Imagine a world leader who starves 6 – 10 million of his own people, while the rest of the world looks the other way. Stalin, a Russian Oligarchic, did this during 1932 and 1933 to the Ukrainian people. This blatant abuse of power is happening again. Read Animal Farm by George Orwell. It was published on August 17, 1945 and is relevant to the current Ukraine crisis. This animal fable is a famous stinging critique of the history of the Russian Revolution. Retelling the story of the emergence and development of Soviet communism. People should read this book because of its’ relevance, history keeps repating itself, leadership abuses power, and people are oppressed and persecuted.
Russia is on the border of Ukraine trying to create unrest. They have seized the ports and have soldiers on the border. How does this happen again? This fable of 1945 is relevant to today’s current events. Orwell shows the irony in the corruption of the Animal Farm showing the rise of power over the oppressed. In this fable, the pigs are Stalin and Putin and how they oppressed the other animals on the farm. The Animal Farm represents any human society. The government (pigs), a police force or army (dogs), a working class (other animals), and state holidays and rituals (firing of gun).
The ideologies of what the animals called animalism and equality quickly became a conflict of views and an overthrow using brute force. Napoleon used a combination of techniques to acquire and remain in power. While his predecessor used education, he used brute force, lying, and establishing class structure. Language can be manipulated as an instrument of control. Napoleon is constantly lying and changing the commandments to better suit his agenda. Squealer, his biggest supporter, normalizes propaganda via manipulation. He assures the other animals that Napoleon is a great leader and at times they may not have saw what they thought they saw. The pigs twist the meaning of words. As a result, the other animals seem unable to oppose the pigs without also opposing the ideals of the Rebellion.
The animals being gullible, uneducated, loyal, and hardworking show how oppression arises. They are naive to the motives and the tactics of Napoleon and his supporters. Not being in the position of being educated, Boxer (the cart horse) repeats to himself that “Napoleon is always right” and “I will work harder.” The inability to question authority keeps the oppressed under the ruling thumb of tyrants. The pigs twist and distort the revolution to justify their behavior and to keep the other animals in the dark. Napoleon relies on rousing slogans, songs, and phrases to instill patriotism and conformity among the animals. These do change to keep the animals in line. He learned that physical intimidation doesn’t prevent some of them from quietly questioning Napoleon’s decisions and language. He found rhetoric works better.
George Orwell’s Animal Farm examines the insidious ways in which public officials can abuse their power. It depicts a society in which democracy dissolves into autocracy and finally into totalitarianism. This classic fable is relevant in 1945 and today. Copies of the Ukrainian edition did survive WWII and were read in the displaced persons camps. This book looks at leaders and how you would want to be viewed as well as why people blindly follow. I see this book parallel to the current political rhetoric being administered in the United States of America. Read this book to see how this fable continues to be true.