Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Dalton Slatton Section 10 Installment 2: The Communist Philosophy Through Fictional Eyes
In my first installment, I discussed the Communist philosophy. I described how Communism moved from Marxism to Leninism to Stalinism and what each of them detailed in beliefs. This go around, I want to talk about one of the best descriptions of Communism I have found.
In the book Animal Farm by George Orwell, the story of Communism is told through animals on a farm in a very fictitious way. The book starts out with Old Major who symbolizes Karl Marx because Old Major is the one who tells the other animals of the dream where all animals are equal and working together for the common benefit. This lines up with Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto and introduces Marxism to the plot. The Marxism is used to overthrow the farmer who owns the farm. Marxism was the fundamental reason the animals rebelled and took over the farm. The Marxist philosophy governed the farm until Snowball was ousted from the farm by Napoleon like Lenin did to Trotsky.
At the time Snowball was ousted, Leninism took over the plot. This signifies a change in the story. The move from Marxism to Leninism is when the rules of Marxism becomes perverted by Leninism. The farm becomes less equal for all animals with the pigs becoming the emerging oligarchy because of their initial support of the rebellion and close ties to leadership. Small changes to the rules happen because the pigs notice that all animals cannot reach the level of intelligence that the pigs have. These minor changes promote the betterment of the pigs in small increments. These small changes set the stage for the shift from Leninism to Stalinism.
Stalinism was the harshest perversion of Marxism in the book. The small changes of the rules that promoted equality among animals that were changed to make the pigs the emerging oligarchy were further changed to make the pigs the actual oligarchy. The pigs moved into the farmhouse and began wearing human clothes. They became the oligarchy ruling over the pigs with Napoleon forming a cult about himself around the farm. Napoleon had a song singing praises to him. He wined and dined with the other humans. The once Marxism ran farm became fully under the control of Stalinism.
The significance of Animal Farm is that it takes an actual history of the Soviet Union and how it came to be, and the book portrayed the events in a fictional understandable way. Sometimes realistic events are hard for our minds to grasp. Sometimes when we look at real world events and people we have our opinions and perceptions obscured by how the world portrays it. Animal Farm removes Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, and Joseph Stalin from the picture and replaces them with factional characters. The philosophies of Marxism, Leninism, and Stalinism are never directly named. However, the parallelisms are there. Readers can see the effects of these philosophies on a “people” (the animals can be classified as people) without making that real world connection. This allows the reader to see the flaws of the philosophies, and how the gradual perversion of Communism developed.