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George Orwell on Socialism

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Uploaded on Dec 31, 2009

It pays to actually read Orwell for oneself: "I am well aware that it is now the fashion to deny that Socialism has anything to do with equality. In every country in the world a huge tribe of party-hacks and sleek little professors are busy 'proving' that Socialism means no more than a planned state-capitalism with the grab-motive left intact. But fortunately there also exists a vision of Socialism quite different from this. The thing that attracts ordinary men to Socialism and makes them willing to risk their skins for it, the 'mystique' of Socialism, is the idea of equality; to the vast majority of people Socialism means a classless society, or it means nothing at all. And it was here that those few months in the militia were valuable to me. For the Spanish militias, while they lasted, were a sort of microcosm of a classless society. In that community where no one was on the make, where there was a shortage of everything but no privilege and no boot-licking, one got, perhaps, a crude forecast of what the opening stages of Socialism might be like. And, after all, instead of disillusioning me it deeply attracted me. The effect was to make my desire to see Socialism established much *more* actual than it had been before."

From chapter 8 of "Homage to Catalonia" (1938). It is from this book (really a memoir) that one gets perhaps the fullest picture of what attracted Orwell to socialism.

"One of Orwell's very best books and perhaps the best book that exists on the Spanish Civil War." - The New Yorker

Free copies of the book are readily available online.

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