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George Orwell

Politics/World

Christopher Hitchens: Premature Anti-Castroite

Nearing the end of his life, Christopher Hitchens no longer considered himself a Trotskyite, or even a socialist. But he never repudiated his Vietnam-era politics, and to his dying day praised the “heroic” Vietcong, despite Ho Chi Minh’s obvious Stalinist-style politics and how said politics were murderously applied after Saigon fell (Hitchens, like others in the New Left, blamed Minh and Pol Pot’s savagery on America’s relentless bombing campaign). But Hitchens departed from the New Left from the very beginning by criticizing one of their sacred cows: Fidel Castro. Like Lee Harvey Oswald (who, as a gun-brandishing Marxist-spouting deadbeat, would have fit easily into the Weathermen), the New Left lauded the Cuban dictator for his scrappy opposition against “fascist” American imperialism and for his “purer” form of Marxism over the Soviet syetem. For them, Castro was worthy to stand beside their other idols, Ho Chi Minh (many of the violence-practicing New Left proclaimed themselves “America’s Vietcong”) and Mao. But Hitchens kept his head about Castro. Like many of his… Keep Reading

History/World

Spain At The Brink

Time has not been kind to the Spanish Civil War, which, among the Left at least, ranks up there with World War II as “the good war.” Russian declassified documents show that Stalin was trying to import his horrific Purge Trials into Loyalist Spain by attempting to execute en masse his Spanish opposition in the form of non-Stalinist but authentically anti-fascist frontline military units on trumped-up charges of being “fascist spies.” On his orders, his plaything, the Stalinist-dominated Loyalist government used their secret police to hunt down and execute these “fascists.” Unfortunately for those who defended the necessity of these repressions (among them, the supposedly politically astute Ernest Hemingway), the sturdily honest George Orwell was fighting in Spain alongside those targeted by Stalin. He would set the records of event straight. The legendary writer knew his fellow soldiers as brave and authentic anti-fascists whose only “crime” was to belong to a non-Stalinist military unit (even those in the Communist-dominated one, members of the International Brigade “disappeared” when they mildly… Keep Reading

Culture/History

George Orwell: More Astute Than Edmund Wilson

Biographers of literary critic Edmund Wilson have asserted that the writer who bears the closest resemblance to Wilson, who reigned as America’s premier man of letters from the 1920s—1960s, is George Orwell. Writing of his subject, Lewis Dabney sought to validate this trans-Atlantic connection by stating that, like Wilson, Orwell was “a social critic who’d digested Marxism, a satirist and autobiographer until 1984 better known as a man of letters than for his fiction.” Dabney noted that both men, rarely praiseworthy of their contemporaries (although Orwell inexplicably lauded Henry Miller), were so toward each other. Orwell lauded Wilson’s essay on Charles Dickens, and Wilson praised Animal Farm even more, calling it “absolutely first-rate” and Orwell worthy to stand beside “Swift and Voltaire.” With this review, Wilson, stingy with praise, made Orwell’s reputation in America, and, according to Dabney “helped sell many thousands of [Animal Farm] copies in United States.” During a largely cordial meeting, Wilson, nevertheless, was angrily critical of the British author for blaming the damage done to… Keep Reading

History

Robert Merriman Was Brave, But Apologized For Soviet Tyranny

It is said, cold-bloodedly, that JFK died in the most romantic and, based on what was to come for the remainder of the 1960s, fortunate way possible. For his death bathed his image in golden lights that did not cling to him while he lived, and allowed him to miss the consequences of many of his actions, particularly with regard to his hawkish stance on Vietnam. Had Oswald missed or Kennedy dodged the fatal head shot, it could have been JFK who was the subject of the New Left chant directed toward his successor–“Hey, Hey, LBJ, How Many Kids Did You Kill Today?” The same fortunate circumstances applied to Bob Merriman, an American Communist killed while serving as a brigade commander on the Loyalist side during the Spanish Civil War in 1938. Fortunately for his martyred reputation, the pro-Stalinist Merriman died a year before the embarrassment and betrayal inflicted on his comrades by Josef Stalin in 1939 the when the dictator signed a military partnership with the leader of… Keep Reading

History/Politics

Claud Cockburn: Pioneer Of The Mainstream Media

Conservatives today locate the origins of the “mainstream media” in the Watergate and Vietnam era; when every reporter since has wanted to have the presidency-toppling effect of a Woodward and Bernstein. But from Watergate on, the presidencies that reporters have wanted toppled have been exclusively Republican ones. Much of this partisanship had to do with the inclusion of New Leftist ideologues, ironically once anti-establishment toward the press, burrowing into the profession and the academia that trains future journalists. Conservatives are certainly correct that the profession today is dominated by leftists who never left the late sixties, where objectivity was an obstacle to their political goals and thus jettisoned; and these propaganda techniques continue today by the journalists who leftist academics indoctrinate as college students. Keep Reading

History

The Duchess Of Atholl: Nobility For Stalin

In the film version of George Orwell’s book Keep The Aspidistra Flying, the main character, a struggling writer, assumes correctly that because a benefactor of writers is wealthy, said benefactor is therefore a communist. This assumption was very much a reality in the upper class intellectual world of 1930s Britain. For it was not only the expensively educated like Stephen Spender and W.H. Auden–and on a more sinister level, Kim Philby–who were pro-Stalin, but also Nancy Cunard, the daughter of a shipping magnate. This zeitgeist was so pervasive, that this pampered faction had a titled conservative in their ranks; who, ironically, defended Stalinism out of British imperialist motives. This figure was the Duchess of Atholl aka Katherine Marjory Stewart-Murray, who despite representing the Conservative Party member in Parliament clashed with her fellow conservatives because of their support for appeasing Hitler. Very much a “premature anti-fascist,” she expressed her disgust at the government’s deal-cutting with and outright support of fascist dictators by frequently resigning; first as Conservative Whip in 1937… Keep Reading

Culture/History

The Struggle To Publish Animal Farm

George Orwell’s devastating satire on Stalinism, Animal Farm remains even 72 years later, along with Nineteen Eighty-Four, the gold standard for totalitarian literature. But Orwell’s classic novel which established the phrase “Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others” nearly didn’t secure a publisher, who based their rejections not on the quality of the book, but because of its unwelcome politics. Written and submitted during the height of Soviet popularity in 1943-1945, who, as a war-time ally pushed Hitler all the way back to Berlin, the fable was rejected not only by pro-Stalinists and at least one KGB agent, but by conservatives as well. Copies were even burned at one point in protest. Keep Reading

History/Politics

“The Necessary Murder”

Omitted from leftist narratives as to why those of their own defected to the anti-Communist side is how a single murder provoked the defection. Instead pro-Communists and “anti-anti-Communists” assign base motives to these supposedly mentally unstable drunks such as a desire for the latter to line their pockets and for a new appreciation of fascism. Ernest Hemingway, who sought a relationship with the Soviet secret police, used the greed argument against his one-time friend John Dos Passos for publicly accusing Communists during the Spanish Civil War of murdering Dos Passos’ friend, Jose Robles. Hemingway with help from the Soviet-directed loyalist government justified the murder because Robles was “a fascist spy” for Franco. Disgusted, Dos Passos became a fervent anti-Communist who later voted for Barry Goldwater. Keep Reading

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