It is Time That We Pay Tribute to the Absolutely Unique Insights of Christopher Hitchens, Is It Not?

'The most blatant of these [alterations of the historical record in Orwell's Animal Farm] concerns the character of Napoleon. It is clear that Napoleon represents Stalin, just as Old Major is Marx and Snowball is Trotsky. Who then represents Lenin? Since Orwell depicts the Rebellion as led by two pigs, Napoleon and Snowball, one is forced to the conclusion that Napoleon also represents Lenin. Thus in Animal Farm the figures of Lenin and Stalin are merged into one character. This is of enormous ideological significance. The dominant orthodoxies both West and East have always insisted, each for its own reasons, on the continuity of Leninism and Stalinism: the former to discredit Marxism and the revolution itself as the inevitable prelude to tyranny, the latter to claim for themselves the heritage of the great revolutionary....If Animal Farm had contained a separate Lenin figure, this would not in itself have resolved the matter (any more than it does in real life), but it would at least have permitted the continuity to have been questioned within the terms of the text. As it is the merger of Lenin and Stalin in Napoleon forecloses on this possibility, and greatly strengthens the impression of a smooth and inevitable degeneration into dictatorship'.
John Molyneux, 'Animal Farm Revisited', International Socialism journal 44, (Autumn 1989).

'For a Marxist, Orwell's depiction of the rise and fall of the Russian Revolution in 'Animal Farm' is rather problematic due, in part, to his apparent conflation of Lenin and Stalin into one character - Napoleon - or rather the absence of a 'Lenin' character altogether. This implies Leninism led to Stalinism in a crude and ahistorical manner.'
'Snowball', 'A quick question about George Orwell', Histomat blog, 22 August 2005.

'There is, however, one very salient omission. There is a Stalin pig and a Trotsky pig, but no Lenin pig...Nobody appears to have pointed this out at the time (and if I may say so, nobody but myself has done so since; it took me years to notice what was staring me in the face).'
Christopher Hitchens, 'Where is the Lenin pig in Animal Farm?', The Guardian, 17 April 2010.

                                                 (via Histomat)
April 19, 2010 2:23 PM | | Comments (4)

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4 Comments

Hitchens is an intolerant atheo-fascist who loves to hear himself talk, and talk, and talk... to no effect. His "brave" stance in backing Bush to take us into Iraq was less than helpful and has cost thousands of lives and has ruined the lives of many of our servicemen and servicewomen.

Nice catch. Any time Hitch gets called out for being an arrogant windbag I have to cheer. I started to distrust him during the Clinton years; when he jumped ship completely, making common cause with the Party that represents everything his previous career had militated against, I realized his alcohol intake had made reasoning impossible for him.

I really don't see why absence of a Lenin pig in AF should be a problem. I thought the essential continuity of leninism and stalinism is a well established historic fact. (e.g. see http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0967-067X(96)80009-2 )

It was certainly the one belief held in common by both Stalinism and various shades of Western ruling-class ideology. But it is anything but "well established" as any sort of "fact."

Recognition of the problem of the absence of Lenin from Orwell's allegory is a function of having a serious understanding of the context in which Orwell was writing.

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