Mucking About in the Great Scam

A review of Homage To Catalonia, by George Orwell
(Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1979; originally published Martin Secker & Warburg, 1938)

by Alaric

A chance to do something about Fascism came, and George Orwell went to Spain. He wrote a book about it, his combat against Francoist forces in the Spanish Civil War. The book tells us more about the man George Orwell than any other book, because it leads us to think also about Orwell the symbol. And yet, even after this and the many bioscripts on him, Orwell doesn't quite emerge from shadow. One reading his classic Homage To Catalonia, but none of his other works, would still recognize that he was almost a useful political analyst. Why almost? Because he stopped short. The question that follows is, Did he know he was stopping short? This is the biggest issue an honest thinker will have with George Orwell.

Orwell hated Capitalism, all forms of money grubbing and classism. The roots of this were his experiences as a scholarship student at an expensive preparatory school, the time he spent as an Imperial policeman, and living through the so-called Great Depression. These affronted his sense of fairness and urged him to learn what money is and how it operates. He augmented his curiousity with adventure, with going and doing and seeing for himself.

The 1930s were an unsettling time. The ramifications of the Versailles Treaty were hanging over Europe, in all the impressions they could make in the minds of intelligent citizens, a ticking bomb. Capitalism, too, was in "crisis," and an ostensible solution to the seemingly insoluble problems it caused was rising, like Neptune from his immense and impenetrable vastness, in the Soviet Union. Depending on your economic point of view, the world was either dropping into Hell like a lead brick, or a new dawn for Man was just beyond the meridian.

Capitalism is wonderful as long as it is working for you. When it turns like a hyena, and it inevitably will, it can demolish even its apostles. How many times have we read of the rich man brought down to poverty, and a lifetime of disciplined saving obliterated, by economic ambush? Thus it is that the middle classes in America now, and to some extent in Europe, are beginning to feel Capitalism's fangs as it tears along its natural course to maximum profits. I refer, of course, to the importation of cheap labor, and the export of tangible industries, the effects of fiduciary currencies and rootless capital.

The problems of the 1930s are our problems too, but our version in its full heat will be far worse. Capital moved then at the speed of teletype; now it moves at the speed of light, and no respite does it give to the pious on Sunday. Stability is tenuous in a cyber-capital economy, and they who own capital must constantly move it to maximum profit centers under competitive pressure. Sometimes it is more profitable to move labor instead of plant, as the White people of North America are now learning.

The issue in the 1930s among workers and the middle class was survival, and how to control finance capital; how to deal with Capitalism's enforcement mechanisms: the courts, the newspapers, and the security forces of the state. In the 1920s and '30s Socialists and honest Communists (naïve people who thought Communism the answer) believed that the police and the military were Capitalism's fists. They believed this to be fact and they were right. In Orwell's memoir of the Spanish War, the police and military are central to power, but in the obverse way: for a time they served Communism where before they served Capitalism. And the story there twists even more grotesquely, as we shall learn. In more detail, they ended up enforcing propaganda.

In the Great Depression the West was a steel and glass economy. Ordinary people could see the factories and the products over which Capitalist competitors fought to control and market. Today these industries are largely gone from the West; the tangible bases of capital are less to be seen. Cyber money is a ghost. There is little to see and it is difficult to fight over the invisible. The unemployed and the under-employed in the Depression had objectives: the factory, the agribusiness's land, the shipyard, the meatpacking plant, the railroad. Workers and peasants battled police and militias across America and Europe, many of them hoping that the new USSR, defender of the worker and home of the New Man, would step in somehow and win justice for them.

Another ideology, Fascism, arose in this period, first in Italy, then in Germany. Fascism offered to protect the little man by another means: it supplanted the idea of Economic Man with the National Man. Shared being would dilute the greed engendered by Capitalism, and its power. Men united perforce by danger, and organized on the basis of natio, birth. Fascism predicated its vision for the reorganization of society on common blood and soil. Spiritual elements were part of this, and Fascist intellectuals injected elements of Odinism and pre-Christian symbols to aid the breakaway from Economic Man thinking.

Like most creative people Orwell disliked the militaristic and racial aspects of Fascism. It is not an ideology of hope, but of action, and one whose promise is safety through discipline and national cohesion. Fascism's tenets opposed Communism's materialist and environmentalist ordering of life and society.

Yet Orwell clearly recognized that emotion drives politics more than reason does. And one sees in Homage that he failed to apply this to himself. His analysis of the betrayal of Spain's anti-Fascists by "Soviet advisors" falters. Out of respect for this great man we might attribute this to a problem that beset him and still besets us: media blackout. A consequence of the near-monopoly control of the transmission of information is that, as in Orwell's time, few of us today know what Communists were up to then, or know that many top intellectuals supported Fascism until it became too dangerous to continue. George Bernard Shaw and Ezra Pound were among them, and, inspecting the big picture from here, it is by no means over the top to conclude that Fascism was the answer to the problems predatory Capitalism caused. Communism, it is now clear, is merely the Zionist back door to controlling wealth.

It soon became obvious that the two systems must show down. Fascism was polar negative, Communism polar positive. The two could not get near each other. In the meantime Judeo-Communism's greatest coup was not its conquest of Russia, but the idea its ideologues managed to plant in the minds of decent people that Fascism is the fist of predatory Capitalism. Thus, if you as a politically conscious person opposed foreign agitators leading hungry mobs demanding the abolition of private property, you were a "fascist," and "Capitalist lackey," and "reactionary," among other epithets. This verbal legerdemain continues, with the devastating results we see all around.

The tension between the two systems became so great that any unstable ground was a possible arena. Spain was the first serious combat. In that unfortunate country circumstances came together in which Germany and Italy and the Soviet Union might test each other. Here it is necessary to give some background.

By the early 1930s Spain's internal political divisions had paralyzed its government. The effects of the Depression exacerbated Spain's existing instabilities. Forty percent of the Spanish population was illiterate. The Spanish economy was primarily agricultural and 70 percent worked in agriculture. Yet 2 percent of the population owned 67 percent of the land. Spanish exports declined and unemployment increased. Few of these people owned land enough even to subsist on. The hungry unemployed streamed into the cities to find jobs that were not there. The Left grew more powerful. King Alfonso XIII went into exile in 1931. Pro-monarchist, pro-business, pro-Catholic political parties squared off against an alliance of Anarchists, Communists, peasants and trade unions. A popularly-elected government composed of Leftist parties took office. Public disorder increased. In July 1936 an army officer, Francisco Franco, led an army revolt against the Government. The sides began arming, and civil war erupted. Franco's forces, pro-monarchist and -church, were called the Nationalists. The Leftists, anti-monarchist, anti-Church, anti-Capitalist, were called the Republicans. Franco sought to overthrow the government. The Leftist forces defended the government. Property owners and the Catholic Church looked to the Nationalists for protection from Republican forces and mobs confiscating land, burning businesses, demolishing churches, raping nuns and murdering priests. The Nationalists committed atrocities, too. The tremendous tensions in Spanish society, long building, came out in terrible ways. We in the West should keep this in mind as our own conditions deteriorate. As to territory, the Nationalists at the outset held the west and north of Spain, Spanish Morocco, and the Canary and Balearic Islands. The Republicans held the south and east. The Spanish Army and security forces divided; some officers remained loyal to the government and some joined Franco. Likewise with the Navy; some ships put themselves at the service of Franco and some to the Republican Government. The goal of each side was to take and hold key cities, with Madrid being the plum. The Republican government was forced to remove to the city of Valencia. Henceforth it was often called the Valencia Government, or simply "the government."

Orwell arrived in the Republican stronghold city of Barcelona, in Catalonia, in December 1936, intending to write dispatches for English newspapers. He instead immediately enlisted in a Communist militia, the POUM. Orwell writes vividly and insightfully of conditions in Barcelona under "worker" control. Communist and Anarchist militias control the streets. All forms of "bourgeois" social norms have been abolished. The middle and upper classes are wearing worker's clothing to disguise themselves. Waiters and barbers do not accept tips; the lexicon of class, such as "sir" and "ma'am," are not used. Everybody has become equal. There is general enthusiasm for the revolution, but Orwell doesn't realize until later that it is merely surface. There are no Nationalist forces active in Barcelona. The civil war has given the Catalans an opportunity to exercise some autonomy from their Castilian masters in Madrid. The militias on their way to the front are cheered by the Barcelonans.

Thousands of foreign volunteers are pouring into Spain to fight Franco. Orwell describes them. One Italian is obviously illiterate but parroting anti-Fascist slogans. He still impresses Orwell as the salt of the earth and a reason to be optimistic for the future of Man. Orwell does not mention the foreign volunteers for Franco.

Orwell makes it clear that everyone understood that a revolution had occurred, and the great competing political systems were meeting in Spain, and the Fascists and "Soviets" were contributing arms, supplies and advisors. Partisan spirits are soaring high. Orwell himself is a member of the International Labor Party, as are most of the Englishmen. There were many communists from all over Europe, some exiles from Nazi Germany. There are Americans, Canadians, and Irishmen. Orwell rarely writes objectively of Francoist forces; he does mention that he felt pity for them, seeing them in their dismal trenches on the Zaragoza Front opposing his own. It is also clear that to Orwell Hitler was the ultimate evil, a co-rider with Big Capital and Colonel Blimps.

Homage To Catalonia is composed of two parts: Homage, written late 1937, just months after Orwell returned to England from Spain; and a brief supplement, Looking Back On The Spanish War, written 1943 when he was working in London as a propagandist for the BBC.

The White racialist understands, in this time of terminal Egalitarianism, that Egalitarians always shortstop their thinking. That's how they remain egalitarians. Those who advocate "equality" usually have in mind a complex bundle of ideas, but they cannot really believe that ability can be purged as an organizing principle. Likewise, those who advocate the abolition of political borders ("One World") do it because they have the means to avoid the consequences -- or think they do. They refuse to imagine that this ideology might be a religion -- hence irrational, really a Christianity gone off the rails, with the subtle hum of consumerism to dull the edge of their nagging instincts. One Worlders and Egalitarians don't like the fact that not only are there huge differences between members of the same race, there are differences between the races themselves. The evidence is as big as the sun. Their way out of this tar pit has been, so far, to shout down the opposition and deny race exists. The "scientific" support for their faith rests on Boasian "environmentalism." Their illusion would fade like a wisp of smoke without the artificial life support it receives -- in overpowering, unending, ubiquitous doses -- courtesy of our Jewish friends and their Goyim lackeys in "entertainment" and "news" media, "universities," and the useful idiots in the general herd.

Orwell's stopping short is most evident with regard to the troubles caused by the "Soviet advisors" in Spain. Similarly conspicuous is his failure to mention Stalin's crushing brutality in the Soviet Union, let alone account for it. These are strange deficits in an otherwise indefatigable political analyst.

I have in mind chiefly the Great Famine in the Ukraine devised by Uncle Joe and implemented from 1932 to 1933. The affair was too big to miss, and it was reported very ably by some of the West's best journalists. Yet in general, the Western press deliberately omitted the news of this outrage.

The public mind belongs to the press. The press could have put the outrage there easily by simple repetition. A "story a day" about the political famine would have done the trick, just as it would later when the same people chose to promote the "Holocaust." We may lay this to the Jewish lords of mass communications, who were protecting their great enterprise in the USSR. How much of Soviet affairs was under Jewish control at that time is moot; enough of it was; the worst of it is that the press broke its covenant with the public (and still does). Had the press wanted the Ukrainian Genocide to be an issue it could have made it one; it could have raised divisions and sent fleets to Odessa. However, the famine was reported by correspondents on the scene, notably Malcolm Muggeridge, a reporter for the Manchester Guardian. Muggeridge toured the Ukraine in the spring of 1933, evading the secret police who were sealing the borders during the filthy business.

Muggeridge witnessed Ukrainian families being forced into cattle cars; he saw desolate fields and abandoned villages. He heard rumors (he never ascertained their truth) of cannibalism among the starving peasants. Years later he stated in an interview:

The novelty of this particular famine, what made it so diabolical, is that it was not the result of some catastrophe like a drought or an epidemic. It was the deliberate creation of a bureaucratic mind which demanded the collectivization of agriculture, immediately, as a purely theoretical proposition, without any consideration whatever of the consequences in human suffering.

Muggeridge is firing only on three cylinders here, but he is moving toward the point. How many Ukrainians did Stalin murder? There are several estimates, from 3.5 million to 11 million. Many were shot or starved en locale; many died later in the camps Uncle Joe set up for them near the Arctic Circle. Why did Uncle Joe do this? To crush Ukrainian nationalism, and to take their grain to sell for "hard currency" and Western industrial equipment. It is impossible to believe the West did not know of this situation in which millions of people were being forcibly transported, when hundreds of thousands of armed secret police, special police, and troops were cordoning off this vast region, and rumors were flying thick in Moscow. It is impossible to accept that Western governments and "intellectuals" did nothing, said nothing, for the reason that they thought Stalin's Ukrainian genocide was necessary to bring forth the New Man. And yet, nothing else explains it, unless one swings the finger toward the press, which presented the news in withered form. But again, merely the seed planted -- the simple mentioning of the affair -- should have sprung up in public opinion as outrage. Muggeridge even wrote a novel based on the famine (Winter In Moscow). We might account for the inertia, then, only by invoking the notorious White coma, which is far deeper now. Still, whatever the number of reports of the famine that got into print on the street, nothing reverberated. The Liberal intelligentsia and the press, in effect a Judeo-Communist fifth column, dismissed, ignored, downplayed all. And this coalition penalized anyone who tried to pop its egalitarian dream. Muggeridge could not find a job when he returned to England, and the British press attacked him. So why didn't Orwell mention the Ukraine? Why did the facts of Communist methods in the USSR not leaven his attitudes? The answer can only be that he was blind with the Egalitarian's narcotic, "hope." It comes out encloaked in the term "equality"; it is Orwell's mantra. Over and over in Homage he says it, and when Nature finally reasserts herself in Barcelona, his tone is one of a disappointed schoolboy. Which suggests, conversely, that he could not see the positive aspects of Fascism. The fact is, Hitler gave work and bread to millions of workers and brought Capitalism in Germany under control. More, the National Socialist government was making interest-free loans out of the state treasury. Hitler did not destroy churches or murder archbishops and blind folk singers, but Uncle Joe did -- to establish the "worker's paradise."

But back to the book. Orwell's first-person narrative brings out the energy of the upheaval, and his prose is, as in all his works, diamond clear. He describes the "training" his POUM militia unit receives, and is frank about the shortcomings of a "democratic" military organization, in which rank and imperative have been abolished. And clearly, this Nordic Englishman cannot get used to the Spanish way, which he encapsulates with the term, "mañana, mañana." Sometimes trains arrive, and sometimes they depart within an hour of their scheduled time -- an excellent show, that. One might get a general idea of Orwell's impressions of the Spanish from the following excerpts:

The Spanish are good at many things, but not at making war. All foreigners alike are appalled by their inefficiency, above all their maddening unpunctuality. A Spaniard's generosity, in the ordinary sense of the word, is at times almost embarrassing. If you ask him for a cigarette, he will force the whole packet on you. I have the most evil memories of Spain, but I have very few bad memories of Spaniards. They have, there is no doubt, a generosity, a species of nobility, that do not really belong to the twentieth century.

Orwell was in Spain seven months. His military experiences themselves were not outstanding. Homage's value lies in the lessons it offers on the behavior of economic classes, propaganda, the "Soviets," and the press. Orwell was no soldier, and his knowledge of weapons and other things martial, as reflected in this book, is so deficient it is difficult to believe he once was a policeman. It will serve our purpose here to draw a synopsis of Orwell's time in Spain:

1. After a few days of "training" Orwell's POUM unit, called a centuria, is taken by train to the front, near the city of Zaragoza, in the Aragon hills. The situation is static; the Republican trenches face Nationalist trenches a few hundred yards away. There are few serious assaults. Orwell is so disappointed with the lack of aggressiveness he wonders how seriously the Spanish are taking their war. Orwell's centuria is short of weapons and basic equipment. Their Mauser rifles are in terrible condition, and sometimes misfire, injuring soldiers. Ammunition is poor quality, as are their explosives. Food is plentiful enough. Occasionally a sniper lets a shot fly, or a small sapper party from either side throws a wild grenade, but nothing much happens. Most casualties are from accidental discharges.

2. After three and one-half months Orwell's centuria is given leave and it returns to Barcelona (April 1937). Orwell finds the city much changed. Gone is the enthusiasm for the revolution, and now the bourgeoisie are out of the closet. Citizens are indifferent to the war and the militiamen back from the front. Street fighting breaks out between, on the one side, the Valencia government troops and security forces stationed in Barcelona, and on the other the militias. This fighting amongst the "Left" has been instigated by anti-militia propaganda disseminated by "Soviet advisors" behind the scenes in Valencia, who want to neutralize the Anarchists, the most effective fighters. Orwell begins to smell betrayal, but does not go far into it at this point.

3. In May Orwell's centuria is sent back to the Zaragoza front. Ten days later he is shot by an enemy sniper. The bullet passes through his neck. He is evacuated, not expected to live. Orwell describes the sensation of being shot with such objectivity it is amusing. He is taken to several hospitals. His doctors tell him the bullet missed his aorta by a millimeter and it is a "miracle" he is alive. He has sustained nerve damage and cannot move his right arm, nor can he speak.

4. He is transferred to a hospital in Barcelona. His wife Sonia has been in the city some time. She assists him, and informs him of political developments in the city. The Valencia government has ordered all militias to surrender their arms. The militias refuse. Valencia-controlled security forces begin hunting down Anarchists. Street fighting breaks out again, more fiercely now.

5. The genuine, revolutionary Left is now disintegrating. Foreign volunteers begin fleeing Spain. Many are arrested by the Soviet-controlled Popular Army, Assault Guards, Guardia Civil or police and imprisoned. Some are shot. Orwell notices that these forces possess arms far better than those the militias have.

6. Orwell is told by his doctors that he will never speak again. His arm is recovering. Orwell is given a medical discharge. The Valencia government continues its cleanup of Anarchists, whom it accuses in its press of being "Trotskyists." It is obvious that the Valencia government is spending as much effort on the Anarchists as on Franco.

7. Barcelona is infested with spies and informers. Orwell is convinced now that the "Soviet advisors" have deliberately sabotaged the workers' revolution. He is convinced that the war against Franco is lost and begins making plans to escape Spain as the police are closing in on him.

8. Orwell and Sonia are nearly arrested in Barcelona. A few days later, after trying to help some comrades get out of jail, the two manage to cross into France by train.

The disintegration of honest Leftist Spanish opposition to Franco, and the hijacking of these forces by the "Soviet advisors," badly disillusions Orwell. He realizes that propaganda has neutralized armed force and mass will. He knows the "Soviet advisors" are responsible for it. Homage is the chronicle in which one can see him emerge from the campus Left. He devotes several chapters to the Spanish press, and the foreign press's coverage of the war. Of the atmosphere in Barcelona the last few weeks he was there, he writes, "[It was as if] some huge evil intelligence were brooding over the town. Everyone noticed it and remarked on it." Orwell admits he could not figure out what was going on. The street fighting involved everyone, and the coalitions dissolved and reformed, it seemed, anew each day. Orwell understands that the "Soviet advisors" got a toehold in the Valencia government because they were providing most of the Republicans' arms and supplies. What he doesn't come around to examining closely enough is why they stopped the workers' revolution in Spain. The best he can do is cite the ownership of Spanish assets by foreign companies -- implying that Capitalists intervened using the Valencia government as the mechanism. But would that not have put Communists and Capitalists in bed together? It is far out of the orbit of his imagination, however, to think that Communism is just a way of politicians getting ahold of wealth. There was other evidence that this was so. Orwell talks of weapons carried by government-controlled Assault Guards, the best troops:

All of them were armed with brand-new rifles of the type known as 'the Russian rifle' (these rifles were sent to Spain by the U.S.S.R. but were, I believe, manufactured in America).

Now, one would think that military rifles manufactured by a capitalist country, in the hands of Capitalism's archenemy, would make Orwell pause. Could they possibly be colluding? How on earth did those rifles go from a U.S. arsenal to the Soviet Union? But Orwell has no more to say on the matter.

The actions of the "Soviet advisors" in Spain were part of a general strategy. In all upheavals there is an apparent control and the actual control; there is scarecrow opposition and real opposition. The "Soviet advisors," upon arriving, infiltrated those Spanish organizations that would be useful to their goals, and propagandized against those that were not. The press power the "Soviet advisors" had is wondrous. Immediately their propaganda dominated the pro-Valencia press in Spain, and the foreign press, for the most part, supported the Valencia line. Orwell writes extensively on this. Yet his reasoning faltered. He did not really want to know. It may be that he lacked the cynicism, the hard eye, that a deep dive requires. Indeed, this marks the fatal naiveté that infects the White race more deeply than it does other races. That instinctive resistance against thinking badly of people who apparently mean well; that characteristic assumption others have a good heart and are honest. And Orwell was honest -- foolishly so, exemplified by an incident near the end of his time in Spain when he was trying to free his POUM comrades from a government prison. Orwell was indeed an odd man. ("I hate mountains, even from a spectacular point of view.") His sensitive, decent nature consigned him to hope politics. He was a mix of upper-middle-class mores and radical cures. One has reason to admire a man this complex who manages to stay sane, sober and out of jail. But too many points Orwell skips, and I suspect that had he seen the full aftermath of the Allied "victory" over Fascism, he might have swung further to what we call "the Right." Clearly he was moving toward that ground which is the only ground the awakened White man or woman can occupy. "Right" and "Left" are exhausted, rotten scams, and any White person lingering in those camps either sleeps, or makes a living there. In the end the "wrong" side in Orwell's mind won anyway. The Third Reich flamed out in a shallow trench, and the Workers' Paradise drank all its own blood, but Capitalism is more powerful and insidious than ever. But the ostensible rescuers of the hungry, unemployed Spaniard -- the Communists -- turned quite against him.

The Communists were working not to postpone the Spanish revolution till a more suitable time, but to make sure that it never happened. This became more and more obvious as time went on, as power was twisted more and more out of working-class hands, and as more and more revolutionaries of every shade were flung into jail. Every move was made in the name of military necessity, because this pretext was, so to speak, ready-made, but the effect was to drive the workers back from an advantageous position and to a position in which, when the war was over, they would find it impossible to resist the reintroduction of capitalism.

White racialists should be wary of Orwell the novelist, and Orwell the analyst, and Orwell the symbol all, for the simple reason that he has been published and the media likes him. The media give exposure only to the useful. He has long been in the realm of the cliché. The name "George Orwell" has become the padding for public malaise, for people justifiably worried about the continuing diminution of the individual. They shriek and pound the walls of their cell that it's all so "Orwellian," and then, spent, they return to their televisions. And, taking a hard look at the whole thing, what does Orwell really teach us except that words make "reality" and can be tuned to produce almost any particular effect, even a deception of unbelievable proportions? He felt it himself, as he wrote in Looking Back:

As to the Russians, their motives in the Spanish war are completely inscrutable. Did they, as the pinks believed, intervene in Spain in order to defend Democracy and thwart the Nazis? Then why did they intervene on such a niggardly scale and finally leave Spain in the lurch? Or did they, as the Catholics maintained, intervene in order to foster revolution in Spain? Then why did they do all in their power to crush the Spanish revolutionary movements, defend private property and hand power to the middle class as against the working class? Or did they, as the Trotskyists suggested, intervene simply in order to prevent a Spanish revolution? Then why not have backed Franco? Indeed, their actions are most easily explained if one assumes that they were acting on several contradictory motives.

And one should keep in mind, above all things, that Orwell the anti-Fascist is not here now. He was for equality and justice and the self-determination of peoples; he opposed imperialism. And what's on now? Let me repeat: Orwell and his Republican comrades, and all the anti-Nazis and newspaper Liberals and university Leftists of his day are not here now. And we should ask, What would they think, what would they say, if they saw their England now? London is but half White and sliding to all brown; Leicester has gone to Pakistan and Islam. And the same for all the egalitarians and world-healers who started this chain of destruction: Senator Sumner and Harriet Beecher Stowe are not here to see the spawn of Uncle Tom turn righteous Yankee cities into savage pestholes. All leadership, Labour and Conservative, Republican and Democrat, whores and step-'n-fetchits for Zion and Big Capital, carry on while the West and the White race sink into consumerist nihilism and demise.

Orwell's masterwork, 1984, is vague. He makes "power for its own sake" the heart of the totalitarian drive. Sorry, George, that's not enough. That disappointed me years ago when I first read it; now it angers me, when the West is being transformed, two steps forward one step back, into an anthill. We need names and DNA roadmaps. We need the smelly, greasy history the schoolma'm never taught us. We need answers; we need to survive. It is time to leave Orwell behind. He is Survival Politics 451. Now it is time for grad school.

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