Talk:George Orwell

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Orwell wrote an essay as the introduction to Animal Farm, a painfully obvious and blatant attack on Stalinism.

  • It is "ironic" that the particular example of self-censorship Orwell referred to in the essay was the refusal of the left-wing and liberal press of the time to publish criticism of the Soviet Union [1]

On the other hand:

  • throughout his life, Orwell remained a confirmed socialist and worked almost exclusively for socialist journals [ibid]

Then there is:

  • Orwell begins his critique on class and socialism in The Road to Wigan Pier [2]

And this nuanced view:

  • In the 1930s revolutionary socialists and communists were quite a bit more mainstream in English and American intellectual life than they are today. Orwell knew their arguments intimately, and sympathized deeply with their goals. Indeed, the first half of The Road To Wigan Pier is a blistering attack on the harsh working and living conditions of the English working class of his day. And yet he felt that intellectualized socialism, with its emphasis on absolute mechanization and total efficiency, was somehow deeply dehumanizing. [ibid]

International Socialist Review says:

  • Orwell became a self-described socialist as a result of lessons learned early in life. His service as a colonial policeman in Burma turned him into a fierce anti-imperialist with a commitment to exposing oppression and championing the rights of the working class. But Orwell was also a controversial and contradictory writer who took diverse–sometimes courageous–positions over the course of his life that have left his work open to interpretation. He moved from firm anti-imperialist and working class politics to become a supporter of the British Labor Party and a critic of the left by the end of his life, including an almost obsessive focus on Stalinism. [3]

Edit summary

Sorry, I missed the comment about Animal Farm. Same thing goes, distorted communism, or Stalinism, perhaps, but not communism. --AngryCommunist 22:24, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Not sure what you mean. People have been saying for years that Orwell wasn't talking about Communism in either of his best-selling novels Animal Farm or 1984. But that has always sounded to me about as credible as gay rights activists saying that they're "not trying to destroy traditional marriage".
Communists lie, as part of their strategy. We Christians are "handicapped" by our need to tell the truth. Communists lie so they can get away with murder. --Ed Poor Talk 23:42, 4 January 2008 (EST)
Orwell was a self-proclaimed socialist. Animal Farm was about proto-Stalinism, and Nineteen Eighty-Four was about authoritarianism. --AngryCommunist 17:04, 9 January 2008 (EST)
Is your comment related to the article? --Ed Poor Talk 20:16, 9 January 2008 (EST)
Yep. --AngryCommunist 21:46, 9 January 2008 (EST)

Animal Farm and Wikipedia

  • people can change the meaning of words and commandments over time to suit a totalitarian regime

That's been my experience at Wikipedia, where minority views on controversial topics are squelched completely while the censors claim that being neutral requires them to do this. --Ed Poor Talk 19:49, 30 August 2008 (EDT)

Orwell's precise views

Socialists persist in portraying Orwell as supporting their views. They like to argue that he made no criticism of the world's largest experiments with socialism (such as the ill-fated Soviet Union) and pretend that his pointed critiques of Communism in 1984 and Animal Farm were intended as general criticisms, more applicable to England and the USA.

  • and a frightening tale of how people can change the meaning of words and commandments over time to suit a totalitarian regime

I think this view of Orwell is naive or intentionally deceptive. Orwell like socialism as an ideal, but he was aware of how hard it would be for real people (who are so selfish) to put into effect.

  • Orwell believed that although socialism is good as an ideal, it can never be successfully adopted due to uncontrollable sins of human nature. [4]

Let's put more about liberal revisionism into this article. Walter Cronkite's introduction to 1984 (assuming there was no ghostwriter) is a case in point. He succeeds in drawing the reader's attention completely away from Communist countries and hammers home the point that 1984 is nothing but a warning to the West. He should have said that the Soviet Union itself is a warning to the West.

But Communist propaganda has been so successful that people to this day think that Hitler was the epitome of murderous tyrants. They ignore Stalin and Mao who were ten times worse, and don't even know they are igoring them. This is precisely the point of 1984! --Ed Poor Talk 16:21, 16 August 2011 (EDT)


I am not of the belief that George orwell was a conservative. I would refer you to his 1943 essay "Why I Write", in which he refers to the Spanish Civil War as being his "watershed political experience", saying "The Spanish War and other events in 1936–37, turned the scale. Thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written directly or indirectly against totalitarianism and for Democratic Socialism as I understand it."

I cannot see how anybody could possibly claim him to be a conservative, reading that. If anybody finds any contradicting sources, drop me a line, I'm totally open minded to the idea that he was a conservative. However, he seems to advocate democratic socialism, and 1984 is a slight on communism rather than the left. He just seems to be libertarian, which is not synonymous with conservatism. But again, drop me a line. --eglynn 13:07, 21 March 2013 (GMT)

This is a superb entry. In response to your comment, Orwell became more conservative late in his life, when he wrote Animal Farm and 1984. Even his above quote, which was earlier in his life, is not particularly liberal.--Andy Schlafly (talk) 18:24, 31 August 2020 (EDT)