The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #142469   Message #3292187
Posted By: Owen Woodson
18-Jan-12 - 11:44 AM
Thread Name: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
FWIW. I once did a detailed study of 1984 and I came to the conclusion that it's not about Communism or Stalinism, although both figure largely in the model of society which Orwell builds. Neither is it about fascism or totalitarianism, although the model encompasses these also.

Rather, it is an attempt to explain something which Robert Michels called The Iron Law of Oligarchy. IE the tendency of organisations to move from democracy to authoritarianism or totalitarianism, and the consequent tendency for power elites to replace the original goals of the organisation with their own desire to retain power; with all the fact bending and mind washing of the populace which that implies. According to Michels and, I suspect, Orwell, oligarchism is a universal tendency to be found in all societies at all times.

I'm not sure how far I'd go along with Michels' statement that "whoever says organisation says oligarchy". Among other reservations I have is the fact that he based his research on the German Social Democratic Party. At that time the GSDP was a semi-clandestine organisation operating in a near police state, and it depended on close tight knit discipline for its very survival; not the best circumstances in which to breed openness and democracy.

In any event, it's important to remember not to take 1984 too literally - although its warning should most certainly be taken seriously.

In short it is a nightmaristic fable which deliberately goes way over the top in order to spell out the dangers.

Now, back to the vexed question of Bob Dylan's trousers.