George Orwell's relationship to the Left was complicated while he lived, and only grew more so after his death. Always determined to find out what he himself thought, rather than align with a particular party or doctrine, his criticism spared neither enemies nor allies. He both denounced and was denounced by the Communist Party, and he traded public jabs with pacifists and anarchists, remaining all the while a steadfast opponent of capitalism, imperialism, and all forms of totalitarianism.
A manifesto by George Orwell, published in a recent book on the British author, argues that democracy and socialism are not merely two desirable and complementary ideals, but are, or ought to be, the same thing -- that socialism is simply the extension of democratic principles into the economic life of the society.
The Occupy movement is more than five years in the past, and its legacy is mainly one of frustration. But there is still much to be gained from those few tense weeks.
George Orwell’s preference for plain-speaking over artistic experimentation, common sense over high theory, and common decency over fashionable cynicism has made him one of the twentieth-century writers who remains not only readable but worth reading.
To lose oneself in a book is a pleasure. In Worshiping Power: An Anarchist View of Early State Formation, however, one feels instead simply lost.
Mark Greif's essays in Against Everything are frequently unsettling. But unsettling can be either good or bad. It can mean the upending of our assumptions, a break from established patterns.