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Socialism & 1984

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Not sure if this should be in the political forum, or book forum. Don't really care, either, but....

Smirk and I were disagreeing on the meanings behind Orwell's 1984. Smirk proposed that if one looked at 1984 you would see why socialism didn't work.

Anyways, Smirk, in your last post, you mentioned that he was focusing on showing the problems with facism and communism and you are closer to being correct. Orwell hated Communism but he was still a socialist. You have to understand the difference (although few do).

Socialism & Communism are not interchangable terms. Communism was an ATTEMPT of a socialist government. You cannot have communism without socialism, you CAN have socialism without communism.

You mentioned in your previous post that Orwell fought against the communists, which is not really true. Orwell fought as a member of a malitia which called itself 'The Party for Marxist Unification' (P.O.U.M) - a socialist group to be sure.

I don't have to time to get into all of the politics involved in the Spanish Civil War but let me just say that there were hundreds of such leftist malitias in Spain fighting at the time, but they were not tightly banded together. When the Soviets came in to aid them left, they rooted out anyone who wasn't in full support of communism, including those they were supposed to be helping. Orwell didn't fight the communists but realized that his dream of a great socialist state in Spain would be over once the communists took over, and he snuck out of Spain before he could be captured.

Anyways, my real problem with the assumption you are making is that that you cannot use the mistakes of communists against all socialist ideas. As Orwell realized, there is no government that can be truly socialist when a dictatorship is in power. Therefore, Communist states are not really socialist. They fail.

Socialist thought focuses on helping the working class, not consolidating power.
post #2 of 26
I think Animal Farm outlined his feelings on teh Soviet experiment rather well.
post #3 of 26
Soviet Communism assumed the basic structure of a socialist state, but without adapting the goals thereof. The goal of the Soviet Union was always the same as that of a capitalitst country: the expansion of capital. In a true socialist state, the goal would be to ensure the welfare of all citizens. Without this goal, there's not much difference between Communism and any other dictatorship.
post #4 of 26
I find it funny that many people on these boards decry leftists as being socialists but do not realize that this country embraces many socialist principles. Our nation is a good blend of socialism and capatalism.
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
People tend to think that socialism and capitalism cannot co-exist. Totally not true.
post #6 of 26
One of the problems I find in "1984" is Orwell's assumption that society will continue to advance technologically. I don't think that this will be case in the kind of society that Orwell was describing. For a better refection of society under these conditions look to Ayn Rand's "Anthem".
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Technology didn't advance that far. There were cameras everywhere but that was it.
post #8 of 26
Ironically enough FDR and the Depression shifted our country much closer to Socialism than to a true Democracy, like the US claims.

I like a lot of the point made here. I'll have to think on it awhile.

And coincidentally, as many times as I have read 1984, I've never read Animal Farm.

**dodges tomatoes**
post #9 of 26
Socialism is an economic system.

Democracy is a governmental system. One assumes that you can have a democratic socialist state.

Also, America has never been a democracy, but is actually a representative republic.
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Smirk:
And coincidentally, as many times as I have read 1984, I've never read Animal Farm.

**dodges tomatoes**
It will take you about two-three hours. Very short, very powerful read.
post #11 of 26
Did I say democracy? Damn.
post #12 of 26
Can anyone here find a copy of George Orwell's original introduction to 1984, which was cut from the book?
post #13 of 26
Quote:
raoul duke:
Can anyone here find a copy of George Orwell's original introduction to 1984, which was cut from the book?
I'd like to read that.
post #14 of 26
Even though I'm pro-capitalist, I concur that there is a difference in the system. Socialism as economic system excludes capitalism and the free market only in certain sectors(education, health, etc.) Communism is where the government assumes full control over the all commercial activity within the state.

I further think Orwell's criticism dealt specifically with communism as it allowed people like Stalin and Lenin to take power.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Nighttrap38:
Even though I'm pro-capitalist, I concur that there is a difference in the system. Socialism as economic system excludes capitalism and the free market only in certain sectors(education, health, etc.) Communism is where the government assumes full control over the all commercial activity within the state.

I further think Orwell's criticism dealt specifically with communism as it allowed people like Stalin and Lenin to take power.
Socialism, or at least in the libertarian or anarchist forms, is for worker control, while communism in practice works more like state capitalism. Social democracy is when the state takes over certain parts of the economy, which are generally important to public well being. From Homage to Catalonia I think it's pretty clear that Orwell would have been best classified as a libertarian socialist.

Turns out that I didn't remember correctly and the lost introduction was actually for Animal Farm, but at least part of it dealt with voluntary literary censorship in "free" societies.
post #16 of 26
In 1984 the state needed to be in a state of constant war. Hmmm...
post #17 of 26
Worker-owned business just don't work in the large scale. Their has to be a balance between the interests of the company and those of the workers.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Nighttrap38:
Worker-owned business just don't work in the large scale. Their has to be a balance between the interests of the company and those of the workers.
Do we necessarily need large scale business though? Maybe smaller is better.
post #19 of 26
But, in a capitalist economy, the smaller companies die out under the slightly larger ones. There's always someone trying to make things bigger (not always better). Smaller is better, but it's hard to keep a lot of small companies around without taking total control over the economy by placing vast restrictions.

Idealistically, socialism works. The problem is when governments starts getting all these new powers... they tend to get carried away with themselves.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
raoul duke:
Quote:
Nighttrap38:
Worker-owned business just don't work in the large scale. Their has to be a balance between the interests of the company and those of the workers.
Do we necessarily need large scale business though? Maybe smaller is better.
A company grows out of necessity. When the demand for the company's goods or services gets to a point where they cannot fullfil at the current level of production it becomes necessary to grow. Otherwise customers will go to another company for said goods or services. In order to maintain marketshare a company has to grow.
post #21 of 26
The costs of products don't go down unless you produce at economies of scale.
post #22 of 26

Would it just mean higher taxation and public spending, with private business and enterprise still existing but with more regulations? 

post #23 of 26
Definitely ask people who've been gone for over a decade.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nighttrap38 View Post

Even though I'm pro-capitalist, I concur that there is a difference in the system. Socialism as economic system excludes capitalism and the free market only in certain sectors(education, health, etc.) Communism is where the government assumes full control over the all commercial activity within the state.


I further think Orwell's criticism dealt specifically with communism as it allowed people like Stalin and Lenin to take power.

My country (Denmark) is decried as a socialist state all the time, but there are no areas where capitalism is excluded. Despite free education and healthcare we have plenty of private hospitals, schools and higher education institutions.
post #25 of 26
I read 1984 as a vicious satire of Churchill's domestic leadership, which masterfully rallied a sense of common cause and shared sacrifice to get the English people through World War II, only to turn around and all but declare open war on Russia immediately after the German surrender, while British children were still playing in craters from the V2 rockets. Orwell wanted the reader to think about whether the climate that Incsoc has created in the novel is the climate necessary to keep a policy of permanent war going, or whether the state of permanent war is an excuse for the rationing and domestic crackdowns that accompany an economic depression. This was why the Bush/Blair years gave the book a new, immediate importance, which it hadn't enjoyed in the English speaking world since the end of Reagan/Thatcher.
post #26 of 26

Hey I finally read this just last week!

 

Like Animal Farm I took it as fairly directly inspired by the Soviets, what with the first few pages desribing Big Brother as looking exactly like Stalin, and Goldstein suspiciously like Trotsky.

 

To be honest though I don't think the specific inspirations are all that important. It real targets are ideas, tactics and mindsets, that's what keeps it evergreen.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitches Leave View Post

My country (Denmark) is decried as a socialist state all the time, but there are no areas where capitalism is excluded. Despite free education and healthcare we have plenty of private hospitals, schools and higher education institutions.
 

This is where things can get bogged down in semantic confusion. Democratic Socialism in the sense of a capitalist economies with strong welfare programs is a different beast from Socialism in the strict Marxist sense.

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