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Homage to Orwell
Spiked Review of Books ^ | 3 May 2013 | Mike Hume

Posted on 05/12/2013 8:53:59 AM PDT by dirtboy

George Orwell could have been killed twice in the Spanish Civil War. Once when he was shot in the throat by General Franco’s fascist forces; then when he was hunted by official Communist agents who, with the backing of Stalin’s Soviet Union, stabbed the revolution in the back and imprisoned, tortured and killed leading leftists and anarchists who were ostensibly on the same Republican side. Orwell learned the hardest way that the war against fascism in Spain was also a civil war against Stalinism.

Homage to Catalonia, Orwell’s famous account of his time in Spain from his arrival in Barcelona on Boxing Day 1936 to his escape in June 1937, has just reached its seventy-fifth anniversary. Like its author, the book almost didn’t make it either. The radical journalist and author’s usual publisher, Victor Gollancz, turned the book down without even seeing the manuscript, insisting that he would not publish anything ‘which could harm the fight against fascism’ by criticising the Communists.

Most of those from Britain and Europe who went to write about and fight in the Spanish Civil War took a similarly one-eyed view and followed the pro-Soviet line. What was unique about Orwell was that he hated fascism, but also stood apart from the official Stalinist-dominated left of his time. The radical maverick wrote about what he saw in Spain, rather than simply what he was told was true – although he also warned his readers to ‘beware my partisanship’ when seeking an objective account. He questioned the ‘official’ Stalinist-dictated account of events in Barcelona and elsewhere that was accepted around the world. This heresy made him the subject of a hate campaign when Homage to Catalonia was finally published in 1938, a campaign which continued well into the 1980s.

(Excerpt) Read more at spiked-online.com ...


TOPICS: Books/Literature; Society
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He is also cutting about the way that the Communists simply branded their opponents as ‘Social-fascists’ and ‘Trotsky-Fascists’ to avoid engaging in important political arguments. Many who express their admiration for Orwell today have yet to absorb his point that screaming ‘Fascists!’ in the faces of those you disagree with is not the same thing as making your case. ‘Libel’, as he concludes, ‘settles nothing’.

The liberal playbook never changes.

1 posted on 05/12/2013 8:53:59 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: dirtboy

On one side, was Stalin supporting the Republicans against fascist Franco. On the other side, was Hitler supporting the fascists against Stalin and the Republicans. To his credit, Hitler helped saved Spain from Stalinism. To his credit, Franco later refused to support Hitler in WWII.


2 posted on 05/12/2013 10:42:08 AM PDT by Enterprise ("Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire)
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