Personal account of Spanish war by George Orwell.
Couple of insights:
- Stalinist tactics used in Spain were as terrible as in USSR
- Press is extremely important in influencing events
What was interesting is that Orwell few times pointed out that his account is not fully objective and that reader should not believe his words without verification. This is great example of professionalism. Orwell recognizes both his subjectivity but also his duty to the public. Seems like not many people back then and now do this.
Also, I really like that Orwell was optimistic even in the end. He was wounded, needed to leave country, but at the end he still believed in human nature and better future.
A comprehensive history of Russian revolution in a short, simple book that anyone can understand. I think in this fact lies the beauty of Orwell’s work. People of all ages can appreciate and visualize even the most complex social changes.
It seems that Orwell did describe Russian revolution very closely with fall of the capitalist empire, communist revolution, Marx, collectivization, fight between Trotsky and Stalin, dictatorship and full counter-revolution and come back to the similar state as it was before 1917 but with a different name.
Also, it seems, that even if it accounts for the Russian revolution, the pattern is the same for all them. This book is a reminder to us how events usually unfold and what happens at the end. And what kind of people typically end-up on top in any system regarding of the title.
I had dropped more or less by chance into the only community of any size in Western Europe where political consciousness and disbelief in capitalism were more normal than their opposites. Up here in Aragon one was among tens of thousands of people, mainly though not entirely of working-class origin, all living at the same level and mingling on terms of equality. In theory it was perfect equality, and even in practice it was not far from it. There is a sense in which it would be true to say that one was experiencing a foretaste of Socialism, by which I mean that the prevailing mental atmosphere was that of Socialism. Many of the normal motives of civilized life – snobbishness, money-grubbing, fear of the boss, etc – had simply ceased to exist.George Orwell
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 exist 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 classless society, or it means nothing at all.George Orwell
From the dreams spun by nineteenth-century Socialists about a perfect society, nothing had really bean salvaged. Instead, the foreground was dominated by the Hegelian conviction that certain phases will inevitably be victorious over others: that things are as they are, and we are not responsible.Czesław Miłosz