Green Left Weekly by Rolando Perez Betancourt Sun., April 23, 2017
Orwell’s novel “1984” is not an anti-communist novel, but rather a work aimed against totalitarianism of whatever stripe. The novel was published in 1949, one year before his death from tuberculosis, made him a standard-bearer for international anti-communism.
At the height of the cold war, Orwell had written: “I believe that if the USSR were conquered by some foreign power, the working class everywhere would become discouraged, at least for the moment, and the capitalist cretins who never stopped suspecting Russia would feel encouraged… I do not want to see the USSR destroyed and I think that I would have to defend it if necessary.”
The loudly trumpeted anti-communism of the Cold War … advanced the novel 1984. Weighed down by the propaganda, many people who had not read it, assumed that the book was an attack on the socialist ideas of Marx, and talked about an “Orwellian universe” and other distorted concepts foreshadowed by the constant battles of the global right wing.
The work describes a gloomy and oppressive future dominated by thought police. It takes place in London, where Winston Smith is a functionary in the Ministry of Truth responsible for “correcting” historical facts so that they always coincide with what is wanted by the leaders.
They are lords of half the world, with designs on subjugating the universe and whose principal slogans are “War is Peace”, “Freedom is Slavery”, and “Ignorance is Strength”.
All this is controlled by television monitors, the eyes and ears of the government Big Brother is determined to know everything and to eliminate the slightest privacy.
More than 50 years have passed since Orwell wrote this cautionary book and after the febrile anti-communist exaltation, it is scarcely mentioned in recent times by those who glorified it. One has to be suspicious.
Today, a neoliberal totalitarianism with a leader from the North seeks to dominate the world and in it, the three previously mentioned slogans fit like a ring on a finger. Big Brother lies like the witch in Snow White and then transmits on his screens whatever suits him.
He creates super-ministries of espionage, searches libraries to see what citizens are reading, controls telephones and other means of communication, and accuses those who do not support militaristic adventures of being unpatriotic.
Two days ago (July 7/03), Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon were cut off as they talked on the [NBC] Today Show about freedom of expression, while the contracts of other critics have been cancelled as in the case of actor Sean Penn.
Big Brother buys (according to the Associated Press) “access to data banks of hundreds of millions of inhabitants in Latin American countries”, calls into his service the phantoms of McCarthyism, and coins the maximum slogan with no room for shading: “Those who are not with us are against us.”
Orwell called his novel 1984, and there are plenty of indications to suggest that he was only off by 20 years.
Full article here: The above article was first published on July 2003