Sunday, February 11, 2024

History is not bunk

History is interesting despite what Tucker Carlson might think. In August 1939 the then Stalin’s Soviet Union and Hitler’s Germany signed a ten year non-aggression pact which also delineated specific spheres of influence. On 1 September 1939 Germany invaded Poland. On 17 September 1939 Soviet Russia invaded eastern Poland.

On 22 June 1941 Germany launched operation Barbarossa and invaded Soviet Russia.

The USA set up The OWI (Office of War Information) and put in charge of “advising Hollywood about the means to support the war effort”. A set of guidelines were formulated in a “Manual for the Motion Picture Industry” such as:

In a comprehensive third chapter of the handbook, called “Who are our allies”, “Tinsel Town” is advised to learn more about their former enemy, the Soviet Union: We must fight the unity lies about Russia (..), emphasize the might and heroism, the victory of the Russians. In a most surprising manner we find out that ‘we Americans reject communism, but we do not reject our Russian ally’ (United States, 1942).’
In 1964 Bob Dylan’s song. With God On Our Side contained the verse, ‘I’ve learned to hate the Russians, All through my whole life, If another war comes, It’s them we must fight, To hate and to fear them, To run and to hide, And accept it all bravely, With God on my side.’

In a piece in the Socialist Standard of May 1989 it was pointed out that ‘It all depends what they want us to think.’

News At Ten (6 April) urged us to welcome our new-found friend, Mikhail Gorbachev. He is a communist, you see. A communist with whom Mrs. Thatcher is very pleased to do business. A communist who is proud to invite the Queen to come over and tread on a few of his subjects. The cult of Gorby is very big right now. It was the Newspeak writers on The Sun who christened him Gorby. Over in Washington the CIA tried to put a damper on the visit by leaking the information about Russian sales of fighter planes to Libya. All part of the propaganda war. This is the dogmatic assault upon us today: when our rulers want us to believe that Russia is "the Evil Empire" and we must prepare to die destroying it, then the newsreaders will tell us what a despicable police state the dictator Gorbachev presides over (as he does); when commerce and international militarism require closer relations between the two old superpowers — so that perhaps they can prepare to make war on the new, up and coming superpowers — then Gorby is our man and pictures of Raisa being shown the Tower of London are the order of the day. It all depends what they want us to think. To accept what the servants of capitalist propaganda tell us is to fall into the trap which leads to the kind of world Orwell was writing about. That millions have fallen into the trap cannot be denied, but it is not too late to climb out. In an essay written in 1940, called Inside The Whale, Orwell made a comment which is worth keeping in front of you while watching News At Ten: "To say 'I accept' in an age like our own is to say that you accept concentration camps, rubber truncheons, Hitler, Stalin, bombs, aeroplanes, tinned food, machine-guns, putsches, purges, slogans, Bedaux belts, gas-masks, submarines, spies, provocateurs, press censorship, secret prisons, aspirins, Hollywood films and political murders."

Steve Coleman

The protagonist, George Bowling, in George Orwell’s 1939 novel, Coming Up For Air, described the ‘little boxes’ that workers lived in’

‘You know how these streets fester all over the inner-outer suburbs. Long, long rows of little semi-detached houses as much alike as council houses and generally uglier. The stucco front, the creosoted gate, the privet hedge, the green front door. At perhaps one house in fifty some anti-social type who'll probably end in the workhouse has painted his front door blue instead of green.’ [Expressing individuality? Perhaps he was a Socialist!]

He was prescient about the Thatcher social engineering of the eighties that believed that buying your council house and owning a few shares in the privatised utility industries would ensure that everyone became Conservatives.

‘Merely because of the illusion that we own our houses and have what's called 'a stake in the country', we poor saps in the Hesperides, and in all such places, are turned into Crum's devoted slaves for ever. We're all respectable householders—that's to say Tories, yes-men, and bumsuckers. We're all bought, and what's more we're bought with our own money. Every one of those poor downtrodden bastards, sweating his guts out to pay twice the proper price for a brick doll's house that's called Belle Vue because there's no view and the bell doesn't ring—every one of those poor suckers would die on the field of battle to save his country from Bolshevism.’

Coming Up For Air George Orwell 1939

Despite not as yet accepting the need to abolish the iniquitous capitalist system times do change and hopefully there are very few, if any, poor suckers any more who would be prepared to go out and die in the interests of capitalism.

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