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The Plot to Assassinate Orwell (lithub.com)
194 points by who-knows 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 154 comments





If you find this interesting, definitely read his book https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homage_to_Catalonia !

For a similarly fascinating, curiously parallel autobiography -- another western, idealistic leftist losing his illusions about Stalin's regime -- pick up Whitaker Chambers' Witness.

A favorite passage ponders at length a tiny note, smuggled out of a Moscow prison, where Chambers' now-purged controller awaited execution. From memory: "'You will meet a man. You will think of him as your friend.' What could it mean but that he would not be my friend?"


David Crook, mentioned in the article as working for the anti-POUM had a fascinating life. Apparently he apologised for the mentioned spying.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Crook

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2000/dec/18/guardianobituar...

Hampstead Heath to Tian An Men - The autobiography of David Crook http://www.davidcrook.net/simple/main.html


Crook's books on living in Chinese communism sound interesting, I managed to buy them both used on Abebooks. I've always wanted to read what day-to-day life was like in early Communist china. I've found a lot of older Chinese people I talk to don't like talking about it or change the subject pretty quickly, which I understand, people don't like talking about being poor.

The person I last talked to was a teacher in China who lived a decent middle class childhood in the 1960s and was forced to move to a rural area into poverty and made to work on a farm for a few years. Eating dinner communally with large groups of people. She often talks about her regret of not leaving to Taiwan like some of her family.


Also look up Sidney Rittenberg [0]. He wrote a book and there's a documentary on him. He was friends with Mao and imprisoned by him. He wrote a book [1].

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidney_Rittenberg

[1] https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00CPJB7H4/ref=dp-kindle-redirec...


Looks good, thank you. Added it to my wishlist

Depending on how far back you want to go you could add

https://www.abebooks.co.uk/book-search/title/the-small-woman...

Which is the story of Gladys Aylward, a missionary in China mostly in the first half of the century.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladys_Aylward

It was made into a film "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness" featuring Ingrid Bergman. It of course took liberties with the story but I remember it being a good movie.


The Spanish Civil War happens to be one of my favorite historical events. In no small part because I once was really into anarcho-syndicalist beliefs. Not so much anymore, but I still enjoy it from a historical perspective.

I highly recommend the Spanish Civil War tour in Barcelona by Nick Lloyd (https://twitter.com/Civil_War_Spain). Unfortunately, the war is still a touchy subject in Spain, so his tour is the best you'll get until Spain builds a proper museum.


> Unfortunately, the war is still a touchy subject in Spain

I find this quite concerning and rather paternalistic, especially when far-right/fascists keep winning elections and the PP still exists.

I'm not ignorant of the attrocities but Spain needs to be able to discuss current issues linked to or reminiscent of that era despite it upsetting a lot people.

It's suppressing free speech, and Spain has a disgraceful recent history of anti free-spech legislastion passed by the PP in the years following their win in 2011. Spain passed a gag law in 2013, the same year Vox was created. Perhaps it seems you have to create a far-right party to enjoy free speech. /s


"Far-right fascists" This shows that you don't actually know what fascism is. PP is center-right, you only think that it is far-right because you are very far left.

The problem with talking about this era is that half the country believes that the republicans were blameless and the nationalists were the devil. Both sides freely executed suspected political enemies, but the left is unwilling to recognize this. If the republicans had won there would have been as many or more executions than under Franco's regime. There would have even been a chance that Spain became communist, which would have resulted in even more deaths.

Now, I agree with you on the lack of freedom of speech in Spain. But it censors the left as much as the right is censored in England or Germany. That is to say, the censorship is shameful but on the same level as the rest of Europe.


Such an overstatement is not honest and doesn't help to analyze the current political situation in Spain, nor helps to understand why the Civil War is a touchy subject.

Vox is a far-right party but it isn't a fascist one because they play under the Spanish Constitution rules.

Describing PP in that same political spectrum is a bad joke, the same kind you make when saying 'Spain has a disgraceful recent history of anti free-spech legislastion' (sic). Can you please give us any example? Any sentence? Any ource? Can you honestly say that you can't speak freely in Spain?

In the caricature you've drawn, it looks like the 'fascists' have all the power, keeping everyone with their mouths shut, but you need to take the whole picture, from far-right to far-left, and don't forget the disproportionate power of the regional nationalist parties.

The main point you forget is the interest of many parties to re-write History, being the Spanish Civil War one of their favorite subjects because, at the end, most of them were supporting a dictatorship, not a democracy. Or a Franco dictatorship, or a Stalin dictatorship, but none of them fighting for democracy or for the original spirit of the II Spanish Republic.


> Can you honestly say that you can't speak freely in Spain?

Yes, I believe you can. Where to start? The disgusting re-appearance of political prisoners in Spain, for Catalan leaders expressing the idea that Catalunya should determine its own destiny, while Spanish politicos laughably and hypocritically complain about the same in Venezuela (but to the twisted fascist mind, their political prisoners are just 'criminals' - I'm sure Maduro would use the same justification). The destruction of an edition of the Jueves comic drawing that showed the (then) prince earning a childrearing grant having sex with his wife. A rapper in exile to avoid being remanded for singing about the king. Plenty of other examples.

No, free speech is not protected in Spain, quite the reverse.


Sorry but that is not true at all. There aren't 'political prisoners' by any means in Spain. There are politicians in prison, and that's quite different.

Their imprisonment without bail follows the Spanish Law, based on democratic principles, and it's quite dishonourable to compare Spain and Venezuela political situations.

On the other hand, nobody destroyed any edition of 'El Jueves', please see https://www.eldiario.es/sociedad/Jueves-retira-ejemplares-po...

Every cover is available even online, even the controversial ones https://twitter.com/eljueves/status/834078228541165568

They make fun of the Catalonian nationalists too by the way https://twitter.com/eljueves/status/1171369631786917888

About Valtonyc, the rapper you're talking about 'in exile to avoid being remanded for singing about the king' that's not true. He was judged and sentenced to 3 and a half years of prison for 'crimes of threats, insults to the Crown, and glorification of terrorism'. To avoid going to prison, he fled.

Yes, free speech is well protected in Spain.


>Sorry but that is not true at all. There aren't 'political prisoners' by any means in Spain. There are politicians in prison, and that's quite different.

Unless they are in prison because e.g. they were driving under influence, or stealing money, or hit someone, or some other such crime, then it's not different at all...

>About Valtonyc, the rapper you're talking about 'in exile to avoid being remanded for singing about the king' that's not true. He was judged and sentenced to 3 and a half years of prison for 'crimes of threats, insults to the Crown, and glorification of terrorism'. To avoid going to prison, he fled.

That is supposed to be a refutation of what the parent wrote?


They aren't in preventive prison due to their political ideas but they're being accused of committing very specific and serious crimes, like rebellion, sedition, and embezzlement.

The whole trial has been live streamed.

About your second question, making threats, insulting the Crown, and glorification of terrorism is not just 'singing about the king'.

That's not free speech.


Oh, come on! It's the 21st century. "Insulting the Crown", whatever that is, should totally be protected as free speech. Rebellion and sedition sound really backward and dusty too. Yarr, like some pirate-age stuff, man...

>They aren't in preventive prison due to their political ideas but they're being accused of committing very specific and serious crimes, like rebellion, sedition, and embezzlement.

Well, rebellion and sedition _are_ political ideas. Political ideas are not just "more taxes/less taxes", or "healthcare for all/private healthcare" and other regular everyday party differences.

And of course, the kind of political ideas political prisoners all over the world get in jail for in regimes that stifle political expression are more often than not branded "rebellion", "sedition", by those putting them there...

>The whole trial has been live streamed.

Well, the Moscow trials of Stalin were well reported to the masses as well. That's neither here, nor there.

>About your second question, making threats, insulting the Crown, and glorification of terrorism is not just 'singing about the king'.

Sure. But wanting the king dethroned (if not beheaded, for effect) is a totally legit political idea, that was part of most countries progressing to real civic democracy, and people and politicians should be able to express it. In a modern democracy, if it must have some relic of feudal times in the form of a decorative king, said king shouldn't still be anything sacred.

"and glorification of terrorism" there's no shortage of regimes that labeled anything they didn't like "terrorism".

Heck, the British would also be offended by Americans in the colonies "insulting and threatening the King" and called their fighting terrorism, so there's that.

Just because a regime exists, doesn't mean protecting it is just or should continue to exist.


Generally speaking, everything is political but I'm afraid you're confusing ideas with actions.

Those politicians are not in prison for 'having an idea', they're in there for actively acting against the current Spanish Constitution, against the Spanish Law, and against the regional Catalonian Law as well.

All of that using Public Funds.

About free speech, it's a Right with some limits, as any Right. For example, tell me whether in your opinion, thanks to that Right, anyone can 'sing' promoting hate against transsexuals, or promoting to kill Afro-Americans, or to torture children.


>Those politicians are not in prison for 'having an idea', they're in there for actively acting against the current Spanish Constitution, against the Spanish Law, and against the regional Catalonian Law as well.

Well, wasn't Mandela in prison for similar things? Acting against the "current law" is not enough in itself to make one's imprisonment just.

Especially if they didn't hurt/kill anyone, but acted politically (spoke, organized, etc), even if the established laws forbids it.

>About free speech, it's a Right with some limits, as any Right. For example, tell me whether in your opinion, thanks to that Right, anyone can 'sing' promoting hate against transsexuals, or promoting to kill Afro-Americans, or to torture children.

It wouldn't be nice, but they should be able to sing those things. For example there are all kinds of e.g. death metal songs that speak of killing people in satanic rituals, torturing virgins, heck even torturing children should be there. Should metal be banned?

More importantly, when there are "some limits" (as opposed to no), it's not just the blatantly clear cases (e.g. don't talk against killing afro-americans) that are problematic, but the gray ones.

One man's freedom fighter's are another man's terrorists for example, so e.g. the Clash singing about Sandinista could be said to "promote terrorism".

Or e.g. "promoting hate towards the Crown". Well, "God save the Queen, she's not a human being, it's a fascist regime" by Sex Pistols, is a mighty fine song.

Or how about interpretation? Someone might write a song about e.g. black crime in their neighborhood, and it could be interpreted as "racism against blacks" if they're not black themselves.

Or they could consider some "democracy bringing war" celebrated in the media and government, as "resource grabbing" attempt. Should they be able to sing about it?

And tons of other things besides.


> There aren't 'political prisoners' by any means in Spain. There are politicians in prison, and that's quite different.

>> to the twisted fascist mind, their political prisoners are just 'criminals'

QED


Is that your 'argument'? Insults?

Maybe you should think about why you can't prove your point of view, and why you need to resort to name-calling.


>Yes, free speech is well protected in Spain.

Except when it isn't.

Articles 490 and 491 of the criminal code govern lèse-majesté. Any person who defames or insults the king, the queen, their ancestors or their descendants can be imprisoned for up to two years

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lèse-majesté


> Can you honestly say that you can't speak freely in Spain?

I don't know. Let's ask the imprisoned Catalonian ministers?


First of all, there isn't such a thing as 'Catalonian ministers', and secondly you can't be seriously saying that any politician can't speak freely in Spain.

"If ya don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding!

How can ya have any pudding if ya don't eat ya meat?"


Aren't both statements begging the question?

I don't think so.

Catalan minister, apologies. But my point stands.

Out of curiosity, why are you no longer into anarcho-syndicalism?

I guess I "outgrew" it. It's fun when you are in high school. I think capitalism works well so long as people can keep it honest. The invisible hand needs a visible hand because two hands are better than one. I also believe capitalism will eat itself and deliver us a pretty awesome world a hundred or so years from now (assuming we police it in the interim). Eliminate borders, then eliminate around one trillion a year in needless defense spending, and all the sudden this capitalist system we've built has plenty of resources to provide for the many. Nations are the problem, not capitalism.

> I also believe capitalism will eat itself and deliver us a pretty awesome world a hundred or so years from now

I wish I could share your optimism. It's hard for me to believe there will be any future that doesn't include environmental collapse.


That's where we need to police it. Now maybe thats cap/trade, carbon tax, or whatever. Maybe its geoengineering. Remember this isn't just a capitalism problem, the Soviet Unions centralized economy wasn't exactly environmentally friendly. This is a humanity problem. Not many people share my optimism, but humans have been pretty good about surviving so far.

> this isn't just a capitalism problem, the Soviet Unions centralized economy (...)

Despite the label, USSR/PRC can hardly be called communism. They are various forms of State-capitalism: all the institutions (wage slavery, prisons, secret police, industry, propaganda) remain that of any capitalist society.

See "There is no communism in Russia" or "Trotsky protests too much" by Emma Goldman for historical context about why USSR vs US or Trotsky vs Staline are false dilemmas between tyrannic ideologies.

> This is a humanity problem.

Indeed, all empires (or "civilizations") share the same problems. Only by actually changing the structures of power can we try to achieve a different outcome.

Although, it's arguably late to save our planet from capitalists / pretend-communists. These long-toothed vampires will NEVER stop until the last drop they can suck out of it.

Already a million species are facing extinction. Yet it's business as usual. These psychopaths couldn't care less about other people or the planet they stand on. We as humans could do so much better...


Since we're talking about Orwell, it's worth mentioning the whole point of Animal Farm was to criticize the USSR for not being socialist.

It sounds more like you never read anarchist writers.

> I guess I "outgrew" it. It's fun when you are in high school.

I don't think "fun" is the word for anarchism. I mean, maybe you had a very privileged/singular experience of approaching anarchism from a theoretical standpoint.

But the bloody repression faced by anarchists around the globe is not "fun". Don't get me wrong, i'm glad you had fun with rebellious ideas. There is fun to have in living in the moment and trying your best to fight injustice.

I'm just slightly upset that you would consider what is the only hope for actual liberation for millions of people a simple fun youth concern.

> I think capitalism works well so long as people can keep it honest.

Can you elaborate? How does institutionalized injustice/violence "work well"? Where i'm from in France is pretty fucked up: we're millions living in poverty and facing police/fascist killings and beatings while a tiny elite eats caviar and drinks champagne in the fancy restaurants of Paris. (without even mentioning white supremacy and islamophobia/antisemitism)

> Nations are the problem, not capitalism.

Don't you think they're the two sides of the same coin? How could capitalist inequalities maintain themselves without a central State to exert violence against those who refuse this rule? How could a tyrannical regime maintain itself without sharing some of the benefits of exploitation with a (capitalist) elite?


>Can you elaborate? How does institutionalized injustice/violence "work well"?

It could very well be that some institutionalized violence is necessary for society to work, and some injustice is inevitable in the process (humans being imperfect).

If in your perfect anarchist society I was hell bent on smacking you down (and I was quite larger than you), would the society just let it happen, or would it employ some sort of "violence"? And if said society had some rules and/or specific people to handle those situations, wouldn't the violence be "institutionalized"?

>How could capitalist inequalities maintain themselves without a central State to exert violence against those who refuse this rule? How could a tyrannical regime maintain itself without sharing some of the benefits of exploitation with a (capitalist) elite?

Quite easily? We've had tyrannical regimes before capitalism two (feudal, asiastic, and several other forms).

We even had tyrannical regimes promising the end of tyranny and capitalism (e.g. Stalinist USSR).

Nothing to say we couldn't have a tyrannical regime promising anarchism as well. People can use all ideas/ideologies/regimes to serve their own purposes.

And of course you don't need a central state to have inequalities or tyranny.

A number of powerful groups that prey on less powerful ones is enough. They don't even have to be permanent, groups could assemble at will and at different configurations to prey on those less powerful (like e.g. barbaric tribes used to do) and then stop existing after they've succeeded.


For the sibling comment asking about Orwell's stance on Stalin:

> One could not have a better example of the moral and emotional shallowness of our time, than the fact that we are now all more or less pro Stalin. This disgusting murderer is temporarily on our side, and so the purges, etc., are suddenly forgotten.

-- George Orwell, in his war-time diary, 3 July 1941


It is a short story but here are 'summary exerpts' that perhaps will serve as interest to others, to read the full story.

- The Communist Plot to Assassinate George Orwell

- When George Orwell returned to Barcelona for the third time, on June 20th, 1937, he discovered that the Spanish secret police were after him. He had been forced to return to the front in order to have his discharge papers countersigned and, in his absence, the Communists had initiated a purge of their perceived enemies. Orwell was on the list.

- David Crook, a young Englishman .... He was eager to join up with the International Brigades and fight the Fascists. He was descended from Russian-Jewish immigrants ... Like many young men who grew up after the First World War, he was attracted to left-wing causes. He moved to New York City, where he attended Columbia University and embraced radical politics, joining the Young Communist League.

- He (David Crook) .. Recovering in Madrid, he socialized with the literary set ... At this point he came to the attention of Soviet intelligence agents. After recruiting him, the NKVD sent him to a training camp in Albacete, where he was given a crash course in sabotage and surveillance techniques.

- ... He compiled reports on the Orwells, Kopp, and McNair and, at meetings in a local café, delivered them folded up in a newspaper to his handler, Hugh O’Donnell (code name “Sean O’Brien”). ... Crook reported that Kopp and Eileen were having an affair, the kind of information the NKVD valued for blackmail purposes.

- While on the run, Orwell persisted in the “ineradicable English belief that ‘they’ cannot arrest you unless you have broken the law,” even though “practically everyone we knew was in jail by this time.”

- The Orwells and their friends made it to France and safety (the first newspaper they read contained a premature report announcing McNair’s arrest for espionage). A secret police file, dated July 13th and prepared for the Tribunal for Espionage and High Treason in Valencia, denounced Orwell and Eileen as “confirmed Trotskyists.” The report was compiled with information from Wickes (and almost certainly Crook). Orwell had fled just in time.

- Orwell needed to tell the world, and most importantly his fellow left-wingers, the truth about what was going on in Spain.


What I find interesting, is the great number of people - specially in the last decade when reading 1984 suddenly became popular - that keeps telling us all that Orwell's works are a warning specifically against fascism and point Orwell's role in Spain as proof that he was himself a communist.

Orwell left quite clear that after having seen both Nazism and Communism in action, he was staunchly against both forms of totalitarianism.


> he was staunchly against both forms of totalitarianism

Indeed! But unlike capitalism, communism does not require totalitarian structures of power. They're actually quite incompatible.

Empires describing themselves as "communist" are more so "state capitalist". The USSR was not a classless society nor a free society so it cannot be called communism: some people had more rights/resources than others (the opposite of "communism").

In marxist views, dictatorship of the pretend-proletariat (red elites are usually not common people) is a capitalist stage of a society advancing towards communism but cannot be considered communism. No pretend-communist country ever outgrew this phase (because power structures do not dissolve by themselves, we have to destroy them).

Orwell was a trotskyist. If we forget just for a minute the lies and inconsistencies of Trotsky (who was a mass-murdering psychopath), trotskyists are libertarian communists. They advocate self-organized cooperation/sharing without central authority (no state). Orwell was therefore close to anarchist ideas. You can feel his admiration for anarchists in his book "Homage to Catalonia".

When the USSR started to overthrow the CNT-led anarchist revolution in Catalunya, anarchists allied with trotskyist militias to fight against fascism and authoritarian communism. They failed of course, because what can you do to survive against two power-hungry emperors (Franco/Staline) who agree to destroy you?


> ... anarchists allied with trotskyist militias to fight against fascism and authoritarian communism.

This is not true. The Soviet backed militias forced Anarchists to either fight for their militias or be part of their purge. The Soviets used force to squash the growing (and large) anti-authoritarian sentiment among the Spanish Civil War Republicans.


Well, that's exactly what i meant. Communist militias wanted to annihilate both anarchist and trotskyist militias, so those allied during the street battles of Barcelona. Are we not saying the same thing?

Orwell was not a Trotskyist. Aligned with them briefly due to circumstances but he was skeptical of whether Trotsky's strain of dictatorship would have been any better than that of Stalin.

This article is amazing, but I'm a bit sad the article does not mention the international power plays that led to this very situation.

The USSR seized control over the revolution (murdering all the anarchists) because the French and UK parliaments refused to support the war against Franco. They were afraid it would start a war with Hitler and Mussolini who were big supporters (both material and ideological) of the Franco regime, and that anarchism would then spread to their home country (threatening their own privileges).

The year is 1936. To anyone with an understanding of how imperialism/fascism operates, it's very clear that fascism has to be annihilated by force because it's an ideology that aims to kill all that does not fit.

But the moderate liberals/conservatives of the western world refuted this, claiming inaction was the best of actions against fascism. THIS is what led to the second world war: abandoning any idea of social progress in the name of an illusion of peace.

The social revolution in Catalunya was led by millions of anarchists, many of which were organized in the CNT union. But as western capitalist "democracies" refused to provide weapons to the anarchists, the USSR filled the power vacuum and seized power by organizing/supplying the republican military, on the condition they adopt authoritarian hierarchies.

Before that, the revolution was defended by self-organized militias federated from the bottom-up: no uniform, no authority. Just cooperation between autonomous units who had common interests in fighting fascism. Notably, this transition of military power from the people to the communist party forbid women from the battlefield!

All this is partially explained in Orwell's Homage to Catalonia. With the new rise of fascism from the US to Turkey, from France to India... i think there's plenty of lessons to learn from this era.


My step-Granddad who was Scottish and a communist/socialist fought in the Spanish Civil War. I guess this is how people made their feelings known in the days before Twitter :-)

He always used to tell me about how he had to bury some hand grenades at the base of a tree as he didn't know how to use them.


Just curious why contrary to the usual HN policy of reusing the headline verbatim, the word "communist" was edited out?

Because it's baity. We have enough trouble keeping people from going on generic ideological tangents as it is.

The policy is "Please use the original title, unless it is misleading or linkbait." (https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html).


This is exactly what Orwell is talking about in his books. Why are you trying to control our thoughts dang, go find a real job

Yes, but Orwell wrote about it intelligently. If he had let a million internet users comment in his books, they wouldn't be worth reading either.

# It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

I can imagine the twitter clock-splaining... "It's 13-hundred dontcha kno.", "I hate it when daylight savings ends" etc.


This really isn't the point. I'm not talking about comments but how you manipulate the perception of the public discussion.

By the way your assumption about free comments is really arrogant I guess power corrupts but it could be that you've always believed that.

Anyway 1984 will enter the public domain in 2020, we could actually try and see this then; and I bet the average comment will be more thoughtful than your average comment that seriously doesn't bring to the discussion anything but hate and frustration.


No he was talking about totalitarianism.

Wow. Meta-Orwellianism.

edit - I think I'm done here, bye Dang. You do a hard job, but this is utterly ridiculous. In the ongoing attempt to edit out anything contentious, this place has completely jumped the shark.


Because when an American sees the word "Communist" they get scared and run away

Unlike authoritarian communism, anarcho-socialism never got the chance to succeed or fail on its own merits. It was strangled in the crib.

I’m interested to hear what part of my statement people seem to disagree with: this was largely the thesis of Homage to Catalonia. It was the point behind most of Orwell’s writing, he was an anarcho-syndicalist.

People on HN downvote comments that are pro anarcho socialism without saying why they disagree. HN is a very capitalist place apparently. It would be nice if we could really engage in these discussions, but people seem to want to just downvote without comment.

That could indicate they don't find the discussions of political systems very interesting, or particularly relevant to HN. I'm one of those people -- I find a plot to kill Orwell interesting and I couldn't care less about the discussion of anarcho-* interesting, except very narrowly if it contributed to the context of the article.

(Edit - not a downvoter however)


It may be true, but my hunch is that discussions of capitalist market politics are fine and only socialism gets downvoted.

This could be a mix of relevance (US-centric, startup centric message board) and confirmation bias.

There's also a good degree of US interpretation of terms, where apparently communism, fascism, socialism, democratic socialism and sometimes social democrat are all indistinguishable from the USSR.

It can make some discussions seem rather futile. :)


Even tough the internet is an invention of the anarchist movement, like any cool stuff it’s now filled with people who are just trying to make some quick and big money. And these people don’t want to argue with you because time = money.

> the internet is an invention of the anarchist movement

Could you elaborate on that statement? I've heard this same notion twice now in the past couple months, and I have no idea what it's based upon.

It seems far easier to argue that the Internet is an invention of the military-industrial complex. I would enjoy hearing your rationale!


It stems from John Perry Barlow and the Cyberspace Declaration of Independence.

There was a lot of discussion of what the emerging net was, and what it was going to be. A society, a state, governable or ungovernable, above or separate from such things, etc. Which led to the Declaration.

https://www.eff.org/cyberspace-independence


That was in 1996. The internet was around a long time before that, heck, public use of the WWW was starting to take off then.

That piece may have been an important contribution to thought that shaped the future development of how people approached the internet, but it wasn't responsible for the invention of the internet, which was not, in fact, a product of the anarchist movement, but rather something the anarchist movement attempted to grab onto and use to reshape the world to fit the movement's ideals.


It's late, I read as web. 0/10.

I probably should have added more detail anyway, but the net prior to 1990 was a gently regulated, and self-regulating sort of place almost entirely consisting of scientists, geeks and techies. Adopt netiquette before posting to newsgroup, read the FAQ - and people actually did, etc. Even arguments could often stay mainly civilised. Bix, Compuserve, AOL were (partially) walled non-free and moderated venues of speech.

The early nineties changed everything. TBL gave us the web, the NSF ended the ban on any commercial activity, AOL let its hordes out onto the wider net in Eternal September, ISPs started including web space with every connection. VR was having its last hype phase, people were talking about virtual communities, and writing books about it. Suddenly this net thing was an uncontrolled space where anyone could have a free space to say anything...

Which led to the discussions of the net's anarchy, what it is, and the declaration I mentioned above.


Ahhh, thank you. So not "Internet" as technical superproject, but "Internet" as emergent supersociety. (I don't believe that anarchists actually invented either of those things, but at least I get the reference now!)

"We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace." Gosh, I had forgotten what heady times the Nineties were!


The anarchists didn't need to invent it, it described what people were already participating in. Anarchy is simply the natural state of man without an imposed hierarchy. The scientific community is an anarchy.

> Anarchy is simply the natural state of man without an imposed hierarchy.

Ah, majoritarianism with violent wars against outsiders.

https://www.archaeology.co.uk/articles/features/bloody-stone...


I wouldn't have been confused to hear that anarchists were participating in online community. What confused me was because1's statement that anarchists invented the Internet.

> The scientific community is an anarchy.

The scientific community is an organism that eats government grants and excretes pay-walled research papers. I wouldn't call that an anarchy!


That's simply how it pays for itself, and I think all scientists agree that is the worst part of science. But fundamentally science is not a profit-seeking enterprise, it is driven by the desire of people to benefit all of society and there is no central authority and yet through the individual actions and judgments of different scientists a community and scientific consensus is born.

> The scientific community is an anarchy.

No? It's a meritocracy, with elite gatekeepers. How is it an anarchy?


Without a doubt, there is cruft in the sense of gatekeepers and institutionalized power as short-hands for who to trust, but in the grand scheme of things the most power is in reaching a closer approximation of the truth. There is no strict structured system for obtaining scientific consensus, it's simply the individual actions of different researchers, labs, and institutions that choose to build on the work of others or challenge it that cooperatively reach outcomes that benefit all of mankind. There are plenty of parasites growing on the scientific community, like the publication system, but these things don't define it, they're simply hangers on and the scientific community has existed in plenty of times and places without something like it.

Anarcho socialism hasn’t succeeded yet, but I still believe it must succeed in the future if we are ever to see real freedom for the masses and to avoid near total destruction of the Earth’s biosphere.

If anyone wants to downvote me, I ask that you choose one of two alternatives. First, tell me why you want to downvote. Or, read this article by Albert Einstein talking about the necessity of socialism: https://monthlyreview.org/2009/05/01/why-socialism/


OP writes of anarcho syndicalism. Reply conflates it with anarcho socialism. Not sure these are the same things

I’m aware of the differences and as another reply pointed out, one is a broader term than the other. I used the broader term.

Anarcho-syndicalism is a way to achieve/a form of anarcho-socialism.

Anarcho-socialism is a broad term that describes a lot of different possible configurations of society, anarcho-syndicalism is an approach towards it.

Capitalism will reach its end one day, long after we are gone, but that will be because of its own technologic achievements and not because of 19th-century socialist philosophy. Capitalism will become so efficient at some point that in its quest for more and more efficiency, it will end resource scarcity. Once scarcity is eliminated, capitalism "withers" away.

That's my hope anyway. In the short-term, I'd like to see free markets begin erasing more borders and reducing the number of nations. Hopefully, the recent nationalist fad is just that and we can get to more EU style setups, more globalism, and more cooperation. A disgusting amount of resources is spent on the military. Capitalism has the ability to solve our problems. Borders are in the way.

Edit: Is it the socialists, anarchists, or capitalists downvoting me? Hard to say. My ideas definitely don't have many friends.


Your main idea is Marxist. Marx said the same thing, that Capital would end itself, through the elimination of scaricity. Though I think he was wrong about that, things like UBI proves that it always finds a way to survive.

But anyway, you are both saying Marxist and pro-capitalist things, so I would guess you're just being downvoted by everyone.


Surely it was going to be the rise of class consciousness that overthrew Moloch? Though if we're all involved in the process ourselves, and only gain this consciousness through work, the end of Capitalism isn't so much a violent overthrowing from outside as much as a growing, positive realization of what was inside it anyway.

Maybe that's exactly what things like UBI point to: life as an adventure rather than a slave camp. The paranoid part of me then wants to find a bigger and more evil capital to criticise in the Marxian manner.


I used to believe free labor markets between countries was a good idea until I realized that it also comes with a free social welfare "market". Nobody wants to let people in their country starve to death in the streets, so they're going to financially support whatever immigrants come in, and if it's really free entry, that's going to be cripplingly expensive eventually because the world's unemployable will go to wherever the most generous welfare is. Another problem is cultural replacement which could replace the open country with a closed one that's perhaps worse than it started off as once enough similarly-minded immigrants live there to determine the outcome of elections. They're not the idealists who started the open boarders thing, they're just normal self-interested people so eventually they'll want to keep what they've got for themselves and stop letting people they don't like in. Bye-bye to all the progressive ideas of tolerating gays and multiculturalism too.

Cultural replacement is a bullshit concept. Not everyone is as selfish as you, some people just want to eat. The lie that people are inherently self-interested in a system that doesn’t directly incentivize self-interest is exactly the sort of thing you would want to spread if you were one of the people on top in such a system.

> Capitalism will become so efficient at some point that in its quest for more and more efficiency, it will end resource scarcity.

This is honestly one of the most absurd things I've ever heard. I gotta admit, I do envy your optimism.


It's already pretty true for many types of resources. Electronics, software, music, plastic parts. All sorts of things cost practically zero today compared to, say, 100 years ago when they required much more labor to produce or didn't even exist.

I recently bought a flat-screen TV for half the price of a McDonald's meal. That's as good as free.


I've never heard the term resource scarcity used to refer to something like software, music, or televisions.

Hilariously, software and music are inherently non-scarce. In fact, we do a massive amount of detriment to everyone by not allowing a piece of infinitely replicable media to be instantly available to everyone. And yet despite the fact we could benefit everyone at once we can’t seem to figure out a way to allow creators to live comfortably without inventing arcane and artificial IP laws?

Capitalism doesn't wither away, it imposes artificial scarcity to allow its uneven power dynamic to continue. At some point the cruelty itself becomes the point. I would argue we're already past the point where we have to deny resources to anyone, we could feed and shelter everyone if we had the will to do it.

Actually I think that right now, when we are facing the potential reality of AGI not many decades away, is when we have to collectively make the choice to become the society we truly want to become.


Humans aren't very good at managing things. Just take a look around your co-workers some time and you'll see mismanagement. We're really bad at managing! You could say, scarcity is a management issue. If systems are managed by inefficient beings, well then the system doesn't really matter be it socialism or capitalism. I'll take my chances with capitalism and hope the best managers naturally rise to the top.

Maybe AI can remove the mismanagers from the problem one day. Or maybe, even with our woeful mismanagement, if two hundred governments weren't pitted against one another and we had a single world government, there would be plenty to go around even with humans mismanaging everything.


We’re bad at managing because none of us want to be doing what we’re doing and all of us are thinking about how we can maximize our own benefit. But the truth is we don’t even have to do an amazing job of managing, we have to just want to route enough resources to everyone that they can survive. Technology will continue to increase with or without capitalism. In fact, the claim that capitalism is responsible for scientific or technological advancement is mostly false. It’s responsible for wide-scale mass industry, but scientists would exist and push forward the boundaries of knowledge with or without it.

> Anarcho socialism hasn’t succeeded yet, but I still believe it must succeed in the future ... to avoid near total destruction of the Earth’s biosphere.

Why do so many people seem to act like some form of socialism is required (or even useful) to avoid environmental issues? It really doesn't help fight the right's narrative of "all this global warming stuff is just the economic left seeking more control over the economy" - in fact it plays directly to it. Are people just trying to attach their particular goals to a crisis they think might propel them forward?


You’re presuming I’m not arguing in good faith. I actually do deeply believe that capitalism, being a system where a minority can accrue great wealth and therefore have significant motivation to do so regardless of the costs, is a system that directly promotes environmental destruction. Anarcho socialism or Anarcho communism are instead systems that have no privileged class willing to destroy for their own benefit. In these systems all the masses of people are deeply democratically organized in the society and would only destroy the environment if they all agreed it was worth it. I believe the masses of people are less willing to destroy the environment (for less benefit to themselves) than a wealthy class which could benefit greatly from that destruction.

Perhaps it is easier to assume I am arguing in bad faith, but I think you ought to consider that I know what I’m talking about.


And why would the members of such a society not choose to damage the global environment if the local benefits outweighed the losses? That's the carbon emissions problem, after all.

Regarding 'good faith' - I think you might be arguing in good faith, but I don't see how you'd think that argument is the best path to take to convince people to either support the environment or to abandon our current economic systems for yours.

Personally I think we need major geoengineering to preserve the current temperature range, and that our current economic system tends towards a failure mode with extremely concentrated wealth. I don't think those are connected, though. In fact, an argument can be made that concentrating much of the world's wealth in one person would also be good for the environment, since the required changes would have a smaller impact on their wealth than on their personal wellbeing. Basically, the theory goes that $10T + nice environment to live in > $100T + dead environment, so the hypothetical multitrillionaire would spend $90T to improve things based purely on self interest. This isn't to suggest that giving Jeff Bezos absolutely everything would be a good idea, or that doing such is necessary - just that there might be other routes than 'some flavor of socialism'.


The people ruining the planet will be dead before they have to live through the consequences of what they’ve done. Good ‘ol self-interest.

So we should invest more in life extension research - turn that self interest to work for us ;)

Ah, yes, then our immortal god-king can enjoy the perpetual beauty of his vast private estates while the rest of us waste away on the land he destroyed in pursuit of economic aims? The concentration of wealth is the concentration of power, the concentration of power in a single individual has never once been good in the history of the world.

Could getting strangled in it's crib be seen as anarcho-socialism failing on it's own merits? If it wasn't strong enough to protect itself, does it not then lack merit from a pragmatic perspective?

Not if better starting conditions could've led to a strong, long-term success. The principle behind Leninism is that you have to protect it in its infancy, but the thing they built to protect it ended up strangling it to death. I'm not sure what conditions in the real world would allow it to thrive, capitalism is extremely aggressive about attacking and exploiting everything it can find because it is competition itself grown malignant. I'm of the mind of Proudhon, though: the only thing that is necessary for anarchism to thrive is for enough people to develop a strong enough understanding and sense of morality to realize that it's what we all really want. In my mind the road to a successful anarcho-socialist society is simply planting the seeds in people's minds and letting them germinate in their own dissatisfaction with the state of the world.

I'm not versed enough in political theory to know myself, but why have seemingly all communist movements and governments been so riddled with purges, paranoia, and violence?

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20934375 and marked it off-topic.

All authoritarian movements and governments are. By their nature, they rule by power, not by "consent of the governed". Those at the top always are few, and rule through others. And they know that if those others stop obeying their orders, it's all over. They fear that someone - anyone - will cause people to stop obeying and instead turn against them. Thus purges, paranoia, and violence. As I said, it isn't just communism. The Nazis were the same.

But the political theory question might be: Why have seemingly all communist movements and governments been authoritarian?


> But the political theory question might be: Why have seemingly all communist movements and governments been authoritarian?

All communist governments (not all communist movements, and this is actually the source of many breaches between communist movements that aren't governments, particularly in the West, and communist governments and the movements aligned with them) are rooted in Leninist vanguardism, a specific and particularly authoritarian rewriting of Marxist theory to avoid the dependence on developed democratic capitalist society with broad proletarian class consciousness and grassroots leadership as prerequisite to communism.

But the French Revolution, which was ideologically far from authoritarian, had a lot of the same practical problems; trying to run a state with active counterrevolutionary forces tends to make people authoritarians for what they see as temporary and pragmatic necessity as a means to achieving a more free end-state (and defenders of Leninist vanguardism would probably see it as just that!)

Americans sometimes forget that what we call our “revolution” was not an anti-elite revolution but an elite-led regional separatist movement coordinated by the local governments acting in concert, and so avoided many of the challenges found in genuine revolutions.


Even during the American Revolution, there were instances of loyalists being abused, sometimes even lynched, socially ostracized, and generally made to feel unwelcome. Many ended up fleeing to Canada. In fact, the very term 'lynch' likely comes from the name of an American revolutionary who organized anti-loyalist action: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Lynch_(judge)

That said, it's still a far cry from the scale and severity of violence seen in various later revolutions.


Excellent post.

One nit: The American Revolution was led by elites, if by "elite" you mean "wealthy and influential". But it was not led by elites, if by "elite" you mean "nobility". In that sense, it was quite anti-elite.


>"wealthy and influential"

To me that would qualify as elite. Not sure how much local nobility there was in the area, but certainly the folks leading were the local elites IMO.


> But it was not led by elites, if by "elite" you mean "nobility"

It was led by the landed elites, which didn't happen to generally have titles of nobility in the colonies, because the evolution from a feudal to a capitalist property structure had progressed pretty far before the US was colonized.

OTOH, the difference between a slave estate and an English feudal estate is mainly that the master of the former has even greater power over and less obligation to the subjects, so the difference between the elites you are distinguishing may be even less substantive than it seems at first glance.


“Seemingly”. Other forms of communism get swept up in the purges.

The sort of people who might secretly incite and then stage a successful armed revolution and coup are probably expecting a coup, or at least a few revolutionaries in every party meeting. Not restricted to the left though.

Stalin got there by being a violent thug, he would stay there by being a violent thug. Ditto Franco in Spain, for at least a decade or so after the end of the civil war.

Repression of scientists, and minorities of all kinds? Difference of any kind from the party/dictator's view is to be mistrusted, thus purged, or at the very least repressed. See Saudi Arabia - which Franco's Spain resembled in its later years, with extreme repression of women and religious dogma.


Actually there were a lot of socialists and communists who were against the violent tactics Lenin and Stalin. Those people got murdered by the regimes they opposed. The communists you and I learn about in school were the authoritarian communists, and they were indeed bad because authoritarianism is bad. They were violent because they were authoritarian, not because they were communist. Now Marx did advocate for some violence I believe, but he had contemporary critics including Michael Bakunin.

Do you ever find it odd that the "bad guys" always seem to subvert these movements? It seems to me that socialism has a 100% failure rate.

> Do you ever find it odd that the "bad guys" always seem to subvert these movements?

I don’t think it’s odd at all. The murderous revolutionaries I can think of (Bolsheviks, Mao, Mugabe...) were won against regimes just as bloodthirsty as they were. The peaceful revolutions I can think of eg South Africa happened because both sides were willing to negotiate fairly.

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

> It seems to me that socialism has a 100% failure rate

Adopting socialist policies while keeping a market economy has worked out ok for most developed nations.

Communist USSR was able to educate its population and rapidly industrialize while fighting off two invasions by forces that, on paper, should have been able to beat them without much trouble, and emerge as one of the most powerful nations in the world. I’d consider that a success


I don’t follow. What bad guys? A significant effort has been put out by the United States to undermine socialism and communism. In a lot of other places socialism has been effective.

People fight against taxes.

Now imagine how much harder they would fight if the tax man wanted 100% of their income and wealth.

Now imagine what it takes for the tax man to overcome that resistance.

Purges, paranoia, and violence sounds like just the start.


There are several reasons for the paranoia, but not "the taxman wanted 100%". That's more of an American liberal way of seeing it, and hardly what was going on for the masses at the time.

Characteristic of the paranoia is that the worst purges after all were against party members and top party elites themselves.

Not because any of them resisted the "tax man" (heck, they had wealth and preferential treatment), but because they could threaten Stalin or limit his control.

Similar with Mao in China. The bloody cultural revolution wasn't some mass murder of people resisting the party rule or the "taxman", but party elites splitting the people into factions and using them as proxies to fight internal party power struggles.


The "tax man" may actually represent the will of more individuals in your scenario, but those that are fighting against him are far more rich and powerful.

When the rich and powerful unite against the tax man and the "proletariat", they always win.

So, when you say "people fight against taxes", we should clarify what people we are talking about. Plenty of people supported the collectivist movements of the era, and they are also people.


Because communist governments (among others) exert high levels of control. You can not control without applying force and you cannot apply force without violence.

I think its more related to authoritarianism than communism, as same could be said for dictatorships. Authoritarianism gifts both a reason for dissent and the ability to purge it.

Compare and contrast with a parlimentary democracy running a heavily capitalist economic system. While it gives plenty of reason for dissent it also provides little opportunity to purge. This give and take leads to less extremes and more stability in general.


I would hazard a guess that it has something to with most revolutions being riddle with purges, paranoia and violence, and then that most (AFAIK) modern revolutions are communist movements.

In other words, AFAIK (which isn't far), it's a trait of revolutions, not of communist movements.


So like to be clear, I am not saying that this theory of mine is correct; I am saying that based on my extremely and knowingly limited knowledge, it looks reasonable. So like chill with the haterade, and bring forth the "well, this revolution doesn't fit that theory".

Maybe it's that cultural revolutions are like this, and there's very, very few non-cultural revolutions - maybe only independence revolutions? I literally do not know so like if you know one, put forth the Wikipedia link?


Why were those things notably absent in the US revolution?

From dragonwriter's post elsewhere in the comments:

> Americans sometimes forget that what we call our “revolution” was not an anti-elite revolution but an elite-led regional separatist movement coordinated by the local governments acting in concert, and so avoided many of the challenges found in genuine revolutions.


A big part is that it was not a social revolution. Nor did it seek much material restribution which is a feature of many revolts and rebellions.

After the war, Americans ended up with a government and distribution of material wealth very similar to what they had before.


Because the American revolution was not a “revolution”, it was a split between the highest levels of management in the US and the higher level management in England. It was like PayPal spinning out of EBay.

I think so. French Revolution had its Terror period.

Even though it is true, it is dwarfed in magnitude by the repression in the communist world. The French revolution was attempting to terrorise a political ellite. Communism was aiming at terrorising everyone.

The French revolution terrorized everyone, including its own leaders.

> Even though it is true, it is dwarfed in magnitude by the repression in the communist world.

From 1789 to the first Empire was only 15 years; to the Thermidorean Reaction even shorter.

> The French revolution was attempting to terrorise a political ellite.

That's a very generous interpretation. It's certainly what Robespierre would say, sure, but it's just as much what Lenin would say.


We are talking about 4 orders of magnitude differences, of a third of the population in some country. It’s not a matter of a few years.

I am not trying to defend the French revolution, which actions were the antithesis of the values it pretended to promote. But for all its horrors, the french revolution wasn’t in the business of mass slaughtering its own population.


> But for all its horrors, the french revolution wasn’t in the business of mass slaughtering its own population.

The French Revolution was strangled in its crib while it's mass killing was still accelerating, and it's leaders themselves killed en massé by counterrevolutionaries; it wasn't in business very long for that reason, a fact that future revolutionaries were keenly aware of and eager to avoid.

The stated ideology of the 1790s Paris Commune might be more attractive to modern democratic capitalists than that of the Bolsheviks, et al.,, but the main reason that the former has less of a history of violence than the latter is that they lost very early on in their program of exterminating an ever-expanding list of perceived enemies of the revolution, not some greater humanitarianism.


Venezuela? Chavez took power fair and square in an election, and then turned it into a communist authoritarian dictatorship later.

The modern revolution in Czechoslovakia turned out fairly free of violence, at it was not communist.


Did Chavez's revolution in Venezuela have all the paranoia and whatnot, as well? (I do not know, I am definitely just asking).

Oh, that's neat about the Czech revolution. I know, oh hmm, literally nothing about it. <looks it up> - The "Velvet" revolution? This is super cool, had no idea something like this happened, thanks!


Except that all communist countries as implemented not only started with revolution but follow a doctrine of the permanent revolution. Which is how they can be sixty or seventy years on and talking about the danger of counter-revolutionaries...

The danger is/was absolutely real. Counter-revolutionaries (both internal and external) in general and anti-communism in particular have always been a formidable force.

Although genocide isn't usually a part of the revolution see the Holomdor.

The premise and answer to your question depends on what you mean by "communist".

I have no idea why this would be downvoted. The question at hand is one of the most contentious and important in the history of the 20th century and the answer largely redounds to what you do and don't consider communism.

If you consider any wealth redistribution communism then you would have to consider most or all industrial states in part communist and the premise of the question itself becomes dubious.

If you consider any kind of far left redistributive movement communist then again the merit of the question is dubious because there have been many such movements that remained peaceful.

If you restrict the definition to only actors that call themselves communist even then the question is complicated by the fact that there have been many such actors that call themselves communist yet do not adhere to any communist doctrine. Just as there are many "Republics" which are not at all republics in reality.


Because violence is power. Nice communists -- along with nice capitalists, nice anarchists, nice feudalists, etc. -- wind up purged.

Because communism is inherently a violent and paranoid ideology. It's blatantly obvious even in the foundational literature from Marx. Marx openly advocated violence and threatened violence against anyone who was opposed to the proletariat.

Not only that, but he construed a framework in which anything opposing the proletariat, including "class antagonisms" that could be literally anything, should be opposed with force or the threat of force. Things like religion, private property, or anything that is not for the revolution is necessarily considered against the revolution.

When the foundation of a worldview is steeped in violence and using violence to get your political way, it's no surprise that the implementation of that worldview results in bloodshed and power vacuums.


It’s amazing how controversial Marx is 150 years later, and I’ve only ever met one actual “authority” on the matter outside Marx’s actual writings. (And I’m in economics!)

Makes me think there’s something very lasting about his ideas, moral interpretations aside.


It's a very compelling religion of the modern age. That doesn't mean it can't be wrong.

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It's almost as if it hasn't even been 50 years since people were last dying because of the evil extremist ideologies from the 1900s! Tens of millions dead in the last hundred years.

I think that Marx's observations about the exploitative power structures and inherent problems with naked capitalism weren't wrong and they haven't been solved either.

It's fairly easy to sense problems. Harder to identify and analyze the nature of a problem. Yet harder to come up with practical solutions that aren't worse.


Not at all, most democratic socialists like the Fabian society are willing to change their approach when they try something and it doesn't work. The result is mere inefficiency, not corpses piling up. If the SRs, say, had won the Russian Revolution things would probably have turned out basically all right.

But it was the Bolsheviks with their plan of communism immediately, not in 20 years, who won. They treated their political philosophy as a millenarian sect with "the dictatorship of the proletariat" substituting for the kingdom of God. When the eschaton fails to properly immanentize it can only be due to the opposition of sin and the Devil, by which we mean kulaks, wreckers, and traitors.

The problem isn't communism per say but a belief in having absolute truth and a vision of a perfect good that can justify any means.


> If the SRs, say, had won the Russian Revolution things would probably have turned out basically all right.

> But it was the Bolsheviks with their plan of communism immediately, not in 20 years, who won.

The Bolsheviks won in no small part because they were a particularly violent, insular faction. Revolutionary situations don't really reward being accommodating and adverse to violence, even though that might be very desirable post-revolutionary condition.

It's something of a problem with revolutions that the people you want running the show afterwards aren't the kind of people that revolutions inherently favor.


Yup, totally agree.

Do I see Voeglin on HN?

You've got to admit that "Immanentize the eschaton" is a great phrase. I ran into it first through Robert Anton Wilson which I'd bet is typical of HN readers who know it. But mostly I'm finishing up The House of Government so the issue is quite on my mind.

Just for the sake of sharing what no one has ever been interested in hearing, Voeglin traced the concept of the "third age that will never end" back to Joachim of Flora's writings... and from what Wikipedia tells me, you likely know that already from reading Wilson!

I think Robert Anton Wilson is the source of almost everyone familiar with the phrase at this point. But I think when RAW used it it was a less obscure reference than now.

It does stick with you.


Is it fair to say that democratic socialists are communists? I've met more than a few self-described democratic socialists who would object to that characterization.

Socialism, communism and anarchism are the very same thing. Some people are more comfortable with a label or the other because they have been appropriated by specific movements.

Authoritarian communism (marxism) is a historically very tiny branch of socialism/communism, with anarchists being an overwhelming majority.

This tiny marxist/bolshevik minority killed its way to the top, and was used by capitalist empires as a strawman example of what would happen with "communism". Both sides find advantages in confusing communism with marxism, while in practice, dictatorship of the proletariat has nothing to do with communism at all.

Someone claiming one of the three labels without the two others, either has no clue about the history of communism, or just wants to avoid being assimilated with genocidal authoritarian communists.


The article is still click-bait. There was no plan to assassinate Orwell. There was a plan to arrest him and make him sign some confessions and/or maybe die in prison, but he was simply not important at that time. Just some foreigner, who fought for a marxist militia, not under Stalins control - and that was enough.

But by doing so, they created a powerful enemy. I believe animal farm and 1984 are due to their popularity a very big reason, bolschewism went down in the end.




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