Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Orwell's "Catalonia" Revisited (VI)

Orwell sometimes gives the impression of not remembering what he himself had written only a few pages before. Thus we learn that Fascism “forces [an alliance] upon the bourgeois and the worker,” and only a little later that “It is nonsense to talk of opposing Fascism by bourgeois ‘democracy.’ Bourgeois democracy is only another name for capitalism, and so is Fascism.”

Anthony Daniels é que dá a impressão que não se lembra do que leu há umas poucas linhas atrás:

The P.O.U.M. 'line' differed from this on every point except, of course, the importance of winning the war. The P.O.U.M. (Partido Obrero de Unificacion Marxista) was one of those dissident Communist parties which have appeared in many countries in the last few years as a result of the opposition to 'Stalinism'; i.e. to the change, real or apparent, in Communist policy. It was made up partly of ex-Communists and partly of an earlier party, the Workers' and Peasants' Bloc. Numerically it was a small party, [Note 6, below] with not much influence outside Catalonia, and chiefly important because it contained an unusually high proportion of politically conscious members. In Catalonia its chief stronghold was Lerida. It did not represent any block of trade unions. The P.O.U.M. militiamen were mostly C.N.T. members, but the actual party-members generally belonged to the U.G.T. It was, however, only in the C.N.T. that the P.O.U.M. had any influence. The P.O.U.M. 'line' was approximately this:

'It is nonsense to talk of opposing Fascism by bourgeois "democracy". Bourgeois "democracy" is only another name for capitalism, and so is Fascism; to fight against Fascism on behalf of "democracy" is to fight against one form of capitalism on behalf of a second which is liable to turn into the first at any moment. The only real alternative to Fascism is workers' control. If you set up any less goal than this, you will either hand the victory to Franco, or, at best, let in Fascism by the back door. Meanwhile the workers must cling to every scrap of what they have won; if they yield anything to the semi--bourgeois Government they can depend upon being cheated. The workers' militias and police-forces must be preserved in their present form and every effort to "bourgeoisify" them must be resisted. If the workers do not control the armed forces, the armed forces will control the workers. The war and the revolution are inseparable.'

Quando Orwell escreve «It is nonsense to talk of opposing Fascism by bourgeois "democracy". Bourgeois "democracy" is only another name for capitalism, and so is Fascism» não estava a expor a opinião dele - estava a expor (e de forma simplificada, ainda por cima) a posição do POUM (e ele próprio escreve, várias vezes, que na polémica entre comunistas e poumasistas, não sabia bem quem teria razão). E bastaria se lembrar do que estava escrito na linha anterior para Daniels perceber isso.

Actually, one might have supposed that, in the circumstances, Orwell saw some virtues in what he calls “bourgeois ‘democracy,’” for he recognizes that in England, unlike in Spain even on the government side, one is safe from arbitrary arrest, no inconsiderable advantage to the average person. “It was no use [in Spain] hanging on to the English notion that you are safe so long as you keep the law,” and “I had the ineradicable English belief that ‘they’ cannot arrest you unless you have broken the law.”

Are English notions and the order that produced them worth defending, then? Not really: for he has earlier contrasted the revolutionary atmosphere (which “had attracted me deeply, but I made no attempt to understand it”) with “the hard-boiled cynical civilization of the English-speaking races.” Intellectual and moral frivolity could hardly go further.

Nesta, a mistura de alhos com bugalhos atinge o máximo: a referência ao perigo das prisões arbitrárias ocorre na parte final do livro, quando o Partido Comunista controla a situação. Pelo contrário, quando Orwell fala da atmosfera revolucionária que o atraia, é logo no principio do livro, quando a força dominante eram os anarquistas (grande parte do livro assenta em expor a contradição entre a Barcelona de 36, controlada pelos anarquistas, e a de 37, controlada pelos comunistas).

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