George Orwell (communist to democratic socialist)

Item added by Drummond. Added on 03/21/2006
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5 Reviews

DrEntropy
04/04/2006

George Orwell (communist to democratic socialist) 4

Some interesting opinions below. I think irishgit is closest to the truth here, though I would add that Orwell always held divided, ultimately incompatible views. He admired the working class for their camaraderie and stoic qualities, while also despising them for their anti-intellectualism and passivity; he was nostalgic for the bucolic aspects of the rural past, although he recognized its cruelty and inequality. In short, Orwell was both a Tory and a Socialist, both Eric Blair and George Orwell. Since he could not reconcile Toryism and Socialism, or abandon one for the other, he eventually lapsed into cynicism and depression (worsened by serious health problems, and the death of his wife).

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EschewObfuscat ion
03/24/2006

George Orwell (communist to democratic socialist) 3

So, to move from his communistic beliefs all the way to democratic socialist, it sounds like one of his toes shifted slightly to the left.

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Drummond
03/23/2006

George Orwell (communist to democratic socialist) 5

Orwell did indeed abandon authoritarian socialism for democratic socialism, and though he found himself in league with a number of right wingers he continued to debate them about the virtues of the presumption of equality and economic justice until his death. He also became disenchanted with wartime propoganda, and especially his involvement in a British military radio programming aimed at Nazi occupied Europe. He would later say "All propoganda is lies, even when it is the truth."

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JonTheMan
03/23/2006

George Orwell (communist to democratic socialist) 5

It's hard to tell exactly what Orwell really believed in during his later years but it is definitely true that towards the end he did offer his support to the reformist Labour party (which avowed Democratic Socialism) seeming to have lost much of his faith in the idea of an anarachist society. This may well have been due to his experiences in the Spanish Civil war where the side he fought with first attempted to adopt an anarchist command structure, but eventually degenerated into a Stalinist one. Orwell's decision is, of course, one I would agree with, because Democratic Socialism is a pragmatic ideology focused on fixing problems in the here and now, and Communism is one fixated on some far off mythical utopia, allowing for some pretty brutal interpretations on how to achieve it. From his lack of enthusiasm though, one gets the feeling cynical Orwell eventually came to the grudging conclusion that Democratic Socialism was simply the least worst option given all the alternatives. Then again, in this inherently imperfect world, that's a reasonably healthy way to look at political ideology.

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