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In The Mail

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

George Orwell was a dirty, militant socialist — that’s why he’s a hero

Editor:

足球滚球比分In a letter in Monday’s paper, Jack Redmon of Livingston drew a lengthy comparison between George Orwell’s ‘1984’ and the dystopia we find ourselves inhabiting today. I read with interest as Mr. Redmon detailed, in bullet point after bullet point, the tactics by which the totalitarian Party in Orwell’s narrative controls its people. He tells us to “see if any sound familiar.”

Mr. Redmon has a fine grasp of the book’s critique of totalitarianism and I am inclined to respect anyone who, like me, feels that literature has burning, vital relevance to our lives. It wasn’t until the end of the letter that I burst out laughing. Where does Mr. Redmon’s see The Party, which maintains its control in part by kidnapping undesirables, most closely paralleled in our time? Not by the actual aspiring fascists currently reassigning federal sorta-soldiers from their jobs kidnapping undesirables on the southern border to kidnap, instead, political undesirables in American cities. No, in his view, the dictatorship has taken the sinisterly confusing form of the people protesting against white supremacy and this country’s grim march into fascism. Marxism, he warns, “does not necessarily come from without; it can more easily come from within.”

足球滚球比分I am responding to Mr. Redmon’s letter only because it’s part of a trend. From my freshman English class at White Sulphur Springs high school, which introduced Orwell as anti-communist literature, to the Facebook libertarians of today — who see the hand of Big Brother in face-mask requirements — the Right loves to weaponize Orwell to bludgeon the Left.

Somehow, though, they all forget to mention that Orwell was himself an ardent democratic socialist who despised capitalism, imperialism and racism.

足球滚球比分In fact, before he was post-mortally conscripted into the ranks of right-wing anti-Communism, Orwell volunteered to fight in a very different brigade — the P.O.U.M., an independent Marxist militia that, alongside anarchist and socialist militias, held the line against fascism on the Aragon front during the Spanish Civil War. As he recounts in his book ‘Homage to Catalonia,’ Orwell and his comrades weren’t fighting for bourgeois democracy or the capitalist status quo. 

Behind their line, a working class anarchist revolution was in full swing — until it was put down, in part, by Soviet communists. Orwell fought in the trenches until he was shot in the throat by a fascist sniper.

足球滚球比分In the same book, Orwell leaves little question where he would stand on the current battles roiling the U.S. “I have no particular love for the idealized ‘worker’ as he appears in the bourgeois Communist’s mind,” Orwell writes, “but when I see an actual flesh-and-blood worker in conflict with his natural enemy, the policeman, I do not have to ask myself which side I am on.” If it’s the Orwellian re-writing of history that concerns you, I ask you, please, to stop re-writing his.

足球滚球比分I am “under 30,” which Mr. Redmon points out “is the principal age of the now protesters, looters, and anarchists, who want to destroy and re-write our history.” I find it difficult to control my wrath, these days, against people of Mr. Redmon’s generation, “in college in the 1950s,” who left us this diseased, brutal, racist, walled-in, indebted, overheating, overpriced, extinction world and who then have the gall to yell at us about the destruction of history.

No, we can’t change this country’s history, even if we wanted to. It’s the present that we’re after. It’s the future that needs re-writing.

Joseph Bullington

Livingston

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