Are George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and “1984” a critique of communism?

No, “Animal Farm” and “1984” are not a critique of communism; both novels attempt to criticise totalitarianism. In fact, Orwell himself was a Democratic-Socialist; and was actually under the surveillance by the MI5 as a suspected communist. In his part 2 of "The Road to Wigan Pier" Orwell defines: "a real Socialist is one who wishes – not merely conceives it as desirable, but actively wishes – to see tyranny overthrown."

For this reason, even though George Orwell was a socialist, he was also an anti-Stalinist; since he considered Stalin’s government a totalitarian regime. In 1936 he travelled to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War against the fascists. However, he did not fight alongside the Spanish Communist Party (PCE) -which was the main communist party at that time- as the PCE supported Stalin. Instead, he joined the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification (POUM), as they were communists but also anti-Stalinists. During his days in Spain he wrote “Homage to Catalonia”, which praises the benefits of anarcho-syndicalism.

“Animal Farm” is believed to outline the corruption of the communist ideals set by Stalin. And “1984” depicts life under totalitarian rule.

11 comments:

  1. George Orwell was not a communist, he was a a socialistic democrat.

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    1. True story bro.

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    2. Thanks. That's more accurate than "anarcho-communist", and therefore will be changed.

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  2. I don't believe you.

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    1. Me neither.

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    2. I realise most of the western world ignores or disbelieves what's on this blog; that's the reason I wrote it.

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  3. Ok. I still don't believe you.

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  4. I'm actually from India so I'm not from the western world and I still disagree.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Uggh- I wrote a mini essay and it vanished down the rabbit hole.
    When people are using the words " I don't believe you" they should be saying " I disagree with you". That also implies that one has read the books discussed AND have read about the author's life. I have done both, many years ago. In high school I read Animal Farm twice, it made such an impression on me. I do not believe it is anti-communist so much as anti-totalitarian. Or , more precise, it examines how political idealism can be corrupted by power. When I read it first, I looked at it in context to the time it was written and saw it as anti-fascist. My father's copy of Animal Farm had a forward that saw the story as anti-communist because it was published in the 1950s. He had it right in there with his Ayn Rand novels (uggh, it was slumming). I was hyper aware of how these two perspectives in time could alter the experience of the reader. I have tried to get my communist daughter to read the story. She . Will. Not. Someone from one of these sites analyzed it as anti-communist and she is letting them decide for her. It is a pity, because I have used this book several times to make analogies to the political events unfolding as we speak. This convinces me that, unlike Rand, Orwell is writing about the corrupting influences of power as opposed to a specific political philosophy. He is an amazing author, but as many great authors, he lets the reader color in the details of his message. His story is not rigid, addressing a specific . It is flexible, addressing a larger universal experience. It is applicable to situations in communism, fascism, theocracies and capitalism. It can even apply to situations that are not exactly totalitarian. Are we there yet in the States?

    I urge people to carefully read these novels as novels, and not as political analogies. They are complex stories, some of the best works of that period. They have have political perspective that is much more profound than a reaction to a single political philosophy. I read them more than thirty years ago and find myself quoting specific passages (no, not by heart) because something I see today reminds me of what he wrote.

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