[Marxism] Re: Hitchens and Orwell

Paul Flewers trusscott.foundation at virgin.net
Sat Oct 29 07:30:01 MDT 2005

List members may be interested in two bits from my contributions to the
Orwell collection that I edited.

Concerning Hitchens:

<FN: I am loath to include Christopher Hitchens' recent Orwell's Victory
(London, 2002) amongst left-wing literature, although it bears distinct
traces of his left-wing past. His trajectory after the World Trade Center
attacks in September 2001 has been rapidly away from any commitment to
socialism. He has given full-blown support to George W Bush's Second Gulf
War, and departed from the mildly left-wing US journal The Nation in a noisy
huff. After all, if the salvation of the world can be placed in the hands of
this corruptly-elected (at least in his first election), war-mongering
President and his sinister coterie of neo-conservatives, who needs
socialism, or liberalism for that matter? Hitchens' recent political
evolution is reminiscent of that of the generation of US radicals who moved
several decades ago from the left to the conservative right. They all, of
course, held Orwell in high esteem. Just where Hitchens will end up is not
clear, but judging from the way he's already gone he may require in any
future edition of this book to make drastic revisions to the chapters where
he takes the neo-conservatives to task for hijacking Orwell's legacy, talks
of James Burnham's 'sinister preachings', makes favourable references to
Andrés Nin, CLR James and Victor Serge, and refers to Orwell demanding a
revolution in wartime Britain.  >

Concerning Lucas:

< In his spirited attack on war-mongering erstwhile left-wingers, Scott
Lucas' criticisms of Orwell are highly reminiscent of those of the
Stalinists, and he has no hesitation of branding him the 'policeman of the
left'. Far from dissociating Orwell from those, most notably Christopher
Hitchens, who claim his mantle in order to attack the left, Lucas goes to
great lengths to present Orwell as the prototype for Hitchens and his less
illustrious acolytes David Aaronovitch, Johann Hari and Nick Cohen (Scott
Lucas, The Betrayal of Dissent: Beyond Orwell, Hitchens and the New American
Century, London, 2004). >

Anyone wanting a copy of my Orwell collection should contact Barry Buitekant
< Barry.Buitekant at tesco.net >.

Paul F

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