1984: Abby Martin Explains George Orwell’s 1984.
Their are very few literary masterpieces that can transcend generations. There are even fewer that serve as a blueprint for the future. One of those books is 1984. The author was born Eric Arthur Blair, but was probably most know by his pen name, George Orwell. George Orwell was one of the greatest visionaries of the twentieth century who identified himself as a democratic socialist. Under the Soviet Union he was forced to flee under communism suppression of socialist dissidents.
In 1945 he wrote Animal Farm, a novel anthropomorphizing the animal kingdom, meant to serve as a metaphor for Stalin’s betrayal of the Russian Revolution. Soon after, Orwell wrote his most famous book of all time, 1984, which portrayed a terrifying future of a total surveillance and police state. Tragically, just one year after it published, Orwell died of tuberculosis at the unforgivably young age of 46.
Nineteen Eighty-Four, often published as 1984, is, in summary, a dystopian novel, set in Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain), a province of the superstate Oceania in a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public manipulation. The superstate and its residents are dictated to by a political regime euphemistically named English Socialism, shortened to “Ingsoc” in Newspeak, the government’s invented language. The superstate is under the control of the privileged elite of the Inner Party, a party and government that persecutes individualism and independent thinking as “thoughtcrime”, which is enforced by the “Thought Police”.
The tyranny is ostensibly overseen by Big Brother, the Party leader who enjoys an intense cult of personality, but who may not even exist. The Party “seeks power entirely for its own sake. It is not interested in the good of others; it is interested solely in power.” The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party, who works for the Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue in Newspeak), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to rewrite past newspaper articles, so that the historical record always supports the party line.
Abby Martin is an American journalist and presenter of The Empire Files, a weekly investigative news program on teleSUR English and YouTube. She was formerly the host of Breaking the Set on RT America network, working from the Washington, D.C. bureau. Before hosting her own show, she had worked for two years as a correspondent for RT America.