An old Socialist…

“…since 1930 I had seen little evidence that the USSR was progressing towards anything that one could truly call socialism. On the contrary, I was struck by clear signs of its transformation into a hierarchical society, in which the rulers have no more reason to give up their power than any other ruling class.”

Thus wrote George Orwell in March 1947 in a preface to the Ukrainian publication of his book “Animal Farm” which of course was written to the storyline of the Russian Revolution, in that preface he also points out that the story of Animal Farm ends in most readers interpretation with the pigs joining forces with the humans, “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again : but already it was impossible to say which was which”, he finished writing the book in February 1944 but by the time it was published into Ukrainian three years later felt the need to point out to the citizens of that Republic that it wasn’t his intention at all to merge pig and man, more that he wrote the last chapter shortly after the 1943 Teheran Conference in which Stalin had convinced Roosevelt and Churchill that Russia after the war would be a benign partner in a new Europe, George Orwell didn’t believe him then and by 1947 felt justified in re-iterating to the Ukraine that any co-operation between pig and man would be short lived.

George Orwell was a Socialist in the great tradition of 1930s Socialism, the idea that a state could provide for all of its citizens from their collected wealth and production rather than have just a few selected individuals benefit financially while others starved at their door.

He and his wife travelled to Spain in 1936 to fight for the Spanish Government against the Fascists and was wounded in the throat in ’37, he’d accidently enrolled himself in the POUM militia (a workers socialist party opposed to Stalinist policies) rather than the more common International Brigade and found at the end of the civil war that his militia were the subject of man hunts by the then communist controlled Spanish Government, rather confusing when you believe you’re fighting for the same cause – he and his wife escaped from Spain in ’37 but many of their friends were executed, or just disappeared.

He was always outspoken against the way that British and American press and governments would hold up the Soviet Union as an example of Socialism by totalitarian control and was always at pains to point out that the USSR in the 1930s onwards bore little relation to its ambitions in 1917, and was in fact little different to any capitalist country you could name where a select few controlled every method of wealth production and rule, the only difference being a pretence of democracy which was always carefully arranged to produce the correct result whilst appearing unplanned and totally open to scrutiny.

I’m turning into an old Socialist as each new year adds to my collected wisdom of 55 such years, as each one progresses I understand more that one individual cannot hope to amass enough hard cash during his working years in order to provide for himself and his family in his non-working years, the non-working bits coming at the beginning and end, times when you are at your most vulnerable and most needy, a society who does not look after its young and old without reference to income or social status is not one that I want to live in, I’ve spent too long contributing to pensions and policies under the impression that I was “investing” in my financial future only to find that some fat fookwit has had it away with my share for his own enrichment, and un-nervingly, continues to do so, quite legally.

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