Marxism And Communism In George Orwell's Animal Farm
Their situation, they are constantly reassured, is better than before. They now live under their original ideal of animalism, they are told. This can be closely related to the theory of 'Carbonarism', which was identified as having been created under the Italian Communist Party (1921-43). The theory is largely based around the recurring tendency to distract the masses from the 'real' (or perhaps relevant) problems that were occurring under communist rule.
In reality the animals are living under a harsh dictatorship, under the veil of animalism. Engels refers to this as an illusion of democracy. By creating this illusion of democracy the ruling class (Napoleon/Stalin) can ensure they stay in power, while everything will stay 'natural' to the proletariat. Indeed this illusion of democracy is further emphasized when the animals are asked questions by the pigs; questions to which there can be only one possible reply. In a sense the rhetorical questions act as a tool to reinforce the false class-consciousness:
It is for your sake that we pigs drink that milk and eat those apples. Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed our duty? Jones would come back! Surely comrades... surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones come back? …show more content…
What Karl Marx did was effectively reinterpret Hegel's work and relate it to his own concepts based on class struggle. Thus, Hegel's thesis becomes Marx's 'the way things are'; Hegel's antithesis became 'the conflict' and the resolution, or the ideal, communism. This process is known as 'dialectical Marxism'.
However, what Hegel or Marx failed to anticipate was the collapse of their ideal, once it became accepted ('the way things are). Indeed, I contend that Hegel's dialectic was a process fuelled by repetition. In other words, it will continue a 'natural' process through the stages until the resolution is reached and when the resolution fails, it will start again. This undoubtedly is the case in Animal Farm, where once the animals achieve the goal, they slip back into Hegel's thesis.
In terms of offering a Marxist reading, the era in which the book was written and, significantly, published is very important and relevant to Orwell's satire. Animal Farm was written in 1943 (the end of communist Russia), but not published until after the end of the Second World War in 1945. Indeed at such a historical moment in time, I believe that a Marxist would see Orwell as a product of the society in which he was raised, and therefore the book becomes the 'bi-product'. Too add weight to this argument, the dominant ideologies at work at the time the book was written suggest Orwell