Review: Animal Farm by George Orwell

529960The book obviously satirises the USSR and the Socialist states that sprang up in Eastern Europe in the mid 20th century, but towards the end, I got the feeling the author was trying to say they weren’t horrible just because they were Socialist, but that they were just as horrible as the capitalist systems they were purporting to replace – on the last few pages, the humans (capitalists) congratulate the pigs (Socialists) on having the highest rates of labour with the lowest rations of food, because that’s been their goal as well, and the pigs slowly morph into humans: in the very last sentence, the animals are unable to tell them apart – because they ultimately turn into the same thing: a system of exploitation and disempowerment where the ones who’ve managed to take control of the means of production are free to exploit, terrorise and even murder the others. The only way to maintain the control of the people is for the people to be educated, vigilant, together in solidarity and empowered to defend the common good.

The methodical replacement of fact with myth is the main tool the pigs (the empowered elite) use to maintain their control on the animals’ feelings of loyalty to the Animalist ideal, even when no part of the original concept remains anymore. That tool is superbly described in 1984 as well, and the chilling part is, Orwell knew it from reality. It’s not fiction, it did and does happen to this day: curating facts to bury what’s inconvenient to the powers that be, exaggerate what’s useful and outright lie about things that never happened. And the really sad thing is, we’ve learnt very little from Orwell.

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