Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Orwell, again

Left governments almost invariably disappoint their supporters.......

Left governments almost invariably disappoint their supporters because, even when the prosperity which they have promised is achievable, there is always need of an uncomfortable transition period about which little has been said beforehand. At this moment we see our own Government, in its desperate economic straits, fighting in effect against its own past propaganda. The crisis that we are now in is not a sudden unexpected calamity, like an earthquake, and it was not caused by the war, but merely hastened by it. Decades ago it could be foreseen that something of this kind was going to happen. Ever since the nineteenth century our national income, dependent partly on interest from foreign investments, and on assured markets and cheap raw materials in colonial countries, had been extremely precarious. It was certain that, sooner or later, something would go wrong and we should be forced to make our exports balance our imports: and when that happened the British standard of living, including the working-class standard, was bound to fall, at least temporarily. Yet the left-wing parties, even when they were vociferously anti-imperialist, never made these facts clear. On occasion they were ready to admit that the British workers had benefited, to some extent, by the looting of Asia and Africa, but they always allowed it to appear that we could give up our loot and yet in some way contrive to remain prosperous. Quite largely, indeed, the workers were won over to Socialism by being told that they were exploited, whereas the brute truth was that, in world terms, they were exploiters. Now, to all appearances, the point has been reached when the working-class living-standard CANNOT be maintained, let alone raised. Even if we squeeze the rich out of existence, the mass of the people must either consume less or produce more. Or am I exaggerating the mess we are in? I may be, and I should be glad to find myself mistaken. But the point I wish to make is that this question, among people who are faithful to the Left ideology, cannot be genuinely discussed. The lowering of wages and raising of working hours are felt to be inherently anti-Socialist measures, and must therefore be dismissed in advance, whatever the economic situation may be. To suggest that they may be unavoidable is merely to risk being plastered with those labels that we are all terrified of. It is far safer to evade the issue and pretend that we can put everything right by redistributing the existing national income. To accept an orthodoxy is always to inherit unresolved contradictions. Take for instance the fact that all sensitive people are revolted by industrialism and its products, and yet are aware that the conquest of poverty and the emancipation of the working class demand not less industrialisation, but more and more. Or take the fact that certain jobs are absolutely necessary and yet are never done except under some kind of coercion. Or take the fact that it is impossible to have a positive foreign policy without having powerful armed forces. One could multiply examples.


socrates said...

Hi TLNL. Good job getting the word out about Orwell. He was a cool dude. Just checking in to let you know there's been a new development concerning Al Giordano and his relationship with the ICNC. In short, we've been vindicated for going toe to toe with him back in December. The new info can be found here.

Anonymous said...

'1984' is the blueprint for our current society...the CIA loves it.

the_last_name_left said...

Very interesting about Al G. Great find. Let's see what develops, if anything.....

And like you say, we did try and warn him. :D

@anon - hmmm. Brave New World is quite a different scheme, and yet we can see that present too?

Blueprint is too strong, I think.

I found a website which detailed something of Orwell's London - places he lived. One of them I'd visited was supposed to be the basis for Victory Mansions, iirc - I could certainly see it, even in 2004. :)

I used to go past an old cul de sac where he'd lived in Hampstead, I think. I think that's where the bookshop he worked at was.....ah well.

the_last_name_left said...

the ministry of truth

Gollancz, his publisher:

the_last_name_left said...

Orwell 'could not blow his nose without moralising on conditions in the handkerchief industry.'


the_last_name_left said...

Victory Mansions?