History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Orwell and the idea(s) of a new communism

July 3rd, 2014 · No Comments


The Orwell meme of 1984 is a significant challenge to our idea of a new Communism: to what are we referring when we speak of a (new) communism? The first answer is another question: despite its brilliance and symbolically on target abstraction, the classic book by Orwell does not refer to reality, so we need to answer only to its ‘aroma’ of poetic insight, but beyond that analyze more directly the nature of totalitarian communism in practice (as Bolshevism).
We can propose several theses of research/discussion:

The Black Book of Communism raises many of the relevant issues: one of them the question, was the Bolshevik mass murder an ideological consequence or a realization of a characteristic of a long-term brutal society, Russia?
What was the effect of the First World War?
As we examine the American Revolution we see the advantage of little prior revolutionary violence (although the legacy of ethnocide was surely on a par with the Russian case, but, significantly, disguised by the lack as of then of any real documentation of the type we now have).
In any case, the level of violence of the democratic emergentist phenomenon was by this very token, given its match with capitalism, renewed slavery, and massive genocide, on a par with the Russain case (?).
That book can’t be sidelined by leftists in their proposals.
But we can also propose any number of analyses of the latent violence in marxism, leninism, bolshevism, etc…: the original communist successors to the French Revolution were not implicated in the kind of formulation that emerged in the Second Internationale. On the other hand they were often conflicted about the Jacobin phase of that earlier revolution, and this has misled many in the sequence: there is no simple analogy from the Jacobin phase, but too many leftists were unclear on this subject.

In any case, the moral tenor of Orwell’s classic is hard to challenge until, precisely, in the end game of globalization, the dangers of global capitalism have displaced books such as The Black Book into the background, but with a reminder that a new communism must be ‘new’, and implicitly or explicitly abjure its first Russian realization.
We can leave this discussion here with a call for further questions. But the simplest answer to Orwell here is that there is no absolute distinction between the American (bourgeois) revolution and the Russian (bourgeois/communist) revolutions, as reactionaries exposing the violence of the democratic revolutons understood well: they blend the one into the other, and (pace Popper’s propaganda idea turned on its head), piece-meal social engineering, starting with the American Revolution, can show that a rational/realizable ‘revolution’ can be remorphed continuously into a communism one as a transform of a liberal governance into a variant called ‘new communism’.

One of the problems with the Russian revolution was the endemic hatred of liberal systems, the chronic contempt for morals systems, the rejection on this basis of all rights laws. Something was awry in this analysis, and the failure to see a kind of Murphy’s Law effect was disastrous. A new communism could fairly easily foresee and attempt to prevent these kinds of confusions.

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