I finally got around to reading Animal Farm which I read in one sitting. I knew about it but for some reason had only seen the film.
Thank Comrade Napoleon my dear leader for my weekend off to read this book... that dastardly Snowball is making me come into work on Monday.
Animal Farm starts off with a well meaning rebellion by the animals of Manor Farm against the drunk farmer Jones. At first the animals work together but eventually Napoleon, a boar, and his right hand pig Squealer start taking over the farm with the use of attack dogs and propaganda. They blame everything bad that happens on Snowball, another pig, and everything good on Napoleon. The rest of the animals at first reason everything because things are still better than when Farmer Jones ran things. Snowball becomes the scapegoat such as big governments usually find other religions, immigrants [the scapegoat in Greece's current political climate], races, terrorists, countries, etc. to blame things on.
Animal Farm isn't anti-proletariat but anti-Totalitarian which is why it was banned in the USSR and DDR governments. It seemed pretty bent on condemning characteristics noted as being fascist. Their workers paradise might have worked out if Snowball's vision had been realised instead. Who wouldn't like a three day work week?
I suppose that is why Orwell had a difficult time getting this published. I'd be hard pressed to find a difference between Fascism and Stalinism. Of course he offended both sides during WWII.
The differences between the animals might have ended badly without Napoleon but the dictator boar set things in motion. He plotted and slowly began changing their workers paradise into something more sinister until the end he was just like Farmer Jones.
It'd not clear if things would have ended sour without him.
They didn't acknowledge why the Cat never worked or why no one resented him. Mollie the horse left of her own free will. She wasn't killed for not working. They were all pretty happy to work and no one resented giving up their freedoms. This is the pretty big argument against socialism by the American press.
So they were only characters besides the pigs and the dogs who had aversion to work who were not in the power play. Moses the bird was clearly in on it once he found his place he came back. He was clearly the religious allegory in the story.
But why didn't anyone resent the Cat for not pulling in his fair share?
I suppose because he didn't steal for himself extras such as the pigs did [the milk and apples].
This led me to reason Animal Farm is not anti socialist at all and thus the only reason it's been banned is besides the big governments didn't appreciate the tactics being pointed out. But to be fair they weren't the only ones. It just may be no power structure can exist without corruption. They were all happy to share and sharing wasn't shown to be impossible. Napoleon was power hungry like his name-sake he wanted to turn the tables over.
I felt a little uncomfortable as I can relate to both Clover, the horse and Benjamin, the donkey a wee bit. When I see atrocities being committed by the U.S government and can reconise the tv media propaganda for what it is but feel powerless to put into words against the sheep who expell the "Obama is trying" despite mass evidence to the contrary that the Bush years are not
over. How anyone can defend the drone attacks with all military age male must be terrorists excuses are beyond me. But what can any average person do? When people realise the true enormity it's too late.
Often times we the people see and acknowledge a general distrust toward new policies but can't put into words what it is. Unlike Clover it's not necessarily what was changed [or reworded] on the 7 commandments but predicting future outcomes of such bills as NDAA, Cispa, etc.
This bill gives me the heebjeebies. New Bill Would Make It Legal To Target Propaganda And “Psychological Operations” Directly At U.S. Citizens
It's hard not to become like Benjamin and grumble to yourself that the world is going to piss.
Should the donkey have spoken up though? Animal Farm never asks that question. If another animal had spoken over the sheep but then alas the hens, the four pigs and others were killed for dissenting.
How culpable are the sheep even?
The blame honestly does belong on Napoleon's shoulders and Squealer's of course.
I think the beauty of this novel is that it holds up our own society while being true [somewhat] to the animal characters. Who can help but not relate when in the end the farmers share their woes of their lesser classes vs. the animals lower class of farm animals?
I don't mean to say I relate to the farmers and the pigs/dogs keeping their "inferiors" down but that our society is still the same. People still debate that feminism is apparently a failure and that minimum wage is apparently preventing businesses from paying their employees more. Things have not changed much.
Stories like the workhouse program in England prove this is still a problem. Back to the workhouse
In all the debate about jubilee stewards sleeping under bridges, one big fact is being overlooked – Britain's army of unpaid labour is growing bigger each month
from the Guardian.
The animals were given the choice to volunteer for extra work or give up half of their rations much like the unemployed were told to work for free or give up their benefits. Orwell's definition of "volunteer" from Squeeler is alive today.
I felt that the sheep were the most frustrating characters as to my mind they were like today's media that try to suffocate dissent with propaganda. The world of Animal Farm has been a reality and could very well happen again.
It's quite sad this book has a feeling of timelessness for these reasons.