Remembering George Orwell: A Liberal Democratic Socialist



George Orwell was a famous English writer and journalist. He was a popular writer during his era and wrote famous books called Nineteen eighty-four and Animal farm. His writings were strongly believed to be anti-imperialist and a socialist approver. He believed that any system should happen for the sake of promoting human liberty and equality.

All of his life he was vocal against Stalinist propaganda that hugely was looking forward as a totalitarian leadership. But Orwell thought that totalitarianism is very harmful to the citizens of the nation, as it makes the people to mere subjects.

All his life his writings were thought of as some written piece of papers that sang the song against the authoritarian dictatorships across the world. Democratic socialism was the concept that he floated and supported, as he believed in a democratic spirit that promotes equality and well being of human beings.

Animal Farm and Orwellian Views -

George Orwell wrote Animal farm that is found to be an epitome of democratic socialism concept. In the 1950’s itself, around 20 million copies were sold during his lifetime and are treated as a textbook in the US and UK. Animal farm is written as an angry statement against the totalitarian regimes of the world.

Similarly, he went on to participate in the 1936 civil war in Spain but accidentally took part as he was present there for some war article. All his life his vision was clear to not contradict with the democratic ideals and in the cold war world, he was a prominent thinker who always challenged imperialistic thoughts and totalitarianism regimes.

Once he was invited by the Duchess of Atholl for a lecture, however, he declined the offer because the organisation was too conservative and always defended British democracy but remained silent on the British imperialistic occupations overseas.

Anti Imperialist and Totalitarianism: Some Views of Orwell -

Orwell also stated that his vision was mainly of liberal democracy that is very difficult to achieve. Always believing that socialism is the only way out for eradicating most of the shortcomings of the human mechanism- he hates capitalism. 

He loathed the conservative MPs (Members of Parliament) when they supported the bombing of British ships by Italian planes. Orwell stated that fascism or Nazism was no better than authoritarian communism. Also pointing out the flaws of the British political order that they were of no understanding of Nazism and Fascism.

Orwell believed that it is important to understand all these systems and dangers of them to British society. To understand this, the British have to accept the failures of their economic order over a period of time. 

This was very difficult to accept by the nationalist English people. The British were only of the misconception that Fascism was on their support but it was not. 

Orwell distrusted these kinds of authoritarian systems and always opined of removing such order. He favoured the clause 4 of the British Labour party that stated “the state should produce and own land and control the economic machinery”, he was of the view that state control would usher prosperity. 

This meant that private land or authorities would not be usurped in the name of state control but the government should use its mechanism for proper distribution of wealth to maintain equality. All his life he maintained a distance from totalitarianism but of the view of free will and spirit that ushers flow of thought by the advancement of democratic means.

Capitalistic Order as an Inferior System: Orwellian Views on Socialism and Society -

George Orwell also discussed in his writings that capitalism was not able to drive people out of a crisis but socialism has and there is no such urge of taking huge profits by big landowners or capitalists in a socialistic structure. 

Once in an essay in the 1940’s he argued that war and revolution was the part of the human evolutionary journey. But he also mentioned without infusing socialistic values you can’t win a war. 

Socialism was thought of as the strongest antidote against fascism, that means to weed out fascist motives strong socialistic foundation is to be built upon. By highlighting the Socialistic order he wanted to make people understand that the relationship of the producer and the buyer and the profit motive embedded within it is creating problems.

By mentioning some points to implement socialistic program he suggested these points -

1. Nationalisation of land, mines, railways, banks, major industries.

2. Income ceiling- Limitation of incomes, in such a way that the highest tax-free income never surpasses the lowest by more than ten to one.

3. Democratic reforms in the educational system.

4. Dominion status of India, with the power to withdraw after the war.

5. General council for colonies.

6. Formal alliance or Tie-ups with China, Abyssinia (Ethiopia) as well as all the other victims of fascist powers.

All his life George Orwell believed to have propagated for democratic socialism that even today seems to be a distant dream in most of the countries.

Written by - Bodhiswatta Mukherjee
Edited by - Ivanova


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