The Early Days of a Better Nation

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why Do They Slander Airstrip One?

Oceania, and all its constituent republics including Airstrip One, are strong and free. This undeniable fact is admitted by all progressive and objectively-thinking mankind.

A recent work by the homosexual-linked, 'public'-schooled, former colonial-police-agent emigre Blair published in the provisional capital of Eastasia Eurasia grotesquely slanders the state and social system of Oceania, in evident covert sympathy with the long-established aggressive designs and absurd ideological contortions of Neo-Confucianism National Bolshevism.

In Mr. Blair's pornographic depiction, from the contamination of whose foul and depraved fantasies the Ministry of Truth has quite rightly protected the citizens of Oceania, the ludicrous impression is given that freedom of speech does not exist in our country! In Airstrip One - the land of Milton, of Shakespeare, of Paine, of Shaw! Our workers in the Prolefeed factories have unanimously repudiated this slander with indignation and disgust. They have, after wide-ranging discussion, refused to have any part in propagating such evident lies. Precisely because true freedom of speech exists and is proudly upheld in Oceania, the workers in the relevant industries - who are, obviously, those most directly concerned - have freely voted not to print or otherwise circulate the unhinged rantings of our 'liberal' and 'socialist' critic - who, it should be noted, chose to have his 'satire' published not in the land for whose liberty he supposedly sighs, but in that temporarily dominated by Eastasia its deadly opponent. Their refusal to connive in manifest treason is, of course, the Prolefeed workers' constitutional unquestionable right. Let the deranged or tragically suborned theoreticians of Neo-Confucianism National Bolshevism rant and rave - but let them demonstrate one instance of such freedom in their equivalent institutions so-called 'free' media!

Of particular depravity is 'our' 'free-thinking' author's insinuation that the Ministry of Truth endorses and even practices heinous forms of torture. This allegation, as is well known, directly echoes the propaganda of the Eastasian Eurasian Mandarinate of Popular Education Commissariat of Enlightenment, whose unspeakable perversions have outraged the entire civilised world - but not, apparently, Mr. Blair. Some 'humanism'!

Finally, the objective reader cannot fail to note the revolting racially divisive intent of 'our' author's naming of his dubious 'hero': Winston Smith. As is well known, people whose ancestry can be traced to the former slave populations of the former colonial territories of the now-liberated and fully-integrated 'West Indies' enjoy complete and unrestricted equality in rights and privileges with all other citizens of Airstrip One.


Pretty good - but no doubt you will still be voting labour at the next election as well. Oh well!

Orwell is the gift that keeps on giving, but what's triggered your use of those tropes at this particular point in time?

Drink and idleness.

But seriously ... it's not topical. I had the idea many years ago (inspired by Novosti Press Agency pamphlets) and last night I just wrote it on a whim, brought on perhaps by reading The 'Dictatorship of the Proletariat' from Marx to Lenin by Hal Draper.

Just how much credit do you give that line that 'dictatorship' in the sense of 'dictatorship of the proletariat' meant simply a temporary and limited granting of emergency powers, along the lines of similar provisions in ancient Rome? I used to find that convincing enough, now I'm more sceptical.

That was the original meaning of 'dictatorship' but Draper's argument in this book (and in his big book, which I haven't read) is that for Marx and Engels 'dictatorship of the proletariat' meant, and was used interchangeably with, expressions like 'workers' state', 'political rule of the working class' and so on. It did not mean to them, as it did mean to the Russian Marxists, a specific dictatorial form of workers' state. It just meant a workers' state, full stop. For their example, they pointed to the Paris Commune.

Yes, well done. Your insides are right, of course. You ARE living in an authoritarian country, aren't you? The cameras are in more places in London and elsewhere. Saying the wrong kind of thing can get you in trouble. Torture's long been allowed, and now the trial by jury and habeas corpus your country pioneered are on the decline. It's all wrong.

Your constitution has long been buggy, lacking the checks, three-way balance, idea of a special level of law, and our bill of rights. It was three-way balanced for a long time, but the King and Lords have since lost their cred. The courts here didn't let Bush get away with taking away habeas corpus here, especially not for citizens.

Previous governments have certainly taken extreme powers and abused them. But today's Labour rule is, I think, the worst, for its level of power taken to deal with such a small threat, and its disinterest in keeping itself within proper bounds of a free country. Churchy had even more power, but he mostly worked to keep his gummint in proper bounds; the record shows he cared about freedom, unlike your current regime.

No, really, Anon: this is not about Britain 2008, it's a parody of the tone of certain Soviet pamphlets.

I did wonder if it was about Britain in 2008, at least for the first few sentences.

Nice to see that Ken's thoughts on "dictatorship of the Proletariat" are similar to my own. In context, they are about the workers replacing the narrow elites which were then generally in power.

The trouble with the d of the p formulation is that it leaves the rhetorical door wide open for minority socialist dictatorship, which Marx was definitely against, and that (more significantly) has turned out rather badly, all things considered.

I've heard the argument put quite seriously and sincerely that there was no censorship of dissent in the socialist countries, it was just that the print workers refused to handle manifest filth and slander - such as, for instance, the novels of Pasternak and Solzhenitsyn. I found this faith ... disturbing.

"Your constitution has long been buggy, lacking the checks, three-way balance, idea of a special level of law, and our bill of rights".

Actually, although it is buggy, that's not the problem. Those things are themselves a source of bugs, just as much as "clever" programming that is supposed to cover all the cases but instead gives a boost to other stuff that gets in.

As opposed to 1819 when the government sabered protesters in the street, or the 1917 when the government put people in jail for criticising the war effort, or Thatcher who was, well, Thatcher, especially in NI?

Anyway, if we're to talk about Orwell -- Keep the Aspidistra Flying is a better book than 1984. As a political pamphlet it is far more relevant, and as a novel it's much better. Should schools refrain from teaching 1984 in favour of Aspidistra?

It also forces readers to face up to Orwell's anger themselves -- as opposed to the easy cop out of blaming Big Brother/the USSR/the Labour Party.

Disappointed to hear it's not topical -- you had me convinced for a minute that Tony'd just made some speech in Brussels admitting to complicity in "extraordinary rendition," till I read a little more closely.

The tone is spot-on and hilarious.

There are advantages to a formal constitution: it can be privileged, in the sense that it is a special law which cannot be easily changed. But that privilege is something we don't have in the UK. Parliament can change anything with equal ease.

And "Parliament" has come to mean the ruling party in the House of Commons. That is a dangerous bug. Nobody else, it seems, can say "no" and make it stick.

Well, maybe the EU, and the other more-or-less parallel European organisations. But Parliament could ignore them, too. One wonders what lurks behind some of the anti-Europe movement.

We've had a good run since 1945, and maybe Fascism isn't quite the correct label, but there are times when I wonder if we're going to have to do it all over again.

(Do you have a special library of words to test for humans? "helote?")

Your constitution has long been buggy, lacking the checks, three-way balance, idea of a special level of law, and our bill of rights. It was three-way balanced for a long time, but the King and Lords have since lost their cred. The courts here didn't let Bush get away with taking away habeas corpus here, especially not for citizens.

This, presumably, is sarcasm. Because the US Bill of Rights (as distinguished from the British one, which, yes, does exist, look it up), and the written constitution, and the Federal System of Jacks and Palances, certainly didn't seem to stop the US government from torturing and imprisoning without trial. Did they?

Bloody awful movie, mind you, despite the perfect casting.

Ajay wrote: This, presumably, is sarcasm.

In fact, it DID stop the US from torturing and indefinitely imprisoning CITIZENS. The courts did, in fact, legally stop Bush tries at disallowing lawyers and trial by jury for citizens, and systems allowing evidence from torture to appear.

Of course, that didn't cover the noncitizens, alas. Though, at least, albeit after WAY too long, SCOTUS has made the gummint give them habeas corpus rights.

Obama has promised to take quick action on gitmo. It's clear he's going to move them stateside quickly. I hope he also lets people free quickly whom we lack evidence to try. With our slow court system, it could take a long time for the last trials to end, though.

No, anonymous, the US constitutional approach did not stop the USA from doing those things to its own citizens; the door has been thrown open there too. It usually hasn't happened so far, but only because it has not been convenient, not because of any actual and effective constitutional obstacles. Google for Glen Greenwald's writings about this.

My grandfather was locked up by the Gestapo after the Fall of France, but was released when my grandmother pounded on their HQ door with her umbrella and showed them documentation that he was Irish (they then locked her up, as she was only London Irish!). It is amazing that we can compare and contrast the Nazis with the USA like this, to the formers' credit.

You trust Glenn Greenwald as a source?????????? Well, I do admire your patience for being able to make it through his writings.

One citizen named Jose Padilla, whom you may remember, was shut up and tortured illegally, but ultimately was released by SCOTUS action. And, the gummint followed normal trial procedure to prosecute the alleged Buffalo terror cell.

Actually, on second thought, of course Greenwald's right. BUT. The number of tortured and/or indefinitely imprisoned citizens appears to be countable on fingers, and the numbers of noncitizens seems to be in the hundreds. I don't believe that's a coincidence. And, SCOTUS has spanked Bush on one of the citizens and ordered Padilla to the justice system with rights.

I think P. M. Lawrence's point is that if they can do it once, they can do it again; precedence is a very dangerous thing in the legal world.

Anonymous, do you see the difference between the US constitution actually preventing all those things and the US government not currently doing them very much? It's the latter that is the case, and claiming that the US constitution is effective is a bit like retorting to "we've already settled that question, we're arguing about the price" with "but I haven't done it yet!".

To quote another American, you will, Oscar, you will.

...except, as I just wrote, the Administration LOST the court case, so what are you talking about? And, they stopped doing it after 2-3 cases (maybe after a lawyer told them they'd so lose the Padilla case?). That's some new definition of ineffectiveness that I'm missing.

Meanwhile, you can be held and tortured for, what, 32 days, without being charged? Perhaps after a policeman sees you give the finger to a public camera?

OK, anonymous, I'll try a metaphor.

You are on the edge of a cliff. There is a safety barrier. A gust blows you towards it and it gives easily under your weight. The wind changes and blows you back. The safety barrier springs back once the load is off.

By your reasoning, the safety barrier is working. By anyone else's, it just failed a test and you were lucky that something else saved you.

What saved Padilla was that it didn't suit the US government to throw something else at him - the wind changed. And no, the US constitution didn't make it change; it never has before. Read US history for many examples, from Andrew Jackson on - or perhaps even earlier. Hey, the US Navy actually helped suppress the Strangites.

Oh, and tu quoque isn't a defence to the charge, it's a confession.

No, our constitution's certainly not about perfection, just being rather better, like every other good thing in reality. I pointed out you're decidedly worse off than I am, realistically, which is really the bottom line, isn't it?

Do you think the untortured accused cell in Buffalo think our constitution's ineffective? Was our constitution ineffective when our court system it kept the gummint from censoring the Internet in the name of porn? Or when it kept the Clipper gummint-escrow key management system from being made a requirement (the UK DOES have forced key escrow - share and enjoy).

I'm no great fan of the British Constitution (other than reflexively opposing any reforms of it) or of the present government, but I don't feel decidedly worse off than Americans.

As far as I know, you can not be legally tortured in the UK, so I don't see how you can say 'torture has long been allowed'.

Well the European Court of Human Rights (I think, or some similar body) found that the UK government was not guilty of torture against internees in the Six Counties in the early 1970s. It was merely guilty of 'cruel, degrading, and inhuman treatment'.

This was terrible, but did quash the terrorist threat overnight and forever (oh, um, I've got that bit wrong, haven't I?)

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