. Winston se demande pour qui et pourquoi il écrit un journal quand son seul sort est l’oubli.

Comme l’Histoire passe par le langage, il devient impératif de falsifier ou d’effacer les écrits pour changer le cours de l’histoire. Sans la mise en parole, la mémoire s’atrophie et s’efface. Et c’est à force d’altérer la mémoire que le Parti peut faire tout croire aux personnes car l’individu n’a plus d’ancrage dans le passé. Comme le Parti ne peut être infaillible, alors c’est la mémoire qui doit l’être. Winston se demande continuellement s’il n’est pas fou car « aujourd’hui, la folie était de croire que le passé était immuable.»

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La mutabilité de l’Histoire permet donc la recréation de l’Histoire. Par exemple, quand Winston inventa le personnage d’Ogilvy, ce membre exemplaire du Parti, participant ainsi consciemment à la propagande et pensant avec une certaine fierté que c’est sa rédaction qui allait être acceptée. Éventuellement, Ogilvy a plus d’existence que Winston lui-même, et a l’instar du roman de Mary Shelley, la créature éclipse le créateur.

Le langage, seul vestige de la mémoire antérieure, doit être effacé et recréé à son tour. Après son premier acte de révolte, l’écriture, les souvenirs de Winston remontent à la surface par ses rêves et il se réveille en prononçant le mot « Shakespeare ». La littérature, surtout la littérature classique, fait partie de l’imaginaire collectif et ne peut que réveiller chez la personne idéologie et révolte. Pour établir et maintenir l’oligarchie, il faut être sûr que toute la littérature antique serait ensevelie et il ne suffira pas de les détruire tout simplement car les idées peuvent renaître. L’instauration du novlangue ferait le reste du travail et terminerait la destruction physique par la destruction mentale de ces œuvres car même s’ils ont échappé au pillage, ils n’auront plus de signification. 

Réalité et constructivisme

Le contrôle de la vérité, ou sur ce qu’il veut établir comme vérité, permet au Parti de construire une réalité voulue. Se basant sur les données qu’il possède, qu’il pressent comme véridiques, puisque c’est prouvé par les documents, l’individu est amené à recréer sa réalité ou plutôt à accepter la réalité du Parti. Même Winston est amené à questionner la réalité à chaque fois et a des doutes sur sa réalité en l’opposant à la réalité que le Parti veut lui faire croire.

En psychologie, le terme dissonance cognitive renvoie à l’inconfort que ressent un humain quand il se trouve confronté à des idées contraires aux informations qu’il détient comme réalité. Un des buts du Parti est alors d’enlever cet inconfort de l’esprit des personnes pour qu’elles ne doutent plus. Et pour ce faire, il commence donc par effacer les données déjà établies dans leur esprit, et même jusqu’à dans leur imaginaire pour arriver à l’orthodoxie ultime.

L’un des plusieurs slogans du Parti stipule « Qui commande le passé commande l’avenir ; qui commande le présent commande le passé. » Se basant sur la théorie du constructivisme opposée à la réalité, le Parti met en avant l’idée que la connaissance des faits découle d’une construction exécutée par la personne. Selon Arthur Schopenhauer, tout ce qui est n’a de valeur que pour le sujet. Le Parti alors ne conserve que ce qui a de la valeur pour lui. Le reste est oublié et doit être oublié par tout le monde. La réalité est détruite et reconstruite selon les besoins du Parti. Par exemple O’Brien tente de convaincre Winston que sa réalité est fausse en lui montrant une copie de la photo que Winston avait jetée dans le trou de mémoire tout en lui demandant de croire que la photo n’existe pas.

Pour construire la réalité de tout un peuple, le Parti procède en détruisant la mémoire de tout un chacun et d’y mettre les souvenirs qu’il veut. Le cas de Winston semble alors très improbable dans ce système. Winston se demande à plusieurs reprises s’il est la seule personne à avoir une mémoire. O’Brien lui-même à un moment lui accorde qu’il est le dernier homme à s’en souvenir. Le livre d’horreur qu’est 1984, nous pousse à nous demander si même la révolte de Winston n’est pas manigancée du début à la fin. Le journal qui lui permet son premier pas vers l’anarchie a été acheté chez M. Charrington qui travaille pour la Police de la Pensée. C’est lui qui lui chante le premier morceau d’une chanson ancienne qui réveille ses souvenirs et c’est chez lui-même qu’il achète le bloc de corail qui agissant à un certain degré comme la madeleine de Proust, réveillant son inconscient. O’Brien lui avoue qu’il le surveille depuis sept ans. Winston Smith n’est alors qu’un rat dans un labyrinthe et la mémoire elle-même devient malléable dans la main du Parti qui la recréé et l’efface selon sa volonté. 
 
84livGO.jpgConclusion

1984 est classé premier dans les meilleures ventes sur Amazon et est actuellement le livre le plus vendu au monde. Sean Spicer, Directeur de la communication de la Maison-Blanche, pour l’inauguration présidentielle de Donald Trump annonça qu’il y avait pour cet évènement « le plus grand public jusque-là ». Défiée par les statistiques, Kellyanne Conway, porte-parole du nouveau Président américain, a dit que Sean Spicer se référait en fait à des « faits alternatifs », ayant ainsi recours aux mêmes procédés que l’État de l’Océania dans 1984. Le pouvoir sur les mots est souvent utilisé par les gouvernements pour maintenir la population dans un état inférieur, leur faisant croire ce qu’ils veulent. La falsification, l’exagération, la dramatisation sont autant de méthodes auxquelles l’État a recours pour manœuvrer la personne. Utilisés comme outil de manipulation et de propagande, les mots peuvent diriger toute la pensée d’un peuple. Que ce soit dans les États utopiques ou dystopiques, pour contrôler le peuple, un travail minutieux sur le langage est élaboré, car c’est à travers le langage qu’ils atteignent la pensée et peuvent diriger le peuple dans la direction qu’ils souhaitent. Ainsi ce n’est peut-être plus vers une utopie que nous devons nous tendre. Huxley dans son épigraphe pour le Meilleur des mondes cite Nicolas Berdiaeff : « … Les utopies sont réalisables. La vie marche vers les utopies. Et peut-être un siècle nouveau commence-t-il, un siècle où les intellectuels de la classe cultivée rêveront aux moyens d’éviter les utopies et de retourner à une société non-utopique, moins ‘parfaite’ et plus libre ».

Annexe : Présentation de 1984

1984 dépeint un monde d’après-guerre où seulement trois États dominent le monde : l’Eurasia, l’Estasia et l’Océania. Ces trois pouvoirs totalitaires contrôlent un monde dépourvu de toute liberté, et chacun de ces États ont leur propre philosophie : le Néo-Bolchévisme en l’Eurasia, le Culte de la Mort ou l’Oblitération du Moi en Estasia et l’Angsoc en Océania (socialisme anglais en novlangue). Il y a une guerre continuelle entre ces trois États qui sert leurs intérêts communs pour maintenir la dictature.

L’histoire est racontée par Winston Smith, un homme de 39 ans qui travaille au Ministère de la Vérité. Son travail consiste à ratifier les informations antérieures pour qu’elles soient à jour avec les communications actuelles du Parti. Il décrit le monde dans lequel il vit. Un monde détruit, géré par la propagande, la manipulation et la peur. La figure de Big Brother, leur leader, avec la phrase « Big Brother vous regarde », se trouve partout. En plus, les citoyens sont surveillés tout le temps grâce à des « télécrans » qu’ils n’ont pas le droit d’éteindre et par la Police de la Pensée qui surveille leurs moindres faits et gestes. Le peuple vit dans un état de fatigue et de manque qui le rend plus docile et facile à manipuler. Il n’y a plus de vie privée et les relations elles-mêmes sont factices car les enfants sont encouragés à dénoncer leurs parents et la sexualité devient taboue, pour gommer tout désir chez l’humain. 

Winston, la seule personne qui est assez consciente pour se rendre compte de ce qui se passe, se révolte en commençant à écrire un journal pour noter ses pensées, qui vont à l’encontre de l’État. Il est hanté par le passé, par ses souvenirs et n’arrive pas à faire abstraction du passé, contrairement aux autres. En même temps il rêve de faire partie d’un groupe révolutionnaire, La Fraternité, mené par Goldstein, l’ennemi du Parti. Il veut s’associer à O’Brien, un membre du Parti qu’il pense faire partie de La Fraternité. Révolté par l’asexualité chez la femme, il s’éprend d’une femme Julia qui elle aussi se rebelle contre le Parti. Leur promiscuité devient un acte politique et voulant aller plus loin dans leur révolte même s’ils savent qu’ils risquent la torture et la mort, ils se joignent à O’Brien qui confirme l’idée de Winston, qu’en effet il est membre de la Fraternité.

Pour se voir aussi souvent qu’ils le veulent, Winston loua une chambre chez M. Charrington, un vieil antiquaire qui recèle encore quelques objets du passé, notamment le journal que Winston avait acheté, un presse-papier incrusté d’un corail qui deviendra un fétiche pour Winston et un tableau qu’il essaie de lui vendre. Entretemps O’Brien lui fait parvenir le livre de La Fraternité écrit par Goldstein lui-même après que Winston et Julia se sont dits prêts à tout, que ce soit le suicide ou le meurtre, pour servir le groupe.

Alors qu’ils sont dans la chambre de M. Charrington, Winston et Julia sont arrêtés et torturés. M. Charrington, membre actif de la Police de Pensée surveillait Winston pendant tout ce temps et le télécran caché à l’arrière du tableau avait tout enregistré. Winston découvre qu’O’Brien est loin d’être révolutionnaire et que le livre de Goldstein est écrit par le Parti lui-même pour chasser les criminels par la Pensée et vérifier l’orthodoxie du peuple.

On apprend que Julia s’est facilement rendue après la torture mais Winston prend plus de temps à être guéri croyant en une réalité objective. Peu à peu, avec l’accroissement dans la torture, Winston devient aussi lobotomisé que les autres et commence à croire que la réalité est seulement dans la tête. Mais le dernier faisceau de révolte est éteint quand Winston est forcé à renier son amour pour Julia, et ainsi la trahir. Ultime torture, réservée au détenus de la chambre 101, qui consiste à mettre l’humain en face de ses phobies et ainsi le forcer à se rendre complètement – une cage de rats sur son visage qui s’ouvrira sur l’ordre d’O’Brien pour lui dévorer le visage. La victoire est complète. Un Winston vaincu promène les routes en attendant la balle qui va le tuer, avec dans son cœur l’amour d’une seule personne : Big Brother.

Quraishiyah Durbarry 

Sur l’auteur

Enseignante de formation, Quraishiyah Durbarry a publié plusieurs nouvelles et poèmes en français et en anglais dans diverses revues (Point Barre, Vents Alizés, Contemporary Poets…).

A été co-lauréate du « Prix Livre d’or – Romans 2011 », organisé par la Mairie de Quatre-Bornes (Ile Maurice) et présidé par Ananda Devi.

A publié un recueil de poèmes : Entre Désir et Mort (ISBN : 9782332471154) et un roman : Féminin Pluriel (Harmattan, ISBN : 978-2-336-00843-1)
Co-lauréate du prix d’écriture du festival Passe Portes et de l’Union européenne à Maurice en 2015 (pour la pièce L’Attrape-bête, mise en scène en 2016 pour le même festival et ayant recu le prix coup de coeur de Daniel Mesguish.)

Lauréate du prix d’écriture du festival Passe Portes et de l’Union européenne à Maurice en 2016 (pour la pièce Le Minotaure.), présidé par Bernard Faivre d’Arcier.

En cours de publication, Sandor Marai, Mémoire et Vérité

Bibliographie 

Besnier Jean-Michel, Les Théories de la Connaissance, PUF, collection « Que sais-je ? », Paris, 2005.
Breton Philippe, Convaincre sans manipuler, La Découverte, 2015
Hobbes, Leviathan, Chapitre XIV Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus logico-philosophicus, 1921.
Festinger Leon, Une théorie de la dissonance cognitive, Enrick B. Editions, 2017.
George Orwell, 1984, Éditions Gallimard, (format Kindle), 2013.
Georges Orwell, Politics and the English Language, first published 1945, the Estate of the late Sonia Brownell Orwell, 1984 (format Kindle).
Lévi-Strauss Claude, Mythologiques 1 : Le cru et le cuit, Plon, Amazon Media EU S.à r.l. (format Kindle), 2014.
Platon, La République, traduction de Victor Cousin, Amazon Media EU S.à r.l. (format Kindle)
Russell Bertrand, Power: A New Social Analysis, Routledge, 2004.
Saussure Ferdinand, Cours de linguistique générale, Ed. Payot, 1964.
Spinoza, Traité théologico-politique, Chapitre XX.
Whorf Benjamin Lee, Language, thought, and Reality – Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, MIT Press, 2nd Revised edition, 2012.
Sitographie

George Orwell, Review of Russell’sPower: A new social analysis, 1939
Observatoire B2V des Mémoires, Mémoire et émotion, Le rôle des émotions dans le fonctionnement de la mémoire, B2V 2013.
http://www.observatoireb2vdesmemoires.fr/les-memoires/la-... (consulté le 27.01.17).
Filmographie
Kellyanne Conway: Press Secretary Sean Spicer Gave ‘Alternative Facts’, 2017.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=VSrEE...
Two minutes of hate 1984, 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KeX5OZr0A4
 

jeudi, 09 janvier 2020

Orwell on Screen

GO-portr.jpg

Orwell on Screen

David Ryan
George Orwell on Screen
Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2018

This book took me down a rabbit hole when I discovered it last June. For several days I didn’t want to do anything but watch old television dramatizations and documentaries about George Orwell’s works and life. There have been a surprising number of them, and most of the key ones can be found online or in other digital media. A few, alas, have vanished into the ether, and we have to make do with David Ryan’s script synopses.

OOS-1.jpgTo his credit, Ryan does not spend much ink on critical analyses of the various presentations. That would make for a very fat and dreary book. In nearly every instance he’d have to tell us that the production was uneven and woefully miscast. I wondered if he was going to carp about the misconceived film adaptation of Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1997; American title: A Merry War). Not a bit of it; he leaves it to us to do the carping and ridicule. What he does provide is a rich concordance of Orwell presentations over the years, with often amazing production notes, technical details, and contemporary press notices. And if you don’t care to get that far into weeds, George Orwell on Screen is still an indispensable guidebook, pointing you to all sorts of bio-documentaries and dramatizations you might never discover on your own. This is particularly true of the many (mostly) BBC docos produced forty or fifty years ago, where you find such delights as Malcolm Muggeridge and Cyril Connolly lying down in tall grass and trading tales about their late, great friend.

TV and film versions of Orwell’s last novel (published as Nineteen Eighty-Four in England, 1984 in America) weigh very heavily in the text, and also take up a lot of viewing time when you try to sit through them all. Among the first entries were live teleplays, one broadcast by NBC in 1953 (for the Studio One series), the other staged and broadcast twice by the BBC the following year.  There was no videotape in those days, but we do have adequate if fuzzy kinescopes, recorded with a 16mm film camera aimed at a studio monitor. There were also radio adaptations in that era, including two riotous parodies by Spike Milligan and his Goon Show gang. And then, in 1956, came a big-budget feature film that was made in England but distributed under the American title 1984.

It raises some questions, this obsession with Orwell’s novel in the first half-decade or so after his death in January 1950. Was there a political motive at work, early in the Cold War? Was the book so rich in drama and human interest that everyone wanted to do it, the way all actors want to be Hamlet? I think the answer is much simpler. Live TV drama was a gaping maw that needed to be fed, and the hunger for scripts was intense, because radio drama was still very much a thing, too. (The first radio version was an American one soon after the book’s publication in 1949. It stars, incredibly enough, David Niven as a very suave-sounding Winston Smith.) Another reason for the abundance of 1984 productions might be that Orwell’s novel was that rare thing, a work of fiction that almost immediately entered common parlance, even among the many millions who never read the book. You’d have to go back to early Dickens or maybe Uncle Tom’s Cabin to find a novel with that kind of widespread impact. By 1950 anybody literate enough to read a newspaper knew who or what Big Brother was, and maybe could even appreciate jokes about “thoughtcrime” and “Room 101.”

Those two early teleplays, from NBC and the BBC, were melded together in a 1956 feature film, with Edmond O’Brien, Jan Sterling, Michael Redgrave, and Donald Pleasance (partly reprising his role from the BBC version). This version surpasses other screen adaptations in one respect: its exterior shots. It was made on location in London, and made use of recognizable landmarks and wartime bomb damage, giving us the dismal look and feel of the city in the novel. When there’s a celebration in Victory Square we don’t need to have it explained to us that this is really Trafalgar Square.

Balanced against this virtue are the movie’s oddities, and they are legion. Edmond O’Brien as Winston looks wasted and beaten-down, as Winston should, but here’s it’s as a paunchy and cirrhotic figure, rather than the gaunt and pallid nicotine addict in the book. Michael Redgrave wears a spaceship-commander uniform as the Inner Party bigwig O’Brien. Only in this movie they change his character’s name to O’Connor, because two O’Briens in the same film was thought to be too confusing for the audience.

And then there’s the problem of the finale. The novel’s finish was thought too downbeat, with Winston a broken man, drunk on clove-scented gin and separated from Julia, waiting for a bullet in the back of the head. So the director shot two different endings, one in which Julia and Winston get back together again, briefly, after which Winston finds redemption by cheering for Big Brother; and a second one in which Julia and Winston shout “Down with Big Brother” and start ripping down Big Brother posters. This “Down with Big Brother” ending is said to have been distributed in the British (and presumably European) market. I saw it on television someplace a long time ago and it was a real surprise: had I completely misremembered the ending?

*   *   *

Viewing the two teleplays and their mashup in the 1956 movie, one notices that, production values aside, the American “take” on the Orwell story was very different from the British one. American tastemakers conceived of 1984 as futuristic science-fiction. You see this in the lurid cover of the original Signet paperback, and in the posters for the 1956 film. The stark sets and random costumes in the 1953 Studio One production will put one in mind of something by Edward D. Wood, Jr. The designers were aiming for something like German Expressionism, but the effect is more like a cardboard dollhouse. While Big Brother posters are everywhere, “BB” is nothing like the mustachioed Stalin avatar that Orwell had in mind. Instead, “Big Brother Is Watching You” appears over a “hairless, freakishly distorted cartoon face [that] looks like something Mad magazine has commissioned from Picasso” (as author David Ryan puts it).

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Speaking of Ed Wood: Lorne Greene plays a very fey O’Brien, rather like Bunny Breckinridge’s “Ruler” character in Plan Nine from Outer Space. He wears an ornate suitcoat, sort of early-Roxy-usher, to indicate his high status in the Inner Party. When he slips Winston Smith (Eddie Albert) his address and suggests they get together that evening, it looks to all the world like a homosexual assignation. And some of the costume choices suggest that the crew didn’t understand the book at all. Orwell put most of his Party members in “overalls”: meaning, the kind of onesie garment that flight mechanics would wear; like Winston Churchill’s “siren suit.” But the costume people at Studio One saw “overalls” and thought of farmers’ bib overalls. So Eddie Albert as Winston was going to go around attired in necktie and farmer overalls, foreshadowing his 1960s sitcom role in Green Acres. But it appears somebody caught the mistake at the last minute, and came up with a few grease-monkey outfits, so at least Winston and the male ensemble don’t look entirely foolish.

What I found most baffling and annoying about this 1953 NBC production is that it entirely ignores the significance of Emmanuel Goldstein in the Two Minutes’ Hate. There is no Goldstein; instead the giant telescreen shows us a beefy talking-head known as Cassandra. Perhaps the Studio One producers were chary of Goldstein’s Jewishness. Or perhaps they didn’t want to complicate things by alluding to the whole Trotsky-vs.-Stalin saga, or suggest that Orwell’s novel (author’s disclaimers notwithstanding) really truly was about Soviet Communism.

This coyness carried over into the 1956 feature film, scripted by the same scenarist, William Templeton. Once again, no Emmanuel Goldstein, no explicit suggestion of Communism per se. But this time they couldn’t call the telescreen traitor Cassandra, because in mid-1950s England “Cassandra” had a very special meaning: not the doomsayer of Ilium, but a popular, snarky columnist in the Daily Mirror. It would be like calling the Goldstein figure “Liberace.” So when the morning scrum at the Ministry of Truth gathers for their Two Minutes’ Hate, their wrath focuses upon a talking head called “the archenemy Kalador.” Kalador? Just a sci-fi-sounding name the writer or someone pulled out of the air. Inexcusable.

No such issues in the 1954 BBC teleplay. The costumers knew what “overalls” were, and the producers weren’t touchy about using the name Emmanuel Goldstein or alluding to Leon Trotsky. Here the Goldstein on the telescreen is even made up to look like Trotsky. This production is twice as long as the American one, and has sufficient time to develop minor characters and subplots. Winston Smith is played by Peter Cushing, which gives the drama something of a Hammer Horror aspect (after all, Nineteen Eighty-Four is indeed a horror tale). The real diamond in the cast, though, is young Donald Pleasance as Syme, the nerdy lexicographer who can’t stop talking about the wonders of Newspeak. In fact, I’m pretty sure he has more lines in this teleplay than he does in the book.

The BBC dramatization is also much more inventive when it comes to Room 101. NBC’s Studio One version briefly locks Eddie Albert in a cubicle with (unseen) rats. Eddie screams. Blackout. So much for the horrors of Room 101. But the BBC crew really went to town. They built a whole kludgy apparatus for the rats, involving a cage, a face mask, and a kind of plastic ventilation coil running between them (something like a supersized version of the Habitrail ducts that hamsters scamper around in). Unfortunately the rats weren’t at all fearsome or hungry when they shot this scene, so we end up with insert shots of peaceful lab rats sniffing around their cage. But you have to give the set techs an E for Effort.

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The crucial difference between the 1953 American teleplay and the 1954 British one is how they approach the material. Once again, the American team thought they were doing science fiction. The British team dealt with it all as naturalistic kitchen-sink drama. This seems to me to be the only correct way to deal with Orwell. Those bedraggled Party members, sullenly putting in time at the Ministry of Truth; downing their disgusting grey stew at the canteen; maintaining themselves in a mild stupor with regular shots of cheap gin—this is pretty much wartime London as Orwell knew it and as the BBC crew remembered it. There’s very little here that’s futuristic.

Tellingly, when The Goon Show did their parody, “Nineteen Eighty-Five,” it was mainly a series of jokes about the food at Big Brother Corporation’s office canteen.

ANNOUNCER:
(over public address system) BBC workers. The canteen is now open. Lunch is ready. Doctors are standing by.

FX:
SOUND OF CANTEEN HUBBUB, CUPS & SAUCERS CLINKING

WINSTON:
As I sat at my table eating my boiled water I began to hate Big Brother Corporation.

The “naturalistic” BBC television script had a long afterlife. After being presented twice in 1954 and parodied by the Goons in 1955, it was re-produced in 1965, for a series called The World of George Orwell. And when Michael Radford made his visually stunning feature with John Hurt and Richard Burton (filmed and released in A.D. 1984), the film’s mise-en-scène recalled the fetid atmosphere of the BBC teleplays rather than the confused, big-budget 1956 movie. What’s missing in the Radford version is a clear backstory, as reflected in the novel’s atmosphere of wartime privation and squalor. This was something easy to get across in the 1954 BBC teleplay, but it doesn’t really register in the Radford version, which seems to take place in an alternative reality that exists somewhere outside our own chronological scheme.

*   *   *

Finding the right tone for dramatizing Orwell seems to be more of an obstacle for scriptwriters than it ought to be. Nearly everything he wrote was a depresso-gram, highly resistant to playful optimism. Earlier I mentioned Keep the Aspidistra Flying, a woeful black comedy that is set in the 1930s but follows a similar plot arc to Nineteen Eighty-Four. Somebody made a BBC teleplay of Aspidistra in the 1960s, and that seems to have been pretty faithful to the book. I.e., it was a downer. It didn’t get revived or rebroadcast, and eventually the BBC lost or erased the tapes. When the property came up again thirty years later as a feature production, the decision was made to turn it into a frothy period piece about a carefree young couple (Richard E. Grant and Helena Bonham-Carter), and that’s pretty much what we got. The idea seemed to be that the only acceptable treatment of the 1930s was something out of Masterpiece Theatre.

Two of Orwell’s best and most adaptable novels, Burmese Days and Coming Up for Air, have never gotten anywhere near feature production. The first seems to be permanently trapped in development hell, while the second was made into a BBC teleplay way back in 1965 and hasn’t been heard from since.

And then there’s Animal Farm, filmed twice but very unsatisfactorily, once in cel animation (1954) and once in live-action-plus-CGI (1999). In both instances the directors/animators missed the essential point: that this is a talking-animal tale (“A Fairy Story,” Orwell subtitled it), and the talking animals need to have distinct, developed personalities. Those personalities get lost in these films. Because in the first production the animals don’t really get to talk, the whole drama being explained in voice-over narration. The 1999 production went to the other extreme, giving us an Uncanny Valley of “real” talking barnyard animals. Instead of Orwell’s fairy-tale anthropomorphized critters, we get grotesque close-ups of drooling dogs and snot-nosed hogs. The effect is horrifying. Any sympathy we might bring to Orwell’s delightful creations doesn’t stand a chance.

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jeudi, 20 juin 2019

Your Nineteen Eighty-Four Sources in Full

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Your Nineteen Eighty-Four Sources in Full

Connolly, Burnham, Orwell, & “Corner Table”

“In the torture scenes, he is merely melodramatic: he introduces those rather grotesque machines which used to appear in terror stories for boys.”
—V. S. Pritchett, The New Statesman [2], June 18, 1949

The torture section in Nineteen Eighty-Four[1] [3] was planned from the beginning, and intended to be the story’s core and culmination. The key influence here was James Burnham’s The Struggle for the World (discussed below), which George Orwell reviewed in March 1947, shortly before starting the first full longhand draft of the new novel. In Struggle, Burnham emphasized the likelihood of another World War within another few years, and probably even a war using the “atomic bomb.”

This found its way into Nineteen Eighty-Four, as did Burnham’s analysis of Communism (though Orwell didn’t call it that). Terror, torture, disinformation, humiliation: these are not unfortunate byproducts of Communist revolution, said Burnham, they are the system itself.

The original model for Nineteen Eighty-Four wasn’t as grim as that. It was frivolous, really, and written years and years before the Cold War was dreamt of. It was a little black comedy that used torture strictly for laughs. Titled “Year Nine,” Cyril Connolly dashed it off at the end of 1937.[2] [4] It appeared in The New Statesman in January 1938.

It’s a brief farce, less than two thousand words, yet in there are prefigured Big Brother, the Thought Police, Newspeak, and the Ministry of Love. To tell a brief story briefly: After happening upon a basement art exhibit, the narrator – an assembly-line envelope-flap-licker – is accused of thoughtcrime (approximately). He is arrested, severely tortured, and sentenced to excruciating execution.

Orwell was much impressed with it, and so were John Betjeman and others.[3] [5] Up to this point, Connolly was known mainly as an idler and failed novelist. Very soon, though, he published a memoir, Enemies of Promise, founded Horizon (“A Review of Literature & Art”), became editor of The Observer‘s book section (where he farmed out reviews to Orwell and Evelyn Waugh and Arthur Koestler), and was generally London’s number-one all-’round critic and litterateur.

From “Year Nine”:

As the hot breath of the tongs approached, many of us confessed involuntarily to grave peccadilloes. A man on my left screamed that he had stayed too long in the lavatory.

 * * *

Our justice is swift: our trials are fair: hardly was the preliminary bone-breaking over than my case came up. I was tried by the secret censor’s tribunal in a pitchdark circular room. My silly old legs were no use to me now and I was allowed the privilege of wheeling myself in on a kind of invalid’s chair. In the darkness I could just see the aperture high up in the wall from whence I should be cross-examined . . .

Our narrator (not a Winston Smith type, more of a garrulous Connolly/O’Brien) is sentenced to be “cut open by a qualified surgeon in the presence of the State Augur.”

“You will be able to observe the operation, and if the Augur decides the entrails are favourable they will be put back. If not, not . . . For on this augury an important decision on foreign policy will be taken. Annexation or Annihilation? . . .

Yes, I have been treated with great kindness.[4] [6]

There is a cultural time-stamp on “Year Nine,” clearly visible. The Moscow Purge Trials were underway and widely known about, but Connolly pins the Stalinist outrages in his tale – torture, forced confessions, anonymous denunciations – upon a cartoonish pseudo-Nazi regime, complete with Stroop Traumas, Youngleaderboys, and a population in thrall to Our Leader. (Connolly hadn’t a political bone in his body, but he posed as a Fellow Traveler, that being comme il faut.)

Conversely, when Nineteen Eighty-Four came out in 1949, it too drew on the Moscow Trials, and no one questioned (least of all Pravda) that Orwell was depicting a Soviet-style police-state. This happened even though Orwell slyly denied that it was about Communism. You can see this in the novel’s own disclaimers, and in external press releases that author and publisher sent out.

A curious legacy of “Year Nine” is that its Punch-and-Judy brilliance shines through the surface narrative of Nineteen Eighty-Four, giving the torture scenes a lurid “vaudeville” feel. Orwell probably didn’t intend the scenes in the Ministry of Love (Miniluv) to be black comedy, but that’s what he got, from O’Brien’s jabberwocky speeches, all the way to the rats in the cage-mask. (“‘It was a common punishment in Imperial China,” said O’Brien as didactically as ever.’”)

Lord of Chaos

Connolly/O’Brien is your emcee and Lord of Chaos in the Miniluv torture clinic. This is far from the standarGO1.jpgd crib-note interpretation of O’Brien (“zealous Party leader . . . brutally ugly”), but pray consider: a) Connolly was Orwell’s only acquaintance of note who came close to the novel’s description of O’Brien, physically and socially; b) if you bother to read O’Brien’s monologues in the torture clinic, you see he’s doing a kind of Doc Rockwell routine: lots of fast-talking nonsense about power and punishment, signifying nothing.

This is one reason why O’Brien fails as a villain. Villains must be monolithic. Here we have an Inner Party exemplar-cum-old Etonian who still boasts of his “antinomian tendencies” – a humorist and parodist, author of The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism as well as “Where Engels Fears to Tread”;[5] [8] in short, a louche Fellow-Traveler-of-convenience, renowned for self-indulgence and amorality. And thus he fits right in with what O’Brien tells us about the Inner Party ethos (do read the monologues): someone who’s amoral, capricious, and power-hungry (and a potential sociopath, if O’Brien’s description of the Party’s lust for power is anything to go by).

* * *

If Orwell wanted to put Connolly out of his mind while working on Nineteen Eighty-Four, he couldn’t, because he was forever revising an essay-memoir about the school they went to together between 8 and 14. It was the most miserable time of life for young Eric Blair (for such he was). He had probably started this memoir in the early 1940s, and still had the unpublished typescript with him in London when he was playing with notes and abortive chapters for his projected novel in 1945 and 1946. And then he brought it with him to the Isle of Jura, Inner Hebrides, in the spring of 1947, where he finally began to handwrite the first draft of The Last Man in Europe (as he was then calling the Winston Smith novel). He also revised the memoir, sending a carbon to his publisher in late May. Then, in 1948, when he was laid up with TB in a hospital near Glasgow and struggling to rewrite the novel with his writing arm in a cast, he revised the memoir yet again. It wouldn’t be published in Great Britain until 1967.

The memoir was Cyril Connolly’s idea. Connolly had put his fond-but-unnerving school memories into Enemies of Promise (which made him famous), and suggested his old schoolmate Blair might do the same: a companion piece or “pendant” to Connolly’s sardonic memoir. So Blair/Orwell decided to do a Dickens about his time as an upper-middle-class poor boy at St. Cyprian’s, enduring six years of oppression, humiliation, and petty tortures. He attended the school on reduced fees (as the Headmaster’s wife reminded him loudly and often) because he was expected to win a scholarship to Eton, and so bring glory and honor to St. Cyprian’s. From age 11 onward, Young Blair was “crammed with learning as cynically as a goose is crammed for Christmas” (as he wrote), mainly Latin and Greek.

This is the nearest thing to an autobiography we ever got out of Orwell, and the disgusted, sulky, sharp-eyed loner we see in his essays and Winston Smith is thoroughly recognizable as the boy at St. Cyprian’s. To make himself seem even lonelier and more miserable – or perhaps for some other motive – he cut Cyril Connolly entirely out of story.

At one point in the memoir, Orwell pulls back and says he doesn’t mean to suggest his school was a kind of Dotheboys Hall. Then he marches off again and tells us about the filthy lavatories and disgusting food, and how he once saw a human turd floating on the surface of the local baths in Eastbourne. On finally leaving St. Cyprian’s – off to Eton, but first a term at Wellington – he looked to the future with despair. “[T]he future was dark. Failure, failure, failure – failure behind me, failure ahead of me . . .”

Orwell’s publisher and friends thought the memoir was just too embarrassing and self-pitying to publish. It would be bad for Orwell’s reputation, they said, and probably libelous. So the perennial work-in-progress didn’t see the light of day until Orwell was safely dead and Partisan Review in New York ran a slightly altered version in their September-October 1952 issue. It ran for 41 pages, called St. Cyprian’s “Crossgates,” and used Orwell’s title: “Such, Such Were the Joys.”[6] [9]

* * *

You sometimes hear that Orwell plagiarized from another dystopian story, usually one set many centuries in the future, with little or no resemblance to Orwell’s. In 2009, on Nineteen Eighty-Four‘s sixtieth anniversary of publication, Paul Owen in The Guardian tried to make the case that Orwell “pinched the plot” from Yevgeny (or Eugene) Zamyatin’s early-1920s novel, We.[7] [10] As evidence, Owen says that Orwell read Zamyatin’s book three years before Nineteen Eighty-Four was published (1949). This is a lie by misdirection. Orwell had been making notes and outlines since at least 1944, and finished his first draft in 1947. He first heard of Zamyatin’s book in 1943, failed to find a copy of the 1920s English translation published in New York,[8] [11] and finally settled for a French one, his review appearing in early 1946.[9] [12] Owen’s biggest claim is completely wrong: “that Orwell lifted that powerful ending – Winston’s complete, willing capitulation to the forces and ideals of the state – from Zamyatin.” The ending of Nineteen Eighty-Four is in fact a retread of a novel ending that Orwell wrote in 1935.

GO4.jpgA good deal of Nineteen Eighty-Four, in fact, is a twisted retelling of Keep the Aspidistra Flying.[10] [13] Orwell wrote Aspidistra in 1935 during his Hampstead bookshop-assistant days, and was ever after ashamed of it. Never mind, it’s a beautiful piece of pathetic self-mockery, giving us a 1930s-model Winston Smith. Instead of surrendering to Big Brother at the end, the Winston-figure, Gordon, finally sells out to the “Money God” – and goes back to his job as an advertising copywriter. A happy ending, strangely enough.

In place of glowering Big Brother posters, Gordon is surrounded by vast images of “Corner Table,” a “spectacled rat-faced clerk with patent-leather hair,” grinning over a mug of Bovex. (Presumably Bovril + Oxo.) “Corner Table enjoys his meal with Bovex,” shouts the poster all over town. Everywhere Gordon is stared down by the Money God, in the guise of advertisements on all the hoardings. “Silkyseam – the smooth gliding bathroom tissue.” “Kiddies clamour for their Breakfast Crisps.”

Like Winston, Gordon is under constant surveillance at home (from his landlady) and takes his girlfriend out to the countryside, where they have sex on the wet ground. When he gets in trouble with the law, he wakes up in a jail with walls of “white porcelain bricks,” like the lockup at Miniluv. His O’Brien-analogue, an upper-class literary friend and little-magazine publisher named Ravelston, shows up and rescues him from the clink. Instead of taking him to a torture chamber, he puts Gordon up in his flat and gently badgers him to straighten out his life, which Gordon does eventually, but not just yet. Torture was different in the Thirties.

* * *

Connolly’s “Year Nine” provided an amusing, pocket-sized framework for building a terror-regime satire, while Keep the Aspidistra Flying gave the naturalistic “human” elements to be restyled for Nineteen Eighty-Four. The new novel also needed serious geopolitical underpinnings, and here Orwell leaned heavily on James Burnham. It’s long been known that Orwell took the “three super-states” idea from Burnham’s The Managerial Revolution (1941).[11] [14] Orwell and his publisher cited Burnham and that book when they wrote a press release in June 1949, explaining what Nineteen Eighty-Four was “about.” (Press interest was intense, and the hat-tip to Burnham looks suspiciously like a red herring.)

Burnham’s “three super-states” schema was the inspiration not only for Oceania-Eurasia-Eastasia, but most probably the entire novel; it was like a piece of grit in the oyster, waiting for the pearl to form around it. It became Orwell’s pet geopolitical concept, and from 1944 onward we find him continually dropping mentions of “three super-states” in his reviews, articles, and columns.

 [15]Nevertheless, it was a later book by Burnham, The Struggle for the World (1947)[12] [16] that really gave Nineteen Eighty-Four its horror and worldview. Here, Burnham argued that another World War was likely soon (say, 1950), and something nuclear would probably be in play. This provided the backstory to Oceania’s murky history of war and revolution, along with some early memories for Winston Smith. An “atomic bomb” – as we called them then – was dropped near London in Colchester. Burnham argued that a preventive war might well be necessary before the Soviets get the A-bomb. The rush of events soon outran that warning, needless to say.

But the really vital input from Struggle came from Burnham’s analysis of Communism. International Communism really, truly, does seek mastery of the globe, he maintained. He had made the argument a couple of years earlier, when he was with the OSS, but in 1947 it became the freshest insight in US foreign policy. Furthermore, he focused on a matter that most pundits feared to address, lest they look like unhinged extremists: the integrality of terror to the Communist apparatus. This was obvious to many people in those post-war years, but it was Burnham who took the logical leap and articulated the idea in a book: If your main activity is terror, then terror is your business.

GO84penguin.jpgTo repeat the obvious, Burnham was describing Communism, not some theoretical “totalitarianism,” as in some press blurbs for Nineteen Eighty-Four. As noted, Orwell explicitly disavowed any connection between his fictional “Party” and the Communist one. Nevertheless, the political program that O’Brien boasts about to Winston Smith is the Communist program à la James Burnham. It’s exaggerated and comically histrionic, but strikes the proper febrile tone.

First, some O’Brien:

Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery is torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards more pain. . . .

The espionage, the betrayals, the arrests, the tortures, the executions, the disappearances will never cease. It will be a world of terror as much as a world of triumph. The more the Party is powerful, the less it will be tolerant: the weaker the opposition, the tighter the despotism.[13] [17]

Now bits of Burnham:

The terror is everywhere, never ceasing, the all-encompassing atmosphere of communism. Every act of life, and of the lives of parents, relatives and friends, from the trivial incidents of childhood to major political decisions, finds its way into the secret and complete files. . . . The forms of the terror cover the full range: from the slightest psychological temptings, to economic pressure . . . to the most extreme physical torture . . .

* * *

It should not be supposed that the terror . . . is a transient phenomenon . . . Terror has always been an essential part of communism, from the pre-revolutionary days . . . into every stage of the development of the communist regime in power. Terror is proved by historical experience to be integral to communism, to be, in fact, the main instrument by which its power is increased and sustained.[14] [18]

Burnham and Orwell were of very different mentalities, the first always gushing theories with the fecundity of a copywriter dashing off taglines; while the second was constitutionally averse to abstractions and hypotheticals, much preferring near-at-hand things, such as the common toad. It’s striking that Orwell could not only find something useful and intriguing in Burnham, he honored him with a few of the most insightful and appreciative critiques.

JB-SW.jpgIn March 1947, while getting ready to go to Jura and ride the Winston Smith book to the finish even if it killed him (which it did), Orwell wrote his long, penetrating review of The Struggle for the World. He paid some compliments, but also noted some subtle flaws in Burnham’s reasoning. Here he’s talking about Burnham’s willingness to contemplate a preventive war against the USSR:

[Burnham sees that] appeasement is an unreal policy . . . It is not fashionable to say such things nowadays, and Burnham deserves credit for saying them.

But suppose he is wrong. Suppose the ship is not sinking, only leaking. Suppose that Communism is not yet strong enough to swallow the world and that the danger of war can be staved off for twenty years or more: then we don’t have to accept Burnham’s remedy – or, at least, we don’t have to accept it immediately and without question.[15] [19]

Orwell was just using moderation and common sense here, but what he’s suggesting is what in fact began to happen that year (1947). Instead of the predicted war of destruction; policies of “containment,” “rollback,” “interventions”; defense treaties (NATO); and targeted economic aid (Marshall Plan) might work at least as effectively against the Soviets, as well as being far pleasanter and more manageable.

Ironically, Orwell did not pay much attention to what was going on in the outside world that year or next; he had bigger things to worry about. But as the world moved on, it diverged more and more from the fundamental premises of Nineteen Eighty-Four. There wouldn’t be an “atomic war” in 1950 (war, yes; not atomic) and Soviet-style terror regimes weren’t going to swallow all of Europe, however likely that looked in the spring of 1947.

Notes

[1] [20] The actual title of the book on publication date was Nineteen Eighty-Four in London (Secker & Warburg) on June 8, 1949; and 1984 on June 13, 1949 in New York (Harcourt Brace). Orwell and his publisher slightly preferred the numerals, but chose to go with the words for the London edition. Orwell used both styles interchangeably – obviously one is more convenient to type. (George Orwell: A Life in Letters, Ed. Peter Davison [London: W.W. Norton], 2010.)

[2] [21] Cyril Connolly, “Year Nine,” collected in The Condemned Playground (London: Routledge, 1945), originally published in The New Statesman, January 1938. Connolly was inspired by a visit to the “Degenerate Art” exhibition in Munich, where he got the uneasy sense he was expected to leer with a disapproving expression.

[3] [22] Clive Fisher, Cyril Connolly (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995).

[4] [23] Connolly, The Condemned Playground.

[5] [24] Connolly, The Condemned Playground.

[6] [25] George Orwell, “Such, Such Were the Joys,” Partisan Review, Vol. 19, No. 5 (New York), Sept.-Oct. 1952.

[7] [26] Paul Owen, “1984 thoughtcrime? Does it matter that George Orwell pinched the plot? [27]”, The Guardian, 8 June 2009.

[8] [28] E. (or Y.) Zamyatin, We, tr. Gregory Zilboorg (New York: E. P. Dutton), 1924. This English-language edition was actually the first publication of We.

[9] [29] George Orwell, review of WeTribune (London), January 4, 1946.

[10] [30] George Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, many editions. Originally: London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1936.

[11] [31] James Burnham, The Managerial Revolution (New York: John Day, 1941).

[12] [32] James Burnham, The Struggle for the World (New York: John Day, 1947).

[13] [33] Nineteen Eighty-Four, Part III, iii.

[14] [34] James Burnham, The Struggle for the World (New York: John Day, 1947).

[15] [35] George Orwell, “James Burnham’s view of the contemporary world struggle,” New Leader (New York), March 29, 1947.

 

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[2] The New Statesman: https://www.newstatesman.com/books/2013/03/fitzgerald-woolf-and-j-g-ballard-five-classic-book-reviews-ns-archive

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[27] 1984 thoughtcrime? Does it matter that George Orwell pinched the plot?: https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2009/jun/08/george-orwell-1984-zamyatin-we

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Orwell, Molotov, & the “Crisis of Capitalism”

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Orwell, Molotov, & the “Crisis of Capitalism”

Did the international crises of 1947 and 1948 leave their mark on the writing of Nineteen Eighty-Four? I’ve spent a lot of time on this question, and so far as I can tell, the answer is – yes; but only obliquely. And George Orwell may not even have been conscious of the fact.

A couple of months into writing the first draft of the novel, he paused to do an article for the Partisan Review. This was one of an ongoing series by several authors called “The Future of Socialism.” Orwell’s contribution for the July-August 1947 issue was titled “Toward European Unity,” and it includes some recognizable themes that were finding their way into Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Actually, the piece itself doesn’t have much to say about socialism. (One of Orwell’s last essays was on Oscar Wilde’s notion of “socialism.” Like Wilde, Orwell thought it all sounded like a nice idea, but he was one of those socialists who never read Marx.) As for “European unity,” Orwell saw only dim prospects. He was much more interested in rather whimsical speculation about how the world could survive after the Third World War started and the “atomic bombs” dropped. His least favorite outcome happened to be the background to the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four. (I’ll excerpt these at the end.)

But there’s a throwaway line in “Toward European Unity” that might be an eye-opener for people today, though it was a reasonably sound, matter-of-fact assessment of the political scene in mid-1947:

. . . American pressure is an important factor because it can be exerted most easily on Britain, the one country in Europe which is outside the Russian orbit.[1] [2]

The hard fact here is that most of western Europe was slipping into the Soviet grip. Communist parties in France and Italy were getting ready to seize power, with the Communists already the largest party in the French assembly. The USSR was maneuvering to take control of the 1945 rump of Germany, by first uniting the four zones – British, American, French, Soviet – under a Sovietized “neutral” government. Meanwhile, Europe’s post-war economic recovery had stalled and backslid, largely because of the destruction of German mines and industry, and punitive reparations and deindustrialization under the still-operative Morgenthau Plan.[2] [3] France and Britain were effectively bankrupt, living on loans and remittances from the US.[3] [4]

The stage, then, was set for the wave of revolutions, wars, and brutal regimes that form the backstory to Nineteen Eighty-Four. More memorably, these conditions are the background to the American foreign policy initiatives remembered as the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. For most people, these things are mainly recalled as chapter subheadings in high school texts, or even as examples of insuperably dull, indecipherable topics best treated as punchlines to jokes. (The writer Tobias Wolff once wrote a cruelly humorous short story in which the running gag was about a job-seeking professor forced to give a lecture with someone else’s dreary paper on the Marshall Plan.)[4] [5]

What is generally forgotten these days – or more likely, unknown – is the worldwide campaign of agitprop and civil unrest that the Soviet Union mounted in 1947-48 in retaliation for the Marshall Plan. You really need to go back to the newspapers of the era to see how far and wide was the campaign’s reach. Throughout western Europe, there were riots, work stoppages, mine floodings, and anti-Marshall Plan posters, films, flyers, and newspapers. Factories and wharves were shut down throughout France for much of late 1947; in Italy, the Communists held a sit-down strike in the Parliament. Dockworkers on the Continent, in Britain, and even in Australia, New Zealand, and North America refused to unload ships.

In America, the most memorable efflorescence of the anti-Marshall Plan drive (though seldom remembered as such) was the strange presidential campaign of ex-Vice President Henry Wallace. Wallace and other “Progressives” (for such he called his party) aimed to punish President Truman and pro-Marshall Plan Democrats by splitting their vote in 1948. They did not succeed, as it rapidly became clear that these efforts were directed by the Soviet Central Committee and the Communist Party of the USA, operating through labor unions, particularly the CIO. In 1947 and 1948, Dwight Macdonald (Orwell’s friend and political soulmate) devoted many pages of his magazine, Politics, to exposés of the Stalinist machinations behind the Wallace campaign.[5] [6]

dwight.jpg

In that same paragraph from the Partisan Review piece by Orwell that I quoted above, there’s a curious and most un-Orwellian comment about U.S. trade:

If the United States remains capitalist, and especially if it needs markets for exports, it cannot regard a Socialist Europe with a friendly eye.[6] [7]

 

Dwight Macdonald

What exactly is he saying here? In all his writings, Orwell seldom, if ever, affects interest in such peripheral economic matters as trade policy. Yet here he is, professing to suspect that the “capitalist” US has a great need to expand its overseas (specifically European) markets. Now, in the late 1940s American exports worldwide comprised about five percent of its GNP.[7] [8] That is, most of the GNP was from domestic consumption, and need for exports would have been negligible.

Knowing when Orwell wrote this, in about June 1947, gives us a clue as to where he got this funny notion. Apparently he’d just read something in the papers pertaining to the newly-proposed Marshall Plan. I doubt Orwell knew where the story originated, or detected its ring of Marxian economics; but that is essentially what it was. Right about this time, the Soviet Foreign Minister, Vyacheslav Molotov, was putting out a tale that the European Recovery Plan, aka the Marshall Plan, had an ulterior motive: to forestall an inevitable and approaching depression due to American war debts and its unsold “surplus goods.”

Shortly after Secretary of State George Marshall gave his so-called “Marshall Plan Speech” (at Harvard’s commencement on June 5, 1947), Molotov had asked the top Soviet economist, Yevgeny “Jeno” Varga,[8] [9] to provide a report on the American economy. Specifically, he wanted Varga to “assess motives” behind this proposed aid plan. Varga came back with a suitably dire forecast: the US was facing a depression nearly the size of the Great Depression of the 1930s, with ten million unemployed and a twenty percent drop in GNP.

Per Varga, the apparent rationale for the Marshall Plan was that by lending billions in credits to Europe, the US could get rid of its “surplus goods” (as it was suffering from a “crisis of overproduction”). It could thereby avoid the forthcoming economic collapse – temporarily, at least – even though the countries to which it was “lending” credits were themselves bankrupt. Varga most likely did not believe what he wrote here. In 1946, he had written an in-depth economic study putting forth the thesis that because of changes in the American economy and government, it was no longer subject to the classic boom-and-bust “Crisis of Capitalism.” But now he was simply telling Molotov what Molotov wanted to hear.[9] [10]

molotov.jpgAnd so, when Molotov went to Paris to meet the British and French foreign ministers at a preliminary conference on the Marshall Plan (this is still June 1947), he told them he believed the proposed Plan was really conceived in America’s own interest, “to enlarge their foreign markets, especially in view of the approaching crisis.” To no one’s great surprise, Molotov soon announced that neither the USSR nor any of the Communist satellite states would be participating in the European Recovery Plan.

With the passing months, Soviet propaganda evolved somewhat. In September, Molotov’s deputy and eventual successor, Andrei Vyshinsky, told the UN General Assembly that “[t]he United States . . . counted on making . . . countries directly dependent on the interests of American monopolies, which are striving to avert the approaching depression by an accelerated export of commodities and capital to Europe.”[10] [11] This soon turned into a more pointed accusation, that the US was setting up a “Western Bloc” as an economic and political beachhead. Soviet spymaster Pavel Sudoplatov explained that “the goal of the Marshall Plan was to ensure American economic domination of Europe.”[11] [12]

What were these “surplus goods” that the US supposedly wanted to offload onto Europe via the Marshall Plan? Mostly, they were the same goods that America had been providing all along: grain and fuel, primarily coal. (While western Europe had endless reserves of coal, the mines in Germany had been so damaged that Europe suffered from severe coal shortages for the first few years after the war.) When European countries bought these with Marshall credits beginning in 1948, it freed up their own capital for “recovery” uses. And, pace Varga and Molotov, America was not disposing of these goods in order to forestall an economic crisis. There wasn’t even a recession in 1947 or 1948; just a mild downturn that came in 1949.

But the notion of “surplus goods” and its Marxian companion, the “crisis of overproduction,” found their way into an obscure corner of Nineteen Eighty-Four. They provide the stated (though rather illogical and unnecessary) rationale for eternal war, as set forth in The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism:

The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of doublethink, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by the directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living. Ever since the end of the nineteenth century, the problem of what to do with the surplus of consumption goods has been latent in industrial society. . . . The war, therefore, if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is merely an imposture. It is like the battles between certain ruminant animals whose horns are set at such an angle that they are incapable of hurting one another. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs.[12] [13]

It’s all a joke, of course: Oligarchical Collectivism is not a serious treatise even within its fictive realm. It’s something that O’Brien and his colleagues concocted (or so O’Brien tells us) as a plausible excuse for a revolutionary tract that the non-existent Goldstein might write. It puts forth “the problem of what to do with the surplus of consumption goods” as though that were a real conundrum, one that can only be solved by constant pseudo-warfare.

It would have been quite enough just to say fake wars provide “the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs.” But Orwell apparently had export markets and “surplus goods” on his mind, so he threw those in as well.

 *  *  *

partisanreview.jpgThis tortured, unnecessary explanation ties up nicely with the alternative predictions Orwell offers in his Partisan Review article. As I said, he doesn’t really say much about socialism, and he doubts European unity, but he puts an awful lot of (overly) complex thought into how it’s all going to end. He’s writing this while he’s mainly focused on Nineteen Eighty-Four, so we end up with three James Burnham-esque scenarios of what may face us when the bombs start a-flying:

As far as I can see, there are three possibilities ahead of us:

    1. That the Americans will decide to use the atomic bomb while they have it and the Russians haven’t. This would solve nothing. It would do away with the particular danger that is now presented by the U.S.S.R., but would lead to the rise of new empires, fresh rivalries, more wars, more atomic bombs, etc. In any case this is, I think, the least likely outcome of the three . . .
    2. That the present ‘cold war’ will continue until the U.S.S.R., and several other countries, have atomic bombs as well. Then there will only be a short breathing-space before whizz! go the rockets, wallop! go the bombs, and the industrial centres of the world are wiped out, probably beyond repair . . . Conceivably this is a desirable outcome, but obviously it has nothing to do with Socialism.
    3. That the fear inspired by the atomic bomb and other weapons yet to come will be so great that everyone will refrain from using them. This seems to me the worst possibility of all. It would mean the division of the world among two or three vast super-states, unable to conquer one another and unable to be overthrown by any internal rebellion. In all probability their structure would be hierarchic, with a semi-divine caste at the top and outright slavery at the bottom, and the crushing out of liberty would exceed anything that the world has yet seen . . .[13] [14]

Notes

[1] [15] George Orwell, “Toward European Unity,” Partisan Review (New York), July-August 1947, Vol. 14, No. 4.

[2] [16] One sometimes hears that the Morgenthau Plan for the starvation and pastoralization of Germany was floated as an idea but sternly rejected. Actually, as Joint Chiefs of Staff directive No. 1067 [17], it was the basis of American occupation policy, effective from April 1945 until July 1947. Both the US and the Soviet Union dismantled German industrial plants in this period.

[3] [18] There are countless sources for this subject, but Benn Steil’s 2018 book, The Marshall Plan (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018), gives a detailed overview of the economic crisis.

[4] [19] Tobias Wolff, “In the Garden of the North American Martyrs,” originally published in Antaeus (New York), Spring 1980.

[5] [20] Macdonald’s most thorough examination of Wallace and company was in the Summer 1948 issue of Politics.

[6] [21] Orwell, “Toward European Unity.”

[7] [22] See chart, The Hamilton Project [23].

[8] [24] Jeno Varga was a Hungarian Jew (his real name was Eugen Weisz) who had been in the Hungarian Communist Party since the Béla Kun days in 1919. After this, he fled to the USSR and became Stalin’s longtime economic adviser. Like Molotov in the late 1940s, Varga was about to fall out of favor.

[9] [25] Scott D. Parrish & Mikhail M. Narinsky, “New Evidence on the Soviet Rejection of the Marshall Plan, 1947 [26]” (Washington, DC: Wilson Center), 1994.

[10] [27] Andrei Vyshkinsky’s speech [28] at the United Nations, September 1947.

[11] [29] Steil, The Marshall Plan.

[12] [30] George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1949, Part II.

[13] [31] Orwell, “Toward European Unity.”

 

Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: https://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: https://www.counter-currents.com/2019/06/orwell-molotov-the-crisis-of-capitalism/

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[17] Joint Chiefs of Staff directive No. 1067: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/JCS_1067

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[23] The Hamilton Project: http://www.hamiltonproject.org/charts/u.s._imports_and_exports_1947_2016

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[26] New Evidence on the Soviet Rejection of the Marshall Plan, 1947: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/ACFB73.pdf

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[28] speech: https://astro.temple.edu/~rimmerma/vyshinsky_speech_to_un.htm

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jeudi, 02 mai 2019

Misreading Animal Farm

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Misreading Animal Farm

If you’re seeing a lot of Nineteen Eighty-Four editions showing up in bookstores these days, it’s because 2019 marks the seventieth anniversary of the novel’s publication. And I suppose next year we’ll see even more Orwelliana, because we have the seventieth anniversary of George Orwell’s death in January, followed by the seventy-fifth anniversary of Animal Farm.

Of all the popular literature of the past century, those two books are among the ones that people in the English-speaking world are most likely to have read – or at least imagine they’ve read. (Notice I say the English-speaking world, thereby neatly skating around the juvenile fodder that pimply adolescents in America get assigned year after year – the Mockingbird one and the Gatsby one, and those books about prep-school boys in the 1940s.)

The Orwell storylines are starkly simple, easily put into one-line elevator pitches that anyone would recognize:

In a totalitarian hell, doomed lovers dream of rebelling, but get tortured and killed.

Animals take over a farm, but their cruel pig bosses make their lives harder than ever.

As with so many stories that are too easily simplified, Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm are grossly misperceived in popular understanding and CliffsNotes-level criticism. Winston and Julia’s slave-state dystopia often got dismissed as a nightmarish vision of the future, or else an unsubtle condemnation of Stalinism. But really, it’s mainly a book about political propaganda: the slogans, the posters, the slant on the news (forever being rewritten to serve the party line of the day) – all inspired by Orwell’s own experience writing broadcasts at the Ministry of Truth (BBC Broadcasting House). And, of course, those inescapable telescreens continually shouting at you, like the hectoring CNN flatscreens that now disfigure every airport concourse and waiting area. Large chunks of the book are given over to discussions of how to enforce politically correct speech (herein called Newspeak), as well as a letter-perfect lampoon of a Marxist political tract called The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism.

One could spend pages upon pages dissecting all the pastiches, black-comedy turns, and inside jokes that Orwell put into his Big Brother book, and no doubt I shall very soon. Today, though, I want to focus on the shorter, earlier book, the one with the talking animals. It covers many of the same themes that are expanded upon later, and like Nineteen Eighty-Four is stuffed with parody (Orwell actually writes two different “patriotic” songs for the animals to sing), and is itself an extended spoof of jolly children’s books about Life on the Farm with the Friendly Cow. There are long snatches of the narrative that are positively irenic: Boxer and Clover, the drayhorses, and Benjamin the donkey, all cheerfully working in the sunshine.

You can see why, in the original CIA-funded animated film of Animal Farm (1954), there was an irresistible push to tack on a happy ending, in which the animals mount another rebellion and throw out their pig masters. Presumably, this was a hopeful nod of encouragement directed at the new slave satrapies behind the Iron Curtain.

Animal-Farm-Poster.jpgWhen Orwell finished Animal Farm in 1945, it was a very bad time to promote anti-Communist books with talking animals. This one was too clearly an allegory about the Bolshevik Revolution and the Stalinist aftermath, as subtle as a cow-pie (one barnyard feature that does not appear in the book). Over two dozen publishers rejected it promptly; Churchill’s coalition government had been touting a pro-Soviet line since 1941. Against this background, Animal Farm was about as welcome as a sympathetic book review of Mein Kampf (which Orwell did in fact once publish, during the Phony War period).

Though he liked to describe himself as a Man of the Left, that was mainly window-dressing to maintain his literary viability. He was a socialist, but one with a very deep nationalist streak (as anyone reading “England, Your England” or “In Defence of P.G. Wodehouse” grasps immediately). He thought the Reds were gunning for him, figuratively and literally – and maybe they were.

Around the time he finished Animal Farm, he met Ernest Hemingway at the Ritz in Paris and asked to borrow a pistol, because the Russians had tried to kill him in Spain and still wanted him dead. Hemingway thought the old boy was overwrought, but found him a Colt .32. (This is recounted in Hemingway’s posthumous True at First Light.)

And yet, Animal Farm isn’t really a straightforward allegory about the Soviet Union. What it really is, is subtle propaganda that pretends to share the prejudices and idioms of a Parlor Pink or Fellow Traveler of the 1935-45 period. Orwell’s trick is what is known today in Internet culture as concern-trolling. Concern-trolling is when you insert yourself into an ongoing discussion or dispute, and feign sympathy with the participants’ viewpoint. Then, gradually and unctuously, you raise mild objections to the consensus belief. These quibbles confuse your interlocutors, sending the discussion off into a new direction. You might not get your new friends to reverse their opinions, but you’ve certainly planted some doubts.

The Leftist verities that Orwell pretends to endorse can be really preposterous. Yet even today, many people accept them unquestioningly as dogma. Some of the more egregious examples:

  1. The (Bolshevik) Revolution was a Good Thing.
  2. But it was betrayed and ruined by Napoleon the Pig (Stalin).
  3. The animals (Soviet people) were much happier and more prosperous after the Revolution than before.
  4. Religion (i.e., Christianity) is an unnecessary, false, wasteful distraction.
  5. After the Revolution, Animal Farm (Russia) was more enlightened than its rivals, which were cruel and corrupt, and oppressed their workers.

In order for Animal Farm to work as political propaganda, you pretty much have to accept most of these premises. You have to suspend disbelief and make yourself a wide-eyed fool willing to believe such obnoxious pap as, “Communism can build Heaven on Earth, but it’s never really been tried!”

Orwell completely avoids some matters that would have made his fairy tale unpublishable. There is the Jewish Question. Most of the leading Bolsheviks were Jews, and that is a very difficult fact to finesse. (Stalin, of course, was not; but his wife and best friend were.) Certainly, it must have been on Orwell’s mind throughout the writing. Perhaps this is why he made the lead animals pigs; for pork is most unkosher. Yes, the author is saying, the pigs are the Bolsheviks, so I’m not saying the Bolsheviks were Jews. (I am reminded that when Art Spiegelman drew his Maus graphic novel in the 1980s, he portrayed the Poles as pigs, thus emphasizing that they were very, very un-Jewish.)

AF-pig.jpgBut the use of pigs raises all sorts of other complications. All the male pigs but Napoleon, we are told, have been castrated. This fact is introduced late in the book, and rather obliquely: “Napoleon was the only boar on the farm.” But hold on: Napoleon has sired many porkers, presumably male often as not. Surely they’re still intact – some of them, anyway. Is Orwell just being forgetful, or does he fear certain distasteful matters will slow down the story?

The pigs bothered a lot of publishers’ readers when Orwell sent the typescript around. Jonathan Cape wanted to publish the book, but only if the pigs were swapped out for something else. “It would be less offensive if the predominant caste in the fable were not pigs.”

Over at Faber & Faber, T. S. Eliot liked it, too, but turned it down with a perversely hilarious rejection letter, wondering why the pigs had to be villains:

[A]fter all, your pigs are far more intellectual than the other animals, and therefore the best qualified to run the farm – in fact, there couldn’t have been an Animal Farm at all without them: so that what was needed (someone might argue), was not more communism but more public spirited pigs.[1] [2]

The Animal Farm/USSR analogy really goes off the rails with the depiction of the two rival neighboring farmers, Frederick and Pilkington. These stand in for Britain and France, on the one hand, and Germany on the other, in the years leading up to the Second World War. Like Oceania in Nineteen Eighty-Four, which is always at war with either Eastasia or Eurasia, the pigs at Animal Farm are forever making alliances with Frederick or Pilkington. Frederick and Pilkington, moreover, are forever scheming to overpower or swindle Animal Farm. And they often succeed, because the pigs are greedy and shortsighted.

But this is the reverse of what actually happened with the USSR and its geopolitical rivals and allies. From the 1920s onward, the Soviets were always trying to penetrate Western intelligence services and political parties. Conversely, there was little or no attempt on the part of Britain or France, or even Germany, to set up espionage networks in the USSR. So far from being a duped victim, perpetually gulled and taken advantage of, the USSR was always the sly aggressor. In every wartime conference where he showed up – Tehran, Yalta, Potsdam – Stalin was always the one who stacked the deck and came out with a winning hand.

At the end of Animal Farm, we see the farmers and pigs at table together, all looking very much alike. The suggestion is that the Revolution has failed because the neighboring farmers knew how to lead the pigs astray.

What Orwell is doing here, again, is inverting reality in a bid for sympathy, cozening us into believing that Britain and France – and Germany – were the bad guys all along. Of course, he didn’t believe this, but he needed a finish to the story, so he drove home the moral that the Revolution had been betrayed. Pigs are bad and humans are bad, but the doltish animals at Animal Farm are still idealistic and good.

It’s a weak, confused ending, and thoroughly dishonest. Orwell doesn’t believe it for a moment. He knows the Soviets are evil, murderous shits, and even now they’re out to kill him.

On the other hand, Animal Farm was written as a didactic fable. When you write talking-animal propaganda, you can’t be expected to tell the truth.

Note

[1] [3] These quotations are taken from Jeffrey Meyers, Orwell: Wintry Conscience of a Generation (New York: W. W. Norton, 2001).

 

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dimanche, 22 avril 2018

«Orwell reprochait à la gauche petite bourgeoise son mépris implicite des classes populaires»

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«Orwell reprochait à la gauche petite bourgeoise son mépris implicite des classes populaires»

Entretien avec Kévin Boucaud-Victoire, auteur d'un ouvrage sur George Orwell

Propos recueillis par 

Ex: http://www.lefigaro.fr

FIGAROVOX/GRAND ENTRETIEN - Kévin Boucaud-Victoire présente dans un essai passionnant les multiples facettes de l'oeuvre de George Orwell.

Kévin Boucaud-Victoire est journaliste et essayiste. Il vient de publier Orwell, écrivain des gens ordinaires (Première Partie, 2018).

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FIGAROVOX.- Vous consacrez un petit essai à George Orwell. Celui-ci est souvent résumé à ses deux classiques: La Ferme des animaux (1945) et 1984 (1949). Est-ce réducteur? Pour vous, Orwell est le plus grand écrivain politique du XXe siècle. Pourquoi?

Kévin BOUCAUD-VICTOIRE.- George Orwell reste prisonnier de ses deux derniers grands romans. Il faut dire qu'avant La Ferme des animaux, l'écrivain a connu échec sur échec depuis 1933 et la sortie de Dans la dèche à Paris et à Londres. Il y a plusieurs raisons à cela. Déjà, Orwell tâtonne pour trouver son style, et bien qu'intéressants, ses premiers écrits sont parfois un peu brouillons. Ensuite ses deux premiers grands essais politiques, Le quai de Wigan (1937) et Hommage à la Catalogne (1938) sont très subversifs. La seconde partie du premier est une critique impitoyable de son camp politique. Il reproche à la gauche petite bourgeoise son mépris implicite des classes populaires, son intellectualisme et son idolâtrie du progrès. Au point que son éditeur Victor Gollancz ne voulait au départ pas publier le livre d'Orwell avec cette partie, qu'il ne lui avait pas commandée. Hommage à la Catalogne dénonce le rôle des communistes espagnols durant la révolution de 1936. Il est alors victime d'une intense campagne pour le discréditer et doit changer d'éditeur pour le publier. À sa mort en 1950, les 1 500 ouvrages imprimés ne sont pas écoulés. Il a d'ailleurs aussi beaucoup de mal à faire publier La Ferme des animaux au départ. Ces deux ouvrages essentiels sont encore trop mal connus aujourd'hui. Je ne parle même pas de ses nombreux articles ou petits essais qui précisent sa pensée ou Un peu d'air frais, mon roman préféré d'Orwell, publié en 1939.

Sinon, l'Anglais a voulu faire de l'écriture politique une nouvelle forme d'art, à la fois esthétique, simple et compréhensible de tous. Aucun roman selon moi n'a eu au XXe siècle l'impact politique de 1984 et La Ferme des animaux. C'est ce qui explique qu'il a été ensuite, et très tôt après sa mort, récupéré par tout le monde, même ceux qu'il considérait comme ses adversaires politiques.

Vous jugez que l'utilisation qui est faite d'Orwell est une récupération politique?

Tout le monde est orwellien !

«Tout ce que j'ai écrit de sérieux depuis 1936, chaque mot, chaque ligne, a été écrit, directement ou indirectement, contre le totalitarisme et pour le socialisme démocratique tel que je le conçois», écrit en 1946 Orwell dans un court essai intitulé Pourquoi j'écris? Mais il a surtout été connu pour ses deux romans qui attaquent frontalement le totalitarisme. À partir de là, libéraux et conservateurs avaient un boulevard pour le récupérer. Ainsi, en pleine guerre froide, la CIA a produit une bande-dessinée et un dessin-animé de La Ferme des animaux, parfois en déformant légèrement son propos, diffusés un peu partout dans le monde. L'objectif était alors de stopper l'avancée du communisme dans le monde.

Depuis quelques années, «Orwell est invité à toutes les tables», comme l'explique le journaliste Robin Verner dans un excellent article pour Slate.fr. De l'essayiste Laurent Obertone à l'ENA, tout le monde est orwellien! Les récupérations ne sont pas que l'œuvre de la droite. Ainsi, depuis deux ou trois ans, Laurent Joffrin, directeur de la rédaction de Libération, s'est fait le héraut de la réhabilitation d'un Orwell de gauche. Pourtant, il a tout du prototype de la gauche petite bourgeoise sur laquelle a vomi l'écrivain dans Le Quai de Wigan, particulièrement dans les chapitres X à XIII.

Mais si Orwell est aussi récupérable c'est parce que la vérité était pour lui prioritaire, plus que l'esprit de camp politique. «L'argument selon lequel il ne faudrait pas dire certaines vérités, car cela “ferait le jeu de” telle ou telle force sinistre est malhonnête, en ce sens que les gens n'y ont recours que lorsque cela leur convient personnellement», écrit-il. «La liberté, c'est la liberté de dire que deux et deux font quatre. Lorsque cela est accordé, le reste suit», pouvons-nous lire aussi dans 1984. Après, je ne fais pas parler les morts, mais je doute qu'Orwell se serait insurgé contre le fait d'être cité par des adversaires politiques, lui qui avait des amis conservateurs ou libéraux.

Orwell n'est donc ni conservateur, ni socialiste?

On peut déjà relever qu'à partir de 1936, il s'est réclamé du socialisme démocratique plus d'une fois dans ses écrits. Malgré des penchants parfois conservateurs, il a aussi récusé appartenir à ce camp. Il écrit dans Le lion et la licorne, son deuxième plus grand essai politique, que son patriotisme «n'a rien à voir avec le conservatisme. Bien au contraire, il s'y oppose, puisqu'il est essentiellement une fidélité à une réalité sans cesse changeante et que l'on sent pourtant mystiquement identique à elle-même».

Orwell est un socialiste qui apprécie les traditions, se veut patriote, anti-progressiste et très démocrate !

Effectivement, Orwell est très complexe et un peu inclassable. «Trop égalitariste et révolutionnaire pour être social-démocrate ou travailliste, mais trop démocrate et antitotalitaire pour être communiste ; trop lucide sur la réalité des rapports de force entre les hommes et entre les États pour être anarchiste, mais trop confiant dans la droiture et dans le refus de l'injustice parmi les gens ordinaires pour basculer comme tant d'autres dans le pessimisme conservateur», écrit Jean-Jacques Rosat, un des grands connaisseurs actuels de l'écrivain. Mais pour lui, «le véritable socialiste est celui qui souhaite - activement, et non à titre de simple vœu pieux - le renversement de la tyrannie» (Le Quai de Wigan) et c'est comme cela qu'il se définit. Mais c'est un socialiste qui apprécie les traditions, se veut patriote, anti-progressiste et très démocrate!

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Le philosophe Jean-Claude Michéa voit en lui un anarchiste conservateur. Partagez-vous cette définition?

En fait Orwell a utilisé cette formule, volontairement provocante, pour parler de lui jeune, quand il n'était pas encore politisé. Mais ensuite il ne s'est plus déclaré que socialiste. En fait, si Michéa a popularisé cette expression, il l'a reprise de Simon Leys, sinologue belge, deuxième biographe le plus important de l'Anglais, décédé en 2014. Leys explique dans Orwell ou l'horreur de la politique que si Orwell est socialiste, «anarchiste conservateur» est «certainement la meilleure définition de son tempérament politique». Ça peut sûrement sembler compliqué à première vue.

Dans Le Complexe d'Orphée, Michéa explique qu'il faut distinguer une pensée construite d'un tempérament politique, sorte d'inclination naturelle. Ainsi, il explique que le tempérament d'Orwell combine un «sentiment légitime qu'il existe, dans l'héritage plurimillénaire des sociétés humaines, un certain nombre d'acquis essentiels à préserver», avec «un sens aigu de l'autonomie individuelle (ou collective) et avec une méfiance a priori envers toutes les relations de pouvoir (à commencer, si possible, par celles que l'on serait tenté d'exercer soi-même).» Je pense qu'il est difficile de mieux décrire Orwell. J'ajouterais que l'un des intérêts de l'expression «anarchiste conservateur» se trouve dans son potentiel polémique: accoler l'adjectif «conservateur» à un intellectuel de gauche, rien de tel pour heurter les belles âmes.

Le professeur de philosophie Jean-Jacques Rosat conteste cette définition. Pourquoi?

Il y a en effet une petite querelle chez les orwelliens à ce sujet. En effet, d'un côté, il y a l'école Leys, Michéa, ou encore François Bordes qui qualifie Orwell de socialiste et d'anarchiste conservateur ou «anarchiste tory» en V.O. De l'autre il y a celle de Rosat et plus largement Agone, qui récuse le dernier terme. En 2006, dans sa préface à la traduction française de La politique selon Orwell de John Newsinger, Rosat accuse Leys et Michéa de fausser la compréhension d'Orwell. En 2011, il publie dans une revue d'Agone dédiée à l'écrivain anglais un article intitulé «Ni anarchiste ni tory: Orwell et “la révolte intellectuelle”».

Dans cet article très intéressant, il explique qu'à partir de 1936, Orwell n'utilise le terme que pour qualifier Jonathan Swift, écrivain qu'il admire, mais dont il s'oppose aux idées. Rosat rappelle qu'Orwell reproche à Swift d'être «un anarchiste tory, qui méprise l'autorité sans croire à la liberté, et qui défend une conception aristocratique tout en voyant bien que l'aristocratie de son époque est dégénérée et méprisable.» Le philosophe français rappelle que l'Anglais est bel et bien un socialiste. Pour lui, le définir comme anarchiste conservateur a deux conséquences néfastes. Cela le condamne «à être un penseur irrémédiablement incohérent, un penseur qui cache derrière une façade socialiste une attitude politique profondément différente.» Enfin, «si Orwell est fondamentalement un conservateur, tant comme homme que comme penseur, alors la gauche et l'extrême gauche ont eu raison d'avoir de forts soupçons à son égard dans le passé».

Il y a une compatibilité entre Orwell, farouche athée, et un christianisme radical c'est-à-dire qui va à la racine.

Alors que faut-il en penser? Déjà rappelons que Michéa écrit dans Le Complexe d'Orphée que Rosat a raison, si on reste sur le plan strictement politique. Il faut donc revenir à la distinction entre pensée construite et tempérament politique que j'évoquais plus haut. Pour trancher, je dirais que si Orwell est bel et bien un socialiste, le qualificatif d'anarchiste conservateur présente un intérêt essentiel pour comprendre ses positions qui peuvent surprendre dans son camp.

Vous n'hésitez pas à rapprocher Orwell de penseurs chrétiens comme Simone Weil, Bernanos ou Pasolini. Quels sont ses points communs avec ces derniers?

Pasolini n'était pas vraiment chrétien, puisque s'il appréciait l'Église catholique, il lui manquait la foi. Il y a aussi Chesterton, Orwell ayant été surnommé à ses débuts «le Chesterton de gauche». Mais effectivement, il y a une compatibilité entre Orwell, farouche athée, et un christianisme radical - c'est-à-dire qui va à la racine. Ces penseurs vont au bout de la logique des évangiles ou de l'épître de Jacques, en refusant la puissance de l'argent et la quête du pouvoir - la troisième tentation du Christ laisse entendre que le pouvoir terrestre appartient actuellement à Satan. D'ailleurs, cela me fait penser à Guy Debord, père du situationniste et athée militant, qui écrit dans une lettre: «Les catholiques extrémistes sont les seuls qui me paraissent sympathiques, Léon Bloy notamment.».

Pour être un peu plus précis, on retrouve chez eux ce tempérament anarchiste conservateur, que j'ai évoqué tout à l'heure. Il y a une remise en question radicale du capitalisme et du progrès. Ils sont aussi des précurseurs de l'écologie politique. Ce n'est pas pour rien qu'on retrouve Orwell, Weil et Pasolini dans Radicalité: 20 penseurs vraiment critiques (L'échappée, 2013), ainsi que dans Aux origines de la décroissance: 50 penseurs (L'échappée, Le Pas de côté et Ecosociété, 2017), en compagnie cette fois de Bernnaos et Chesterton. Enfin, ce sont des esprits libres, lucides sur les erreurs de leur camp. Orwell a critiqué le rôle des communistes durant la guerre d'Espagne, Weil certaines violences de ses camarades anarchistes et écrit une lettre à Bernanos, appartenant au camp d'en face, pour lui témoigner sa «très vive admiration». Bernanos a publié Les grands cimetières sous la Lune, un énorme pamphlet contre Franco, ses soutiens catholiques, et plus largement la droite. Pour finir, Pasolini n'a pas eu de mots assez durs pour les petits-bourgeois de gauche italiens, notamment en Mai 68. Autant de liberté intellectuelle et politique est assez rare aujourd'hui.

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Vous voyez en lui un promoteur du «socialisme du vécu» et du «socialisme populaire». Quelles sont les spécificités de ces deux formes de socialisme?

Je rapproche le socialisme d'Orwell et celui de Simone Weil sur ce plan. En fait, je montre que ce ne sont pas les livres et la théorie qui ont converti Orwell au socialisme, mais ce qu'il a pu vivre, en Birmanie, dans les bas-fonds parisiens et londoniens qu'il a fréquentés, à Wigan, où il a côtoyé les ouvriers, et en Espagne. Il explique d'ailleurs qu'en Catalogne il a constaté que non seulement le socialisme était désirable, mais qu'il était en plus possible.

Orwell, comme Simone Weil, plaide pour que les socialistes partent du vécu des classes populaires.

Sinon, dans Le quai de Wigan, il affirme que «le mouvement socialiste a autre chose à faire que de se transformer en une association de matérialistes dialectiques ; ce qu'il doit être, c'est une ligue des opprimés contre les oppresseurs.» Pour lui, il doit accueillir «tous ceux qui courbent l'échine devant un patron ou frissonnent à l'idée du prochain loyer à payer». C'est en cela qu'il est vraiment populaire, alors qu'il constate que les socialistes appartiennent surtout à la classe moyenne éduquée. En fait, Orwell, comme Weil, plaide pour que les socialistes partent du vécu des classes populaires, qui ne se limitent pas qu'aux ouvriers, mais qui comprennent aussi les classes moyennes inférieures - des petits boutiquiers aux fonctionnaires -, en passant par les paysans.

Alors qu'en Europe la social-démocratie est en train de mourir pour cause de faillite idéologique, la pensée d'Orwell peut-elle inspirer une nouvelle gauche?

Je l'espère en tout cas. Sa critique du progrès par exemple me paraît essentielle. Il apparaît aujourd'hui évident que le progrès technique a «fait faillite», comme le disait Orwell, et n'a pas tenu ses promesses. Il a renforcé à la fois l'aliénation capitaliste et l'exploitation des classes populaires. «Si un homme ne peut prendre plaisir au retour du printemps, pourquoi devrait-il être heureux dans une Utopie qui circonscrit le travail? Que fera-t-il du temps de loisir que lui accordera la machine?», se demande Orwell dans «Quelques réflexions avec le crapaud ordinaire».

Son équilibre entre patriotisme et internationalisme me paraît aussi vital, quand la gauche s'est aujourd'hui parfois trop perdue dans un internationalisme abstrait, croyant que la nation renvoyait toujours aux heures les plus sombres. Ainsi, l'Anglais rappelle que «la théorie selon laquelle “les prolétaires n'ont pas de patrie” […] finit toujours par être absurde dans la pratique». La nation est le seul bien de ceux qui sont privés de tout et c'est aujourd'hui le seul cadre démocratique existant aujourd'hui. Enfin Orwell représente un socialisme qui reste radical, qui refuse à la fois de se compromettre dans l'autoritarisme, mais aussi avec le mode de production capitaliste, comme le PS depuis au moins 1983.

Comment expliquez-vous le succès de mouvement dits populistes auprès des «gens ordinaires»?

Le clivage gauche-droite ne fait plus recette.

C'est simple, le clivage gauche-droite ne fait plus recette. En France, comme à l'étranger, la gauche de gouvernement a oublié les classes populaires pour se concentrer sur les classes diplômées, plus progressistes et ouvertes, et les «minorités» - qui certes appartiennent souvent aux classes populaires, mais qui ne sont pas défendues comme telles mais comme des clients ou des consommateurs. La droite de son côté a souvent fait mine de défendre les classes populaires pour les trahir au pouvoir. Pourquoi les pauvres votent à droite et Pourquoi les riches votent à gauche, du journaliste Thomas Frank, donnent des clés très intéressantes pour comprendre.

À côté, la mondialisation néolibérale ne fonctionne plus. Les élites intellectuelles, politiques et économiques sont totalement déconnectées du peuple. Christopher Lasch, grand lecteur de George Orwell, le percevait déjà dans son livre-testament, La révolte des élites et la trahison des élites. Il expliquait que «les personnes qui se situent dans les 20 % supérieurs en termes de revenus», qui «contrôlent les flux internationaux d'argent et d'informations», «se définissent moins par leur idéologie que par leur mode de vie, qui les distingue, d'une manière de moins en moins équivoque, du reste de la population». Selon lui, ils n'acceptent plus «aucune des obligations que la citoyenneté dans une forme de cité sous-entend normalement», se sont «retirés de la vie commune et ne veulent plus payer pour ce qu'ils ont cessé d'utiliser».

Cette déconnexion est de plus en plus visible. En 2005, alors que presque tous les médias et les grands partis de gouvernement militent pour le «oui» au TCE, le «non» l'emporte. On a pu voir une vraie fracture sur les revenus et l'éducation dans le résultat du vote. La séquence qui suit est très intéressante, puisque le gouvernement de Nicolas Sarkozy et le parlement se sont ensuite assis sur cette décision démocratique en 2007. Les «mouvements populistes» capitalisent sur cette fracture et ce rejet des élites.

Ces derniers ne font-ils pas tout simplement preuve de davantage de «common decency» que les partis traditionnels?

Je n'en suis pas certain. Mais ils s'en servent en tout cas mieux. La droite dite «populiste» vante les valeurs populaires, souvent pour mieux les trahir. «Votez pour interdire l'avortement et vous aurez une bonne réduction de l'impôt sur le capital (…). Votez pour faire la nique à ces universitaires politiquement corrects et vous aurez la déréglementation de l'électricité (…). Votez pour résister au terrorisme et vous aurez la privatisation de la sécurité» écrit Thomas Frank dans Pourquoi les pauvres votent à droite? La victoire de Trump illustre parfaitement cette trahison constante. Le danger avec le populisme est qu'il utilise surtout le ressentiment - contre les immigrés ou les élites - que la «common decency», justement.

La droite dite « populiste » vante les valeurs populaires, souvent pour mieux les trahir.

Pourtant, je plaide bien pour un populisme, qui substituerait le clivage gauche/droite à un clivage peuple/élites ou classes populaires/oligarchie. Mais pour qu'il ait une chance de ne pas être juste un mouvement qui flatte les bas instincts populaires, il doit s'appuyer sur l'amour des classes populaires et l'empathie vis-à-vis de ce qu'elles vivent.

Orwell n'était-il pas avant tout un littéraire dont la particularité était justement de refuser toute forme d'idéologie et de pensée en système?

Tout à fait. Il se voulait d'abord écrivain. «Il me serait impossible d'écrire un livre, voire un article de revue de quelque importance, si cela ne représentait pas aussi pour moi une expérience esthétique», explique-t-il dans Pourquoi j'écris? Il se réfère bien plus à Swift, Dickens, London ou Wells qu'à Marx - qu'il n'a probablement jamais lu de première main - Engels ou Rosa Luxemburg. Cependant, il possédait une vraie pensée politique, non systémique, mais construite.

dimanche, 11 février 2018

Editorial EAS: Colección Pensamientos & Perspectivas

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Editorial EAS: Colección Pensamientos & Perspectivas

Un golpe de efecto en el mundo cultural actual, una llama que pretender avivar el fuego del interés por el conocimiento, un respiro de aire fresco en el saber de Occidente… Nuevas plumas salen al descubierto para enfrentarse al ensayo y a la literatura cotidiana; pensadores y literatos, trovadores y ensayistas que pretenden despertar nuevas mentes y redescubrir la esencia de lo que es pervertido por los mass media, eso es Pensamientos & Perspectivas, la esencia del simbolismo del ‘Árbol’ transmitida por plumas disidentes del siglo XXI y plasmada en aquellos autores que despiertan mentes inquietas.

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JÜNGER: Tras la guerra y la paz

Autores: Fernando Sánchez Dragó, Dr. Javier Nicolás, Troy Southgate, Alain de Benoist, Alexander Dugin, Luca L. Rimbotti, Gianfranco de Turris, Robert Steuckers, Julius Evola†, Ernst Jünger†, Eduard Alcántara, Andrea Berná, José Luis Ontiveros†, Santiago de Andrés, Carlos X. Blanco, Juan Pablo Vitali y Fernando Trujillo.

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Jünger y el Nacionalsocialismo por Javier Nicolás

14.50€

Incluye ensayos inéditos en castellano de Ernst Jünger

Descripción

Distancia y emboscadura habrían sido desde siempre los signos de una personalidad que observa, que medita, que percibe, que se implica en la lucha física de la vía del guerrero como un modo de vivir la acción desde la lejanía. Porque un espíritu libre, aristocrático, no podría soportar el mal olor y el peso de la gravedad de sus contemporáneos –«es preferible escribir un verso que representar a sesenta mil imbéciles en el parlamento», llegará a afirmar– por mucho que sus reflexiones le llevasen por los telúricos senderos del arraigo y de la nación y se sintiese en perfecta sintonía con un nacional-bolchevique como Niekisch. Pero su antinazismo tenía que ser, se quiere angustiosamente que fuese, algo consustancial. Su antinazismo habría precedido, se quiere angustiosamente que precediese, a la existencia del propio nacionalsocialismo.

Lo que narra el libro es el relato del diálogo directo de un soldado, de un pensador, de un escritor, de un nacionalista alemán con el fenómeno político e ideológico crucial del siglo XX, que, para bien o para mal determinó su vida, al igual que lo ha hecho con todas las nuestras.

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ORWELL: Viviendo el futuro y recordando el pasado por VV.AA.

17.50€

¿Qué historia conoces sobre la vida y obra de George Orwell? 
¿El modelo de “sociedad orwelliana” se está llevando a la práctica?
¿Existe una manipulación del lenguaje en base a una neo-lengua implantada?

¿Denuncia Orwell el Nuevo Orden Mundial, o se atrevió a revelar los planes de las Sociedades Secretas sabiendo ya que nadie podría evitarlos?

“La libertad es el derecho de decir a la gente lo que no quiere oír” George Orwell

Descripción

A voz de pronto y haciendo uso del (sin)sentido común, cualquier ciudadano apuesta por la seguridad a costa de la privacidad, prefiere dormir tranquilo, saber que todo está bajo el control de una entelequia que todo lo observa y vela por el “Bienestar” de todos. “Nadie tiene nada que temer si no hace nada malo”, la cuestión que nadie se plantea es ¿qué es lo “malo” y qué es lo “bueno”?.

Lo “bueno” y lo “malo” está supeditado a los designios de la política electoralista, de la alta finanza y el Gran Capital, de aquellos poderes que están por encima del ciudadano, esas entidades que no nos consultan sobre lo que deseamos, que aplican sus políticas restrictivas cada vez con mayor dureza y sin importarles lo que le han prometido al electorado, sus planes, los planes de los electos en cada legislatura cada vez se distancian más de los programas electorales que diseñan, la mentira es claramente más visible y descarada.

El Orden natural ha sido revertido por el orden material y ello lleva a que el ego impere por doquier. No importa lo social, lo común… el espíritu de comunidad popular ha sido colapsado por el “yoísmo”. Los medios de masas trabajan constantemente en plasmar en la mente de las personas el mensaje que les interesa a los que siniestramente dirigen el destino de los pueblos, y esto nos lleva a lo que decía Alphonse Bertillon: “se puede ver sólo lo que se observa y se observa sólo lo que está en la mente”.

Manuel Quesada

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MISHIMA: El último samurái

Autores: Dr. Kerry Bolton, Troy Southgate, John Howells, Wulf, Dimitris Michalopoulus, Christopher Pankhurst, Koichi Toyama, Douglas P., Vijay Prozak.

Pour toutes commandes:

Web: www.editorialeas.com
Contacto: info@editorialeas.com

mercredi, 12 juillet 2017

Animal Farm: Beware of the Language of Equality

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Animal Farm: Beware of the Language of Equality

by Charles Johnson
Ex: http://www.eurocanadian.ca

The impulse for writing this brief essay comes from teaching the book for several years abroad. In my simple observations about the work, I've employed a medical analogy, whereby, Old Major is a social physician; his patient is the ailing, but equally oblivious, population of farm animals, and the illness is the daily life on that farm, owned by Mr. Jones. This analysis of Animal Farm follows a therapeutic progression: from a diagnosis, to a prescribed therapy, and ending finally in a description of a state of health that should result if the treatment is followed. In contrast to the usual interpretation of Animal Farm which highlights Orwell's famous quote that "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others," the message of this medical analogy is that those who control language control politics and power.

In this respect, I'm aware of how Orwell uses Old Major to dramatize Karl Marx's critique of the struggle between owners and workers. But Orwell goes further, with important insights for the Alt Right. Aware that "Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies," Orwell puts aside whatever his sympathies with the workers might be; he challenges the idea that "All animals are equal." First, he shows the failure of this idea by focusing on who controls language, and then he presents reasons why equality among all the animals might not be all that desirable. In doing this, Orwell went against the egalitarian impulses of his day, displaying an intellectual originality that is rightly admired but perhaps all too seldom imitated.

I. Diagnosis—Medical Analogy


What Old Major offers the other animals is a diagnosis of the exploitation and unfairness that infects daily life on the farm. He states:
We are born, we are given just so much food as will keep the breath in our bodies, and those of us who are capable of it are forced to work to the last atom of our strength; and the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty.
Old Major educates the farm animals, making them aware that this is unhealthy. The animals "are forced to work," doing the most burdensome work to exhaustion, and in return, they only receive "just so much food as will keep the breath" in them — so that they can continue to work. As Old Major understands life on the farm, work is a major measure of value for most animals, and "the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered." Even at the end of a life-time of loyal labour on Manor Farm, animals don't get to enjoy retirement. Instead, they are mercilessly eliminated. Old Major assures Boxer that no animal is immune to this outcome: "the very day those great muscles of yours lose their power, Jones [...] will cut your throat and boil you down for the foxhounds." As with any good doctor, Old Major knows that it isn't enough to diagnose correctly the patient. The treatment must cure the illness.

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II. Treatment


To treat the pandemic injustices of Manor Farm, Old Major prescribes the therapy of rebellion. Speaking to the animals gathered in the barn, Old Major says:
[W]ork night and day, body and soul, for the over throw of the human race! That is my message to you, comrades: Rebellion!
A reader might ask: Why do the ills of Manor Farm have to be treated by the harsh remedy of rebellion? Any increase in animal rights is a decrease in Jones' control. Any further sharing out of resources diminishes profit for Jones. Moreover, not yet unified with the other animals by hunger, the individual animal poses no threat to Jones. The lone animal can't stand against the immediate punishment of a beating or starvation. Divided, the animals don't have power. Without power, negotiation is impossible. Jones doesn't need to compromise, so why would he? People in power rarely like to share it. The only recourse the animals have, therefore, is to take and redistribute power through violent revolution. Old Major believes that this forceful redistribution of power on the farm will be the end of inequality and making of a society based on harmonious relations without exploitation.

III. State of Health


But having always experienced inequality, the animals don't know what equality is, so Old Major has to show them. He does so in two ways: he addresses all the animals by the revolutionary sobriquet of "Comrade." All the animals are "comrades." Therefore, according to Old Major, "all animals are equal." Old Major further shows this to be true with the power of the vote. Each animal has a vote. The donkey's vote is no less a vote than the horse's vote. A pig's vote is no more a vote than a sheep's vote. Simply put, a vote is a vote is a vote. All votes are equal; consequently, all animals are equal. Yet readers must acknowledge this animal egalitarianism is only Old Major's hope for the future and not quite the reality, especially under the rule of the pigs.

IV. Language as a Measure of Power—Breakdown of Egalitarianism


Language is a measure of power on the Animal Farm. The pigs give the sheep their slogans "Four legs good, two legs bad," and "Four legs good, two legs better." The sheep are incapable of coming up with their own slogans. They're illiterate and under the control of the pigs. The sheep mindlessly memorize and repeat slogans at the pigs' behest. If Wittgenstein is right when he claims, "The limits of my language are the limits of my world," then clearly the sheep have a small world. But even more revealing might be the application of Wittgenstein's idea to describe the relationships of power on the Animal Farm: the limits of language are the limits of power. It is, therefore, no accident that the sheep have the least language and the least amount of power while the pigs have the most language, and the most power. The pigs, after all, write and revise the rules that govern life on the farm for all the animals. However, language alone doesn't separate the pigs from the others.

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V. Leisure


Snowball is able to become the hero of the Battle of the Cowshed not only because of language but because of leisure. Orwell describes an ordinary day on the farm shortly after the rebellion:
The pigs did not actually work, but directed and supervised the others. With their superior knowledge it was natural that they should assume the leadership.
The pigs do have language ability to a high degree above the other animals. This "superior knowledge" of language is what makes it "natural that they should assume the leadership." Of course, later Snowball clearly makes use of this "superior knowledge" of language by reading about the campaigns of Julius Caesar. Snowball 's learning allows him to organize and direct the animals to defend themselves against the attacking humans; however, without leisure, even the most useful books remain unread. Therefore, it is not insignificant that the "pigs did not actually work;" un-tired at night, the pigs are holed up in the harness-room, studying "from books." There's an undeniably intimate connection between leisure and learning that enables Snowball to be heroic. Even the modern story-tellers of Hollywood can't ignore this fact. That is why the bat-suited hero of Gotham is the leisured Bruce Wayne during the day. Moreover, the iron-clad Tony Stark is equally free from draining daily work when he's not putting in a shift as Iron Man. In understanding Animal Farm, we shouldn't overlook the importance of leisure. Orwell and Hollywood might agree at least on this point: leisure doesn't make a person heroic, but it is awfully difficult to be heroic without leisure. But leisure isn't the only resource where the animals are found to be unequal.

VI. Food


Food not only is the product of the farm, but it is also proof that the egalitarian revolution of Animalism has failed. When the animals returned from a long day's work in the fields, they realized that "the milk had disappeared." If life on Animal Farm were truly egalitarian, wouldn't each animal get a portion of milk? Of course they would. But that doesn't happen. As Napoleon said, "Never mind the milk, comrades!" This inequality with food resources continues throughout the novel. Though the "animals had assumed" that the windfall apples "would be shared out equally," they soon learned that "all the windfalls were [...] for the use of the pigs." And even as the farm faces the winter hardship of food shortages, not all animals make equal sacrifices: "[A]ll rations were reduced, except those of the pigs and dogs." There are many examples of inequality on the Animal Farm that result from power, greed and the pigs' preference for pigs over other animals on the farm. But the most formidable and unyielding source of inequality might be Nature itself.

VII. Nature Isn't Egalitarian


Maybe we would like to believe that the failure of animal egalitarianism wasn't inevitable. But the truth, however, might be that it truly was never possible. The pigs have a natural advantage the other farm animals lack. Orwell writes that the pigs "had taught themselves to read and write." This auto-didactic aptitude for reading and writing reveals more than a few not insignificant natural abilities that the pigs have. The pigs have a passion for learning, for teaching themselves new abilities without being prompted to do so by others; moreover, what the pigs teach themselves is equally important because "to read and write" is to have power over others on the farm. The other farm animals are aware that the pigs are "manifestly cleverer" and therefore, "should decide the questions of farm policy." Nature has made the pigs different. And as Freud observes:
[N]ature, by endowing individuals with extremely unequal [...] mental capacities, has introduced injustices against which there is no remedy.
Nature isn't egalitarian, and clearly the pigs have benefited in part from the lottery of chance. Their leadership is the reward for being "superior" to the other animals. Nature and the effort of the pigs have made the animals unequal. Nonetheless, the "remedy" of enforced equality under Napoleon's dictatorship may be far worse than the disease of Nature's "injustices."

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VIII. Undesired Outcomes of Egalitarianism


The dream of Old Major's egalitarianism turns into a nightmare under Napoleon's rule, and disagreement is outlawed through violence. One of Boxer's favorite slogans is "Napoleon is always right." He speaks more truth than he understands. Napoleon is always right. If he isn't, he exiles you or kills you. All animals are equal under Napoleon because they're all unable to dissent. Conformity is the unwritten law of Animal Farm. And its immediate consequences can't be ignored: countless deaths and tyranny; however, its unseen insidious effects are more dangerous. Maybe the windmill really fell because Benjamin refused to speak up. Since he "could read as well as any pig," who is to say that he didn't recognize the windmill's flaw of thin walls. If he realized the flaw, could it be that he chose to remain silent out of self-preservation? The silence of conformity comes at a cost: progress. As William Blake writes, "Without contraries is no progression." Doubtless, dissent is essential for progress and a healthy society. Silence puts an end to progress, and the tyranny of Napoleon turns even language into a weapon against the unsuspecting animals.

IX. Language as a Tool of Control


If you can say it, you can think it; you can do it. For this very reason, Napoleon bans "Beasts of England." Having witnessed the execution of their comrades by Napoleon's dogs, the farm animals retreat to the knoll and sing the song as an act of solace. Shortly afterwards, Squealer arrives. Orwell writes:
He announced that, by a special decree of Comrade Napoleon, 'Beasts of England' had been abolished. From now onwards it was forbidden to sing it.
The root of resistance is language; rebellion can't flower without it. "Beasts of England" is a song of rebellion, but now that Napoleon is in control, he doesn't want rebellion. The language of rebellion makes rebellion possible. Language comes first; the idea exists in language and only then is action possible. However, Squealer assures the animals that rebellion is "No longer needed" because, of course, Napoleon doesn't want it. To kill the flower, Napoleon tears out the root. It's not that "the Rebellion is now completed," as Squealer states, but rather that Napoleon has simply made rebellion impossible by eliminating its language. When the language of freedom disappears, slavery will be inescapable.

Orwell's work is rare in the world of books, and we do him the honor he deserves by reading it and reading it again. In Animal Farm, while sympathizing with the exploited and the urge for equality, he warned against the manipulation of those in control of the language of egalitarianism, the naive denial of the inescapable reality that animals and humans are not naturally equal, and that we must be wary of those who will manipulate us with words to believe we can be equal while not allowing open discussion about nature's inequalities.

mardi, 21 mars 2017

L’antirussisme à la lumière de George Orwell

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L’antirussisme à la lumière de George Orwell

par Nicolas Bonnal

Ex: http://www.dedefensa.org

Le général de Gaulle disait à Alain Peyrefitte sur cette rivalité russo-américaine qui l’énervait quelque peu : « les deux super-grands s’entendent comme larrons en foire. »

C’est l’historien Charles Beard qui a parlé au moment de la lugubre présidence Truman d’une guerre perpétuelle pour une paix perpétuelle. La guerre perpétuelle est celle que mène à tout moment l’Amérique dans telle ou telle partie du monde. Les Etats-Unis ont mené dans le monde 200 conflits comme l’a montré Oliver Stone dans son angoissant documentaire. Sept conflits ont été menés sous le prix Nobel de la paix Obama qui cherche à retourner au pouvoir ; son successeur intérimaire Donald Trump fait déjà la guerre au Yémen et menace l’Iran. Ensuite on verra. Pour prouver qu’il n’est pas un agent russe, Trump déclarera la guerre à la Russie !

La paix perpétuelle consiste à faire de ce monde libre un monde sûr pour la démocratie - dixit Woodrow Wilson qui laissa bolchévisme et fascisme s’installer en Europe ; ses héritiers ont imposé l’islamisme aux musulmans.

Revenons en 2017, cent ans après l’entrée en guerre des USA le 2 avril 1917.

Le pentagone a eu ses 84 milliards de rallonge et c’est très bien comme ça. On aura peut-être les guerres que désire l’Etat profond US, quoique George Orwell soit d’un autre avis. Car un autre historien, Harry Elmer Barnes, a établi en 1953 un lien entre la politique US (l’Amérique a la rage disait alors Sartre, aujourd’hui tout le monde la célèbre) et 1984.
Le livre de George Orwell redevient un bestseller, il y a de quoi. Souvenez-vous des déclarations hystériques du général Mad Dog Mathis au sénat sur la menace existentielle que font peser la Chine et la Russie sur l’Océanie orwellienne, pardon sur l’Amérique et son chenil européen peu éclairé en ces temps derniers.

Orwell a basé son Océanie sur l’Oceana de John Harrington un écrivain contemporain de Cromwell (il y a Orwell dans Cromwell) et inspiré par le modèle du sanhédrin et de l’oligarchie vénitienne. Orwell voit l’Océanie se heurter à Eurasia (la Russie) et à Estasie, une Asie unifiée par la Chine. Cela donne :

« … à ce moment, on annonça qu’après tout l’Océania n’était pas en guerre contre l’Eurasia. L’Océania était en guerre contre l’Estasia. L’Eurasia était un allié.  Il n’y eut naturellement aucune déclaration d’un changement quelconque. On apprit simplement, partout à la fois, avec une extrême soudaineté, que l’ennemi c’était l’Estasia et non l’Eurasia. »

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Puis Orwell explique qu’on est toujours en guerre, ou en guéguerre (la Chine et la Russie sont pour l’Océanie US ou la France socialiste de plus gros morceaux à avaler que la Libye) contre des rivaux diabolisés par la bureaucratie de la haine.

« Groupés d’une façon ou d’une autre, ces trois super-États sont en guerre d’une façon permanente depuis vingt-cinq ans. La guerre, cependant, n’est plus la lutte désespérée jusqu’à l’anéantissement qu’elle était dans les premières décennies du vingtième siècle. C’est une lutte dont les buts sont limités, entre combattants incapables de se détruire l’un l’autre, qui n’ont pas de raison matérielle de se battre et ne sont divisés par aucune différence idéologique véritable.»

Cette interminable mais parfois léthale phony war sert à maintenir quiète la masse russe ou américaine plutôt pauvre. Voyez ce qui en résulte avec 93 millions d’adultes sans emploi et 50% de la population active à moins de trente mille dollars par an, une misère avec l’exorbitant coût de la vie US.

« Le but primordial de la guerre moderne, ajoute George Orwell dans son long chapitre IX de la deuxième partie, est de consommer entièrement les produits de la machine sans élever le niveau général de la vie. Le problème était de faire tourner les roues de l’industrie sans accroître la richesse réelle du monde. Des marchandises devaient être produites, mais non distribuées. En pratique, le seul moyen d’y arriver était de faire continuellement la guerre (…). L’acte essentiel de la guerre est la destruction, pas nécessairement de vies humaines, mais des produits du travail humain. »

La guerre aussi permet à l’oligarchie de s’enrichir (Silicon Valley, Lockheed, Booz Allen, Boeing, CIA, NSA, Goldman Sachs, Fed, Hollywood, Marvel). Orwell encore :

« En même temps, la conscience d’être en guerre, et par conséquent en danger, fait que la possession de tout le pouvoir par une petite caste semble être la condition naturelle et inévitable de survie. »

La guerre permet surtout de contrôler la population ; voyez Henry IV de Shakespeare et ces querelles à l’étranger (foreign quarrels) pour occuper les esprits agités (to keep busy giddy minds).

Comme vu chez Thucydide, le public se soumet au pouvoir en se soumettant à la guerre :

« Fanatique, crédule, ignorant… En d’autres mots, il est nécessaire qu’il ait la mentalité appropriée à l’état de guerre. Peu importe que la guerre soit réellement déclarée et, puisque aucune victoire décisive n’est possible, peu importe qu’elle soit victorieuse ou non. Tout ce qui est nécessaire, c’est que l’état de guerre existe. »

La folie de Mad Dog Mathis est aussi expliquée par Orwell. On sait dans le Deep State que ni la Russie ni la Chine ne sont dangereuses. On n’en est donc que plus hystérique. Orwell:

« C’est précisément dans le Parti intérieur que l’hystérie de guerre et la haine de l’ennemi sont les plus fortes. Il est souvent nécessaire à un membre du Parti intérieur de savoir qu’un paragraphe ou un autre des nouvelles de la guerre est faux et il lui arrive souvent de savoir que la guerre entière est apocryphe, soit qu’elle n’existe pas, soit que les motifs pour lesquels elle est déclarée soient tout à fait différents de ceux que l’on fait connaître. Mais une telle connaissance est neutralisée par la technique de la doublepensée. »

Mathis doit en rajouter.

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Orwell établit :

« Aucun des trois super-États ne tente jamais un mouvement qui impliquerait le risque d’une défaite sérieuse. Quand une opération d’envergure est entreprise, c’est généralement une attaque par surprise contre un allié. »

Orwell rassure sur ces tontons flingueurs. On ne défouraille plus. La guerre ne serait plus dangereuse.

« Tant que les guerres pouvaient se gagner ou se perdre, aucune classe dirigeante ne pouvait être entièrement irresponsable. Mais quand la guerre devient continuelle, elle cesse aussi d’être dangereuse. Il n’y a plus de nécessité militaire quand la guerre est permanente. Le progrès peut s’arrêter et les faits les plus patents peuvent être niés ou négligés. »

Et on jouerait à la guéguerre avec 666 milliards par an alors ? Ces bases militaires sont des parcs d’attraction ? Et Philippe Grasset qui nous parle d’incapacité opérationnelle US systémique !

Par contre Orwell évoque la police de la pensée ; un coup de Decodex ici, un impeachment pour le candidat sibérien là, une omniprésence des bandeaux info dictés par la CIA partout.

« L’efficience, même l’efficience militaire, n’est plus nécessaire. En Océanie, sauf la Police de la Pensée, rien n’est efficient. »

L’inefficacité militaire US fut évoquée ici : on ne voit pas les USA et la valetaille croisée défier de vraies puissances. Orwell :

« La guerre donc, si nous la jugeons sur le modèle des guerres antérieures, est une simple imposture. Elle ressemble aux batailles entre certains ruminants dont les cornes sont plantées à un angle tel qu’ils sont incapables de se blesser l’un l’autre. Mais, bien qu’irréelle, elle n’est pas sans signification. Elle dévore le surplus des produits de consommation et elle aide à préserver l’atmosphère mentale spéciale dont a besoin une société hiérarchisée. »

L’antirussisme a un seul but clair : le renforcement de cette oligarchie et de son emprise sur son monde.

Sources

Guerre du Péloponnèse, I

1984, deuxième partie, chapitre IX

Perpetual war for perpetual peace; the costs of war (Mises.org)

Harrington, Oceana (Gutenberg.org)

Peyrefitte – c’était de Gaulle

Shakespeare, Henry IV, part 2, act 4, sc. 5

Therefore, my Harry,

Be it thy course to busy giddy minds

With foreign quarrels, that action, hence borne out,

May waste the memory of the former days

mercredi, 22 février 2017

George Orwell: l’intégrité de la pensée

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George Orwell: l’intégrité de la pensée

Orwell fait partie de ces écrivains qui avec une acuité rare sut ne pas tomber dans les pièges qui bernèrent les plus grands et causèrent des montagnes de morts sacrifiés sur l’autel de l’idéologie. Il eut l’instinct de ne pas s’enliser dans les couloirs de l’utopie et le courage de dénoncer les travers des grands courants de pensée de son époque ; à l’heure où tant d’intellectuels, par complaisance ou par lâcheté, se font les serviteurs d’un système mystificateur, il est de bon ton de rappeler l’intégrité de cet homme pour qui l’engagement rimait avec honnêteté. Bien que disparu depuis plus d’un demi-siècle, il a toujours des choses à nous dire…

George Orwell de son vrai nom Eric Arthur Blair nait le 25 juin 1903   à Motihari dans les Indes britanniques, son père est fonctionnaire colonial chargé de la régie de l’opium, à l’époque monopole d’Etat. Il est issu de la petite bourgeoisie, sa famille bien que désargentée jouissant du prestige de l’Empire colonial. Orwell est intrinsèquement britannique, même clochard il conservait en toutes circonstances sa prestance british. Bien « qu’en bas de la bourgeoisie » son statut familial lui permettra de rentrer au collège d’Elton (il écrira sur ces années dans Le Ventre de la baleine), en contact avec l’élite anglaise de l’époque il est victime de brimades et se sent à l’écart car déclassé par rapport à ses camarades faisant partie du sérail. Durant ses études il se plonge dans Shakespeare, Lord Byron et surtout Dickens. Sa personnalité se fondera par la suite, il se cherche…Ses études étant un fiasco, ses parents n’ayant pas les moyens de l’envoyer à Cambridge, il va alors choisir de servir dans la gendarmerie nationale en Birmanie. Bien que très critique envers son pays, il est patriote et le sera durant toute sa vie. Il commence à écrire des poèmes, quelques récits mais ce ne sont encore que ses balbutiements…

Désillusionné, il se morfond en Birmanie, et est heurté par l’injustice du système colonial ; il a une fonction de répression et de maintien de l’ordre sans pour autant donner dans le manichéisme. Il a la dent dure tant pour les birmans que pour les colonisateurs, il critique l’avilissement subi par les birmans et les anglais installés qu’il juge déliquescents. Un sentiment de culpabilité voire d’expiation suscitant l’ordalie nait alors chez lui, celui d’être issu d’une famille ayant exploité les indigènes. Il y restera cinq années puis revient en 1927 en Grande-Bretagne, il découvre alors la plèbe et son sous-prolétariat qui le révulse et lui inspire de la compassion. Face à cette réalité qui écorne le mythe de son pays, ses valeurs se sont effondrées ; conscient qu’il participe à un système fondé sur les classes sociales.  Il éprouve alors le besoin de parcourir le monde pour se trouver et se ressourcer.

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Il choisit alors Paris, passage obligé pour tout intellectuel ou artiste de l’époque, et se même au milieu populaire de la capitale. Il survit grâce à de petits boulots (plonge, cours d’anglais) et écrit dans quelques journaux… C’est la débrouille et une période de clochardisation difficile. Il fréquente un temps les milieux espérantistes, les milieux littéraires mais surtout cherche sa voie en écriture quand son ventre n’est pas vide. Cette expérience parisienne commence à le forger politiquement et devient socialiste ; il en profite pour choisir son nom de plume. Il est étranger aux avant-gardes de son époque bien qu’il croise quelques futures grandes personnalités littéraires de son époque. Son premier roman (largement autobiographique) est alors édité, bien que Dans la dèche à Paris et à Londres ne rencontre pas un succès commercial il suscite l’intérêt des mouvements de gauche pour qui il écrira quelques papiers. On lui colle alors l’étiquette d’écrivain de gauche bien que les nuances de sa pensée le mettent en marge. Son second roman Une histoire birmane est une critique acerbe du colonialisme qu’il a bien connu.

A la demande de son éditeur il est envoyé dans le nord de l’Angleterre où il côtoie les gens du peuple, au bas de l’échelle sociale, laminés par le chômage. Sa conscience politique s’affine avec Le Quai de Wigan où il traite de l’exploitation des bassins miniers par le milieu ouvrier pour qui il se prend d’amour, touché par sa grandeur malgré l’adversité. Durant toute sa vie, il y aura chez lui une fascination pour les corps suppliciés, des prolétaires ou celui des exclus. Composée de deux parties, la première sous forme journalistique et la seconde sous forme de pamphlet, il a la dent dure envers les institutions politiques œuvrant pour socialisme, créant une ligne de démarcation entre les intellectuels déversant leur idéologie et le milieu ouvrier en prise avec le réel. Son éditeur se désolidarise alors de lui, Orwell se dit socialiste, réceptif à l’anarchisme et se détache déjà très clairement des cerveaux staliniens ou trotskistes. Orwell partage la notion « d’Etat providence » ayant pour mission de subvenir aux besoins de ses citoyens, en termes de santé, d’éducation et d’emploi.

Il gagne alors l’Espagne en pleine guerre grâce à ses réseaux et  s’engage dans le POUM (parti ouvrier d’extrême gauche) récusé par les communistes aux ordres de l’Union Soviétique. Plusieurs camps s’affrontant en effet au sein des opposants à Franco, il est témoin des luttes intestines menées par les communistes. Hommage à la Catalogne racontera cette période de sa vie avec amertume… Il découvre alors le pouvoir de la propagande et les manipulations de la presse. Cela aura une incidence sur la création de 1984. Blessé sur le front, assistant aux basses besognes des milices communistes pour exterminer les anarchistes sous l’ordre de Staline, il regagne l’Angleterre une fois la victoire de Franco. Il prend alors conscience que la guerre n’est pas noble même si ceux qui sont sur le champ de bataille combattent souvent pour un idéal. Il est le premier à dénoncer les exactions et les trahisons des staliniens préférant détruire les groupes dissidents de gauche plutôt que de les triompher des franquistes. Il découvre la pureté tout autant que les salissures des idéologues. Lui qui nomme par « esprit de cristal » le meilleur de l’homme, découvre la noirceur de l’âme humaine bien que continuant à croire en l’homme en tant qu’individualité.

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Un peu d’air frais sort en 1937 décrit avec nostalgie l’Angleterre des débuts de XXème siècle et de la nocivité du progrès tel que conçu par les idéologues. Une certaine forme de refus de la modernité nait alors chez lui car il pressent la naissance des totalitarismes et de l’aliénation des masses. Pacifiste, patriote et révolutionnaire à la fois, anarchiste dans sa méfiance envers les élites, conservateur car hostile à ce qui est présenté à tort comme le progrès, Orwell se singularise des mouvements intellectuels de sa génération. Orwell se débat avec ses contradictions, aime les femmes tout en étant misogyne, aime l’Humanité mais est habité par un  brin d’antisémitisme et de nationalisme.

Durant la seconde guerre mondiale, il officie pour la BBC. Souvent censuré pour ses opinions et ses critiques envers l’Union Soviétique alors alliée de la Grande-Bretagne, il démissionne fin 1943 pour rejoindre le journal travailliste de gauche The Tribune. Après la guerre, sachant que la tuberculeuse ne lui laisse que quelques années à vivre, c’est une course contre la montre pour parachever son œuvre politico-littéraire. Il écrit les deux ouvrages qui le consacreront : La Ferme des animaux publiée en pleine guerre froide, critique du stalinisme mais aussi d’une analyse peu flatteuse envers le capitalisme, et bien sûr le prophétique 1984 où il déploie sa haine du totalitarisme au nom du socialisme, dénonçant la manipulation des masses par le langage via sa simplification afin de réduire la capacité d’analyse (la fameuse novlangue). Pour rappel, Orwell était polyglotte, parlant couramment le français, à la recherche de la pureté et du mot juste dans ses écrits. Les mots n’ayant pas qu’une vocation fonctionnelle mais la mission de véhiculer la pensée sans distorsion. Il nous décrit dans 1984 un homme réduit à sa fonction où sévit une surveillance technologique liberticide des citoyens. Il décèdera à seulement 47 ans le 21 janvier 1950, seul dans son lit sans personne pour lui prendre la main, sa seconde femme fanfaronnant avec un de ses amants alors qu’il agonise.

Sa pensée heuristique restant d’actualité, un grand nombre d’écrivains ou intellectuels revendiquent son influence. En France, son plus grand représentant est sans nul doute le philosophie Jean-Claude Michéa. Messianique malgré lui, Orwell est toujours un grain de sable dans l’engrenage des puissants. Pour preuve, une campagne de presse diffamante relayée par nombre de grands quotidiens sur un Orwell qui en fin de vie aurait donné au Foreign Office les noms de compagnons de route potentiellement espions de l’Union Soviétique. Il n’en est rien, alors en fin de vie une amie et belle-sœur de son ami Arthur Koestler vint lui rendre visite au sanatorium où il était soigné afin de lui demander des noms d’intellectuels ou journalistes susceptibles d’écrire sur les exactions du régime soviétique à la demande d’un service gouvernemental anglais. Il lui donnera effectivement des noms… Parmi ces noms, il nommera des personnalités inutiles de contacter car peu enclins à saper le régime stalinien du fait de leur obédience politique. De là à en faire un délateur, il y a un monde ! On chercha donc à salir l’image de cet homme…Comme quoi il dérange toujours, son rayonnement étant une épine dans le pied des totalitarismes contemporains. Totalitarismes insidieusement cachés dans notre société dont nous portons les bacilles, qui ont su se travestir et sont toujours à l’ouvrage.

L’homme et l’écriture ne faisant qu’un, son œuvre puisa dans les expériences qui jalonnèrent sa vie. Eclairant le présent et le futur à la lumière du passé, méfiant vis-à-vis des idéologies d’où qu’elles viennent.  Orwell, témoin engagé de son Temps, ne tomba pas dans les pièges de son époque comme Céline, Drieu La rochelle, Sartre ou encore Aragon. Il sut ne pas se laisser berner par les endoctrinements et des luttes de salon, son intégrité l’amena à se faire des ennemis de son vivant mais le plus bel ami une fois quitté ce monde… Le jugement de l’Histoire.

Romain d’Ignazio.

jeudi, 01 décembre 2016

Henry Williamson, George Orwell, & the Pigs

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Henry Williamson, George Orwell, & the Pigs

Henry_Williamson_by_Charles_Tunnicliffe (1).jpgToday is the birthday of Henry Williamson (Dec. 1, 1895 – Aug. 13, 1977)—ruralist author, war historian, journalist, farmer, and visionary of British fascism.

Two rather incongruous points of Williamson’s life stand out. One is that he achieved fame with what is usually regarded as a children’s book, Tarka the Otter (originally published 1927, with a movie version in 1979).

The other is that he was a friend of Lawrence of Arabia; and that it was on his way back from posting a letter to Williamson that T. E. Lawrence was mysteriously killed in a motorcycle accident. This was 1935. The matter under discussion in the correspondence was a request by Williamson that Lawrence join Sir Oswald Mosley in a campaign for European peace. Reportedly, Lawrence agreed.

Williamson was a prolific, compulsive writer (over 50 books, including posthumous volumes). Sometimes he is described as an author whose fame was consigned to “the memory hole” on account of his fascist associations and enthusiasm for National Socialism.

But this is very misleading. Even as an old man in the 1960s, Williamson was called upon by one of his old papers, the Evening Standard, to revisit and recount the 1914-18 battlefields of the Western Front [2], and ten years later he was engaged to draft a scenario for a long-delayed film version of Tarka. When he died in 1977 he merited a 1700-word obit in The Times [3] that described his great output and scarcely mentioned his “Fascist sympathies.”

Henry Williamson.jpgBlackshirt sympathies are really a side-note with Williamson, as they are with Yeats, Belloc, and Wyndham Lewis. If he is largely forgotten today, this is not because he went to Nuremberg rallies (nobody forgets the Mitfords, after all), but rather because of the peculiar nature of his output. Apart from his war memoirs, most of his writing consists of highly detailed close observation, with little direct commentary on the world at large. (The newspaper column at the end of this article is a good example of Williamson’s work. Taken in large doses, such detail tends to become tedious.)

A good contrast with Williamson is the case of George Orwell, whose pose as “a man of the Left” was purely for literary viability in the 1930s. From his social attitudes and military bearing, to his patriotic pronouncements (England, Your England) and anti-Stalinism—even his funny mustache—Orwell was a most unlikely “man of the Left.” Yet that is how he styled himself. Orwell even shared with Williamson a fondness for nature-writing, though their differences in approach are striking, as I will come back to.

First, though, I want to say a few words about Williamson’s ruralist books and journalism. He wrote in a time when nature-writing was a popular genre, and a mainstay of daily newspapers, particularly in England, much as wine columns seem to be today. I guess these “countryman” columns in London papers functioned as “breathers,” giving tram and Underground riders a break from the usual Fleet Street headlines and Oxo adverts. And maybe editors and press-lords believed thought that throwing in a bit of farming, foxes and foliage would raise the overall tone of their newspapers.

The most famous example of these “countryman” columns is the one Evelyn Waugh made up for his satirical novel, Scoop (1938). In Scoop, a newspaper tycoon wants to hire a fashionable young novelist named Boot to cover a civil war in Africa. By mistake he gets the wrong Boot. Not society star John Courtney Boot, but his impoverished hick cousin, William.

Shy, befuddled William Boot lives in deepest Devon where he writes a column called “Lush Places,” for the vulgar London newspaper The Daily Beast. (The title has since been repurposed for an even more vulgar webzine).

We get only one snippet of this impenetrably rhapsodic column, “Lush Places,” but that leaves us gasping for no more: “Feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the questing vole.”

Henry Williamson, you might say, was the real “Boot of The Beast” in Scoop. He was unworldly. He wrote “countryman” columns. He described, close-up, the behavior of the salmon and the otter, the “feather-footed vole” in the “plashy fen.” He lived out in Devon, later in north Norfolk, worked a countryman writer and farmer.

What a contrast with Orwell, who was not only a sort of war correspondent in the Spanish Civil War (for the Tribune, and in his memoir Homage to Catalonia) but made a special point of joining an eccentric faction, the POUM, that opposed Stalin but supported the Spanish Loyalists.

But Orwell’s mindset was not that far off from Williamson’s. They were near-contemporaries (Williamson: 1895-1977, Orwell: 1903-1950), and Orwell too often wrote about nature and farming.

One of Orwell’s best known essays, “Some Thoughts on the Common Toad,” is a mystical-whimsical contemplation on toad-spawning as an annual rite of spring:

Frequently one comes upon shapeless masses of ten or twenty toads rolling over and over in the water, one clinging to another without distinction of sex. By degrees, however, they sort themselves out into couples, with the male duly sitting on the female’s back. You can now distinguish males from females, because the male is smaller, darker and sits on top, with his arms tightly clasped round the female’s neck. After a day or two the spawn is laid in long strings which wind themselves in and out of the reeds and soon become invisible. A few more weeks, and the water is alive with masses of tiny tadpoles which rapidly grow larger, sprout hind-legs, then forelegs, then shed their tails: and finally, about the middle of the summer, the new generation of toads, smaller than one’s thumb-nail but perfect in every particular, crawl out of the water to begin the game anew.

I mention the spawning of the toads because it is one of the phenomena of spring which most deeply appeal to me, and because the toad, unlike the skylark and the primrose, has never had much of a boost from poets. [2]

Orwell constantly fantasized about living in the countryside, and even talked of becoming a farmer someday. Around 1936 he got as far as living in North Hertfordshire country store beside an estate called Manor Farm—a name he borrowed some years later when he penned a fantasy about a farm where all the animals, led by smart pigs, take control and rename the place Animal Farm.

roman-1984,M113634.jpgThe romance of the country permeates his other fiction. In one novel after another, Orwell’s human characters rouse themselves, suddenly and unaccountably, to go tramping through meadows and hedgerows. In A Clergyman’s Daughter the title character gets amnesia and finds herself hop-picking in Kent. The superficially different stories in Nineteen Eighty-Four and Keep the Aspidistra Flying both have romantic episodes in which a couple go for long hikes through idyllic woods and fields, where they marvel and fornicate amongst the wonders of Mother Nature. The middle-aged narrator of Coming for Air spends much of the novel dreaming of fishing in the country ponds of his youth, but when he finally takes his rod and seeks down his old haunts, he finds that exurbia has encroached and his fishing-place is now being used as a latrine and rubbish-tip by a local encampment of beatnik nature-lovers.

For Orwell, fauna and flora are never just interesting specimens by themselves. They are always somehow political and anthropomorphized, tied up with human associations. Toads having sex are like tiny people performing The Rite of Spring. The wild is a place where you can escape to make love safely, far away from the eyes and ears of your landlady or The Party (although Winston Smith does worry that there may be microphones hidden in the trees!). Despoiling your fishing hole is a Bad Thing not because of pollution or dead fish but because it insults your inner picture of the world.

In his abbreviated career, Orwell remained very much the urbanized literary man, never the countryman. He saw natural phenomena as things that had to be justified and rationalized in a utilitarian way, so they could fit into his world view. Or at least have some literary usefulness.

For Williamson, literary usefulness was pretty much beside the point. He received commissions and royalties from his columns and books, but basically he earned his living from the soil. For him, toads were toads and pigs were pigs. This was reality, and the important thing about his little piggies was that they were starving and needed to be fed, or else they would die.

Here, then, is a Henry Williamson column from the Evening Standard, early 1940. He is describing a scene on his north Norfolk farm. The column is followed by its then-worldly (but now extremely obscure) adjoining headline. Williamson’s agony over his hungry piglets describes a situation that could very well have occurred a millennium before.

Cold Comfort

Come with me into the open air this afternoon, and help me saw up logs for the hearths in the farmhouse below. It’s frosty, the pipes in the cow-house are frozen. 

Take this Norwegian saw, with its razor-thin serrated band, which will cut through a two-inch green bough in four strokes – or would, before someone used it for four-hundred-year-old oak posts. 

It’s pretty hard work, you say, using it now? Well, carry on, it will get you warm, anyway! 

Half an hour later, we are warm and glowing, although when we touch the blade of either saw with a finger, it sticks to the steel. That will tell how keen the frost is. 

It’s as cold as it was in the High Pyrenees, years ago with old Kit, when we climbed up all day stripped to the waist, and skied down at night, when the stars were flashing and the frosty snow-flakes glinted in the flashes of Sirius. 

Down there, before a typewriter, one shivers, although a rug is round the knees; out here, it’s grand, and the pile of logs grows higher. Forgotten for the moment are the problems of farming: the delay in delivery of the deep-digger plough; the pigs below which are being fed on sugar-beet tops and crushed oats, because there is no proper food available. 

Twenty-four little pigs – and for weeks I have not been able to buy any proper food for them. I can’t send them to market, either, for the market is closed to ‘stores’, owing to swine fever in the district. 

The food-merchants tell me they get supplies only with the greatest difficulty, and then in small quantities. 

Meanwhile my little pigs are half-starved, and I only hope that the R.S.P.C.A. won’t prosecute me for cruelty. 

However, let’s forget it for a while and saw some more wood. And when the arm is tired we’ll enjoy the view. Isn’t everything quiet? The gold of the sunshine seems frozen, immingled with the frosty air; hardly a sound. 

Even the sea is silent on the distant sands, where the geese wait until twilight to come in and feed on the clover in the fields. Let’s hope they leave some for hay next summer. Shoot them? You’ll be lucky to get within two hundred yards of them. They have sentinels out, watching with raised heads. 

Twilight comes suddenly, with purple-red afterglow of the sun hiding coldly behind the frosty fog creeping up the valley with still layers of cottage chimney smoke. The nip comes back to ear and finger-tips. The old car slithers over the rimed grass, drawing the trailer. And suddenly five airplanes roar overhead, low, from their vigil across the North Sea. One lags behind, the engines spluttering. It lurches through the air, so low that we can see one of the crew be- hind the crystal dome. 

Are they very cold in there? They fly on, and we go down to the farm to look at the little pigs. This is the age of endurance – for a better future, we hope.  

Wednesday, 17 January 1940  

Notes

1.  http://www.henrywilliamson.co.uk/hw-and-the-first-world-war [2]

2. Originally published in Tribune and The New Republic, 1946. Collected in In Front of Your Nose: The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, Vol. 4.New York, San Diego, London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,  1968.

 

 

Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: https://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: https://www.counter-currents.com/2016/12/henry-williamson-george-orwell-and-the-pigs/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/HenryWilliamsonPainting.jpg

[2] recount the 1914-18 battlefields of the Western Front: http://www.henrywilliamson.co.uk/hw-and-the-first-world-war

[3] The Times: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.obituaries/fGODnHy747M

vendredi, 18 novembre 2016

George Orwell: A Life in Pictures Full Documentary

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George Orwell: A Life in Pictures Full Documentary 

George Orwell: A Life in Pictures is a 2003 BBC Television docudrama telling the life story of the British author George Orwell. Chris Langham plays the part of Orwell. No surviving sound recordings or video of the real George Orwell have been found.



Awards:
International Emmy 2004 for Best Arts Programme
Grierson Award 2004 for Best Documentary on the Arts

mardi, 25 octobre 2016

Deconstructing George Orwell and explaining why Animal Farm and 1984 are not anti-socialist works

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Deconstructing George Orwell and explaining why Animal Farm and 1984 are not anti-socialist works

I explain Orwell's background and deconstruct 1984 and Animal Farm and explain why capitalists who use his work tovsupport his aims are wrong to do so.

samedi, 01 octobre 2016

Orwell on Politics & the English Language

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Orwell on Politics & the English Language

polorwell.jpgGeorge Orwell’s classic essay “Politics and the English Language [2]” ostensibly teaches us how to write well. More importantly, however, it teaches us how to think well before we write. According to Orwell, slovenly thought leads to slovenly writing as much as slovenly writing leads back to slovenly thought. In this essay, Orwell derides the politics of his day as being imbued with conformity of expression and the distancing of this expression from Truth. Nothing can achieve this more effectively than slovenly writing.

The essay, which is fairly short, can be found here [2]. One does not need to be a writer to appreciate it just as one does not need to be an athlete to appreciate a book on exercise. Clear and disciplined writing, according to Orwell, is the noontime sun to the night of obfuscation and equivocation. Imagine politics without these two things. It wouldn’t be hard to do if everyone abided by the lessons in “Politics and the English Language.”

I cannot surpass Orwell in this regard, but I will attempt to augment him. But first, a brief summation. Bad writing, according to Orwell, includes “staleness of imagery” and “lack of precision.” In the former case, writers won’t select words to convey meaning so much as string together ready-made phrases written by others. These phrases will invariably contain overused metaphors, unnecessary words, and pretentious diction. In the latter case, writers will eschew concrete detail and the active voice in order to make unpleasant realities appear less unpleasant. The result is both vague and dishonest.

To avoid bad writing, writers should follow these six rules:

  1. “Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.”
  2. “Never use a long word where a short one will do.”
  3. “If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.”
  4. “Never use the passive when you can use the active.”
  5. “Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.”
  6. “Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.”

I left much out of this synopsis, hoping that you will experience Orwell before getting around to me. Indeed, I try to read “Politics and the English Language” once every few months or so, just to keep it fresh in my mind.

My first addendum echoes Orwell’s disdain for pretentious and complicated diction. Here, euphemisms deflect attention away from horrific details, making them seem acceptable to the public. Orwell provides several examples, including the brutal dekulakization of the early Soviet period which claimed the lives of millions of Ukrainians. This atrocity is now blandly referred to as the “transfer of population.” This was a very real thing back then. In 1933, the pro-Soviet New York Times published the following about the Soviet-mandated famine:

The food shortage is the result of a nation-wide peasant strike precipitated by the rough-shod methods of the Soviet government in hacking through to its industrialization objectives.

In order to soften the subject matter, the Times re-branded deadly famines as mere “food shortages” and mass executions and deportations as ill-defined “rough-shod methods.” Note the stale imagery and lack of precision. Note also how the passive tense and the backwards composition of the passage seems almost to exonerate the killers. In the passage, the Times orders the events like so:

Food Shortage Peasant Strike Rough-shod Methods

But chronologically, what happened was:

Rough-shod Methods Peasant Strike Food Shortage

Truly “rough-shod methods” (whatever they may be) are to blame. But in order for a reader to figure that out, he would have to work through what was already an insipid and convoluted passage, and then reassemble it in the exact opposite way in which it originally appeared. This requires too much work for most readers, and so something that should appall will simply be skimmed and forgotten. Orwell dwells not just on the laziness of writing but also its dishonesty. The writer most likely had sympathy for the Soviet Union, and so obscured his criticism in abstruse language to deaden whatever reaction people might have upon reading it.

What Orwell doesn’t mention however is what I call the Intimidation Factor. When presented with a tangled web of language like the one above, which contains a five-syllable word (“precipitated”) and a seven-syllable word (“industrialization”), most readers in the general population will discover they lack the brainpower to parse such a sentence in real time. Such a sentence is intimidating. And since most readers will be loath to admit this, they will instead pretend to understand it, thus allowing any deceptions therein to go unchallenged. Even worse, such a reader may pass on the same poorly-constructed language to others so he, in turn, can have the pleasure of intimidating people. Rather than admit they didn’t follow such grotesque turns of phrase, his audience will simply nod along as if they agree with every word. And so the cycle of slovenly thought continues.

My second addendum involves a more immediate effect of badly-formed language: a waste of the reader’s time. Presumably, most readers value their time and read only during the moments when they are between things to do. I always imagine people reading me during their eight-minute subway ride to work. The last thing I want is for them to run out of time and then forget me. Avoiding the mistakes Orwell describes helps ensure that your ideas not only reach the reader but stay with him.

Malcolm Gladwell, in chapter two of his famous book Outliers, provides an excellent example:

For almost a generation, psychologists around the world have been engaged in a spirited debate over a question that most of us would consider to have been settled years ago. The question is this: is there such a thing as innate talent?

Gladwell’s wordiness seemingly attempts to build suspense before revealing the psychologists’ question. In this, Gladwell resembles a magician stalling for time before revealing the two of clubs up his sleeve. While children may appreciate such games, most adult readers, whose time is valuable, won’t. Gladwell used 42 words to express a rather pithy idea. Here it is, pared down to 18:

For almost a generation, psychologists have been debating something most people take for granted: whether innate talent exists.

I concede that this example, while direct, may lack the style or finesse to be fun to read. However, from this nucleus Gladwell could have added ten words of pure flourish and still have kept well below the published word count. He could have also have used these ten words to introduce new ideas or embellish existing ones. Such excess may seem innocuous at first. When spread out across an entire volume, however, we realize that it isn’t. 18 plus 10 is 28. 28 is two-thirds of 42. This means that a book of 100,000 words written in this manner will contain between 33,000 and 34,000 wasted words. This will only exasperate the reader and lessen the writer’s likelihood of propagating his ideas.

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My last addendum will be my briefest: Always assume a skeptical attitude on the part of the reader. Orwell touches on this idea, and I wish he had delved a bit deeper. All writers should assume reader skepticism because this will unleash in him the most powerful emotion: fear. Fear of being attacked and rebutted by unsympathetic readers is a marvelous motivation to root out the errors mentioned in Orwell’s rules above. Without fear, a writer can get complacent and lazy, which leads almost inevitably to slovenly language. When you assume that all readers are unsympathetic, however, self-editing becomes second nature, and, in my opinion, your writing greatly improves.

Of course, we on the Alt Right know this fear well. We know the hostility we face and we know the dire consequence of what we write. We’re trying to drastically change our world, and our enemies are not only formidable but everywhere. Perhaps this is one reason why I am drawn to the writing on the Alt Right. For the most part it is revolutionary yet measured, direct, and well-thought out. You will often get this from people beyond the edges of the Overton Window. They want in, but are not willing to sacrifice their integrity to get in. So, instead of crashing the window, they aim to pull it closer to where they already stand. The best way to do this is to communicate clearly and honestly in language which is concrete, active and original — all of which is prescribed in Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.”

Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2016/09/orwell-on-politics-and-the-english-language/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Orwell.jpg

[2] Politics and the English Language: http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/politics/english/e_polit

jeudi, 26 novembre 2015

"1984" revisitado (otra vez y las que hagan falta)

 

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"1984" revisitado (otra vez y las que hagan falta)
 
 

Orwell no ideó un mundo terrorífico. Ya existía en la Unión Soviética, dirigida con puño de acero por Stalin, y se reproduciría como una pesadilla interminable en los países que cayeron bajo influencia de la URSS después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. El valor de ´1984´ es haber penetrado en el fondo, la esencial naturaleza de dominación psicológica sobre la que fundamenta su poder el Gran Hermano.

JOSÉ VICENTE PASCUAL

Ex: http://www.elmanifiesto.com

Orwell(1)eas.jpgOrwell 
no ideó un mundo terrorífico. Ya existía en la Unión Soviética, dirigida con puño de acero por Stalin, y se reproduciría como una pesadilla interminable en los países que cayeron bajo influencia de la URSS después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. El valor de ‘1984’ es haber penetrado en el fondo, la esencial naturaleza de dominación psicológica sobre la que fundamenta su poder el Gran Hermano. Lo horrendo de ‘1984’ no es el temor constante a la vigilancia y la delación, la represión, las torturas y la evaporación de los disidentes (aun cuando su descreencia del sistema fuese mínima, irrelevante e incluso ingenua). Lo espantoso de ese mundo descrito por Orwell es la claudicación del espíritu, la eutanasia mental que supone adherirse al sistema para librarse de sus horrores. El final de la novela es un puro escalofrío: “… él amaba al Gran Hermano”. Ese es el mal perfecto de todas las dictaduras perfectas: conseguir no sólo aplastar la disidencia sino concitar la complicidad del conjunto de la población, arrebatar el espíritu, el alma de los pueblos y los individuos, y convertirlos en míseros engranajes de un sistema que funciona porque todos sus componentes funcionan, desde el más insignificante al más poderoso.

Tanto el mundo orwelliano como su referente real stalinista, así como nuestra contemporaneidad, muestran elementos comunes de hostigamiento, dominación y sumisión de los individuos ante las estructuras incontestables del sistema, tanto las de carácter coercitivo como ideológico. El método para alcanzar ese consenso social acrítico, el acuerdo de las masas en ser expoliadas de su trascendencia espiritual a cambio de la frágil estabilidad cotidiana, se fundamenta siempre en los mismos resortes: creación de un ideario colectivo disparatado que responde a los intereses estratégicos del lo establecido; desautorización (cuando no criminalización) de quienes disienten de dicho ideario; manipulación de la conciencia de las masas mediante el control de los medios de comunicación, tanto en lo que concierne a la información como a la propaganda sobre el supuesto bien común; aniquilamiento de la capacidad individual de oposición al discurso dominante; reescritura de la Historia conforme a un relato que se acomode a la ideología oficial.

De todo lo anterior hemos tenido sobradas muestras e inquietantes ejemplos en España, durante los últimos años. Desde los poderes del Estado se ha alimentado la hegemonía, obligatoriedad del pensamiento único, el cual, en nuestro entorno, se sostiene sobre los postulados del denominado “buenismo”, la doctrina de la llamada “izquierda angélica” y lo “políticamente correcto”. Denunciar ahora la clamorosa entrega de los medios de comunicación a los intereses partidistas (cada cual en su trinchera), y al sistema en general (en el fondo y en la práctica no hay diferencias esenciales entre las sedicentes posiciones de “izquierda” y “derecha”), sería tan inútil como reiterativo. La prensa, TV y demás medios, incluido Internet, son herramientas incansables de adocenamiento y adoctrinamiento, el referente ideológico inmediato que necesitan las masas desprovistas de identidad y criterio para reconocerse “buenos ciudadanos”. Sobre la reescritura de la Historia, entre la absurdidad de la Ley de Memoria Histórica y las fechorías doctrinarias de los nacionalismos que se perpetran en las escuelas, tenemos bastante muestra.

Hay diferencias, sin embargo, entre el stalinismo, el horror aplastante que imaginó Orwell y nuestra inmediata fenomenología social. La Unión Soviética era un país dirigido por el PCUS, autoproclamado “vanguardia del proletariado”, en tanto las sociedades occidentales contemporáneas se encuentran gobernadas y moralmente dirigidas por la pequeña burguesía, quien cumple perfectamente su función de elemento amortiguador entre las contradicciones y conflictos inherentes al modo de producción capitalista. La burguesía financiera/especulativa ha suplantado el papel dirigente de la burguesía productiva, de tal manera que los intereses de aquella pueden ser fielmente representados por la pequeña burguesía (urbana sobre todo), bajo la pretensión candorosa y bastante mojigata de que es posible construir “un mundo mejor” sobre el acuerdo en principios democráticos, solidarios y bienintencionados. El sueño pequeño burgués de una sociedad cuasiperfecta se fundamenta en la caritativa presunción de que es posible una economía capitalista como motor económico, por tanto básico, de una sociedad que no padezca los inconvenientes del capitalismo (desempleo, precariedad laboral, pobreza, injusticia distributiva…); todo ello dirigido y gestionado por políticos “honestos” y bendecidos por una ejemplar sensibilidad social. En suma: una patraña agradable para mentes dóciles y conciencias aletargadas en el limbo progre-cristianoide donde habitan la mayoría de nuestros conciudadanos.

El proletariado es (más bien era) una clase social con unos intereses históricos objetivos y concretos, al igual que la burguesía. Por tanto, su compendio doctrinal se expresaba en “ideologías fuertes”, cosmovisiones totalizadoras que implicaban alternativas estratégicas y tácticas orientadas a la toma del poder y la transformación radical de la sociedad, lo que equivaldría a una inversión absoluta del sentido de la Historia. Por el contrario, la pequeña burguesía es una excrecencia social desubicada, sin un referente estable en los vaivenes coyunturales de la lucha de clases, sin “ideología propia” por así decirlo. De tal forma, el cuerpo teórico del pensamiento único (la forma de dominación más eficaz ideada por el sistema a lo largo de los siglos), es un largo, tedioso, a menudo aberrante inventario de buenas intenciones obligatorias, así como de comportamientos reprobables que están prohibidos o deberían estarlo. El ‘1984’ actual, paradójicamente, no hunde sus raíces teóricas en una visión del mundo “fuerte”, radical y asentada tanto en la hegemonía ideológica como en el poder que nace “de la boca del fusil”; el occidente contemporáneo se encuentra dominado y se muestra sumiso a una ficción lábil, esquematizante por lo pueril, a menudo ridícula y tenaz como suelen mostrarse obstinados los pazguatos de este mundo, empeñados en sostener ideas descabelladamente candorosas que consideran brillantes “valores propios”. No cabe discusión con este pensamiento único porque debatir con los necios es tarea vana. No cabe oposición eficiente porque los mismos necios y sus gestores estratégicos se muestran admirablemente hábiles para imponer la “muerte civil” a quien manifieste disidencia.

La simpleza y la fealdad, la histeria feminoide de los pequeño burgueses horrorizados por las fechorías del capitalismo, la ideología grosera de las masas embrutecidas y sus agentes propagandísticos, en alianza ultimista con un sistema que condena a la explotación y extinción de su conciencia a millones de ciudadanos, constituyen el moderno ‘1984’.

Contra ello, no cabe más posición crítica que la enunciada a mediados del siglo XX por un venerable teórico, pedagogo argentino: “Al viejo mundo no se le discute: se le combate”. Cómo hacerlo es parte de otra asignatura, por así decirlo, que va mucho más allá de las pretensiones de este breve artículo.

 

Editorial EAS

Orwell, viviendo el futuro y recordando el pasado

lundi, 10 août 2015

Der wertlose Mensch

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Der wertlose Mensch

von Johannes Konstantin Poensgen

Ex: http://www.blauenarzisse.de

 

Was für ein Menschenbild hatte George Orwell? Wir sollten 1984 noch einmal lesen und auf das Innere der Figuren achten.

 

George Orwells Roman 1984 gehört zu jenen Büchern, die im allgemeinen Sprachgebrauch zu einer Floskel herabgesunken sind. Jeder kennt die Phantasie technischer Totalüberwachung und die drei Slogans der Partei tauchen immer dann auf, wenn jemand gerade einen Spruch benötigt, der ihn als Durchschauer der herrschenden Verhältnisse auszeichnet. Doch 1984 ist mehr als eine Abrechnung mit dem „Totalitarismus“. Es ist, vielleicht gegen den Willen des Autors, das Bekenntnis eines Menschenbildes.

 

War is Peace

 

Die Welt aus 1984 wirkt dabei auf uns Heutige wie eine Gespenstergeschichte, eine jener Totalitarismusphantasien, wie sie um die Mitte des 20. Jahrhunderts blühten. Jenseits des billigen rhetorischen Gebrauchs könnte man sagen, dass Orwells Roman uns schlicht nichts mehr angehe.

 

Das ist grundfalsch. Orwells Prognose hat sich in einer Hinsicht bewahrheitet. Und zwar auf einer tieferen Ebene bewahrheitet, als er selbst es sich wohl vorgestellt hat. Als der Zweite Weltkrieg verraucht und die Atombombe gerade erst erfunden war, begriff Orwell vielleicht als erster die Wirkung der neuen Waffe in einer Zeit großer geopolitischer Blöcke. „Krieg ist Frieden“, das heißt, es gibt keinen Unterschied mehr zwischen Krieg und Frieden. Immer ist irgendwo in der Peripherie Krieg, aber er stellt für die großen Machtgebilde keine Bedrohung mehr da.

 

Das hat Konsequenzen, denn solange Kriege mit Sieg oder Niederlage endeten, gehörten sie zu den wenigen Zwängen, die eine Gesellschaft in der Realität hielten. „Zu allen Zeiten haben die Herrscher versucht ihrem Gefolge ein falsches Bilde der Welt aufzuzwingen, doch sie konnten es sich nicht erlauben Illusionen zu verbreiten, die die militärische Effizienz beeinträchtigten. Solange eine Niederlage den Verlust der Unabhängigkeit bedeutete, oder irgendeine andere allgemein als unangenehm empfundene Folge hatte, musste man gegen Niederlagen ernsthafte Vorsichtsmaßnahmen treffen. Körperliche Tatsachen konnten nicht ignoriert werden. In der Philosophie, in der Religion, in der Ethik, in der Politik, können Zwei und Zwei Fünf sein, aber bei der Konstruktion eines Gewehres oder eines Flugzeuges mussten sie Vier ergeben. Ineffiziente Nationen wurden früher oder später erobert und der Kampf um Effizienz bekämpft die Illusionen.“ In 1984 ist wirklich, was immer die Partei zur Wirklichkeit erklärt, weil kein äußerer Zwang sie daran hindert jede beliebige Prämisse anzunehmen.

 

Ignorance is Strength

 

In diesem geschützten Raum wird das Reich der Lüge errichtet. Geistige Gesundheit wird zu einer Frage der Statistik. Ohne Maßstab von außen ist Wirklichkeit nicht von dem zu unterscheiden, was die Mehrheit dafür hält. Was diese Mehrheit denkt und tut, ist vollständig kontrollierbar. Alles eine Frage der Technik und während ringsherum die Häuser, Straßen und Wasserleitungen verfallen, hat die Partei diese eine Technik perfektioniert. Der Parteibonze O‘Brien erklärt den Menschen zur Knetmasse, die in jede beliebige Form gedrückt werden kann.

 

Es ist Orwell selbst, der da spricht. Seine Dystopie beruht auf einem Menschenbild, das im Inneren hohl ist. Das verblüffendste Merkmal des Romans ist das Nicht-​Vorhandensein von Charakteren. In der Schundliteratur ist das gang und gäbe, auf der Höhe eines Schriftstellers wie Orwell eine Seltenheit und wenn es doch einmal vorkommt von tiefster Bedeutung. Winston Smith ist einfach nur das Parteimitglied, Julia die junge Frau in der Partei, O‘Brien der Parteiobere, Parsons der ebenso enthusiastische wie beschränkte Mitläufer.

 

Außerhalb der Partei kann keiner von ihnen gedacht werden, es sei denn als Mensch an sich. Sie sind reine Funktionen der Welt von 1984. Dass Menschen – nicht „der Mensch“ – ein Eigenes haben könnten, das sich den technokratischen Phantasien immer als Störfaktor entgegenstellt und sie schließlich aufreibt, kommt Orwell gar nicht in den Sinn.

 

Freedom is Slavery

 

Es ist das Menschenbild des enttäuschten Kommunisten Orwell. Das Reich der Freiheit und Gleichheit, das auf demselben Typus des nicht vorhandenen Menschen beruht, hat sich nicht verwirklichen lassen. Orwell kann sich nur noch vorstellen, wie dieser Mensch in die Perfektionierung des „perennierenden Leidens“ (Adorno) stürzt. Im „totalen Verblendungszusammenhang“ (derselbe) wird der Kreislauf aus Indoktrination und Repression niemals enden. Die Macht um ihrer selbst willen, dieses nietzscheanische Ideal unter dem Orwell sich nichts vorstellen kann als einen Stiefel, der ein Gesicht zertritt, reproduziert sich in die Ewigkeit.

 

Hier ist die Sklaverei von der Freiheit nicht mehr zu unterscheiden, aber nicht, wie Orwell es sich denkt, weil der Apparat den Menschen von außen verformt, weil er ihn prägt und umprägt, bis er will, was er zu wollen hat – das alles tut der Apparat natürlich – sondern, weil der Orwellsche Menschentypus kein Selbst besitzt, das er äußeren Einflüssen entgegenstellt. Allenfalls in der Liebe, also aus der Beziehung zu einem Anderen, kann dieses Tabula Rasa noch etwas Halt finden. Einen Halt, an den er sich klammert, bis er unvermeidlicherweise doch abrutscht. „There are no heroes in pain“ ist die tiefste Aussage seines Romans. Dass es Helden bis in die Folterkammern hinein gegeben hatte und noch geben würde, deren Selbst auch nach Jahren nicht zerbricht – auch wenn es Schrammen und Kratzer davonträgt – konnte er sich nicht vorstellen.

 

Orwells verzweifelte Frage lautet, warum diese Menschen nicht als Gleiche auf dieser Welt leben können, wo doch, sehr marxistisch gedacht, die Produktionskräfte es zuließen. Doch in seinem Roman tun sie es doch. Sind sie dort nicht gleich vor Big Brother? Kein Selbst haben, nur von außen bestimmt sein, das ist Gleichheit. Orwells wertloser Mensch lebt in seinem Ideal, nur sieht es anders aus, als von der Theorie entworfen, und allein diese Differenz zwischen Anspruch und Wirklichkeit, nicht die Wertlosigkeit dieses Menschen an sich, bereitete Orwell schlaflose Nächte.

mardi, 30 juin 2015

Orwell, Huxley and America’s Plunge into Authoritarianism

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Legitimizing State Violence

Orwell, Huxley and America’s Plunge into Authoritarianism

by HENRY A. GIROUX
Ex: http://www.counterpunch.org

In spite of their differing perceptions of the architecture of the totalitarian superstate and how it exercised power and control over its residents, George Orwell and Aldus Huxley shared a fundamental conviction.  They both argued that the established democracies of the West were moving quickly toward an historical moment when they would willingly relinquish the noble promises and ideals of liberal democracy and enter that menacing space where totalitarianism perverts the modern ideals of justice, freedom, and political emancipation. Both believed that Western democracies were devolving into pathological states in which politics was recognized in the interest of death over life and justice. Both were unequivocal in the shared understanding that the future of civilization was on the verge of total domination or what Hannah Arendt called “dark times.”

While Neil Postman and other critical descendants have pitted Orwell and Huxley against each other because of their distinctively separate notions of a future dystopian society,[1] I believe that the dark shadow of authoritarianism that shrouds American society like a thick veil can be lifted by re-examining Orwell’s prescient dystopian fable 1984 as well as Huxley’s Brave New World in light of contemporary neoliberal ascendancy. Rather than pit their dystopian visions against each other, it might be more productive to see them as complementing each other, especially at a time when to quote Antonio Gramsci “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” [2]

Both authors provide insights into the merging of the totalitarian elements that constitute a new and more hybridized form of authoritarian control, appearing less as fiction than a threatening portend of the unfolding 21st century. Consumer fantasies and authoritarian control, “Big Brother” intelligence agencies and the voracious seductions of privatized pleasures, along with the rise of the punishing state—which criminalizes an increasing number of behaviors and invests in institutions that incarcerate and are organized principally for the production of violence–and the collapse of democratic public spheres into narrow market-driven orbits of privatization–these now constitute the new order of authoritarianism.

Orwell’s “Big Brother” found more recently a new incarnation in the revelations of government lawlessness and corporate spying by whistleblowers such as Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond, and Edward Snowden.[3] All of these individuals revealed a government that lied about its intelligence operations, illegally spied on millions of people who were not considered terrorists or had committed no crime, and collected data from every conceivable electronic source to be stored and potentially used to squelch dissent, blackmail people, or just intimidate those who fight to make corporate and state power accountable.[4] Orwell offered his readers an image of the modern state in which privacy was no longer valued as a civil virtue and a basic human right, nor perceived as a measure of the robust strength of a healthy and thriving democracy. In Orwell’s dystopia the right to privacy had come under egregious assault, but the ruthless transgressions of privacy pointed to something more sinister than the violation of individual rights. The claim to privacy, for Orwell, represented a moral and political principle by which to assess the nature, power, and severity of an emerging totalitarian state. Orwell’s warning was intended to shed light on the horrors of totalitarianism, the corruption of language, the production of a pervasive stupidity, and the endless regimes of state spying imposed on citizens in the mid-20th-century.

orw84.jpgOrwell opened a door for all to see a “nightmarish future” in which everyday life becomes harsh, an object of state surveillance, and control—a society in which the slogan “ignorance becomes strength” morphs into a guiding principle of mainstream media, education, and the culture of politics. Huxley shared Orwell’s concern about ignorance as a political tool of the elite, enforced through surveillance and the banning of books, dissent, and critical thought itself. But Huxley, believed that social control and the propagation of ignorance would be introduced by those in power through the political tools of pleasure and distraction. Huxley thought this might take place through drugs and genetic engineering, but the real drugs and social planning of late modernity lies in the presence of an entertainment and public pedagogy industry that trades in pleasure and idiocy, most evident in the merging of neoliberalism, celebrity culture, and the control of commanding cultural apparatuses extending from Hollywood movies and video games to mainstream television, news, and the social media.

Orwell’s Big Brother of 1984 has been upgraded in the 2015 edition. As Zygmunt Bauman points out, if the older Big Brother presided over traditional enclosures such as military barracks, prisons, schools, and “countless other big and small panopticons, the updated Big Brother is not only concerned with inclusion and the death of privacy, but also the suppression of dissent and the widening of the politics of exclusion.[5] Keeping people out is the extended face of Big Brother who now patrols borders, hospitals, and other public spaces in order to “spot “the people who do not fit in the places they are in, banishing them from the place and departing them ‘where they belong,’ or better still never allowing them to come anywhere near in the first place.”[6]

This is the Big Brother that pushes youthful protests out of the public spaces they attempt to occupy. This is the hyper-nationalistic Big Brother clinging to notions of racial purity and American exceptionalism as a driving force in creating a country that has come to resemble an open air prison for the dispossessed. This is the Big Brother whose split personality portends the dark authoritarian universe of the 1 percent with their control over the economy and use of paramilitarised police forces, on the one hand, and, on the other, their retreat into gated communities manned by SWAT-like security forces.

The increasing militarization of local police forces who are now armed with weapons from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan has transformed how the police respond to dealing with the public. Cops have been transformed into soldiers just as dialogue and community policing have been replaced by military-style practices that are way out of proportion to the crimes the police are trained to address. For instance, The Economist reported that “”SWAT teams were deployed about 3,000 times in 1980 but are now used around 50,000 times a year. Some cities use them for routine patrols in high-crime areas. Baltimore and Dallas have used them to break up poker games. In 2010 New Haven, Connecticut sent a SWAT team to a bar suspected of serving under-age drinkers. That same year heavily-armed police raided barber shops around Orlando, Florida; they said they were hunting for guns and drugs but ended up arresting 34 people for “barbering without a license”. Maricopa County, Arizona sent a SWAT team into the living room of Jesus Llovera, who was suspected of organizing cockfights.”[7]

In the advent of the recent display of police force in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland it is unfair to view the impact of the rapid militarization of local police on poor black communities as nothing short of terrifying and symptomatic of the violence that takes place in authoritarian societies. For instance, according to a recent report produced by the Malcolm X Grassroots

Movement entitled Operation Ghetto Storm, ‘police officers, security guards, or self-appointed vigilantes extra judicially killed at least 313 African-Americans in 2012…This means a black person was killed by a security officer every 28 hours’. Michelle Alexander adds to the racist nature of the punishing state by pointing out that “There are more African American adults under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.”[8] Meanwhile the real violence used by the state against poor minorities of color, women, immigrants, and low income adults barely gets mentioned, except when it is so spectacularly visible that it cannot be ignored as in the cases of Eric Garner who was choked to death by a New York City policeman after he was confronted for illegally selling untaxed cigarettes. Or the case of Freddie Gray who had his spine severed and voice box crushed for making eye contact with a cop. These cases are not exceptional. For too many blacks, the police have turned their neighborhoods into war zones where cops parading as soldiers act with impunity.

Fear and isolation constitute an updated version of Big Brother. Fear is managed and is buttressed by a neoliberal logic that embraces the notion that while fear be accepted as a general condition of society, how it is dealt with by members of the American public be relegated to the realm of the private, dealt with exclusively as an individual consideration, largely removed from the collapse of authoritarian control and democratic rule, and posited onto the individual’s fear of the other. In the surveillance state, fear is misplaced from the political sphere and emergence of an authoritarian government to the personal concern with the fear of surviving, not getting ahead, unemployment, and the danger posed by the growing legions of the interminable others.  As the older order dies, a new one struggles to be born, one that often produces a liminal space that gives rise to monsters, all too willing to kidnap, torture, and spy on law abiding citizens while violating civil liberties.[9] As Antonio Gramsci once suggested, such an interregnum offers no political guarantees, but it does provide or at least gestures towards the conditions to reimagine “what is to be done,” how it might be done, and who is going to do it.[10]

Orwell’s 1984 continues to serve as a brilliant and important metaphor for mapping the expansive trajectory of global surveillance, authoritarianism, and the suppression of dissent that has characterized the first decades of the new millennium. The older modes of surveillance to which Orwell pointed, including his warnings regarding the dangers of microphones and giant telescreens that watch and listen are surprisingly limited when compared with the varied means now available for spying on people. Orwell would be astonished by this contemporary, refashioned “Big Brother” given the threat the new surveillance state poses because of its reach and the alleged “advance” of technologies that far outstretch anything he could have imagined—technologies that pose a much greater threat to both the personal privacy of citizens and the control exercised by sovereign power.

In spite of his vivid imagination, “Orwell never could have imagined that the National Security Agency (NSA) would amass metadata on billions of our phone calls and 200 million of our text messages every day. Orwell could not have foreseen that our government would read the content of our emails, file transfers, and live chats from the social media we use.”[11] Edward Snowden and other critics are correct about the dangers of the state’s infringement of privacy rights, but their analysis should be taken further by linking the issue of citizen surveillance with the rise of “networked societies,” global flows of power, and the emergence of a totalitarian ethos that defies even state-based control.[12] For Orwell, domination was state imposed and bore the heavy hand of unremitting repression and a smothering language that eviscerated any appearance of dissent, erased historical memory, and turned the truth into its opposite. For Orwell, individual freedom was at risk under the heavy hand of state terrorism.

In Orwell’s world, individual freedom and privacy were under attack from outside forces. For Huxley, in contrast, freedom and privacy were willingly given up as part of the seductions of a soft authoritarianism, with its vast machinery of manufactured needs, desires, and identities. This new mode of persuasion seduced people into chasing commodities, and infantilized them through the mass production of easily digestible entertainment, disposable goods, and new scientific advances in which any viable sense of agency was undermined. The conditions for critical thought dissolved into the limited pleasures instant gratification wrought through the use of technologies and consuming practices that dampened, if not obliterated, the very possibility of thinking itself. Orwell’s dark image is the stuff of government oppression whereas Huxley’s is the stuff of distractions, diversions, and the transformation of privacy into a cheap and sensational performance for public display. Neil Postman, writing in a different time and worried about the destructive anti-intellectual influence of television sided with Huxley and believed that repression was now on the side of entertainment and the propensity of the American public to amuse themselves to death. [13] His attempt to differentiate Huxley’s dystopian vision from Orwell’s is worth noting. He writes:

Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think. What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. … As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.[14]

Echoes of Huxley’s insights play out in the willingness of millions of people who voluntarily hand over personal information whether in the service of the strange sociality prompted by social media or in homage to the new surveillance state. New surveillance technologies employ by major servers providers now focus on diverse consumer populations who are targeted in the collection of endless amounts of personal information as they move from one site to the next, one geopolitical region to the next, and across multiple screens and digital apparatuses. As Ariel Dorfman points out, “social media users gladly give up their liberty and privacy, invariably for the most benevolent of platitudes and reasons,”[15] all the while endlessly shopping online, updating Facebook, and texting. Indeed, surveillance technologies are now present in virtually every public and private space – such as video cameras in streets, commercial establishments, workplaces, and even schools as well as the myriad scanners at entry points of airports, retail stores, sporting events, and so on – and function as control mechanisms that become normalized through their heightened visibility. In addition, the all-encompassing world of corporate and state surveillance is aided by our endless array of personal devices that chart, via GPS tracking, our every move, our every choice, and every pleasure.

orwell-eye.jpegAt the same time, Orwell’s warning about “Big Brother” applies not simply to an authoritarian-surveillance state but also to commanding financial institutions and corporations who have made diverse modes of surveillance a ubiquitous feature of daily life. Corporations use the new technologies to track spending habits and collect data points from social media so as to provide us with consumer goods that match our desires, employ face recognition technologies to alert store salesperson to our credit ratings, and so it goes. Heidi Boghosian points out that if omniscient state control in Orwell’s 1984 is embodied by the two-way television sets present in each home, then in “our own modern adaptation, it is symbolized by the location-tracking cell phones we willingly carry in our pockets and the microchip-embedded clothes we wear on our bodies.”[16] In this instance, the surveillance state is one that not only listens, watches, and gathers massive amounts of information through data mining, allegedly for the purpose of identifying “security threats.” It also acculturates the public into accepting the intrusion of commercial surveillance technologies – and, perhaps more vitally, the acceptance of privatized, commodified values – into all aspects of their lives. In other words, the most dangerous repercussions of a near total loss of privacy involve more than the unwarranted collecting of information by the government: we must also be attentive to the ways in which being spied on has become not only normalized, but even enticing, as corporations up the pleasure quotient for consumers who use new digital technologies and social networks – not least of all by and for simulating experiences of community.

Many individuals, especially young people, now run from privacy and increasingly demand services in which they can share every personal facet of their lives. While Orwell’s vision touches upon this type of control, there is a notable difference that he did not foresee. According to Pete Cashmore, while Orwell’s “Thought Police tracked you without permission, some consumers are now comfortable with sharing their every move online.”[17] The state and corporate cultural apparatuses now collude to socialize everyone – especially young people – into a regime of security and commodification in which their identities, values, and desires are inextricably tied to a culture of commodified addictions, self-help, therapy, and social indifference. Intelligence networks now inhabit the world of major corporations such as Disney and the Bank of America as well as the secret domains of the NSA, FBI and fifteen other intelligence agencies. As Edward Snowden’s revelations about the PRISM program revealed, the NSA also collected personal data from all of the major high tech giant service providers who according to a senior lawyer for the NSA, “were fully aware of the surveillance agency’s widespread collection of data.”[18]

The fact is that Orwell’s and Huxley’s ironic representations of the modern totalitarian state – along with their implied defense of a democratic ideal rooted in the right to privacy and the right to be educated in the capacity to be autonomous and critical thinkers– has been transformed and mutilated almost beyond recognition by the material and ideological registers of a worldwide neoliberal order. Just as we can envision Orwell’s and Huxley’s dystopian fables morphing over time from “realistic novels” into a “real life documentary,” and now into a form of “reality TV,” privacy and freedom have been radically altered in an age of permanent, non-stop global exchange and circulation. That is, in the current moment, the right to privacy and freedom have been usurped by the seductions of a narcissistic culture and casino capitalism’s unending desire to turn every relationship into an act of commerce and to make all aspects of daily life subject to market forces under watchful eyes of both government and corporate regimes of surveillance. In a world devoid of care, compassion, and protection, personal privacy and freedom are no longer connected and resuscitated through its connection to public life, the common good, or a vulnerability born of the recognition of the frailty of human life. Culture loses its power as the bearer of public memory, civic literacy, and the lessons of history in a social order where the worst excesses of capitalism are left unchecked and a consumerist ethic “makes impossible any shared recognition of common interests or goals.”[19] With the rise of the punishing state along with a kind of willful amnesia taking hold of the larger culture, we see little more than a paralyzing fear and apathy in response the increasing exposure of formerly private spheres to data mining and manipulation, while the concept of privacy itself has all but expired under a “broad set of panoptic practices.”[20] With individuals more or less succumbing to this insidious cultural shift in their daily lives, there is nothing to prevent widespread collective indifference to the growth of a surveillance culture, let alone an authoritarian state.

The worse fears of Huxley and Orwell merge into a dead zone of historical amnesia as more and more people embrace any and every new electronic device regardless of the risks it might pose in terms of granting corporations and governments increased access to and power over their choices and movements. Detailed personal information flows from the sphere of entertainment to the deadly serious and integrated spheres of capital accumulation and policing as they are collected and sold to business and government agencies who track the populace for either commercial purposes or for fear of a possible threat to the social order and its established institutions of power. Power now imprisons not only bodies under a regime of surveillance and a mass incarceration state but also subjectivity itself as the threat of state control is now coupled with the seductions of the new forms of passive inducing soma: electronic technologies, a pervasive commodified landscape, and a mind numbing celebrity culture.

Underlying these everyday conveniences of modern life, as Boghosian documents in great detail, is the growing Orwellian partnership between the militarized state and private security companies in the United States. Each day, new evidence surfaces pointing to the emergence of a police state that has produced ever more sophisticated methods for surveillance in order to enforce a mass suppression of the most essential tools for democratic dissent: “the press, political activists, civil rights advocates and conscientious insiders who blow the whistle on corporate malfeasance and government abuse.”[21] As Boghosian points out, “By claiming that anyone who questions authority or engages in undesired political speech is a potential terrorist threat, this government-corporate partnership makes a mockery of civil liberties.”[22] Nowhere is this more evident than in American public schools where a youth are being taught that they are a generation of suspects, subject to the presence of armed police and security guards, drug sniffing dogs, and an array of surveillance apparatuses that chart their every move, not to mention in some cases how they respond emotionally to certain pedagogical practices.

Whistleblowers are not only punished by the government; their lives are also turned upside down in the process by private surveillance agencies and major corporations who now work in tandem. For instance, the Bank of America assembled 15 to 20 bank officials and retained the law firm of Hunton & Williams in order to devise “various schemes to attack WikiLeaks and Greenwald whom they thought were about to release damaging information about the bank.”[23] It is worth repeating that Orwell’s vision of surveillance and the totalitarian state look mild next to the emergence of a corporate-private-state surveillance system that wants to tap into every conceivable mode of communication, collect endless amounts of metadata to be stored in vast intelligence storage sites around the country, and use that data to repress any vestige of dissent.[24]

As Huxley anticipated, any critical analysis must move beyond documenting abuses of power to how addressing contemporary neoliberal modernity has created a social order in which individuals become complicit with authoritarianism. That is, how is unfreedom internalized? What and how do state and corporate controlled institutions, cultural apparatuses, social relations, and policies contribute to making a society’s plunge into dark times self-generating as Huxley predicted? Put differently, what is the educative nature of a repressive politics and how does it function to secure the consent of the American public? And, most importantly, how can it be challenged and under what circumstances? Aided by a public pedagogy, produced and circulated through a machinery of consumption and public relations tactics, a growing regime of repression works through the homogenizing forces of the market to support the widespread embrace of an authoritarian culture and police state.

brave-new-world-cover.jpgRelentlessly entertained by spectacles, people become not only numb to violence and cruelty but begin to identify with an authoritarian worldview. As David Graeber suggests, the police “become the almost obsessive objects of imaginative identification in popular culture… watching movies, or viewing TV shows that invite them to look at the world from a police point of view.”[25] But it is not just the spectacle of violence that ushers individuals into a world in which brutality becomes a primary force for mediating relations as well as the ultimate source of pleasure, there is also the production of an unchecked notion of individualism that both dissolves social bonds and removes any viable notion of agency from the landscape of social responsibility and ethical consideration.

Absorbed in privatized orbits of consumption, commodification, and display, Americans vicariously participate in the toxic pleasures of the authoritarian state. Violence has become the organizing force of a society driven by a noxious notion of privatization in which it becomes difficult for ideas to be lifted into the public realm. Under such circumstances, politics is eviscerated because it now supports a market-driven view of society that has turned its back on the idea that social values, public trust, and communal relations are fundamental to a democratic society. This violence against the social mimics not just the death of the radical imagination, but also a notion of banality made famous by Hannah Arendt who argued that at the root of totalitarianism was a kind of thoughtlessness, an inability to think, and a type of outrageous indifference in which “There’s simply the reluctance ever to imagine what the other person is experiencing.” [26]

By integrating insights drawn from both Huxley and Orwell, it becomes necessary for any viable critical analysis to take a long view, contextualizing the contemporary moment as a new historical conjuncture in which political rule has been replaced by corporate sovereignty, consumerism becomes the only obligation of citizenship, and the only value that matters is exchange value. Precarity has replaced social protections provided by the state, just as the state cares more about building prisons and infantilizing the American public than it does about providing all of its citizens with quality educational institutions and health care. America is not just dancing into oblivion as Huxley suggested, it is also being pushed into the dark recesses of an authoritarian state. Orwell wrote dystopian novels but he believed that the sheer goodness of human nature would in the end be enough for individuals to develop modes of collective resistance he could only imagine in the midst of the haunting spectre of totalitarianism. Huxley was more indebted to Kafka’s notion of destabilization, despair, and hopelessness. For Huxley, the subject had lost his or her sense of agency and had become the product of a scientifically manufactured form of idiocy and conformity. Progress had been transformed into its opposite and science now needs to be liberated from itself. As Theodor Adorno has pointed out, where Huxley fails is that he has no sense of resistance. According to Adorno, “The weakness of Huxley’s entire conception is that it makes all its concepts relentlessly dynamic but nevertheless arms them against the tendency to turn into their own opposites.” [27] Hence, the forces of resistance are not simply underestimated but rendered impotent.

The authoritarian nature of the corporate-state surveillance apparatus and security system with its “urge to surveil, eavesdrop on, spy on, monitor, record, and save every communication of any sort on the planet”[28] can only be fully understood when its ubiquitous tentacles are connected to wider cultures of control and punishment, including security-patrolled corridors of public schools, the rise in super-max prisons, the hyper-militarization of local police forces, the justification of secret prisons and state-sanctioned torture abroad, and the increasing labeling of dissent as an act of terrorism in the United States. [29] This is part of Orwell’s narrative but it does not go far enough. The new authoritarian corporate-driven state deploys more subtle tactics to depoliticize public memory and promote the militarization of everyday life. Alongside efforts to defund public and higher education and to attack the welfare state, a wide-ranging assault is being waged across the culture on all spheres that encourage the public to hold power accountable. If these public institutions are destroyed, there will be few sites left in which to nurture the critical formative cultures capable of educating people to challenge the range of injustices plaguing the United States and the forces that reproduce them. One particular challenge comes from the success of neoliberal tyranny to dissolve those social bonds that entail a sense of responsibility toward others and form the basis for political consciousness. Under the new authoritarian state, perhaps the gravest threat one faces is not simply being subject to the dictates of what Quentin Skinner calls “arbitrary power,” but failing to respond with outrage when “my liberty is also being violated, and not merely by the fact that someone is reading my emails but also by the fact that someone has the power to do so should they choose.”[30] The situation is dire when people no longer seem interested in contesting such power. It is precisely the poisonous spread of a broad culture of political indifference that puts at risk the fundamental principles of justice and freedom which lie at the heart of a robust democracy. The democratic imagination has been transformed into a data machine that marshals its inhabitants into the neoliberal dream world of babbling consumers and armies of exploitative labor whose ultimate goal is to accumulate capital and initiate individuals into the brave new surveillance/punishing state that merges Orwell’s Big Brother with Huxley’s mind- altering soma.

Nothing will change unless people begin to take seriously the subjective underpinnings of oppression in the United States and what it might require to make such issues meaningful in order to make them critical and transformative. As Charles Derber has explained, knowing “how to express possibilities and convey them authentically and persuasively seems crucially important”[31] if any viable notion of resistance is to take place. The current regime of authoritarianism is reinforced through a new and pervasive sensibility in which people surrender themselves to the both the capitalist system and a general belief in its call for security. It does not simply repress independent thought, but constitutes new modes of thinking through a diverse set of cultural apparatuses ranging from the schools and media to the Internet. The fundamental question in resisting the transformation of the United States into a 21st-century authoritarian society must concern the educative nature of politics – that is, what people believe and how their individual and collective dispositions and capacities to be either willing or resistant agents are shaped.

I want to conclude by recommending five initiatives, though incomplete, that might help young people and others challenge the current oppressive historical conjuncture in which they along with other oppressed groups now find themselves. My focus is on higher education because that is the one institution that is under intense assault at the moment because it has not completely surrendered to the Orwellian state.[32]

First, there is a need for what can be called a revival of the radical imagination. This call would be part of a larger project “to reinvent democracy in the wake of the evidence that, at the national level, there is no democracy—if by ‘democracy’ we mean effective popular participation in the crucial decisions affecting the community.”[33] Democracy entails a challenge to the power of those individuals, financial elite, ruling groups, and large-scale enterprises that have hijacked democracy. At the very least, this means refusing to accept minimalist notions of democracy in which elections become the measure of democratic participation. Far more crucial is the struggle for the development public spaces and spheres that produce a formative culture in which the American public can imagine forms of democratic self-management of what can be called “key economic, political, and social institutions.”[34]

One step in this direction would be to for young people, intellectuals, scholars and other to go on the offensive in defending higher education as a public good, resisting as much as possible the ongoing attempt by financial elites to view its mission in instrumental terms as a workstation for capital. This means fighting back against a conservative led campaign to end tenure, define students as consumers, defund higher education, and destroy any possibility of faculty governance by transforming most faculty into adjuncts or what be called Walmart workers. Higher education should be harnessed neither to the demands of the warfare state nor the instrumental needs of corporations. In fact, it should be a viewed as a right rather than as an entitlement. Nowhere is this assault on higher education more evident than in the efforts of billionaires such as Charles and David Koch to finance academic fields, departments, and to shape academic policy in the interest of indoctrinating the young into the alleged neoliberal, free market mentality. It is also evident in the repressive policies being enacted at the state level by right-wing politicians. For instance, in Florida, Governor Rick Scott’s task force on education has introduced legislation that would lower tuition for degrees friendly to corporate interests in order to “steer students toward majors that are in demand in the job market.”[35] In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker drew up a proposal to remove the public service philosophy focus from the university’s mission statement which states that the university’s purpose is to solve problems and improve people’s lives. He also scratched out the phrase “the search for truth” and substituted both ideas with a vocabulary stating that the university’s goal is to meet “the state’s work force needs.”[36] But Walker’s disdain for higher education as a public good can be more readily understood given his hatred of unions, particularly those organized for educators. How else to explain his egregious comparison of union protesters to the brutal terrorists and thugs that make up ISIS and his ongoing attempts to eliminate tenure at Wisconsin’s public universities as well as to eviscerate any vestige of shared governance.[37]

bravhuxley2.jpegAnother egregious example of neoliberalism’s Orwellian assault on higher education can be found in the policies promoted by the Republican Party members who control the North Carolina Board of Governors. Just recently it has decimated higher education in that state by voting to cut 46 degree programs. One member defended such cuts with the comment: “We’re capitalists, and we have to look at what the demand is, and we have to respond to the demand.”[38] The ideology that drives this kind of market-driven assault on higher education was made clear by Republican governor, Pat McCrory who said in a radio interview “If you want to take gender studies, that’s fine, go to a private school and take it. But I don’t want to subsidize that if that’s not going to get someone a job.”[39] This is more than an example of crude economic instrumentalism, it is also a recipe for instituting an academic culture of thoughtlessness and a kind of stupidity receptive to what Hannah Arendt once called totalitarianism.

Second, young people and progressives need create the institutions and public spaces in which education becomes central to as a counter-narrative that serves to both reveal, interrogate, and overcome the common sense assumptions that provide the ideological and affective webs that tie many people to forms of oppression. Domination is not just structural and its subjective roots and pedagogical mechanisms need to be viewed as central to any politics that aims to educate, change individual and collective consciousness, and contribute to broad-based social formations. Relatedly, a coalition of diverse social movements from unions to associations of artists, educators, and youth groups need to develop a range of alternative public spheres in which young people and others can become cultural producers capable of writing themselves back into the discourse of democracy while bearing witness to a range of ongoing injustices from police violence to the violence of the financial elite.

Third, America has become a society in which the power at the state and national levels has become punitive for most Americans and beneficial for the financial and corporate elite. Punishment creep now reaches into almost every commanding institution that holds sway over the American public and its effects are especially felt by the poor, blacks, young people, and the elderly. While the American public is distracted by Bruce Jenner’ sex change, millions of young men are held in prisons and jails across the United States, and most of them for nonviolent crimes. Working people are punished for a lifetime of work by having their pensions either reduced or taken away. Poor people are denied Medicaid because right-wing politicians believe the poor should be financially responsible for their health care. And so it goes. The United States is one of the few countries that allow teenagers to be tried as adults, even though there are endless stories of such youth being abused, beaten, and in some cases committing suicide as a result of such savage treatment. Everywhere we look in American society, routine behavior is being criminalized. If you owe a parking ticket, you may end up in jail. If you violate a dress code as a student you may be handcuffed by the police and charged with a criminal offense. A kind of mad infatuation with violence is matched by an increase in state lawlessness. In particular, young people have been left out of the discourse of democracy. They are the new disposables who lack jobs, a decent education, hope, and any semblance of a future better than the one their parents inherited.

In addition, an increasing numbers of youth suffer mental anguish and overt distress even, perhaps especially, among the college bound, debt-ridden, and unemployed whose numbers are growing exponentially. Many reports claim that “young Americans are suffering from rising levels of anxiety, stress, depression and even suicide. For example, “One out of every five young people and one out of every four college students … suffers from some form of diagnosable mental illness.”[40] According to one survey, “44 percent of young aged 18 to 24 say they are excessively stressed.”[41] One factor may be that there are so few jobs for young people. In fact the Jobless rate for Americans aged 15 to 24 stands at 15.8 percent, more than double the unemployment rate of 6.9 per cent for all ages, according to the World Bank.”[42] Facing what Richard Sennett calls the “spectre of uselessness,” the war on youth serves as a reminder of how finance capital has abandoned any viable vision of democracy, including one that would support future generations. The war on youth has to be seen as a central element of state terrorism and crucial to critically engaging the current regime of neoliberalism.

Fourth, As the claims and promises of a neoliberal utopia have been transformed into an Orwellian and Dickensian nightmare, the United States continues to succumb to the pathologies of political corruption, the redistribution of wealth upward into the hands of the 1 percent, the rise of the surveillance state, and the use of the criminal justice system as a way of dealing with social problems. At the same time, Orwell’s dark fantasy of an authoritarian future continues without enough massive opposition as students, low income, and poor minority youth are exposed to a low intensity war in which they are held hostage to a neoliberal discourse that translates systemic issues into problems of individual responsibility. This individualization of the social is one of the most powerful ideological weapons used by the current authoritarian regime and must be challenged.

Under the star of Orwell, morality loses its emancipatory possibilities and degenerates into a pathology in which misery is denounced as a moral failing. Under the neo-Darwinian ethos of survival of the fittest, the ultimate form of entertainment becomes the pain and humiliation of others, especially those considered disposable and powerless, who are no longer an object of compassion, but of ridicule and amusement. This becomes clear in the endless stories we are now hearing from U.S. politicians disdaining the poor as moochers who don’t need welfare but stronger morals. This narrative can also be heard from conservative pundits such as New York Times columnist, David Brooks, who epitomize this view. According to Brooks, poverty is a matter of the poor lacking virtue, middle-class norms, and decent moral codes.[43] For Brooks, the problems of the poor and disadvantaged can be solved “through moral education and self-reliance…high-quality relationships and strong familial ties.”[44]   In this discourse soaring inequality in wealth and income, high levels of unemployment, stagnant economic growth and low wages for millions of working Americans are ignored.   What Brooks and other conservatives conveniently disregard are the racist nature of the drug wars, the strangle hold of the criminal justice system on poor black communities, police violence, mass unemployment for black youth, poor quality education in low income neighborhoods, and the egregious effect of mass incarceration on communities of color are ignored. Paul Krugman gets it right in rebutting the argument that all the poor need are the virtues of middle class morality and a good dose of resilience.[45] He writes:

So it is…disheartening still to see commentators suggesting that the poor are causing their own poverty, and could easily escape if only they acted like members of the upper middle class….Shrugging your shoulders as you attribute it all to values is an act of malign neglect. The poor don’t need lectures on morality, they need more resources — which we can afford to provide — and better economic opportunities, which we can also afford to provide through everything from training and subsidies to higher minimum wages.[46]

Lastly, any attempt to make clear the massive misery, exploitation, corruption, and suffering produced under casino capitalism must develop both a language of critique and possibility. It is not enough to simply register what is wrong with American society, it is also crucial to do so in a way that enables people to recognize themselves in such discourses in a way that both inspires them to be more critical and energizes them to do something about it. In part, this suggests a politics that is capable of developing a comprehensive vision of analysis and struggle that “does not rely on single issues.”[47] It is only through an understanding of the wider relations and connections of power that the American public can overcome uninformed practice, isolated struggles, and modes of singular politics that become insular and self-sabotaging. This means developing modes of analyses capable of connecting isolated and individualized issues to more generalized notions of freedom, and developing theoretical frameworks in which it becomes possible to translate private troubles into broader more systemic conditions. In short, this suggests developing modes of analyses that connect the dots historically and relationally. It also means developing a more comprehensive vision of politics and change. The key here is the notion of translation, that is, the need to translate private troubles into broader public issues and understand how systemic modes of analyses can be helpful in connecting a range of issues so as to be able to build a united front in the call for a radical democracy.

This is a particularly important goal given that the fragmentation of the left has been partly responsible for its inability to develop a wide political and ideological umbrella to address a range of problems extending from extreme poverty, the assault on the environment, the emergence of the permanent warfare state, the roll back of voting rights, and the assault on public servants, women’s rights, and social provisions, and a range of other issues that erode the possibilities for a radical democracy. The dominating mechanisms of casino capitalism in both their symbolic and material registers reach deep into every aspect of American society. Any successful movement for a radical democracy will have to wage a struggle against the totality of this new mode of authoritarianism rather than isolating and attacking specific elements of its anti-democratic ethos.

The darkest side of the authoritarian state feeds and legitimizes not only state violence, the violation of civil liberties, a punishing state, and a culture of cruelty, but also a culture for which violence becomes the only mediating force available to address major social problems. Under such circumstances, a culture of violence erupts and punishes the innocent, the marginalized, and those everyday people who become victims of both hate crimes and state terrorism. The killings in South Carolina of nine innocent black people once again registers the lethal combination of racist violence, a culture of lawlessness, and political irresponsibility. In this case, politics becomes corrupt and supports both the ideological conditions that sanction racist violence and the militarized institutional gun culture that it celebrates rather than scorns it. Should anyone be surprised by these killings in a state where the Confederate flag waves over the state capital, where the roads are named after Confederate generals, and where hate crimes are not reported? South Carolina is only the most obvious example of a racist legacy that refuses to die throughout the United States. Violence has become the DNA of American society. And it will continue until a broken and corrupt political, cultural, and market-driven system, now controlled largely by ideological, educational, economic, and religious fundamentalists, can be broken. Until then the bloodshed will continue, the spectacle of violence will fill America’s screen culture, and the militarization of American society will continue. Neither Orwell nor Huxley could have imagined such a violent dystopian society.

What will American society look like in the future? For Huxley, it may well mimic a nightmarish image of a world in which ignorance is a political weapon and pleasure as a form of control, offering nothing more that the swindle of fulfillment, if not something more self-deluding and defeating. Orwell, more optimistically, might see a more open future and history disinclined to fulfill itself in the image of the dystopian society he so brilliantly imagined. He believed in the power of those living under such oppression to imagine otherwise, to think beyond the dictates of the authoritarian state and to offer up spirited forms of collective resistance willing to reclaim the reigns of political emancipation. For Huxley, there was hope in a pessimism that had exhausted itself; for Orwell optimism had to be tempered by a sense of educated hope. Only time will tell us whether either Orwell or Huxley was right. But one thing is certain, history is open and the space of the possible is always larger than the one currently on display.

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University. His most recent books are America’s Education Deficit and the War on Youth (Monthly Review Press, 2013) and Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education (Haymarket Press, 2014). His web site is www.henryagiroux.com.

Notes.

[1] Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves To Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1985, 2005).

[2]. Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks, Ed. & Trans. Quintin Hoare & Geoffrey Nowell Smith, New York: International Publishers, 1971. p. 276.

[3] I take up in great detail the nature of the surveillance state and the implications the persecution of these whistle blowers has for undermining any viable understanding of democracy. See: Henry A. Giroux, “Totalitarian Paranoia in the post-Orwellian Surveillance State,” Truthout (February 10, 2014). Online: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/21656-totalitarian-paranoia-in-the-post-orwellian-surveillance-state.

[4] For an excellent description of the new surveillance state, see Glenn Greenwald, No Place to Hide (New York: Signal, 2014); Julia Angwin, Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance (New York: Times Books, 2014);

[5] Zygmunt Bauman and David Lyon, Liquid Surveillance: A Conversation (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2013).

[6] Zygmunt Bauman, Wasted Lives (London: Polity, 2004), pp.132-133.

[7] Editorial, “Cops or Soldiers: America’s Police Have Become Militarized,” The Economist (May 22, 2014). Online: http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21599349-americas-police-have-become-too-militarised-cops-or-soldiers

[8]Michelle Alexander, “Michelle Alexander, The Age of Obama as a Racial Nightmare,” Tom Dispatch (March 25, 2012). Online: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175520/best_of_tomdispatch%3A_michelle_alexander,_the_age_of_obama_as_a_racial_nightmare/

[9] Heidi Boghosian, Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance, (City Lights Books, 2013).

[10]. Instructive here is Manuel Castells, Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age (Cambridge: Polity, 2012).

[11] Marjorie Cohn, “Beyond Orwell’s Worst Nightmare,” Huffington Post (January 31, 2014).

[12] See, for example, Manuel Castells, The Rise of the Network Society (Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 1996) and Zygmunt Bauman, Collateral Damage: Social Inequalities in a Global Age (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2011).

[13] Ibid., pp. xix-xx

[14] Ibid., Postman, Amusing Ourselves To Death.

[15] Ariel Dorfman, “Repression by Any Other Name,” Guernica (February 3, 2014).

[16] Boghosian, op cit., p. 32.

[17] Pete Cashmore, “Why 2012, despite privacy fears, isn’t like Orwell’s 1984”, CNN (January 23, 2012). Online: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-770499

[18] Spencer Ackerman, “US tech giants knew of NSA data collection, agency’s top lawyer insists,” The Guardian (March 19, 2014). Online: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/19/us-tech-giants-knew-nsa-data-collection-rajesh-de

[19] Ibid. Boghosian, p. 22..

[20] Jonathan Crary, 24/7 (London: Verso, 2013), p. 16.

[21] Mark Karlin, “From Spying on ‘Terrorists Abroad’ to Suppressing Domestic Dissent: When We Become the Hunted,” Truthout, (August 21, 2013).

[22] Ibid., pp. 22-23.

[23] Arun Gupta, “Barrett Brown’s Revelations Every Bit as Explosive as Edward Snowden’s,” The Guardian (June 24, 2013).

[24] Bruce Schneier, “The Public-Private Surveillance Partnership,” Bloomberg (July 31, 2013).

[25] David Graeber, “Dead Zones of the Imagination,” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 2 (2012), p. 119.

[26] Ibid., p. 48.

[27] Theodor W. Adorno, “Aldous Huxley and Utopia”, Prisms, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1967), pp. 106-107.

[28] Tom Engelhardt, “Tomgram: Engelhardt, A Surveillance State Scorecard,” Tom Dispath.com (November 12, 2013).

[29] I take up many of these issues in Henry A. Giroux, The Violence of Organized Forgetting (San Francisco: City Lights Publishing, 2014); The Twilight of the Social (Boulder: Paradigm Press, 2012), and Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism (New York: Peter Lang, 2011).

[30] Quoted in Quentin Skinner and Richard Marshall, “Liberty, Liberalism and Surveillance: a historic overview,” Open Democracy (July 26, 2013).

[31] Charles Derber, private correspondence with the author, January 29, 2014.

[32]Stanley Aronowitz, “What Kind of Left Does America Need?,” Tikkun, April 14, 2014

http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/what-kind-of-left-does-america-need

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Lizette Alvarez, “Florida May Reduce Tuition for Select Majors,” New York Times (December 9, 2012). Online: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/education/florida-may-reduce-tuition-for-select-majors.html?_r=0

[36] Valerie Strauss, “How Gov. Walker tried to quietly change the mission of the University of Wisconsin,” The Washington Post (February 5, 2015). Online: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/02/05/how-gov-walker-tried-to-quietly-change-the-mission-of-the-university-of-wisconsin/

[37] Monica Davey and Tamar Lewinjune , “Unions Subdued, Scott Walker Turns to Tenure at Wisconsin Colleges,” New York Times (June 4, 2015). Online: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/05/us/politics/unions-subdued-scott-walker-turns-to-tenure-at-wisconsin-colleges.html?_r=0

[38] Andy Thomason, “As Degrees Are Cut, Critics continue to Decry Dismantling of U. of North Carolina,” The Chronicle of Higher Education (May 27, 2015). Online: http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/as-degrees-are-cut-critics-continue-to-decry-dismantling-of-u-of-north-carolina/99587

[39] Ibid.

[40] Therese J. Borchard. “Statistics About College Depression,” World of Psychology (September 2, 2010). Online: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/09/02/statistics-about-college-depression/; Allison Vuchnich and Carmen Chai, “Young Minds: Stress, anxiety plaguing Canadian youth,” Global News (May 6, 2013). Online: http://globalnews.ca/news/530141/young-minds-stress-anxiety-plaguing-canadian-youth/

[41] Paul Luke, “Seriously stressed-out students on the rise on post-secondary campuses

Burdened by debt and facing a shaky job market, many students feel overwhelmed,” The Province (April 21, 2014). Online: http://www.theprovince.com/business/Seriously+stressed+students+rise+post+secondary+campuses/9756065/story.html

[42] See http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.UEM.1524.ZS

[43] See, for instance, David Brooks, “The Nature of Poverty,” New York Times (May 1, 2015). Online:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/01/opinion/david-brooks-the-nature-of-poverty.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

[44] Sean Illing, “Why David Brooks Shouldn’t Talk About Poor People,” Salon (May 1, 2015). Online: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/05/david_brooks_shouldn_t_talk_about_the_poor_the_new_york_times_columnist.single.html?print

[45] For an excellent rebuttal of the politics of resilience, see Brad Evans and Julien Reid, Resilient Life: The Art of Living Dangerously (London: Polity Press, 2014).

[46] Paul Krugman, “Race, Class, and Neglect,” New York Times (May 4, 2015). Online: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/04/opinion/paul-krugman-race-class-and-neglect.html?_r=0

[47] Ibid.

 

samedi, 27 juin 2015

Cómo nos controlan desde el poder

orwell-huxley.jpg

Cómo nos controlan desde el poder

Después de varias crisis económicas, parece que finalmente hemos interiorizado y aceptado que existe la lucha de clases. No hace falta mantener un discurso radical para defender la idea de que en la sociedad actual existen distintas clases, y que éstas se encuentran en constante lucha por la defensa de sus intereses respectivos, que pocas veces coinciden entre clase y clase. Hoy en día cualquier persona con algo de conciencia y buena información sabe que pertenece a una clase social.

Siguiendo la lógica de la jerarquía, la clase de arriba controla a la de abajo. El poder siempre está arriba en la pirámide de las clases sociales. En cuanto a las formas que tiene el poder de controlar a las clases dominadas, es muy interesante la visión que aportan dos autores: George Orwell, famoso por sus obras ‘Rebelión en la granja’ y ’1984′, y Aldous Huxley, muy conocido también por su libro ‘Un mundo feliz’.

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Las ideas de Orwell y de Huxley, aunque diferentes, apuntan en una misma dirección: existe una clase dominante que controla a una clase dominada sin que ésta sea consciente. Para cada autor los modos de control son diferentes, pero vienen a demostrar que la lucha de clases la están ganando las clases altas, tal y como ellas mismas reconocen. Warren Buffett, uno de los hombres más ricos del mundo, dijo en el año 2006 que: “Claro que hay una guerra de clases, y es mi clase, la de los ricos, quienes la estamos ganando.”

Orwell: nos controlan a través de lo que no nos gusta

¿Qué es lo que menos nos gusta? El miedo. A nadie le gusta pasar miedo. La persona que vive con miedo no es dueño de su vida, pues está a merced del miedo y de quien se lo transmite. Eso lo han entendido muy bien las clases dominantes, que saben que es más fácil controlar a una población atemorizada que a una libre de miedos. Por ello hoy en día el uso del miedo en la política es muy frecuente.

Se han desarrollado teorías que hablan del miedo como el principal factor de control, como la “Doctrina del Shock”, propuesta por Naomi Klein, que señala al sistema capitalista como principal culpable en la dispersión del miedo. Según Klein el sistema aprovecha momentos de terror y confusión como desastres naturales, atentados terroristas o crisis económicas para llevar a cabo políticas neoliberales, intentando que la población no se de cuenta, y excusándose en que “no queda otro remedio”.

El miedo no sólo se utiliza a nivel nacional para que los gobernantes de un país consigan llevar a cabo políticas económicas o sociales, sino que también se aplica a escala global para consolidad un sistema de bloques que hemos analizado en muchas ocasiones en esta web. La división del mundo en Centro-Periferia o entre Occidente y el resto motiva ciertas tensiones que, ante los ojos de la ciudadanía, han de quedar muy bien explicadas: “ellos son los malos y nosotros los buenos”.

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Así, tal y como está configurado el mundo actualmente, tenemos una serie de países que han sido utilizados por Occidente para generar miedo entre su población. Países acusados de patrocinar el terrorismo (Irán, Libia, Siria…) o países relacionados con la falta de libertad (Cuba, Venezuela…) son objeto de ataques mediáticos en Europa y Estados Unidos, y sirven como elemento de “unificación social”, de forma que la población occidental apoya a sus líderes cuando se enfrentan a este tipo de países tan indeseables. El uso del miedo a escala global se analiza con más profundidad en el siguiente artículo:

ARTÍCULO RELACIONADO: La geopolítica del miedo (Juan Pérez Ventura, Junio 2013)

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Huxley: nos controlan a través de lo que nos gusta

Nos gusta estar distraídos. Como seres humanos tenemos esa necesidad de escapar por un momento del mundo real y relajarnos en un mar de programas de televisión, lecturas de revistas, redes sociales… No hay nada malo en abstraerse de la realidad de vez en cuando y distraernos con las cosas que nos gustan. El problema es que hoy en día no nos distraemos un rato, sino que vivimos distraídos. Y lo peor es que lo sabemos. Y nos gusta.

Es mucho más cómodo estar sentado en el sofá viendo la televisión que mirar por la ventana e intentar comprender cómo funciona el mundo y pensar en cómo se pueden cambiar las cosas. El poder de atracción de elementos como los videojuegos, la televisión, el deporte o la vida íntima de los famosos es mucho mayor que el interés por saber la verdad sobre el mundo en el que vivimos. Pero esta dura realidad no es fruto de un intrínseco gusto por la ignorancia por parte del ser humano, sino que es fomentada por parte de las clases dominantes.

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El ser humano es curioso por naturaleza. Le gusta hacerse preguntas y conocer cosas. El estado de ignorancia y de pasividad actual ha sido artificialmente creado por el poder, a través de complejos mecanismos de desinformación y con una variada oferta de productos distractores. De forma que, aunque hay buena parte de culpa en la propia ciudadanía, que se deja seducir y distraer, lo cierto es que es el poder el responsable principal de que la sociedad actual sea una sociedad inculta, desinformada y fácilmente manipulable.

Por ello una de las formas que tenemos para escapar del control de las clases dominantes es no dejarnos informar por ellas. La información es el arma más valiosa en la sociedad actual, y hoy en día está en manos del poder. Por eso no hay que dejarse informar, hay que informarse. A un ciudadano bien informado es mucho más complicado engañarle, y ese ciudadano bien informado será más libre que el que disfruta sentado en el sofá viendo la televisión.

ARTÍCULO RELACIONADO: Desinformación (Juan Pérez Ventura, Octubre 2012)

PROFUNDIZAR EN EL ANÁLISIS: Además de distraernos con los medios de comunicación, las tesis de Huxley también consideran como elemento atractivo que permite el control de la población a través del gusto el consumo. Una sociedad consumista es más fácilmente controlable, pues la producción de bienes de consumo también está controlada por las clases dominantes. En este aspecto es interesante el análisis que se hace en el siguiente artículo: La sociedad de consumo: vivir es consumir.

La realidad: nos controlan

Sea a través del miedo, como defiende Orwell, o a través de distracciones que nos gustan, como mantiene Huxley, lo cierto es que, de una forma u otra, estamos siendo controlados. Esa es la realidad.

El sistema de clases sociales se mantiene precisamente porque existe ese control por parte de las clases dominantes, que disponen de muchas más herramientas para conservar su privilegiado estatus social. A través de los medios de comunicación, de la religión, de las empresas multinacionales, de las guerras… incluso a través de la democracia.

ControlUna vez identificados los modos de control, lo que debe hacer la ciudadanía es luchar por su libertad. ¿Cómo? Contra la desinformación, información, contra el miedo, valor.

Aunque es complicado llegar a un estado de libertad total, el simple hecho de saber cómo funciona el mundo y ser consciente de que existe este sistema de control de clases ya es un pequeño logro. Y si es imposible ganar la lucha de clases, tampoco pasa nada. Siempre nos quedará el sofá.

Si te gusta nuestra web puedes ayudarnos a crecer con una pequeña donación a través de:

Juan Pérez Ventura

Creador de la web 'El Orden Mundial en el S.XXI'. Graduado en Geografía por la Universidad de Zaragoza y estudiando el 'Máster en Relaciones Internacionales, Seguridad y Desarrollo' en Barcelona. Inquieto por comprender cómo funciona el mundo y apasionado de la divulgación de conocimiento. Además de blogger, soy un viajero incansable.

jeudi, 14 mai 2015

El Archipiélago Orwell

Archivio 2002

El Archipiélago Orwell

Ex: http://www.galeon.com/razonespanola

Rosúa, Mercedes. El Archipiélago Orwell. Grupo Unisón Ediciones. Madrid, 2002, 488 páginas.

george-orwell-nsa.jpgLa implantación del comunismo en China en 1949, después de una prolongada guerra civil, en cuyo desenlace jugó un importante papel la incomprensión del problema por parte del gobierno de los Estados Unidos miembros de la Secretaría de Estado veían en Mao Tse tung, no un marxista leninista, sino a un «reformador agrario»-, supuso la realización de los experimentos sociales de consecuencias más desoladoras en la historia de la humanidad. Ante la magnitud de los datos que se conocen hoy, es muy posible que, en número de víctimas, se superase incluso las terribles cifras del estalinismo. Sobre dichas consecuencias trágicas existen numerosísimos testimonios no sólo de estudiosos occidentales, sino originales chinos.

Pero el libro de la doctora Rosúa, catedrática de Lengua y Literatura, supone el enfoque del problema desde perspectivas nuevas, en gran parte desconocidas. La autora no sólo ha sido una estudiosa de las consecuencias del «Gran Salto adelante», la campaña de «Las cien flores» o la «Revolución Cultural», sino que vivió y enseñó en China durante varios años en plena efervescencia de la misma, experimentando personalmente en la vida cotidiana de diferentes centros de enseñanza los terribles efectos de la más gigantesca campaña de agitación de masas en la historia humana.

El título del extenso y apretado libro es sumamente acertado . Las premoniciones de Orwell en su más conocida obra: «1984» inspiradas en su época indudablemente en el estalinismo, con su «lavado de cerebro" sobre las masas, el dominio y control total de la mente, no sólo fueron llevadas a la realidad en la China maoista, sino que superan las predicciones orwelianas. De forma más absoluta, si cabe, en el control del pensamiento, en el uso del «doblepensar», de la neolengua, sin necesidad de utilizar instrumentos técnicos como los descritos en la fantasía de Orwvell, como las máquinas repetitivas, o la especie de televisores-receptores vigilando la intimidad. No, la «revolución cultural», y el culto al nuevo «gran hermano orwelliano» -Mao- y a las consignas cambiantes del partido, se impone sin necesidad de técnica, sino de modo más eficaz, mediante el control y la sumisión total de las conciencias. Y cuando el ser humano se convierte en esclavo mediante la sumisión total del propio pensamiento, sólo cabe el suicidio como escape a la auto-tiranía controladora.

Mercedes Rosúa, a lo largo de la obra, extensa y sumamente apretada como antes decíamos, ofrece numerosos ejemplos por ella vividos en diferentes centros de enseñanza del Estado chino verdaderamente estremecedores. El control del pensamiento, la sumisión a las normas y consignas impuestas por el partido ofrecen paralelismos increibles con el «1984» de Orwell. Así las consignas del odio contra los que ayer eran líderes y camaradas de armas del presidente Mao y ejemplo para el partido comunista, constituyen el más fiel reflejo de la «semana del odio» orweliana. De golpe un ultraizquierdista como el íntimo amigo, seguidor y fiel discípulo del déspota Mao, cual era Lin Piao, se transforma en el reptil más venenoso y repugnante; el comunista puro y ejemplo para el partido pasa a ser un ultraderechista rabioso, fascista, traidor que busca la restauración del capitalismo. Rosúa asiste a sesiones donde se corean las consignas, donde se siguen furibundamente, sin que quepa la más mínima reserva mental, no ya contra Confucio y Mencio cuyas obras así como la cultura clásica deben ser destruidas, sino contra los políticos, profesores, intelectuales del partido, acusados de revisionismo, oportunismo y de traidores al proletariado, al campesinado, y enemigos del pueblo.

Se exalta con lo que nos parecería verdadero infantilismo, sino fuese algo trágico, a héroes populares para los que se intentan leyendas e historias magnificadoras de su papel en circunstancias heroicas. Así se habla de un alumno que se lanza sin vacilar entre las llamas de un incendio para salvar los bienes del Estado. Al recobrar el conocimiento en el hospital, lo primero que preguntó fue «¿Cómo están los bienes del Estado?»

En una especie de catecismo laico maoista, el profesor escribe en una pizarra lo que no es correcto, utiliza la neolengua para la doble expresión de conceptos antaño burgueses, y repite sin cesar temas memorizados, preguntando al alumno: «¿Eres tu buen alumno del presidente Mao?. Si lo soy. ¿Por qué? Porque estudio todos los días las obras escogidas del presidente Mao» Los ejemplos por ella vividos ofrecidos por la autora en el Instituto de Lenguas Extranjeras, en otros centros en Pekín, en Xian, en el Hotel de la Amistad entre los Pueblos, etc. resultan abrumadores. Rosúa penetra hasta lo más íntimo en la mentalidad china más que deformada, creación de nuevo cuño, del maoismo. Mao admira al mítico emperador Shi Huang ti, pero lo supera en su crueldad en la consecución no del poder material, sino en la consecución del hombre nuevo. Los experimentos anteriores tan terribles de Lenin y de Stalin en esa consecución de un nuevo especímen, el «homo sovieticus», son trascendidos en extensión y en profundidad. Mientras tanto los oráculos occidentales del progresismo como «Le Monde» no sólo ignoraban el sin número de atrocidades, sino que ponían de relieve la aportación de los nuevos valores a la busqueda de la sociedad sin clases.

El fracaso en el tema específlco que llevó a la autora a residir en China esos años, el de la cultura, concretamente el de formación de profesores, traductores e intérpretes, es total. El desastre causado por la «revolución cultural» en su persecución a los antiguos profesores conocedores de idiomas, acusados de traidores, renegados, burgueses, derechistas, atacados aún con más furor si ocuparon puestos en el partido, desterrados al campo, humillados, o destinados a limpiar letrinas y trabajos semejantes, dejaron en cuadro a los aprendices de idiomas, con un nivel ínfimo, para elevar el cual no sirven las consignas repetitivas del libro rojo de Mao. Este utilizado de forma tan grotesca para querer dar más calidad a la fundición de objetos domésticos, únicamente no fue utilizado en las plantas de energía nu-clear, o en la aviación, pues los aviones y los edificios, por mucho que cueste admitirlo, no se sostienen en el aire aplicando sólo los pensamientos maoistas.

Después de la extensísima parte del libro destinada al análisis del archipiélago Orwell, la autora extrae conclusiones aplicables a España, y que por su enjundia merecerían una obra aparte. Resulta verdaderamente trágico el comprobar, como demuestra fehacientemente Rosúa analizando la situación de la educación en España, la terrible similitud con la exposición maoista provocada por la experiencia socialista española. Acertadamente expone que la extensión del desastre intelectual de la reforma educativa comenzada en los ochenta dispuso de una fuerza de choque que se investía a si misma con todos los atributos de la falsa ciencia, con el monopolio de la modernidad, imponiendo una innegable dictadura a favor de las utopías. Entre las medidas dictatoriales adobadas con la ignorancia, la ridiculez y la necedad, figura de forma destacada la imposición de esa neolengua orwelliana, con el aluvión de palabras desprovistas de su verdadero sentido y utilizadas en el «doblepensar»: curricular, transversal, habilidades y destrezas, estrategias didácticas, instrumento, taller, herramientas.... sustitución de conceptos de fácil comprensión y claridad inequívoca como recreo, por segmento de ocio, etc. etc. Acogidas también con gran gozo, por sentar aureola de progresismo por el presidente de la comunidad de Madrid, hombre tan proclive a hacer suyo cualquier planteamiento de izquierda, siempre que tenga resonancia propagandística, como es el control de la reforma educativa. Aún correspondiendo a un partido en principio distante del socialismo neo marxista-capitalista, pero ambos coincidentes, hasta ahora, en la aplicación totalitaria en la enseñanza de la utopía más absurda e irreal, a pesar del riesgo de formar generaciones de ignorantes, cada vez más acentuados en esa ignorancia enciclopédica que envuelve inmisericordemente a gran parte de la juventud actual.

El nuevo proceso totalitario, señala Rosúa, dispone una especial animosidad contra la grandeza. una perversión del término democracia y una imposición generalizada del gregarismo y del anonimato. Apunta todas sus baterías, concluye la autora, hacia la anulación del individuo y no advierte que, con él, elimina la fuente y raíz fundamental del progreso y la aventura humana.


Angel Maestro.

samedi, 09 mai 2015

Who Killed George Orwell?

george-orwell-640x360.jpg

Who Killed George Orwell?
(’Twas Granny Gow, Evidence Suggests)

There’s a story about George Orwell’s death that’s been bubbling up from the underground for the past 20 years or so. To the best of my knowledge it’s never been published anywhere. And this is odd indeed, because all the essential pieces have been out on public display for a long time—in biographies, memoirs, and newspaper headlines. Anyone, almost anyone who cares to, can connect the dots.

So here’s the story, as briefly as I can put it. The writer George Orwell, alias Eric Blair, is supposed to have died at age 46, quietly and suddenly, of a lung hemorrhage, on the night of January 21, 1950, at University College Hospital, London. But actually he did not go like that. One way or another, Orwell was murdered.

UCH

University College Hospital
Slightly before Orwell’s time

At the very least, there was foul play, inasmuch as he was permitted to die a lingering death for the hour or two it took him to suffocate. Because apart from those pre-midnight hours of January 21, 1950, Orwell had been getting round-the-clock care, with nurses and orderlies always in attendance. The nurses’ station was a short distance down the hall. But on this particular night the attendants all stayed away, and let Orwell—or made Orwell—choke to death on his own blood.

He’d been in UCH for four months, and he was the hospital’s celebrity patient. Visitors to his sickbed included David Astor [1] and novelist and school friend Anthony Powell; as well as Malcolm Muggeridge, Julian Symons, and Stephen Spender.[2]  Orwell was England’s, perhaps the world’s, most famous and successful living writer.  Nineteen Eighty-Four had been topping the bestseller lists throughout Britain and North America, having sold a half-million (hardbound) copies in its first six months of publication.[3] After decades of struggle, he was now rich and famous, with a beautiful young new wife named Sonia Brownell, a former assistant editor of Horizon.

Sonia Brownell Orwell, shortly before her marriage

Sonia Brownell Orwell, shortly before her marriage

True enough, he was also frail and weak from tuberculosis. But he and Sonia and the doctors believed he was now sturdy enough to fly to a sanatorium in Switzerland on January 25th. A friend gave him a fishing rod as a going-away present. Orwell kept it at the foot of his bed, his mind full of thoughts of angling in the mountain streams around Gstaad. Sonia chartered a airplane for the flight on the 25th. On the night of the 21st, she was out at a private bar with her friends Ann Dunn and Lucian Freud, making last-minute plans for the trip (Freud was coming along to assist George). Next morning Sonia rang the hospital and learned that her husband was dead.[4]

Orwell’s sudden death, about three days before he was to fly out of the country—and when moreover he was thought healthy enough to do so—is just a little too pat, a little too fishy. And just a little too convenient for any Orwell ill-wishers, who, if not exactly legion, were nevertheless highly placed, and had a good motive for getting rid of Orwell.

Because Orwell had been “naming names” for an anti-Stalinist propaganda section of the Attlee government’s Foreign Office.  This covert propaganda office (blandly called “Information Research Department”) were hoping to enlist some liberal-minded writers to produce articles and books “to combat Communist propaganda, then engaged in a global and damaging campaign to undermine Western power and influence.”[5]

The Guardian, 11 July 1996

The Guardian, 11 July 1996

But which writers should they approach? Who in Ernie Bevin’s Foreign Office (then giving steady employment to the highly unsteady likes of Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean) could possibly distinguish between, say, a patriotic British socialist like Orwell, and a crypto-Communist or fellow-traveller?

Fortuitously there was an IRD official, Celia Paget Kirwan, who was a personal friend of Orwell himself. She proposed enlisting his aid. So in the Spring of 1949 Celia paid George a visit (he was then in a TB sanitorium in the Cotswolds). Orwell said he’d be delighted to help; he would draw up a list of filmmakers, actors, “journalists and writers who in my opinion are crypto-Communists, fellow-travellers or inclined that way and should not be trusted as propagandists . . .”[6] [7]

The list of 35 “politically unreliable” names that Orwell sent to Kirwan was amusing, opinionated, and of dubious practical value. (“Paul Robeson—Very anti-white; John Steinbeck—Spurious writer, pseudo-naif; Bernard Shaw—Reliably pro-Russian on all major issues . . .”) Nevertheless the list, and the story of Orwell’s cooperation with the IRD, remained a state secret till 10 July 1996, when the Public Records Office declassified and released the IRD documents. The following day the story that Big Brother’s creator had himself “named names” was all over the front page of London broadsheets.

The newspapers never thought to draw a connection between Orwell’s bedridden anti-Communism of April 1949 and his sudden death nine months later. No one seemed to recall that one of Orwell’s last visitors was a fellow named Andrew S. F. Gow, Orwell’s onetime classics tutor at Eton, latterly a don at Trinity College, Cambridge.

In January 1950, “Granny” Gow (as the boys had called him at Eton) suddenly materialized at University College Hospital and paid Orwell a visit.[8] The visit is suspicious on several counts. Gow had been ensconced at Cambridge since 1925 and seldom travelled even to London. He and Orwell were not fast friends; Gow had not thought much of the young Eric Blair when the latter was a lazy student at Eton College in the early ’20s. Orwell did send Gow a copy of Animal Farm in 1946, but otherwise the old tutor and student had seldom communicated. They don’t seem to have laid eyes on each other since 1927.

So what was the old don doing at UCH that day? Gow offered Orwell the lame explanation that “he was in UCH to see a Trinity man and happened to hear that Blair was there too. Years afterwards,” writes biographer Bernard Crick,”[Gow] could not remember the name of that Trinity man, and was probably making an excuse . . .”[9]

That is putting it lightly. According to several espionage historians and at least one very prominent art critic,  Gow was Anthony Blunt’s controller within the Soviet spy apparatus, and probably his recruiter as well.[10] If this is true, Gow not only was the Soviet nexus to Blunt, he controlled the other, younger, “Cambridge Spies” too—Philby, Burgess, Maclean, Cairncross, the lot.

Dessicated, crusty old Granny Gow was a most unlikely candidate for spymaster. And this could be why he was so supremely successful. Gow died in 1978 (a year before Blunt was exposed in the press), leaving very little evidence that he had ever existed. Strangely for a scholar, he published next to nothing. There are books of Horace and Theocritus “edited” by Gow; a dusty anthology or two; and a thin collection of four extremely dull Christmas letters from the early 1940s, telling about how Trinity is getting on during wartime, that I once found in the Kensington Branch Library in London. And that’s pretty much it. When you go hunting Gow, he turns into the little don who wasn’t there.

*   *   *

Brian Sewell, c. 1970

Brian Sewell, c. 1970

For the past 35 years, racy memoirist and art critic Brian Sewell has been talking and writing about his decades-long friendship with Anthony Blunt, the disgraced ex-spy, art historian, and onetime Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures. Inevitably, in Sewell’s stories about Blunt, Andrew Gow always makes an appearance.[11]

Sewell first met Gow in 1970, when Blunt asked him to go to Cambridge and deliver a drawing that Gow wished to buy. Thereafter, till Gow died in 1978, Sewell served as a courier and go-between for the two old men. Indeed, it was Andrew Gow himself who first confided to Sewell the role Blunt had played as a Soviet spy.

But Sewell did not care for Gow at all:

Gow struck me as the coldest man I had ever encountered, a man of calculated silences, intimidating, and, beginning with “Anthony wishes you to know . . .” he told me the tale of communism and espionage that now everybody knows; he offered no other reason for doing so.[12]

In late 1979, following Sir Anthony Blunt’s public exposure as the “Fourth Man” (he had actually confessed to MI5 many years before), newspapers began to speculate about a Fifth Man. Brian Sewell wrote a letter to the Times, supporting the beleaguered Blunt, and finishing with the declaration that “the fifth man is dead.”

So Sewell long knew about Gow, and Anthony Blunt knew that he knew:

When, very shortly before his death, Anthony asked who my fifth man was, he did not demur when I said, “Andrew Gow”, but broke eye contact and stared out of the window.[13]

*   *   *

So where does this leave us? Andrew Gow—Cambridge don, Fifth Man, Soviet spy—was one of the last to see Orwell alive. It’s not necessary to wonder why or how Gow might have arranged Orwell’s demise. If we accept the idea as plausible, then the obvious answer is that Moscow gave Gow the order. Moscow had motive; Moscow had opportunity. Moscow had agents in the Foreign Office and knew that the author of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four was assisting anti-Communists in the IRD.

So Gow went up to London, dropped in at University College Hospital, visited Orwell (“Sheer coincidence, old boy!”), noted his room location, and discovered that this quarry was planning a move to Switzerland. This last bit of news made it imperative to dispose of Orwell while he was still near at hand and could be finished off discreetly.

If we reject this explanation, then we are left with the official, “received” version, a dubious tale with nothing to recommend it. We are asked to believe that Gow’s visit was pure happenstance, completely unconnected to his role as spymaster. Orwell hemorrhaged and died—just like that!—right there in his hospital bed, with his new fishing pole nearby. And as he gasped for breath for an hour or two, not a single orderly, nurse, or physician ever bothered to look in and check up on their most famous patient.

Notes

1. David Astor, 1912-2001, publisher of The Observer newspaper, and son of American expatriates Waldorf and Nancy Langhorne Astor. Astor was also best man at Orwell’s hospital-bed wedding at UCH in October 1949.

2. Bernard Crick, Orwell (1980), and Gordon Bowker, George Orwell (2003).

3. Bowker, Ibid.

4. There is disagreement among biographers about the time of Orwell’s death. Bowker, Crick, and Hilary Spurling (Sonia’s biographer) say it was late on the 21st, while Jeffrey Meyers (Orwell, 2000) makes it the wee hours of the 21st, nearly a full day earlier.

5. Jeffrey Meyers, Orwell (2000).

6. Meyers says the Cranham visit was in April; the Guardian article from July 1996 says it was in March.

7. One of the books promoted by the IRD was Orwell’s own Animal Farm, in many foreign-language editions. IRD papers include an amusing note from an embassy official in Cairo, praising the book’s usefulness: “The idea is particularly good for Arabic in view of the fact that both pigs and dogs are unclean animals to Muslims.” (Guardian, 11 July 1996.)

8. The story of Gow’s visit to UCH is recounted in several Orwell biographies, but as of 1996 it had appeared in only one, the “authorized” George Orwell by Bernard Crick.

9. Crick, George Orwell.

10. Barrie Penrose and Simon Freeman’s Conspiracy of Silence: The Secret Life of Anthony Blunt (1988) seems to be the first “Cambridge Spies” history to discuss the Blunt-Gow connection, but this had been rumored and discussed ever since Blunt’s exposure in 1979.

11. I interviewed Sewell in 1997 for a magazine article that touched upon Blunt, and got in a question or two about Gow. The story Brian related was essentially the same one recounted here.

12. Brian Sewell, Outsider II: Always Almost: Never Quite by Brian Sewell (2012), herein excerpted [2] in The Australian, December 2012.

13. Ibid.

Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/05/who-killed-george-orwell/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/George-Orwell.jpg

[2] herein excerpted: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-art-of-espionage-anthony-blunt-and-me/story-fnb64oi6-1226536778233

mardi, 02 septembre 2014

INTOLERANCIA… O AXIS MUNDI DE LA SOCIEDAD ORWELLIANA

 1984-inspira-t-il-monbontaxi-300x177.jpg

INTOLERANCIA… O AXIS MUNDI DE LA SOCIEDAD ORWELLIANA

 
 
El mundo libre: eje de lo políticamente correcto, representante máximo del bien estar, ejemplo de democracia y ésta como sinónimo de buenrollismo y parloteo de todo aquel que lo desee. Pilar de la alianza de civilizaciones, de la integración, de la tolerancia, del porvenir y un largo etcétera de vocablos que solo un loco podría posicionarse en contra de ellos.
 
Yo mismo, me considero un defensor acérrimo de las libertades, pero también de los sacrificios y más aún, de las responsabilidades.
 
La cuestión que se nos plantea ante estas “enigmáticas” palabras que resuenan como pan nuestro de cada día y se repiten —y las repetimos— una y otra vez de manera automática, es su significado… ¿Sabemos cuál es? ¿O las repetimos como autómatas sin saber a qué nos referimos? ¿Quizás si no las admitimos ni decimos es que nos encontramos “fuera de circulación” y por lo tanto se nos consideraría antiguos?
 
No pasa nada, el significado de las palabras no importa, lo único que importa es el repetirlas, pues como seres sociales que somos deseamos estar en el grupo, decir lo que todos repiten, no destacar en éste aspecto, puesto que ya se han inventado ciertas palabras para el que destaque fuera del conocido Pensamiento Único. Destacar implica ser: un intolerante, intransigente, antiguo, facha, antisistema (en ocasiones), racista, homófobo… y otro largo etc. de adjetivos calificativos que todo ciudadano de bien quiere evitar. Como el caso de la reciente denuncia por racismo y antisemitismo que emitió la Comunidad Judía de España al escritor Antonio Gala, por desviarse un poco de lo “políticamente correcto”.
 
Por lo tanto, se debe, como imperativo categórico, repetir una y otra vez lo escrito en el primer párrafo de este artículo, asimilándolo de una manera positiva, hacer auto-conciencia de ello y aplicarlo. 
Nadie se dará cuenta de que indirectamente lo esté haciendo, pero una frase que todos pronunciamos determina el que somos inconscientemente parte de este juego impuesto por el $istema, una frase que todo caucásico dice antes de hablar de alguien de otra raza: “yo no soy racista pero…” ¿Por qué esa necesidad de disculparse antes de hacer una crítica referente a un individuo de otro tipo racial? ¿Nos damos cuenta que con ello estamos pidiendo perdón antes de hablar?
 
No nos damos cuenta ni nos daremos, porque no nos cuestionamos nada y menos aún, no deseamos ser cómplices de pronunciar palabras que nos puedan llevar a que se nos tache de “políticamente incorrectos”… ¿miedo al aislamiento social quizás? Posiblemente en parte sea eso, y también, posiblemente nos estén reeducando para no cuestionarnos nada, para ser cada día más sumisos, más borreguiles... a fin de cuentas no conviene que la "mano de obra" piense por sí misma.
 
Siguiendo esta misma línea de pensamiento impuesta por el $istema nos podemos encontrar en una conversación de lo más normal, tratando un asunto que no tiene que ver con política estatal ni religión (pues son temas que siempre generan ampollas en las conversaciones) y que por llevar una opinión contraria a la impuesta por los mass media, uno de los contertulios no quiera dar opción a debate alguno y amenace con marcharse si no se para la conversación, puesto que se siente ofendido de que se hable de algo que quizás él no comparte ya que no lo ha visto en los medios de comunicación habituales.
 
Y en esos momentos es cuando uno se da cuenta que a pesar de existir periódicos y canales de TV de diversas ideologías políticas, todos mandan un solo mensaje, puesto que no se admite una réplica a la esencia de la noticia dada. Y si no existe replica por parte de un individuo sobre otro ¿Dónde podemos hallar la libertad? ¿Dónde está la tolerancia democrática del que dice ser un aperturista social? ¿O es que solo se tiene que ser tolerante para escuchar asuntos de homosexualidad y no se puede ser tolerante para tratar el tema de Gaza o el genocidio boer en la RSA? ¿Qué límites tiene entonces la tolerancia? Y si alguien da su punto de vista sobre la cuestión islámica salafista en Europa ¿Es tolerante no dar opción a replica sobre el tema expuesto en cuestión?
 
George Orwell decía en este aspecto que “La libertad es el derecho a decirle a la gente lo que no quiere escuchar” (Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear).
Lo más jocoso de este tipo de situaciones es que no hace falta ser un genio o intelectual para, por ejemplo, saber de geopolítica, sino que la clave residen en tener conocimientos básicos de historia y antropología, pues si algo es cierto en este mundo es que todo es cíclico. Por lo que un político (o ciudadano) que carezca de conocimientos de historia y un mínimo de antropología podría perfectamente caer en errores que hace 200 años se cometieron, hablar de posibles situaciones alternativas a modelos de sociedades actuales sin saber que ya existieron y fracasaron, y esto es lo que hace peligroso (e ignorante) a un político, pero también, a su vez, a un ciudadano.
 
Hace unos días un diario virtual que se hace llamar imparcial colgó una noticia que no era del todo correcta, al disponer yo de la fuente escribí en su perfil de Facebook para notificárselo y les puse el enlace oficial de la noticia para que lo subsanaran. La respuesta de esta gente fue no solo el borrar mi comentario de su muro de dicha red social, acto que no comparto pero que podría ser comprensible en cierto modo, sino que además la noticia no la subsanaron. El ego de esta gente que dirige dicho diario que es independiente de los mass media y se vende como adalid de la verdad faltó a la misma que ellos promulgan… y es que el ego en esta sociedad moderna y órquica no tiene límites y la tolerancia de los portadores de la verdad menos aún. Pues reafirman con su actitud ser parte del $istema que ellos mismos critican, predicando con su ejemplo en esos pequeños detalles, que como bien siempre ha dicho mi padre, son los que definen a las personas.
 
 
 
Llegado este punto no puedo proseguir sin analizar el vocabulario que diariamente es usado por tothom y el cual es el motivo de este artículo, vayamos de nuevo al primer párrafo:
 
Mundo Libre: Dícese de la sociedad democapitalisa que otorga a cada uno de sus ciudadanos (súbditos y/o vasallos) la libertad de endeudarse de manera cuasi hereditaria, permite trabajar de sol a sol, otorga autonomía para que sus mandatarios se corrompan y hurten a su comunidad popular. El Mundo Libre se caracteriza principalmente por “tanto tienes, tanto vales”, imponiéndose el becerro de oro (el dinero) a la persona. Por lo que: permite que millones duerman en la calle habiendo casas vacías, así como tirar millones de toneladas de comida mientras millones de personas pasan hambre.
 
Eje de lo políticamente correcto: Base del conocido “Mundo Libre” en la cual se le impone al vasallo lo que debe hacer o decir, dándole a elegir entre varias opciones para que consideré como decisión propia lo que realmente es impuesto por el $istema que dirige al “Mundo Libre”.
 
Representante Máximo del “bien estar” o “Sociedad del Bienestar”: Verborrea usada por los políticos de las últimas dos décadas para vender a los ciudadanos una moto que no tenía gasolina para encenderse y ruedas para circular —o lo que es lo mismo, hacer como un alcalde de Xàtiva, que prometió una playa en su ciudad—, sirviendo esta palabra como excusa para endeudar al Estado hasta un punto insostenible con la excusa del desarrollo (local, provincial, autonómico y estatal), pero con la carga de la deuda financiera y el “beneficio” de magnas comisiones a la casta política de turno (afincada en el poder desde 1978 e incluso antes) a costa los ciudadanos (siervos-gentiles).
 
Democrácia: Sistema establecido por el “Mundo Libre” en el que los vasallos pueden deponer a un tirano corrupto y elegir otro tirano corrupto, donde no existe una alternativa real de gobierno que represente a los ciudadanos, puesto que todos se basan en lo “políticamente correcto” (revisar la explicación anterior) y, en el caso que ésta surgiese sería vetada de todos losmass media para que no tuviese repercusión mediática ni buena ni mala —puesto que la propaganda negativa sigue siendo propaganda.
 
Buenrollismo y parloteo: Entiéndase por permitir que todos los ciudadanos-vasallos puedan balbucear con la “total libertad” que permite lo “políticamente correcto” y sin salirse un ápice de lo estipulado por el “Mundo Libre”. Si se saliese de estas pautas los mismos Buenrollistas estigmatizarían al individuo que lo haga, ya no sería necesario que el $istema actúe, pues el Pensamiento Único implantado por el $istema se encarga de actuar por sí solo.
 
Alianza de Civilizaciones: Concepto atlantista y globalizador que pretende destruir las identidades étnicas de los pueblos del mundo, fomentando los movimientos migratorios planetarios en general y sobre los países étnicamente caucásicos en particular. Slogans repetitivos que se convierten en realidades por su insistencia mediática como: “Una sola raza, la raza humana” o el reciente “somos ciudadanos de un lugar llamado mundo” lobotomizan a una población cada vez más manipulada por los designios del “Mundo Libre”.
 
Integración: Sistema de implantación de sustitución demográfica por elementos étnicamente extra-europeos, que generan (entre otros perjuicios) un estancamiento y caída en los salarios debido a su adaptabilidad como mano de obra barata de la cual se aprovechan empresarios capitalistas sin escrúpulos. Evitando así una respuesta activa por parte de los movimientos obreros para solicitar y/o exigir mejoras salariales y laborales, produciéndose en consecuencia una pérdida de las mismas.
 
Tolerancia: Dícese de escuchar y permitir que se hable o escriba sobre todo lo que el “eje de lo políticamente correcto” ha marcado como apto. En el caso de salir de dicha línea se le impide la capacidad de réplica al interlocutor que lo haya hecho, haciendo lo posible por ridiculizarle de manera jocosa sin darle opción al debate o bien cortando por la tangente y llevando sus comentarios y a la misma persona al ostracismo y si fuese necesario al presidio.
 
Porvenir: Evolución del “Mundo Libre” hacía el “eje de lo políticamente correcto” que evoque en una “Sociedad del Bienestar” en la cual se fomente “la Alianza de Civilizaciones” y donde la “Democracia”, el “Buenrollismo”, la “Integración” y la “Tolerancia” dicten como debemos de ser, vestir, pensar y actuar.
 
Una vez habiendo leído todos estos significados lo primero que pensará el lector es que seguramente perdí el norte, para ello deseo poner la definición de una última palabra que puede resultar aterradora, vamos allá:
 
Totalitarismo: Régimen que incumbe a su Estado la totalidad de los bienes y servicios estratégicos de la nación. (Diccionario de la Real Academia Española - 1933).
 Totalitarismo: Régimen político que ejerce fuerte intervención en todos los órdenes de la vida nacional, concentrando la totalidad de los poderes estatales en manos de un grupo o partido que no permite la actuación de otros partidos. (Diccionario de la Real Academia Española - 2014).
 
Cada vez más, las palabras tienen el sentido y significado que se les quiera dar, es marketing a fin de cuentas, es vender la moto y exponer a los ciudadanos lo que quieren oír, lo que desean escuchar, lo que vende y está de moda, aquella palabra que parece otorgar mayor sentido de libertad, aunque luego no lo tenga.
 
Pero repetir mil veces que se es “demócrata” actuando como un tirano no hace más demócrata a dicho individuo, eso sí, será un tirano que habla de democracia y viste como un demócrata ¿o no?.
 
Sin ir más lejos no olvidemos el uso de la palabra "democracia" que hacen ciertos países como: la República Democrática Alemana (antes de la reunificación) o la República Popular Democrática de Corea (Corea del Norte). 
 
El hábito no siempre hace al monje.

Los significados que he otorgado a las palabras que hoy día se convierten en mandamientos de la sociedad moderna, deberían ser los que use la RAE para actualizarse, pues con un poco de sentido común, nadie que lea el presente artículo y realice un poco de (auto-)crítica extrañará ninguno de los significados que expongo con relación a la realidad que vivimos.
 
La misma palabra "democracia" no tenía el mismo significado cuando se creó que en el siglo XIX, al igual que no lo tenía a principios del siglo XX en relación con la época presente. El lenguaje debe ser adaptado a la realidad presente y no usado como arma política arrojadiza haciendo mal uso del mismo.
 
Orwell decía que "el lenguaje debe ser la creación conjunta de poetas y trabajadores manuales", pero hoy día es de usureros, politicuhos y arribistas sin escrúpulos. El lenguaje esta corrompido y la población ha sido adaptada por dichos corruptores para asimilar su nuevo mensaje.
 
No nos engañemos, vamos hacia la sociedad orwelliana, hacia “1984” y la gente calla por miedo a ser estigmatizada pero llega un momento, como decía Eric Arthur Blair que: “En un tiempo de engaño universal - decir la verdad es un acto revolucionario” (In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act).
 
 
 

Con la puesta en marcha de un nuevo proyecto cultural llamado EDITORIAL EAS he redactado un artículo para una colección de libros sobre grandes autores llamada Pensamientos & Perspectivas. El presente texto correspondería a una parte del artículo completo que será publicado en el Nº 2 de esta colección que trataría sobre la figura de ORWELL. Más información en: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Editorial-Eas/621046797979596 y en editorialeas@gmail.com.
 
“La Comunidad Judía se querella contra Antonio Gala por racista y antisemita” http://www.libertaddigital.com/espana/2014-07-25/la-comunidad-judia-se-querella-contra-antonio-gala-1276524688/
 
Hace referencia al tipo racial blanco.
 
Tot home, tota persona, totes les persones”. Palabra catalana que designa a “todo el mundo”.
 
Las definiciones pueden e incluso deberían ser mucho más extensas, puesto que contenido hay de sobra para ello pero considero que el presente artículo debe ser de lectura fácil y comprensión rápida, para evitar que el lector caiga en el aburrimiento. La cuestión básica es transmitir una idea.
 
Y es que para esto los valencianos somos especiales, cuando en su momento disponíamos de cadena de televisión propia (Canal 9) se contó un chiste que definía el carácter jocoso de nuestra tierra, pero el problema es adaptarlo a la realidad política y esto se ha logrado en toda España. En el mismo se encontraban dos valencianos hablando y uno le decía al otro: Chae, saps que està mes prop, Xàtiva o el Sol? —Y el otro le contesta: Tu veus Xàtiva? ...i el Sol? Aquí tens la resposta!!
 
Para el que tenga dudas, aclarar que las razas base son tres: caucásica, mongoloide y negroide. Estos tres troncos raciales pertenecen a una especie, la especie humana. Hablar de raza humana además de no tener sentido, a una persona que se considere medianamente inteligente le tienen que chirriar los oídos como si de una ofensa a su inteligencia se tratase.
 
La capacidad de manipulación se valora en función a la debilidad del manipulado y a las causas que no frenan o incluso fomentan la manipulabilidad de los individuos que son manipulados, así como su efecto en el ambiente en el que el manipulado se educa, como por ejemplo, en el caso de España: Mayor consumo de droga de Europa y uno de los mayores del mundo; visualización de la TV una media de 4 horas por individuo; un nefasto sistema educativo; mayor abandono escolar de Europa; pérdida de valores...
 
Hay que destacar el caso de la ciudad de Londres, donde el 55% de la población no es caucásica. Entre el 45% restante se incluirían ingleses nativos y todas las nacionalidades étnicamente caucásicas que hay en la ciudad, por lo que estaríamos hablando que el inglés nativo londinense prácticamente ha desaparecido. Si a esto le añadimos que los no caucásicos suelen tener un índice de natalidad de 3 hijos por pareja frente a la media caucásica de 1.1 hijos por pareja (aprox.), estaríamos hablando que Londres en una generación posiblemente no quede población autóctona y en dos generaciones no quedará población caucásica.
 
Entiéndase como extra-europeo todo aquel que no tiene una base genética caucasoide. Considerando, por ejemplo, que más del 80% de la población de Argentina es genéticamente europea (occidental). La nacionalidad reside en la sangre y no el los documentos que emiten los gobiernos de turno. Europa no se basa en una cuestión puramente geográfica, sino genética y cultura.
 
Claramente se ve a diario, y en época de crisis se acrecienta mucho más, que el estancamiento y bajada de sueldos es un efecto rebote de aquellos que aceptan puestos de trabajo a cambio de salarios miserables. El exceso de mano de obra barata devalúa el mercado laboral y frena las huelgas (las cuales aportan mejoras laborales). Dejo constancia que el fallo recae en el $istema, en ningún caso sobre el individuo que acepta dichas condiciones laborales, que hasta en el algunos casos son infrahumanas, dicho individuo es una víctima más.

samedi, 30 août 2014

10 George Orwell Quotes that Predicted Life in 2014 America

10 George Orwell Quotes that Predicted Life in 2014 America

speakit

George Orwell ranks among the most profound social critics of the modern era. Some of his quotations, more than a half a century old, show the depth of understanding an enlightened mind can have about the future.

1)  “In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”

Though many in the modern age have the will to bury their head in the sand when it comes to political matters, nobody can only concern themselves with the proverbial pebble in their shoe. If one is successful in avoiding politics, at some point the effects of the political decisions they abstained from participating in will reach their front door. More often than not, by that time the person has already lost whatever whisper of a voice the government has allowed them.

2)  “All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.”

Examining the nightly news in the run up to almost any military intervention will find scores of talking heads crying for blood to flow in the streets of some city the name of which they just learned to pronounce. Once the bullets start flying, those that clamored for war will still be safely on set bringing you up-to-the-minute coverage of the carnage while their stock in Raytheon climbs.

toldyouso

3)  “War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.”

It’s pretty self-explanatory and while it may be hard to swallow, it’s certainly true. All it takes is a quick look at who benefited from the recent wars waged by the United States to see Orwell’s quip take life.

4)  “The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.”

My most prized books are a collection of history books from around the world. I have an Iraqi book that recounts the glory of Saddam Hussein’s victory over the United States in 1991. I have books from three different nations claiming that one of their citizens was the first to fly. As some of the most powerful nations in the world agree to let certain facts be “forgotten,” the trend will only get worse. History is written by the victor, and the victor will never be asked if he told the truth.

5)  “In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Even without commentary, the reader is probably picturing Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning. The revolutions of the future will not be fought with bullets and explosives, but with little bits of data traveling around the world destroying the false narratives with which governments shackle their citizens.

6)  “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”

Make no mistake about it; if an article does not anger someone, it is nothing more than a public relations piece. Most of what passes for news today is little more than an official sounding advertisement for a product, service, or belief.

7)  “In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer…”

In every conflict, it is not the side that can inflict the most damage, but the side that can sustain the most damage that ultimately prevails. History is full of situations in which a military “won the battles but lost the war.

8)  “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”

Haditha. Panjwai. Maywand District. Mahmudiyah. These names probably don’t ring a bell, but it is almost a certainty that the reader is aware of the brutality that occurred in Benghazi. The main difference is that in the first four incidents, those committing the acts of brutality were wearing an American flag on their shoulder.

9)  “Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.”

Everyday there is a new form of censorship or a new method of forcing people into self-censorship, and the people shrug it off because it only relates to a small minority. By the time the people realize their ability to express disapproval has been completely restricted, it may be too late. That brings us to Orwell’s most haunting quote.

10)  “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

Once the people are indoctrinated with nationalistic beliefs, and the infrastructure to protect them from some constantly-changing and ever-expanding definition of an enemy is in place, there is no ability for the people to regain liberty. By the time all of the pieces are in place, not only is opportunity to regain freedom lost, but the will to achieve freedom has also evaporated. The reader will truly love Big Brother.

 

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