Newspaper Response to Orwell's 1984 to What Extent Is Resistance to Liberalism Justified Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Big Brother

Combat. A French Resistance Newspaper from 1944


Big Brother: The Physical Embodiment and Symbol of the Party in Oceania

Big Brother's Predecessors: Hitler, Stalin and an Old British Recruiting Poster Featuring Lord Kitchener


By O'Brien X

Unlike the real dictators Hitler and Stalin, Big Brother does not really exist and has never existed, except as the symbol of English Socialism (Ingsoc) and the Party that controls all aspects of life in Oceania through totalitarian, police state methods. After all, a dictator with a physical body will eventually become ill, decline with age and die, Big Brother will live forever as the image of a Party that intends to remain in power forever. Its members will die off, even at the privileged Inner Party levels, but that matters no more than cutting off dead fingernails. As a collective organization, the only goal of the Party is to retain power, like a jackboot stomping on a face forever, while keeping the masses of proles sedated, subdued and existing at a minimal level. Ideology does not matter to the Party since its only goal is to "arrest progress and freeze history at a chosen moment," so that it will never lose power (Orwell 1989).

No truth, facts or independent thought is ever allowed except that which the Party dictates from one moment to the next, and the more secure it feels in power the more ruthless and totalitarian its methods will become. Thanks to new technological developments like television, "every citizen, or at least every citizen important enough to be worth watching, could be kept for twenty-four hours a day under the eyes of the police and in the sound of official propaganda, with all other channels of communication closed" (Orwell 1989). Eventually, the Party intends to eliminate even the possibility of doubt or dissent from the English language itself and abolish even family, romantic and sexual relationships so that nothing will exist except the Party and the state. Unlike the Nazi dictatorship, it admits all races and nationalities to its ranks instead of privileging Germans or 'Aryans', as long as their loyalty is absolute. For those who show the slightest hint of doubt or disobedience, however, the punishment is torture, brainwashing by the Ministry of Love and Thought Police, and finally death. Even worse, those who are killed cease to exist completely from the historical record, as did Winston Smith, and become un-persons.


Emmanuel Goldstein Does Not Exist

Leon Trotsky, the Dissident Communist Executed by Stalin, is the Model for Goldstein


Although opposition and resistance to the Party certainly exist, Emmanuel Goldstein and the Brotherhood are both fictions like Big Brother, all created by the Party to serve its own propaganda needs. His image is based on that of Leon Trotsky, a dissident Communist exiled from the Soviet Union, who wrote numerous polemical works against Stalin and was finally killed in Mexico in 1940, on orders from the Soviet dictator. This does not mean that Trotsky was wrong about Stalin and the Soviet Union, which he rightfully compared to Hitler, Nazi Germany and other fascist regimes: all of them were totalitarian police states, just as is Oceania under Ingsoc. Similarly, 'Goldstein's Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism is a correct description of the totalitarian systems that control Eurasia, Eastasia and Oceania. All of the regimes and movements that came to power in the 1930s and 1940s adopted "practices which had been long abandoned, in some cases for hundreds of years -- imprisonment without trial, the use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions, torture to extract confessions, the use of hostages, and the deportation of whole populations" (Orwell 1989).

Trotsky noted that fascism in Germany and Italy derived its mass strength from...
...Like Oceania, Stalin's Soviet Union had no more capitalists and also collectivized and destroyed the peasant-artisan classes, so the regime was based on the workers and the middle and upper level Party bosses and bureaucrats -- called the Outer and Inner Party in Oceania. In addition, the Soviet Union was more backward economically and industrially than Germany, Japan, Britain and the older capitalist countries, and unlike Oceania had good reason to believe that it would be invaded and conquered by its enemies (Trotsky 2004). No real war exists in Oceania, though, except as a means of constant propaganda and justification of poverty and scarcity, so the masses will be kept in a state of excitement and obedience, with a relatively low standard of living: the only real war that exists in the one waged by the state against its own people.


In totalitarian states, the function of mass rallies, with the flags, slogans, uniforms and demagogy, is still create an image of unity and solidarity behind the Leader and the Party, like an army behind a general, once again with no dissent, individuality or independent thought allowed. It is not possible for the Resistance to organize rallies like these, for even relatively small gatherings would be detected at once by the Thought Police and destroyed. Public protest or armed rebellion would be suicidal, just as it would have been in Nazi Germany or Stalin's Russia. These is why the Resistance organizations in Oceania are small scale, often operating independently of each other, and always in danger of being infiltrated by the secret police. Dissent must be low key in order to survive, and even publishing and distributing words like these will likely result in death, but certainly no mass opposition rallies are possible.

Slave Labor in Nazi Germany at the Dora-Nordhausen Concentration Camp


As noted above, unlike the fascist regimes, private property does not exist in Oceania, and even the Inner Party members own nothing but some personal possessions. Materially speaking, they are better off than the proles or the Outer Party members, who are kept on tight rations and always struggling to get by, but this is a result of a deliberate policy of social control. As in the old Soviet Union, no capitalist class exists, and the Parry realizes that since the industrial revolution there has also been no need for any class of the population to exist in absolute poverty at the lower end of the scale. Oceania does not really have a class system but a caste system, and the proles are generally left alone and supplied with cheap alcohol and entertainment as long as they do their work. They are simply treated like animals and will never be allowed to have any real power, while the 20% of the population who are Party members are watched far more closely for signs of dissent and disloyalty -- especially Thought Crime of the type committed by the late-Winston Smith (Orwell 1989). As 'Goldstein' points out, the greatest danger to any ruling elite is that the middle strata of functionaries might begin to get the idea that they should be in charge or start stirring up rebellion among the lower orders. This is not permitted, nor are the masses allowed to become so poor and hungry that they might actually be forced into a revolt, although obviously all the statistic about Oceania setting new production records every day are completely bogus. Indeed, all such 'statistics' are made up from one day to the next in various government ministries and have no connection with reality at all.


Sources Used in Documents:


Aly, Gotz and Jefferson Chase. Hitler's Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State. Holt Paperbacks, 2005.

Orwell, George, Nineteen Eighty-Four. NY: Houghton Mifflin, 1949, 1989.

Spielvogel, Jackson T. And David Redles. Hitler and Nazi Germany: A History, 6th Edition. Prentice Hall, 2009.

Trotsky, Leon. The Revolution Betrayed. Dover Publications, 2004.

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