① George Orwell Predictions

Sunday, August 22, 2021 3:13:13 PM

George Orwell Predictions



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Following the great market collapse of , Pullman hiked rents. In , 4, Pullman residents, like thousands of workers across the US at that time, went on strike. The situation got violent; troops went in to quell the uprising. The government forced Pullman to sell his town. He died in so widely loathed, he had to be buried 12 feet underground for fear that his body would be dug up and desecrated by disgruntled employees. And since most utopias are inflexible, what happens to your ideal community when market conditions — which are outside your control — change?

At around the same time in England, William Morris was concocting a far gentler version of paradise. The generously bearded Victorian hero wrote one of the great utopian fantasies, News from Nowhere — a book full of charm, wit and good ideas. Morris himself was absurdly energetic, managing to pursue simultaneous careers as a poet, artist, novelist, printer, pamphleteer, painter, designer, typesetter, business man, socialist pioneer and rabble-rouser he was thrown in jail for attending an anti-war rally. Morris is dearly loved by the British left; the great Marxist historian EP Thompson wrote a long and adoring biography of him which emphasised his socialist principles. Unlike the big-headed Pullman, though, Morris never imposed his utopian visions on anyone else by actually creating a commune or village.

He was a romantic who became a revolutionary. As he wrote of himself:. Dreamer of dreams, born out of my due time, Why should I strive to set the crooked path straight? News from Nowhere was published in Really, Morris wanted all people to live what he called a refined life, to have the leisure time to read and play music and think and be poets. John Ruskin, another medievalist and fan of the guild system, was outlining projects for ideal village communities, while the Arts and Crafts movement also was inspired by the Middle Ages. Morris was attacking the sordid utilitarianism which dominated his own age.

Money has been abolished. There is no private property. The inhabitants have a lot of fun: the narrator, for example, records with pleasure that dinner is served with a bottle of very good Bordeaux. Immediately following Morris came HG Wells, who wrote a dozen utopian and dystopian novels. Tolstoy, an anarchist and a Christian, held that the state was responsible for most of the bad stuff: taxes, wars and general irresponsibility. Tolstoy counselled passive resistance and non-violence instead. The familiar elements were there: a return to handicrafts and small-scale agriculture, partial rejection of the gewgaws of the modern world, communal dining and shared expenditure.

Two of these communes still exist today in the UK. One is the Brotherhood Church of Stapleton, which, according to a recent New Yorker piece, is home to four humans, a deaf cat, a few hens and an enormous cow. The other is the Whiteway Colony in the Cotswolds, formed in More village than commune, Whiteway is a collection of 68 houses loosely bound by a monthly meeting. In a young Indian philosopher started to correspond with Tolstoy. In , the young man — Gandhi —launched a cooperative colony in South Africa which he named Tolstoy Farm. One of my favourite 20th-Century utopian societies, however, is the anarchist occupation of Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War. It is described without sentiment by George Orwell, who fought for the anarchists, in his account Homage to Catalonia.

Meanwhile, utopias continued to hatch from the imaginations of novelists. In this ideal society, there are no men at all, and the women prize education above all else. Women have learned to reproduce via parthenogenesis — no men required. Children are the responsibility of everyone, though during the first two years of life the child is closely attached to her real mother. There is no war or private property.

At the same time, other novelists decided that it would be more fun to write dystopias than utopias — and hence science fiction began. In this grim fantasy, the people live alone in underground cells, connected to everyone else in the world by screen The Machine is the friend of ideas and the enemy of superstition: the Machine is omnipotent, eternal; blessed is The Machine. The genre ultimately gave birth to two of the most famous utopian experiments of the 20th Century, both of them literary. To read the book today is startling as so many of its predictions have come true — like the Philistinism of the state, the debasement of sex and the insistence on happiness. The book was a huge hit. Both books also were loathed by Oxbridge Marxists. But such naive and blinkered optimism was typical of the socialist intellectuals of the s.

If we have learned anything from surveying utopian writing and real-life experimentation, it is that the same ideals keep returning. However — though sometimes invaded by violent drug-dealers and various other problems — the anarchist community of Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen has proved decidedly resilient. Founded in on an old military base, it is today home to citizens and as a thriving bicycle business. Our society is to be economically self-sustaining and, as such, our aspiration is to be steadfast in our conviction that psychological and physical destitution can be averted. Christiania is a car-free neighbourhood, and like other hippy-ish communities allows its residents to build their own houses.

The result is a very beautiful architectural vernacular: the houses look like wooden Babapapa houses. A famous son of the village is lead singer of international pop band Lukas Graham, behind the mega-hit 7 Years. Today, the utopian spirit is far from dead. Like their capitalist forebears in the 19th Century, Silicon Valley capitalists talk about building ideal societies. In a small way their workplaces — like the Google or Facebook campuses — aim to provide workers with a progressive working environment. More ambitiously, billionaires are planning libertarian colonies.

One of the most powerful players in the Californian tech revolution of the last 20 years is Peter Thiel. He also was the first serious investor in Facebook. His concept: geeks will set up self-governing cities in the sea free from the interference of government. They look a bit like medieval city-states. The back-to-the-land hippy-ish experiments continue, too. The writer David Bramwell recently published his Number Nine Bus to Utopia, his account of a year spent visiting eccentric communities around the world.

And Tobias Jones, having written his own account of contemporary utopian experiments, set up one of his own in , a farm-based refuge in Somerset for waifs and strays which he and his wife Fra still run today. His gruelling and frequently comical experiences are brilliantly related in his book A Place of Refuge: An Experiment in Communal Living, published in Another utopian experiment that survives today is the arts centre and open house colony Dial House, founded by artists Penny Rimbaud and Gee Vaucher in Situated on an acre of land in Essex, the house has given birth to a number of successful projects including most famously the anarchist punk band Crass, which introduced hundreds of thousands of working-class kids to utopian concepts like vegetarianism, pacifism, the end of wage slavery, feminism and animal rights.

It seems practically nothing. The communist ideal remains attractive but elusive. And the rest of us get along as best we can — with the occasional trip to the Land of Cockaygne on Friday nights. This story is a part of BBC Britain — a series focused on exploring this extraordinary island, one story at a time. Readers outside of the UK can see every BBC Britain story by heading to the Britain homepage ; you also can see our latest stories by following us on Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter. And if you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.

How Utopia shaped the world. Share using Email. By Tom Hodgkinson 6th October After prayers, the nuns throw their clothes off and jump into the lake: When the young monks see that sport, Straightway thither they resort, And coming to the nuns anon, Each monk taketh to him one, And, swiftly bearing forth his prey, Carries her to the Abbey grey, And teaches her an orison, Jigging up and jigging down.

They observe no laws — Amerigo Vespucci. The Diggers advocated a communistic philosophy: 'The earth ought to be a common treasury to all'. Romantic feelings Another charming production of this period was a book called The Isle of Pines by republican wit Henry Neville. We must also, though, be prepared to cope with cataclysmic changes, for the death throes of the more backward apparatus may be destructive and dangerous".

American diplomat George F. Kennan proposed his famous containment theory in —47, arguing that, if the Soviet Union were not allowed to expand, it would soon collapse. In the X Article he wrote:. Soviet pressure against the free institutions of the Western world is something that can be constrained by the adroit and vigilant application of counter-force at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points, corresponding to the shifts and manoeuvres of Soviet policy. The United States would have to undertake this containment alone and unilaterally , but if it could do so without undermining its own economic health and political stability, the Soviet party structure would undergo a period of immense strain eventually resulting in "either the break-up or the gradual mellowing of Soviet power.

Kennan later regretted the manner in which his theory was received and implemented, but it nevertheless became a core element of American strategy, which consisted of building a series of military alliances around the USSR. Winston Churchill made repeated claims about the imminent fall of the Soviet Union throughout his political career. In January , he denounced Bolshevism as a "rule of men who in their insane vanity and conceit believe they are entitled to give a government to a people which the people loathe and detest The attempt to carry into practice those wild theories can only be attended with universal confusion, corruption, disorder and civil war. After World War II, speaking about the recently established Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe, he stated in "The forces of the human spirit and of national character alive in those countries cannot be speedily extinguished even by large-scale movements of populations and mass education of children.

They are far bigger and more pliant in the vast structure of a mighty empire than could ever have been conceived by Marx in his hovel Human society will grow in many forms not comprehended by a party machine. In a interview, Brzezinski stated that in his master's thesis which has not been published he argued that "the Soviet Union was pretending to be a single state but in fact it was a multinational empire in the age of nationalism. So the Soviet Union would break up. Dilemmas of Change in Soviet Politics contained fourteen articles dealing with the future of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, in Brzezinski predicted that the politics of the Soviet Union would be practically unchanged for several more generations to come:.

A central question, however, is whether such social change [ modernization ] is capable of altering, or has in fact already altered in a significant fashion, the underlying character of Soviet politics. The ability of that system to resist de-Stalinization seems to indicate a considerable degree of resilience on the part of the dominant mode of politics in the Soviet context. It suggests, at the very least, that political changes are produced very slowly through social change, and that one must wait for at least several generations before social change begins to be significantly reflected in the political sphere.

In that work he wrote:. Marxist-Leninism is an alien doctrine imposed on the region by an imperial power whose rule is culturally repugnant to the dominated peoples. As a result, a process of organic rejection of communism by Eastern European societies—a phenomenon similar to the human body 's rejection of a transplanted organ —is underway.

Brzezinski went on to claim that communism "failed to take into account the basic human craving for individual freedom. Option 5 in fact took place three years later, but at the time he wrote that collapse was "at this stage a much more remote possibility" than alternative 3: renewed stagnation. He also predicted chances of some form of communism existing in the Soviet Union in was a little more than 50 per cent.

Finally when the end did come in a few more decades, Brzezinski wrote, it would be "most likely turbulent. He predicted the eventual independence of Ukraine , the Baltic states , Turkestan , the Idel-Ural republics, and Siberia. The third resolution of the ABN convention further called for "The destruction of Russian imperialism and the guarantee of world peace by splitting the USSR up and re-establishing on ethnic principles, the independent national states of all nations living under bolshevist oppression bearing among other things, in mind that whole national groups have been forcible [sic] deported and are awaiting the moment when they could return to their native land.

Only a handful of thinkers, ranging from French President Charles de Gaulle to the Soviet dissident Andrei Amalrik , foretold the eventual dissolution of the Soviet Union itself, and even they saw it as likely to happen as a result of disastrous wars with China or pressures from the Islamic Soviet states of Central Asia. Konrad Adenauer has been cited predicting the reunification of Germany [3] as early as the s, [31] but according to Hans-Peter Schwarz, in the last few years of Adenauer's life he repeatedly said that Soviet power would last a long time. In , at the Christian Democrats ' party conference , Adenauer stated his hopes that some day the Soviets might allow the reunification of Germany.

Some analysts say it might be considered a prediction:. I have not given up hope. One day Soviet Russia will recognize that the division of Germany, and with it the division of Europe, is not to its advantage. We must be watchful for when the moment comes In a posthumously published book entitled Cold Friday , Communist defector Whittaker Chambers predicted an eventual Soviet collapse beginning with a " satellite revolution" in Eastern Europe.

This revolution would then result in the transformation of the Soviet dictatorship. In the late s, economist Robert A. Mundell predicted the collapse of the USSR. He set the date of the collapse for In Egon Neuberger, of the RAND Corporation , predicted that "[t]he centrally planned economy eventually would meet its demise, because of its demonstrably growing ineffectiveness as a system for managing a modernizing economy in a rapidly changing world. In the book Dilemmas of Change in Soviet Politics , which was a collection of authors edited by Zbigniew Brzezinski , Robert Conquest in his section, "Immobilism and decay", saw "the USSR as a country where the political system is radically and dangerously inappropriate to its social and economic dynamics.

This is a formula for change - change which may be sudden and catastrophic. Sun Myung Moon , founder of the Unification Church repeatedly predicted that Communism was inherently flawed and would inevitably collapse sometime in the late s. In a speech to followers in Paris in April , he stated:. So is the borderline and afterward communism will decline; in the 70th year it will be altogether ruined. This is true. Therefore now is the time for people who are studying communism to abandon it. Amalrik predicted the collapse of the regime would occur between and Soviet authorities were skeptical.

Natan Sharansky explained that "in KGB officials, on coming to me in prison" when Amalrik's prediction was mentioned, "laughed at this prediction. Amalrik is long dead, they said, but we are still very much present. The same lecture was delivered at Cambridge University in England in and Todd deduced that the Soviet Union had stagnated in the s and was falling behind not only the West but its own Eastern European satellite states economically. In addition to this, low birth rates, a rising suicide rate, and worker discontent all were factors in an increasingly low level of productivity in the economy. Todd also predicted that poorly carried-out political and economic reforms would lead to a break-up of the Soviet Union with non-Russian republics seceding.

Bernard Levin drew attention in to his prophetic article originally published in The Times in September , in which an uncannily accurate prediction of the appearance of new faces in the Politburo was made, resulting in radical but peaceful political change. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in a series of articles and interviews from onward discussed the possibility, indeed likelihood, of the breakup of the Soviet Empire. But Moynihan also expressed the view that liberal democracy , too, faced an uncertain future. However he said it "might have considerable time left before ethnicity breaks it up. History is moving away from it at astounding speed. Various essays published in samizdat in the early s were on similar lines, some quite specifically predicting the end of the Soviet Union.

In the Marxist, Hillel H. Ticktin , wrote that the Soviet "system is sinking deeper into crisis". David Fromkin wrote of Raymond Aron 's prediction,. I know of only one person who came close to getting it right: Raymond Aron, the French philosopher and liberal anti-Communist. In a talk on the Soviet threat that I heard him give in the s at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London , he reminded the audience of Machiavelli 's observation in The Prince that 'all armed prophets have conquered and all unarmed ones failed. In the answer to that question, Aron suggested, lay the key to understanding the future of the Soviet Union. In the sociologist Randall Collins presented his paper "The future decline of the Russian empire" at the University of South Florida and at Columbia University and published his predictions in the book "Weberian sociological theory" In , the political scientist Robert M.

Cutler published an article "Soviet Dissent under Khrushchev" [52] that concluded that the following events were likely: 1 that in the generational turnover of elites after Brezhnev died which began when he died in , the Soviet regime would seek to increase public participation which began in via glasnost , after two more top gerontocrats had died ; 2 that the Communist Party's rule would be challenged in Central Asia which occurred in the rioting in Kazakhstan before the Baltic republics erupted ; and 3 that Party leaders at the local level would go their own way if the Party did not give them a reason to remain loyal to the Moscow center which occurred in all republics in the late s, but most dramatically when the new RCP and the RSFSR sapped some of the power of the CPSU and the USSR in — Milton Friedman and his wife Rose mentioned briefly in their book Free to Choose that "the collapse of communism and its replacement by a market system, seems unlikely, though as incurable optimists we do not rule it out completely.

Stewart Brand said when introducing the work of Philip Tetlock that Brand's partner had given a talk in the s to top Central Intelligence Agency people about the future of the Soviet Union. One scenario he raised was that the Soviet bloc might break up; a sign of this happening would be the rise of unknown Mikhail Gorbachev through the party ranks. A CIA analyst said that the presentation was fine, but there was no way the Soviet Union was going to break up in his lifetime or his children's lifetime. The analyst's name was Robert Gates. On the other hand, in hearings before the U. Senate on March 19, , when Gates then head of the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence was asked "what kind of work the Intelligence Community was doing to prepare policymakers for the consequences of change in the Soviet Union," he responded: "Quite frankly, without any hint that such fundamental change is going on, my resources do not permit me the luxury of sort of just idly speculating on what a different kind of Soviet Union might look like.

In , Anatoliy Golitsyn , an important KGB defector published the book New Lies For Old , [55] wherein he predicted the collapse of the communist bloc orchestrated from above. He claimed this collapse was part of a long-term deception strategy designed to lull the West into a false sense of security, abolish all containment policies, and in time finally economically cripple and diplomatically isolate the United States. Collaborating opinions can be found in an archive of classified documents collected by Vladimir Bukovsky , a defector also.

United States President Ronald Reagan , throughout his election campaign and first term in office presented a public view that the Soviet Union had been growing in power relative to the United States. In he stated that "the Soviet Union has been engaged in the greatest military buildup in the history of man. The Reagan administration used a perceived strength of the Soviet Union to justify a significant expansion of military spending according to David Arbel and Ran Edelist. In their study Western Intelligence and the dissolution of the Soviet Union they argue it was this position by the Reagan administration that prevented the American intelligence agencies from predicting the demise of the USSR.

Arbel and Edelist further argued that CIA analysts were encouraged to present any information exaggerating the Soviet threat and justifying the military buildup, while contrary evidence of Soviet weakness was ignored and those presenting it sidelined. At the same time Reagan expressed a long range view that the Soviet Union could eventually be defeated. On March 3, , President Reagan told the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando , Florida : "I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last—last pages even now are being written.

In his June address to the British Parliament he stated:. It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history by denying human freedom and human dignity to its citizens. It also is in deep economic difficulty. The rate of growth in the national product has been steadily declining since the fifties and is less than half of what it was then. The dimensions of this failure are astounding: A country which employs one-fifth of its population in agriculture is unable to feed its own people.

Were it not for the private sector, the tiny private sector tolerated in Soviet agriculture, the country might be on the brink of famine Overcentralized, with little or no incentives, year after year the Soviet system pours its best resource into the making of instruments of destruction. The constant shrinkage of economic growth combined with the growth of military production is putting a heavy strain on the Soviet people. What we see here is a political structure that no longer corresponds to its economic base, a society where productive forces are hampered by political ones.

In the Communist world as well, man's instinctive desire for freedom and self-determination surfaces again and again. To be sure, there are grim reminders of how brutally the police state attempts to snuff out this quest for self-rule — in East Germany , in Hungary , in Czechoslovakia , in Poland. But the struggle continues in Poland. And we know that there are even those who strive and suffer for freedom within the confines of the Soviet Union itself.

What I am describing now is a plan and a hope for the long term — the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism—Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people. And that's why we must continue our efforts to strengthen NATO even as we move forward with our Zero-Option initiative in the negotiations on intermediate-range forces and our proposal for a one-third reduction in strategic ballistic missile warheads.

Reagan stands out in part because he believed the Soviet Union could be defeated. For most of the Cold War, Republican and Democratic administrations alike had assumed the Soviet Union would prove durable for the foreseeable future. The bipartisan policy of containment aimed to keep the Soviet Union in check while trying to avoid nuclear war ; it did not seek to force the dissolution of the Soviet empire. Ronald Reagan, in contrast, believed that the Soviet economy was so weak that increased pressure could bring the Soviet Union to the brink of failure. He therefore periodically expressed confidence that the forces of democracy 'will leave Marxism—Leninism on the ash heap of history'.

Sarkar , predicted in the s that Soviet Communism would fall with "a few blows from the hammer". He cited "inner and external stasis" as major weaknesses of communism. Sovietology failed because it operated in an environment that encouraged failure. Sovietologists of all political stripes were given strong incentives to ignore certain facts and focus their interest in other areas. I don't mean to suggest that there was a giant conspiracy at work; there wasn't.

It was just that there were no careers to be had in questioning the conventional wisdom There were other kinds of institutional biases as well, such as those that led to the Given these judgments of the Soviet future made by political leaders and journalists, the question is why were they right and so many of our Sovietological colleagues wrong. The answer again in part must be ideological. Reagan and Levin came from rightist backgrounds, and Moynihan, much like the leaders of the AFL-CIO , from a leftist anti-Stalinist social-democratic milieu, environments that disposed participants to believe the worst. Most of the Sovietologists, on the other hand, were left-liberal in their politics, an orientation that undermined their capacity to accept the view that economic statism, planning, socialist incentives, would not work.

They were also for the most part ignorant of, or ignored, the basic Marxist formulation that it is impossible to build socialism in impoverished societies. Brzezinski's collection, Dilemmas of Change in Soviet Politics demonstrates this point, of "the fourteen contributors Two-thirds four out of six of those who foresaw a serious possibility of breakdown were, like Levin and Moynihan , nonacademics. Three quarters six out of eight of those who could not look beyond system continuity were scholars. Richard Pipes took a slightly different view, situating the failure of the Sovietological profession in the larger context of the failures of Social Science:. It seems likely that ultimately the reason for the failure of professionals to understand the Soviet predicament lay in their indifference to the human factor.

In the desire to emulate the successes of the natural scientists, whose judgments are "value free," politology sic and sociology have been progressively dehumanized, constructing model and relying on statistics many of them falsified and, in the process, losing contact with the subject of their inquiries—the messy, contradictory, unpredictable homo sapiens.

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