The intellectual establishment condemn Orwell for making a list of people he suspected of being Communists or having Communist leanings ("fellow-travellers") and giving it to the British government.

When Animal Farm and 1984 were published the books received violent reviews from the right-wing-owned left-wing press (the capitalist communists). Critics called Orwell every name in the book including "maggot, octopus, hyena and swine". These attacks made Orwell feel that he must have struck home.

One of the people condemning Orwell has been the writer Alexander Cockburn, whose father, Claud, a British Journalist and a member of the Communist Party, was a bitter foe of Orwell's. He recently wrote an introduction to an anti-Animal Farm parody. See SNOWBALL'S REVENGE ON ORWELL.

The truth about Orwell's "list of crypto (secret)-communists" is told in detail in the biography, ORWELL: WINTRY CONSCIENCE OF A GENERATION by Jeffrey Meyers. [The visit described in the following excerpt takes place in the tuberculosis sanitorium where Orwell was admitted after handing in 1984 for publication]. ~ Jackie Jura

OrwellWintry Conscience

Chapter 16, pages 295 to 297:

"...Celia Paget, whom Orwell loved and trusted, made an important visit in April 1949. They sat outside in the horribly damp little wooden hut and ate ghastly tinned peas, and Orwell seemed awfully ill. Celia was then working for the Information Research Department, which had been established by the Labour government's Foreign Office in 1948. Its purpose was 'to devise means to combat Communist propaganda, then engaged in a global and damaging campaign to undermine Western power and influence.'

When Celia asked about people who could write for her organization, Orwell suggested Franz Borkenau and Gleb Struve (a Russian scholar, teaching in California). He also offered to give her a list of actors, "journlists and writers who in my opinion are crypto-Communists, fellow-travellers or inclined that way and should not be trusted as propagandists" (my emphasis). These people, whose Communist sympathies were well known, would not lose their jobs or be harmed in any way. They would, quite simply, not be asked to write anti-Soviet propaganda for the British government.

Orwell, a great maker of lists in his notebooks, sent Celia thirty-five names, explaining that "it isn't very sensational and I don't suppose it will tell your friends anything they don't know." He felt that listing politically unreliable people would prevent them from 'worming their way into important propaganda jobs where they [could] do us a lot of harm.' Charlie Chaplin, Michael Redgrave and Orson Welles were mentioned without comments. But several other names were accompanied by satiric remarks: Nancy Cunard -- Silly. Has money; Louis Untermeyer -- Very silly; Sean O'Casey -- Very stupid; Paul Robeson -- Very anti-white; John Steinbeck -- Spurious writer, pseudo-naif; Bernard Shaw -- Reliably pro-Russian on all major issues; Kingsley Martin (his old enemy at the New Statesman) -- Decayed liberal. Very dishonest.

The recent publication of Orwell's list has provoked accusations that he betrayed his friends and his Socialist principles, and played the role of Big Brother. But when the list is seen in the political context of 1949, his behaviour seems necessary, even commendable. It's important to remember that though Orwell hated Communism (and Nineteen Eighty-Four was in part an attack on the Russian dictatorship), he strongly supported civil rights and protested against the purge of Communists from the British Civil Service...

Orwell was still furious about the Russians' slaughter of 15,000 Poles at Katyn, Starobielsk and other prison camps, about the British government's attempt to cover it up and about his inability to find a British publisher for Joseph Czapski's Souvenirs de Starobielsk (1945), which documented these massacres. In the spring of 1949, as the Cold War intensified and opposition hardened on both sides of the Iron Curtain, Berlin was blockaded by the Russians and the West conducted a massive airlift to maintain life in their sectors of the city. In sensational espionage cases of the late 1940s, Dr Alan Nunn May and Klaus Fuchs had been caught betraying atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. Russia realized Orwell's great fear by exploding its first atomic bomb in 1949. In April NATO was formed and in May 1949 Chinese Communists drove the Nationalists off the mainland of China and won the long civil war. Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia were beginning to form.

As Robert Conquest, a leading authority on the Soviet Union, recently wrote: "The charge thus amounts simply to his having made available to an agency of his own government his honest, if not infallible, opinion of the political attitudes of a number of members of the Western intelligentsia to a despotic power hostile to it and its principles." By doing so, the long-standing anti-Communist Orwell did his patriotic duty. The people on his list could not have sold atomic secrets and posed no danger to Western security, but they were certainly not suited to write pro-British propaganda. As he wrote in June 1949, when clarifying the ideas of Nineteen Eighty-Four: 'I believe that totalitarian ideas have taken root in the minds of intellectuals everywhere, and I have tried to draw these ideas out to their logical consequences. The scene of the book is laid in Britain in order to emphasize that the English speaking races are not innately better than anyone else and that totalitarianism, if not fought against, could triumph anywhere.'".

~ end quoting from Orwell: Wintry Conscience of a Generation ~

I hope people now understand why Orwell provided the so-called "Commie list" to his friend in the British government. It was common knowledge to thinking people then, as now, that Communists ALWAYS attempt to infiltrate legitimate organizations in order to undermine and implode them from within. Who better to ask for names than a man like Orwell who had dedicated his life to exposing Totalitarianism wherever he saw it. Did the Communists expect the writer of Homage to Catalonia; The Road to Wigan Pier; Burmese Days; Animal Farm and 1984 to plead ignorance and keep his mouth shut? If so, I know a London bridge they might want to buy. ~ Jackie Jura

Appendix III in Meyer's book closes with the following on page 336:

"...The political battle-lines of the 1930s have endured into the 1990s. Hard-liners still believe it's ethical to lie in the service of Communism... They continue to repeat what Orwell in 1940 called 'the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.'"


Reader asks about Orwell's film rights. Nov 10, 2004. Go to ORWELL A WRITER WRONGED & ANIMAL FARM A BAD MOVIE

SPYING FOR STALIN WAS BAD (but Whittaker Chambers was villified for exposing communist Hiss). National Post, Jul 4, 2003

MCCARTHY GLIMPSED VISCIOUS TRUTH (hundreds of Americans working for Russian intel in gov't). PittsburgTrib, May 18, 2003 & LaFollette feared McCarthy exposure (so ex-Senator killed himself). MilwaukeeSentinel, May 18, 2003. Go to 35.The Brotherhood

50's Reign of Terror was AGAINST not BY McCarthy. OpEds, May 17, 2003. Go to 17.Falsification of Past

NEW SUPERMAN A SOVIET (Clark Kent a Commie created by Russian Jews). National Post, May 12, 2003. Go to WORLD DOMINATION IN 1984 & CANADA'S SOVIET SCHOOL

Secret McCarthy papers released (investigated communist subversion). BBC, May 6, 2003. Go to 17.Falsification & 35.Brotherhood

COMMUNISTS COINED MCCARTHYISM & McCarthy charges Reds in gov't



Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

email: orwelltoday@gmail.com
website: www.orwelltoday.com