Was George Orwell a Marxist?

OrwellBurmaPassport

In short, George Orwell was a socialist but not a Marxist. One does not always follow the other. Here is an account from Isaac Deutscher on the specific gap between the Anglo-Saxon Left and Marxism: Like most British socialists, Orwell had never been a Marxist. The dialectical-materialist philosophy had always been too abstruse for him. From instinct rather than consciousness he had been a staunch rationalist. The distinction between the Marxist and the rationalist is of some importance. Contrary to an opinion widespread in Anglo-Saxon countries, Marxism is not at all rationalist in its philosophy: it does not assume that … Continue reading

Where now for Cuba?

There are a number of no-go zones in the world for Barack Obama these days. Damascus is enemy territory. Most of Iraq and Afghanistan are too dangerous. Pyongyang has never hosted a sitting U.S. president, and Kim Jong-Eun frankly prefers Americans with better jump shots. We now have a nuclear deal with Iran, but there are no trips of reconciliation to Tehran on the White House calendar. Relations with Moscow are frosty, and don’t expect a trip any time soon to Ankara either. Oh, and it would probably be a bad idea for the president to show up at a … Continue reading

Making London a city-state

In recent years, there has been plenty of talk of devolving powers to London thereby allowing the city to exempt itself from the same tax rate and regulatory measures as the rest of the UK. It’s not surprising that the case for decentralisation should be made on such grounds. London is the centre of political and economic power in the country. But it is also the city of squats, warehouse raves, hipster cafes and the liberal commentariat. It’s clear why special powers for London may be resented by the rest of the country. However, it’s also the case that the … Continue reading