Presentation on theme: "1. Describe Emmanuel Goldsteins theory on revolution in relation to class structure. Who are the perpetrators? What is the result?"— Presentation transcript:
1. Describe Emmanuel Goldsteins theory on revolution in relation to class structure. Who are the perpetrators? What is the result?
The first chapter, Ignorance is Strength, begins with the observation that throughout history, all societies have been divided into a caste system.
The three groups or classes: The High, who are the rulers; the Middle, who yearn to take over the position of the High, and the Low, who are typically so suppressed that in their drudgery they have no goals beyond day-to-day survival (if they are at all able to formulate any "political" agenda, it is to establish a society where all people are equal).
Time and time again down the ages, the Middle have overthrown the High by enlisting the Low on their side, pretending to the Low that after the revolution a just society will emerge. However, once the Middle have taken over, they simply become the new High and thrust the Low back into servitude, and as a new Middle group eventually splits off, the pattern repeats. The Middle only speak of justice and human brotherhood as long as they are seeking power; once they are in power, they simply become the new oppressors of the Low.
2. Why was this revolution different? What changed? Why?
In the first half of the twentieth century, there was an alarming development: Even before they were in control, the current Middle group did not pretend to others or to themselves that they were seeking freedom and justice for everyone or anyone. "In each variant of Socialism that appeared from about 1900 onwards the aim of establishing liberty and equality was more and more openly abandoned. The new movements which appeared in the middle years of the century...had the conscious aim of perpetuating unfreedom and inequality."
This is accomplished through a consistent campaign of control. Language is manipulated to restrict free speech and thought. The elements of fear and mistrust are instilled in the citizens through restrictions of privacy, propaganda, and the concepts of doublethink and groupthink. Technological advancements allow for the impression of total surveillance. Permanent war keeps the citizens employed and united against a scapegoat – as well as providing an enduring poverty, which further prevents the time and impetus for free thought.
3. How did technological developments make an absolute Totalitarian system possible?
In the twentieth century, technological developments had for the first time made an absolutely totalitarian society possible. Electronic gadgets like two- way television ("telescreens") allowed the authorities to keep citizens under constant surveillance and in the equally constant sound of official propaganda. "The possibility of enforcing not only complete obedience to the will of the State, but complete uniformity of opinion on all subjects, now existed for the first time."
4. What is the sole concern (goal) of the Party? How does the Party accomplish this?
The sole concern of the Party was to maintain its own power not to distribute wealth to all citizens. The Party deliberately creates poverty so that the masses must struggle to stay alive: thus they will not have the leisure to start thinking for themselves.
5. Why doesnt Oceania (or the other Superstates) fear being overthrown from without, despite the continuous warring?
All three states are too evenly matched for any of them to successfully invade the other. The proletarian masses of Oceania itself will not rise up against the Party, for they are denied any standards of comparison and are thus not even aware that they are suppressed. The sole potential threats against the rule of the Party are therefore "the splitting-off of a new group of able, under-employed, power- hungry people, and the growth of liberalism and skepticism in their own ranks".
6. Explain the meaning of the slogan, War is Peace. By what logical argument can this be claimed as a truth?
The never-ending war between the superstates is seemingly pointless "it is a warfare of limited aims between combatants who are unable to destroy one another, have no material cause for fighting and are not divided by any genuine ideological difference". All three superstates are based on very much the same totalitarian ideology as Big Brother's Oceania.
However, the Party and its counterparts in the rival superstates have excellent reasons to keep the war going. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the use of machines in production raised "the living standards of the average human being greatly." It was "clear to all thinking people that the need for human drudgery, and therefore to a great extent for human inequality, had disappeared...hunger, overwork, dirt, illiteracy and disease could be eliminated within a few generations."
However, since the Party wants to maintain a hierarchical society with itself on top, this real possibility of eliminating poverty and inequality is a deadly threat rather than something to be desired: "If leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would learn to think for themselves" eventually sweeping away the oligarchy ruling them. "In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance."
Since large-scale machine production could not be eliminated once invented, the Party must see to it that the products are destroyed before they can make "the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent." A permanent state of war takes care of this problem: resources are deliberately wasted on warfare, and the war effort "is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population...
Research into new weapons continues but using doublethink, Inner Party administrators are also in some sense aware that the war must never be allowed to end.
The war is actually "waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact".
As far as the lack of any genuine outside threat is concerned, the superstates might just as well agree to live in permanent peace; then they would still be "freed for ever from the sobering influence of external danger" (the kind of danger that might force the rulers to behave somewhat responsibly). This, according to the author, "is the inner meaning of the Party slogan: War is Peace."