Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Orwell's "Catalonia" Revisited (IV)

De seguida Daniels refere o uso de adolscentes pelo exército republicano e as opiniões de Orwell a esse respeito. Independentemente do que se poderia dizer sobre isso, penso que é irrelevante para a apreciação de Orwell como totalitário ou não.

No entanto, vou analisar este pedaço:

Far from questioning the worth of a cause that could accept such a soldiery, Orwell says:

I defy anyone to be thrown as I was among the Spanish working class … and not be struck by their essential decency; above all, their straightforwardness and generosity.
It should be borne in mind that at this stage Orwell appeared to believe the power in the land to be wielded in an unmediated fashion, directly as it were, by the working class, and therefore what was done in its name was the same as what it did. So Orwell believes that accepting young peasant boys as mercenaries recruited by their parents is a manifestation of decency, straightforwardness, and generosity.

De novo, vamos ver isto no contexto:

All this time I was having the usual struggles with the Spanish language. Apart from myself there was only one Englishman at the barracks, and nobody even among the officers spoke a word of French. Things were not made easier for me by the fact that when my companions spoke to one another they generally spoke in Catalan. The only way I could get along was to carry everywhere a small dictionary which I whipped out of my pocket in moments of crisis. But I would sooner be a foreigner in Spain than in most countries. How easy it is to make friends in Spain I Within a day or two there was a score of militiamen who called me by my Christian name, showed me the ropes, and overwhelmed me with hospitality. I am not writing a book of propaganda and I do not want to idealize the P.O.U.M. militia. The whole militia--system had serious faults, and the men themselves were a mixed lot, for by this time voluntary recruitment was falling off and many of the best men were already at the front or dead. There was always among us a certain percentage who were completely useless. Boys of fifteen were being brought up for enlistment by their parents, quite openly for the sake of the ten pesetas a day which was the militiaman's wage; also for the sake of the bread which the militia received in plenty and could smuggle home to their parents. But I defy anyone to be thrown as I was among the Spanish working class --I ought perhaps to say the Catalan working class, for apart from a few Aragonese and Andalusians I mixed only with Catalans--and not be struck by their essential decency; above all, their straightforwardness and generosity. A Spaniard's generosity, in the ordinary sense of the word, is at times almost embarrassing. If you ask him for a cigarette he will force the whole packet upon you. And beyond this there is generosity in a deeper sense, a real largeness of spirit, which I have met with again and again in the most unpromising circumstances. Some of the journalists and other foreigners who travelled in Spain during the war have declared that in secret the Spaniards were bitterly jealous of foreign aid. All I can say is that I never observed anything of the kind. I remember that a few days before I left the barracks a group of men returned on leave from the front. They were talking excitedly about their experiences and were full of enthusiasm for some French troops who had been next to them at Huesca. The French were very brave, they said; adding enthusiastically: 'Mas valientes que nosotros'--'Braver than we are!' Of course I demurred, whereupon they explained that the French knew more of the art of war --were more expert with bombs, machine-guns, and so forth. Yet the remark was significant. An Englishman would cut his hand off sooner than say a thing like that.

Ou seja, Orwell não está a dizer que aceitar crianças como soldados é uma "manifestação de decência e generosidade". Ele está a falar da sua impressão das milícias e das coisas boas e más que tinham; uma das coisas más eram os rapazes sem jeito para a guerra que lá estavam para sustentar os pais; e uma das coisas boas era a "decência e generosidade" dos espanhóis (ou da classe trabalhadora espanhola). E, quando ele fala desse "decência e generosidade" está a falar de actos de espanhóis concreto (como partilharem o tabaco com ele) não de actos feitos "em nome da classe trabalhadora".

And the rest, as far as Orwell is concerned, is silence, apart from anger that the foreign Stalinists who support the Partido Socialista Unificado de Cataluña (PSUC) at a distance should designate the child-soldiers of the anarcho-Trotskyite Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista (POUM) as fascist

Esta passagem não é muito relevante para a questão, mas o POUM não era "anarco-trotskista". Quem era anarquista era a CNT. O POUM era, efectivamente, mais ou menos trotskista, i.e., concordava com a doutrina trotskista mas tinha rompido com Trotsky devido a divergências de como pôr a teoria em prática (se essa ruptura com a "IV Internacional" tivesse ocorrido após a morte de Trotsky de certeza que o POUM seria considerado uma das múltiplas facções do trotskismo). No entanto, como a CNT e o POUM foram sempre aliados durante a guerra, essa confusão é desculpável.

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