THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF OLIGARCHICAL COLLECTIVISM by Emmanuel Goldstein. “Translators – are false horses of enlightenment” (Pushkin)

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“A fiction that elevates my soul is dearer to me than a host of base and despicable truths”. Pushkin.

p.117-9.126

Chapter I
Ignorance is Strength
Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age,
there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle, and
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the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne countless
different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude towards
one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society
has never altered. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable
changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will
always return to equilibnum, however far it is pushed one way or the other

The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of the
High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change places
with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim — for it is an
abiding characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed by drudgery
to be more than intermittently conscious of anything outside their daily lives —
is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal.
Thus throughout history a struggle which is the same in its main outlines recurs
over and over again. For long periods the High seem to be securely in power,
but sooner or later there always comes a moment when they lose either their
belief in themselves or their capacity to govern efficiently, or both. They are
then overthrown by the Middle, who enlist the Low on their side by pretending
to them that they are fighting for liberty and justice. As soon as they have
reached their objective, the Middle thrust the Low back into their old position
of servitude, and themselves become the High. Presently a new Middle group
splits off from one of the other groups, or from both of them, and the struggle
begins over again. Of the three groups, only the Low are never even temporarily
successful in achieving their aims. It would be an exaggeration to say that
throughout history there has been no progress of a material kind. Even today,
in a period of decline, the average human being is physically better off than he
was a few centuries ago. But no advance in wealth, no softening of manners,
no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimetre nearer.
From the point of view of the Low, no historic change has ever meant much
more than a change in the name of their masters.
By the late nineteenth century the recurrence of this pattern had become
obvious to many observers. There then rose schools of thinkers who interpreted
history as a cyclical process and claimed to show that inequality was the unalter-
able law of human life. This doctrine, of course, had always had its adherents,
but in the manner in which it was now put forward there was a significant
change. In the past the need for a hierarchical form of society had been the
doctrine specifically of the High. It had been preached by kings and aristocrats
and by the priests, lawyers, and the like who were parasitical upon them, and it
had generally been softened by promises of compensation in an imaginary world
beyond the grave. The Middle, so long as it was struggling for power, had al-
ways made use of such terms as freedom, justice, and fraternity. Now, however,
the concept of human brotherhood began to be assailed by people who were not
yet in positions of command, but merely hoped to be so before long. In the
past the Middle had made revolutions under the banner of equality, and then
had established a fresh tyranny as soon as the old one was overthrown. The
new Middle groups in effect proclaimed their tyranny beforehand. Socialism,
a theory which appeared in the early nineteenth century and was the last link
in a chain of thought stretching back to the slave rebellions of antiquity, was
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still deeply infected by the Utopianism of past ages. But in each variant of So-
cialism that appeared from about 1900 onwards the aim of establishing liberty
and equality was more and more openly abandoned. The new movements which
appeared in the middle years of the century, Ingsoc in Oceania, Neo-Bolshevism
in Eurasia, Death-Worship, as it is commonly called, in Eastasia, had the con-
scious aim of perpetuating unfreedom and inequality. These new movements,
of course, grew out of the old ones and tended to keep their names and pay lip-
service to their ideology. But the purpose of all of them was to arrest progress
and freeze history at a chosen moment. The familiar pendulum swing was to
happen once more, and then stop. As usual, the High were to be turned out
by the Middle, who would then become the High; but this time, by conscious
strategy, the High would be able to maintain their position permanently.
The new doctrines arose partly because of the accumulation of historical
knowledge, and the growth of the historical sense, which had hardly existed
before the nineteenth century. The cyclical movement of history was now in-
telligible, or appeared to be so; and if it was intelligible, then it was alterable.
But the principal, underlying cause was that, as early as the beginning of the
twentieth century, human equality had become technically possible. It was still
true that men were not equal in their native talents and that functions had
to be specialized in ways that favoured some individuals against others; but
there was no longer any real need for class distinctions or for large differences
of wealth. In earlier ages, class distinctions had been not only inevitable but
desirable. Inequality was the price of civilization. With the development of ma-
chine production, however, the case was altered. Even if it was still necessary
for human beings to do different kinds of work, it was no longer necessary for
them to live at different social or economic levels. Therefore, from the point of
view of the new groups who were on the point of seizing power, human equality
was no longer an ideal to be striven after, but a danger to be averted. In more
primitive ages, when a just and peaceful society was in fact not possible, it had
been fairly easy to believe it. The idea of an earthly paradise in which men
should live together in a state of brotherhood, without laws and without brute
labour, had haunted the human imagination for thousands of years. And this
vision had had a certain hold even on the groups who actually profited by each
historical change. The heirs of the French, English, and American revolutions
had partly believed in their own phrases about the rights of man, freedom of
speech, equality before the law, and the like, and have even allowed their con-
duct to be influenced by them to some extent. But by the fourth decade of
the twentieth century all the main currents of political thought were authori-
tarian. The earthly paradise had been discredited at exactly the moment when
it became realizable. Every new political theory, by whatever name it called
itself, led back to hierarchy and regimentation. And in the general hardening
of outlook that set in round about 1930, practices which had been long aban-
doned, in some cases for hundreds of years — imprisonment without trial, the
use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions, torture to extract confessions,
the use of hostages, and the deportation of whole populations-not only became
common again, but were tolerated and even defended by people who considered
themselves enlightened and progressive.
It was only after a decade of national wars, civil wars, revolutions, and
counter-revolutions in all parts of the world that Ingsoc and its rivals emerged
as fully worked-out political theories. But they had been foreshadowed by the
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various systems, generally called totalitarian, which had appeared earlier in
the century, and the main outlines of the world which would emerge from the
prevailing chaos had long been obvious. What kind of people would control this
world had been equally obvious. The new aristocracy was made up for the most
part of bureaucrats, scientists, technicians, trade-union organizers, publicity
experts, sociologists, teachers, journalists, and professional politicians. These
people, whose origins lay in the salaried middle class and the upper grades of
the working class, had been shaped and brought together by the barren world
of monopoly industry and centralized government. As compared with their
opposite numbers in past ages, they were less avaricious, less tempted by luxury,
hungrier for pure power, and, above all, more conscious of what they were doing
and more intent on crushing opposition. This last difference was cardinal. By
comparison with that existing today, all the tyrannies of the past were half-
hearted and inefficient. The ruling groups were always infected to some extent
by liberal ideas, and were content to leave loose ends everywhere, to regard only
the overt act and to be uninterested in what their subjects were thinking. Even
the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages was tolerant by modern standards. Part
of the reason for this was that in the past no government had the power to keep
its citizens under constant surveillance. The invention of print, however, made
it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the
process further. With the development of television, and the technical advance
which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same
instrument, private life came to an end. Every citizen, or at least every citizen
important enough to be worth watching, could be kept for twentyfour hours a
day under the eyes of the police and in the sound of official propaganda, with all
other channels of communication closed. The possibility of enforcing not only
complete obedience to the will of the State, but complete uniformity of opinion
on all subjects, now existed for the first time.
After the revolutionary period of the fifties and sixties, society regrouped
itself, as always, into High, Middle, and Low. But the new High group, unlike all
its forerunners, did not act upon instinct but knew what was needed to safeguard
its position. It had long been realized that the only secure basis for oligarchy
is collectivism. Wealth and privilege are most easily defended when they are
possessed jointly. The so-called ’abolition of private property’ which took place
in the middle years of the century meant, in effect, the concentration of property
in far fewer hands than before: but with this difference, that the new owners
were a group instead of a mass of individuals. Individually, no member of the
Party owns anything, except petty personal belongings. Collectively, the Party
owns everything in Oceania, because it controls everything, and disposes of the
products as it thinks fit. In the years following the Revolution it was able to step
into this commanding position almost unopposed, because the whole process was
represented as an act of collectivization. It had always been assumed that if the
capitalist class were expropriated, Socialism must follow: and unquestionably
the capitalists had been expropriated. Factories, mines, land, houses, transport
— everything had been taken away from them: and since these things were no
longer private property, it followed that they must be public property. Ingsoc,
which grew out of the earlier Socialist movement and inherited its phraseology,
has in fact carried out the main item in the Socialist programme; with the
result, foreseen and intended beforehand, that economic inequality has been
made permanent.
120But the problems of perpetuating a hierarchical society go deeper than this.
There are only four ways in which a ruling group can fall from power. Either
it is conquered from without, or it governs so inefficiently that the masses are
stirred to revolt, or it allows a strong and discontented Middle group to come
into being, or it loses its own self-confidence and willingness to govern. These
causes do not operate singly, and as a rule all four of them are present in some
degree. A ruling class which could guard against all of them would remain in
power permanently. Ultimately the determining factor is the mental attitude of
the ruling class itself.
After the middle of the present century, the first danger had in reality dis-
appeared. Each of the three powers which now divide the world is in fact
unconquerable, and could only become conquerable through slow demographic
changes which a government with wide powers can easily avert. The second
danger, also, is only a theoretical one. The masses never revolt of their own
accord, and they never revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, so
long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never
even become aware that they are oppressed. The recurrent economic crises of
past times were totally unnecessary and are not now permitted to happen, but
other and equally large dislocations can and do happen without having political
results, because there is no way in which discontent can become articulate. As
fcr the problem of overproduction, which has been latent in our society since
the development of machine technique, it is solved by the device of continuous
warfare (see Chapter III), which is also useful in keying up public morale to the
necessary pitch. From the point of view of our present rulers, therefore, the only
genuine dangers are the splitting-off of a new group of able, under-employed,
power-hungry people, and the growth of liberalism and scepticism in their own
ranks. The problem, that is to say, is educational. It is a problem of continu-
ously moulding the consciousness both of the directing group and of the larger
executive group that lies immediately below it. The consciousness of the masses
needs only to be influenced in a negative way.
Given this background, one could infer, if one did not know it already,
the general structure of Oceanic society. At the apex of the pyramid comes
Big Brother. Big Brother is infallible and all-powerful. Every success, every
achievement, every victory, every scientific discovery, all knowledge, all wisdom,
all happiness, all virtue, are held to issue directly from his leadership and in-
spiration. Nobody has ever seen Big Brother. He is a face on the hoardings, a
voice on the telescreen. We may be reasonably sure that he will never die, and
there is already considerable uncertainty as to when he was born. Big Brother is
the guise in which the Party chooses to exhibit itself to the world. His function
is to act as a focusing point for love, fear, and reverence, emotions which are
more easily felt towards an individual than towards an organization. Below Big
Brother comes the Inner Party. its numbers limited to six millions, or something
less than 2 per cent of the population of Oceania. Below the Inner Party comes
the Outer Party, which, if the Inner Party is described as the brain of the State,
may be justly likened to the hands. Below that come the dumb masses whom
we habitually refer to as ’the proles’, numbering perhaps 85 per cent of the
population. In the terms of our earlier classification, the proles are the Low: for
the slave population of the equatorial lands who pass constantly from conqueror
to conqueror, are not a permanent or necessary part of the structure.
In principle, membership of these three groups is not hereditary. The child
121of Inner Party parents is in theory not born into the Inner Party. Admission to
either branch of the Party is by examination, taken at the age of sixteen. Nor
is there any racial discrimination, or any marked domination of one province
by another. Jews, Negroes, South Americans of pure Indian blood are to be
found in the highest ranks of the Party, and the administrators of any area
are always drawn from the inhabitants of that area. In no part of Oceania
do the inhabitants have the feeling that they are a colonial population ruled
from a distant capital. Oceania has no capital, and its titular head is a person
whose whereabouts nobody knows. Except that English is its chief lingua franca
and Newspeak its official language, it is not centralized in any way. Its rulers
are not held together by blood-ties but by adherence to a common doctrine.
It is true that our society is stratified, and very rigidly stratified, on what at
first sight appear to be hereditary lines. There is far less to- and-fro movement
between the different groups than happened under capitalism or even in the pre-
industrial age. Between the two branches of the Party there is a certain amount
of interchange, but only so much as will ensure that weaklings are excluded
from the Inner Party and that ambitious members of the Outer Party are made
harmless by allowing them to rise. Proletarians, in practice, are not allowed
to graduate into the Party. The most gifted among them, who might possibly
become nuclei of discontent, are simply marked down by the Thought Police
and eliminated. But this state of affairs is not necessarily permanent, nor is it
a matter of principle. The Party is not a class in the old sense of the word. It
does not aim at transmitting power to its own children, as such; and if there
were no other way of keeping the ablest people at the top, it would be perfectly
prepared to recruit an entire new generation from the ranks of the proletariat.
In the crucial years, the fact that the Party was not a hereditary body did a
great deal to neutralize opposition. The older kind of Socialist, who had been
trained to fight against something called ’class privilege’ assumed that what
is not hereditary cannot be permanent. He did not see that the continuity of
an oligarchy need not be physical, nor did he pause to reflect that hereditary
aristocracies have always been shortlived, whereas adoptive organizations such
as the Catholic Church have sometimes lasted for hundreds or thousands of
years. The essence of oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance, but the
persistence of a certain world-view and a certain way of life, imposed by the dead
upon the living. A ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate
its successors. The Party is not concerned with perpetuating its blood but
with perpetuating itself. Who wields power is not important, provided that the
hierarchical structure remains always the same.
All the beliefs, habits, tastes, emotions, mental attitudes that characterize
our time are really designed to sustain the mystique of the Party and prevent
the true nature of present-day society from being perceived. Physical rebellion,
or any preliminary move towards rebellion, is at present not possible. From the
proletarians nothing is to be feared. Left to themselves, they will continue from
generation to generation and from century to century, working, breeding, and
dying, not only without any impulse to rebel, but without the power of grasping
that the world could be other than it is. They could only become dangerous
if the advance of industrial technique made it necessary to educate them more
highly; but, since military and commercial rivalry are no longer important, the
level of popular education is actually declining. What opinions the masses hold,
or do not hold, is looked on as a matter of indifference. They can be granted
122intellectual liberty because they have no intellect. In a Party member, on the
other hand, not even the smallest deviation of opinion on the most unimportant
subject can be tolerated.
A Party member lives from birth to death under the eye of the Thought
Police. Even when he is alone he can never be sure that he is alone. Wher-
ever he may be, asleep or awake, working or resting, in his bath or in bed, he
can be inspected without warning and without knowing that he is being in-
spected. Nothing that he does is indifferent. His friendships, his relaxations,
his behaviour towards his wife and children, the expression of his face when
he is alone, the words he mutters in sleep, even the characteristic movements
of his body, are all jealously scrutinized. Not only any actual misdemeanour,
but any eccentricity, however small, any change of habits, any nervous man-
nerism that could possibly be the symptom of an inner struggle, is certain to
be detected. He has no freedom of choice in any direction whatever. On the
other hand his actions are not regulated by law or by any clearly formulated
code of behaviour. In Oceania there is no law. Thoughts and actions which,
when detected, mean certain death are not formally forbidden, and the endless
purges, arrests, tortures, imprisonments, and vaporizations are not inflicted as
punishment for crimes which have actually been committed, but are merely the
wiping-out of persons who might perhaps commit a crime at some time in the
future. A Party member is required to have not only the right opinions, but the
right instincts. Many of the beliefs and attitudes demanded of him are never
plainly stated, and could not be stated without laying bare the contradictions
inherent in Ingsoc. If he is a person naturally orthodox (in Newspeak a good-
thinker), he will in all circumstances know, without taking thought, what is
the true belief or the desirable emotion. But in any case an elaborate mental
training, undergone in childhood and grouping itself round the Newspeak words
crimestop, blackwhite, and doublethink, makes him unwilling and unable to
think too deeply on any subject whatever.
A Party member is expected to have no private emotions and no respites from
enthusiasm. He is supposed to live in a continuous frenzy of hatred of foreign
enemies and internal traitors, triumph over victories, and self-abasement before
the power and wisdom of the Party. The discontents produced by his bare,
unsatisfying life are deliberately turned outwards and dissipated by such devices
as the Two Minutes Hate, and the speculations which might possibly induce a
sceptical or rebellious attitude are killed in advance by his early acquired inner
discipline. The first and simplest stage in the discipline, which can be taught
even to young children, is called, in Newspeak, crimestop. Crimestop means
the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any
dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing
to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they
are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought
which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means
protective stupidity. But stupidity is not enough. On the contrary, orthodoxy
in the full sense demands a control over one’s own mental processes as complete
as that of a contortionist over his body. Oceanic society rests ultimately on the
belief that Big Brother is omnipotent and that the Party is infallible. But since
in reality Big Brother is not omnipotent and the party is not infallible, there is
need for an unwearying, moment-to-moment flexibility in the treatment of facts.
The keyword here is blackwhite. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has
123two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the
habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain
facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black
is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to
believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget
that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration
of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all
the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink.
The alteration of the past is necessary for two reasons, one of which is sub-
sidiary and, so to speak, precautionary. The subsidiary reason is that the Party
member, like the proletarian, tolerates present-day conditions partly because
he has no standards of comparison. He must be cut off from the past, just as
he must be cut off from foreign countries, because it is necessary for him to
believe that he is better off than his ancestors and that the average level of
material comfort is constantly rising. But by far the more important reason
for the readjustment of the past is the need to safeguard the infallibility of the
Party. It is not merely that speeches, statistics, and records of every kind must
be constantly brought up to date in order to show that the predictions of the
Party were in all cases right. It is also that no change in doctrine or in political
alignment can ever be admitted. For to change one’s mind, or even one’s policy,
is a confession of weakness. If, for example, Eurasia or Eastasia (whichever it
may be) is the enemy today, then that country must always have been the en-
emy. And if the facts say otherwise then the facts must be altered. Thus history
is continuously rewritten. This day-to-day falsification of the past, carried out
by the Ministry of Truth, is as necessary to the stability of the regime as the
work of repression and espionage carried out by the Ministry of Love.
The mutability of the past is the central tenet of Ingsoc. Past events, it is
argued, have no objective existence, but survive only in written records and in
human memories. The past is whatever the records and the memories agree
upon. And since the Party is in full control of all records and in equally full
control of the minds of its members, it follows that the past is whatever the Party
chooses to make it. It also follows that though the past is alterable, it never has
been altered in any specific instance. For when it has been recreated in whatever
shape is needed at the moment, then this new version is the past, and no different
past can ever have existed. This holds good even when, as often happens, the
same event has to be altered out of recognition several times in the course of a
year. At all times the Party is in possession of absolute truth, and clearly the
absolute can never have been different from what it is now. It will be seen that
the control of the past depends above all on the training of memory. To make
sure that all written records agree with the orthodoxy of the moment is merely
a mechanical act. But it is also necessary to remember that events happened
in the desired manner. And if it is necessary to rearrange one’s memories or to
tamper with written records, then it is necessary to forget that one has done
so. The trick of doing this can be learned like any other mental technique.
It is learned by the majority of Party members, and certainly by all who are
intelligent as well as orthodox. In Oldspeak it is called, quite frankly, ’reality
control’. In Newspeak it is called doublethink, though doublethink comprises
much else as well.
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s
mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. The Party intellectual knows
124in which direction his memories must be altered; he therefore knows that he is
playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of doublethink he also satisfies
himself that reality is not violated. The process has to be conscious, or it would
not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious,
or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence of guilt. Doublethink
lies at the very heart of Ingsoc, since the essential act of the Party is to use
conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with com-
plete honesty. To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget
any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary
again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny
the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality
which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word
doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one
admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one
erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead
of the truth. Ultimately it is by means of doublethink that the Party has been
able — and may, for all we know, continue to be able for thousands of years —
to arrest the course of history.
All past oligarchies have fallen from power either because they ossified or be-
cause they grew soft. Either they became stupid and arrogant, failed to adjust
themselves to changing circumstances, and were overthrown; or they became
liberal and cowardly, made concessions when they should have used force, and
once again were overthrown. They fell, that is to say, either through conscious-
ness or through unconsciousness. It is the achievement of the Party to have
produced a system of thought in which both conditions can exist simultane-
ously. And upon no other intellectual basis could the dominion of the Party be
made permanent. If one is to rule, and to continue ruling, one must be able to
dislocate the sense of reality. For the secret of rulership is to combine a belief
in one’s own infallibility with the Power to learn from past mistakes.
It need hardly be said that the subtlest practitioners of doublethink are those
who invented doublethink and know that it is a vast system of mental cheating.
In our society, those who have the best knowledge of what is happening are also
those who are furthest from seeing the world as it is. In general, the greater the
understanding, the greater the delusion; the more intelligent, the less sane. One
clear illustration of this is the fact that war hysteria increases in intensity as one
rises in the social scale. Those whose attitude towards the war is most nearly
rational are the subject peoples of the disputed territories. To these people the
war is simply a continuous calamity which sweeps to and fro over their bodies
like a tidal wave. Which side is winning is a matter of complete indifference to
them. They are aware that a change of overlordship means simply that they will
be doing the same work as before for new masters who treat them in the same
manner as the old ones. The slightly more favoured workers whom we call ’the
proles’ are only intermittently conscious of the war. When it is necessary they
can be prodded into frenzies of fear and hatred, but when left to themselves they
are capable of forgetting for long periods that the war is happening. It is in the
ranks of the Party, and above all of the Inner Party, that the true war enthusiasm
is found. World-conquest is believed in most firmly by those who know it to
be impossible. This peculiar linking-together of opposites — knowledge with
ignorance, cynicism with fanaticism-is one of the chief distinguishing marks of
Oceanic society. The official ideology abounds with contradictions even when
125there is no practical reason for them. Thus, the Party rejects and vilifies every
principle for which the Socialist movement originally stood, and it chooses to
do this in the name of Socialism. It preaches a contempt for the working class
unexampled for centuries past, and it dresses its members in a uniform which
was at one time peculiar to manual workers and was adopted for that reason. It
systematically undermines the solidarity of the family, and it calls its leader by a
name which is a direct appeal to the sentiment of family loyalty. Even the names
of the four Ministries by which we are governed exhibit a sort of impudence in
their deliberate reversal of the facts. The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with
war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the
Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental,
nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy; they are deliberate exercises in
doublethink. For it is only by reconciling contradictions that power can be
retained indefinitely. In no other way could the ancient cycle be broken. If
human equality is to be for ever averted — if the High, as we have called them,
are to keep their places permanently — then the prevailing mental condition
must be controlled insanity.
But there is one question which until this moment we have almost ignored.
It is; why should human equality be averted? Supposing that the mechanics
of the process have been rightly described, what is the motive for this huge,
accurately planned effort to freeze history at a particular moment of time?
Here we reach the central secret. As we have seen. the mystique of the
Party, and above all of the Inner Party, depends upon doublethink. But deeper
than this lies the original motive, the never-questioned instinct that first led to
the seizure of power and brought doublethink, the Thought Police, continuous
warfare, and all the other necessary paraphernalia into existence afterwards.
This motive really consists …

Chapter III p.109 –
War is Peace
The splitting up of the world into three great super-states was an event
which could be and indeed was foreseen before the middle of the twentieth
century. With the absorption of Europe by Russia and of the British Empire by
the United States, two of the three existing powers, Eurasia and Oceania, were
already effectively in being. The third, Eastasia, only emerged as a distinct
unit after another decade of confused fighting. The frontiers between the three
super-states are in some places arbitrary, and in others they fluctuate according
to the fortunes of war, but in general they follow geographical lines. Eurasia
comprises the whole of the northern part of the European and Asiatic land-
mass, from Portugal to the Bering Strait. Oceania comprises the Americas, the
Atlantic islands including the British Isles, Australasia, and the southern portion
of Africa. Eastasia, smaller than the others and with a less definite western
frontier, comprises China and the countries to the south of it, the Japanese
islands and a large but fluctuating portion of Manchuria, Mongolia, and Tibet.
In one combination or another, these three super-states are permanently
at war, and have been so for the past twenty-five years. War, however, is
no longer the desperate, annihilating struggle that it was in the early decades
of the twentieth centary. It is a warfare of limited aims between combatants
who are unable to destroy one another, have no material cause for fighting and
are not divided by any genuine ideological difference. This is not to say that
either the conduct of war, or the prevailing attitude towards it, has become less
bloodthirsty or more chivalrous. On the contrary, war hysteria is continuous
and universal in all countries, and such acts as raping, looting, the slaughter
of children, the reduction of whole populations to slavery, and reprisals against
prisoners which extend even to boiling and burying alive, are looked upon as
normal, and, when they are committed by one’s own side and not by the enemy,
meritorious. But in a physical sense war involves very small numbers of people,
mostly highly-trained specialists, and causes comparatively few casualties. The
fighting, when there is any, takes place on the vague frontiers whose whereabouts
the average man can only guess at, or round the Floating Fortresses which
guard strategic spots on the sea lanes. In the centres of civilization war means
no more than a continuous shortage of consumption goods, and the occasional
109crash of a rocket bomb which may cause a few scores of deaths. War has in fact
changed its character. More exactly, the reasons for which war is waged have
changed in their order of importance. Motives which were already present to
some small extent in the great wars of the early twentieth centuary have now
become dominant and are consciously recognized and acted upon.
To understand the nature of the present war — for in spite of the regrouping
which occurs every few years, it is always the same war — one must realize in
the first place that it is impossible for it to be decisive. None of the three super-
states could be definitively conquered even by the other two in combination.
They are too evenly matched, and their natural defences are too formidable.
Eurasia is protected by its vast land spaces. Oceania by the width of the At-
lantic and the Pacific, Eastasia by the fecundity and industriousness of its in-
habitants. Secondly, there is no longer, in a material sense, anything to fight
about. With the establishment of self-contained economies, in which production
and consumption are geared to one another, the scramble for markets which was
a main cause of previous wars has come to an end, while the competition for raw
materials is no longer a matter of life and death. In any case each of the three
super-states is so vast that it can obtain almost all the materials that it needs
within its own boundaries. In so far as the war has a direct economic purpose,
it is a war for labour power. Between the frontiers of the super-states, and not
permanently in the possession of any of them, there lies a rough quadrilateral
with its corners at Tangier, Brazzaville, Darwin, and Hong Kong, containing
within it about a fifth of the population of the earth. It is for the possession
of these thickly-populated regions, and of the northern ice-cap, that the three
powers are constantly struggling. In practice no one power ever controls the
whole of the disputed area. Portions of it are constantly changing hands, and
it is the chance of seizing this or that fragment by a sudden stroke of treachery
that dictates the endless changes of alignment.
All of the disputed territories contain valuable minerals, and some of them
yield important vegetable products such as rubber which in colder climates it
is necessary to synthesize by comparatively expensive methods. But above all
they contain a bottomless reserve of cheap labour. Whichever power controls
equatorial Africa, or the countries of the Middle East, or Southern India, or
the Indonesian Archipelago, disposes also of the bodies of scores or hundreds
of millions of ill-paid and hard-working coolies. The inhabitants of these ar-
eas, reduced more or less openly to the status of slaves, pass continually from
conqueror to conqueror, and are expended like so much coal or oil in the race
to turn out more armaments, to capture more territory, to control more labour
power, to turn out more armaments, to capture more territory, and so on indefi-
nitely. It should be noted that the fighting never really moves beyond the edges
of the disputed areas. The frontiers of Eurasia flow back and forth between the
basin of the Congo and the northern shore of the Mediterranean; the islands of
the Indian Ocean and the Pacific are constantly being captured and recaptured
by Oceania or by Eastasia; in Mongolia the dividing line between Eurasia and
Eastasia is never stable; round the Pole all three powers lay claim to enormous
territories which in fact are largely unihabited and unexplored: but the bal-
ance of power always remains roughly even, and the territory which forms the
heartland of each super-state always remains inviolate. Moreover, the labour of
the exploited peoples round the Equator is not really necessary to the world’s
economy. They add nothing to the wealth of the world, since whatever they
110

produce is used for purposes of war, and the object of waging a war is always
to be in a better position in which to wage another war. By their labour the
slave populations allow the tempo of continuous warfare to be speeded up. But
if they did not exist, the structure of world society, and the process by which it
maintains itself, would not be essentially different.
The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of
doublethink, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by the
directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the machine
without raising the general standard of living. Ever since the end of the nine-
teenth century, the problem of what to do with the surplus of consumption goods
has been latent in industrial society. At present, when few human beings even
have enough to eat, this problem is obviously not urgent, and it might not have
become so, even if no artificial processes of destruction had been at work. The
world of today is a bare, hungry, dilapidated place compared with the world that
existed before 1914, and still more so if compared with the imaginary future to
which the people of that period looked forward. In the early twentieth century,
the vision of a future society unbelievably rich, leisured, orderly, and efficient
— a glittering antiseptic world of glass and steel and snow-white concrete —
was part of the consciousness of nearly every literate person. Science and tech-
nology were developing at a prodigious speed, and it seemed natural to assume
that they would go on developing. This failed to happen, partly because of the
impoverishment caused by a long series of wars and revolutions, partly because
scientific and technical progress depended on the empirical habit of thought,
which could not survive in a strictly regimented society. As a whole the world
is more primitive today than it was fifty years ago. Certain backward areas
have advanced, and various devices, always in some way connected with warfare
and police espionage, have been developed, but experiment and invention have
largely stopped, and the ravages of the atomic war of the nineteen-fifties have
never been fully repaired. Nevertheless the dangers inherent in the machine are
still there. From the moment when the machine first made its appearance it was
clear to all thinking people that the need for human drudgery, and therefore to
a great extent for human inequality, had disappeared. If the machine were used
deliberately for that end, hunger, overwork, dirt, illiteracy, and disease could be
eliminated within a few generations. And in fact, without being used for any
such purpose, but by a sort of automatic process — by producing wealth which
it was sometimes impossible not to distribute — the machine did raise the living
standards of the average humand being very greatly over a period of about fifty
years at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries.
But it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth threatened the
destruction — indeed, in some sense was the destruction — of a hierarchical
society. In a world in which everyone worked short hours, had enough to eat,
lived in a house with a bathroom and a refrigerator, and possessed a motor-car
or even an aeroplane, the most obvious and perhaps the most important form
of inequality would already have disappeared. If it once became general, wealth
would confer no distinction. It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society
in which wealth, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be
evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small privileged
caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure
and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who
are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to
111

think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner
or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would
sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on
a basis of poverty and ignorance. To return to the agricultural past, as some
thinkers about the beginning of the twentieth century dreamed of doing, was not
a practicable solution. It conflicted with the tendency towards mechanization
which had become quasi-instinctive throughout almost the whole world, and
moreover, any country which remained industrially backward was helpless in
a military sense and was bound to be dominated, directly or indirectly, by its
more advanced rivals.
Nor was it a satisfactory solution to keep the masses in poverty by restricting
the output of goods. This happened to a great extent during the final phase
of capitalism, roughly between 1920 and 1940. The economy of many countries
was allowed to stagnate, land went out of cultivation, capital equipment was
not added to, great blocks of the population were prevented from working and
kept half alive by State charity. But this, too, entailed military weakness, and
since the privations it inflicted were obviously unnecessary, it made opposition
inevitable. The problem was how to keep the wheels of industry turning without
increasing the real wealth of the world. Goods must be produced, but they
must not be distributed. And in practice the only way of achieving this was by
continuous warfare.
The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of
the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring
into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might
otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long
run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed,
their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without
producing anything that can be consumed. A Floating Fortress, for example,
has locked up in it the labour that would build several hundred cargo-ships.
Ultimately it is scrapped as obsolete, never having brought any material benefit
to anybody, and with further enormous labours another Floating Fortress is
built. In principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus
that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population. In practice the
needs of the population are always underestimated, with the result that there
is a chronic shortage of half the necessities of life; but this is looked on as an
advantage. It is deliberate policy to keep even the favoured groups somewhere
near the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity increases the
importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction between one
group and another. By the standards of the early twentieth century, even a
member of the Inner Party lives an austere, laborious kind of life. Nevertheless,
the few luxuries that he does enjoy his large, well-appointed flat, the better
texture of his clothes, the better quality of his food and drink and tobacco, his
two or three servants, his private motor-car or helicopter — set him in a different
world from a member of the Outer Party, and the members of the Outer Party
have a similar advantage in comparison with the submerged masses whom we
call ’the proles’. The social atmosphere is that of a besieged city, where the
possession of a lump of horseflesh makes the difference between wealth and
poverty. And at the same time the consciousness of being at war, and therefore
in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural,
unavoidable condition of survival.
112

War, it will be seen, accomplishes the necessary destruction, but accom-
plishes it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle it would be quite
simple to waste the surplus labour of the world by building temples and pyra-
mids, by digging holes and filling them up again, or even by producing vast
quantities of goods and then setting fire to them. But this would provide only
the economic and not the emotional basis for a hierarchical society. What is
concerned here is not the morale of masses, whose attitude is unimportant so
long as they are kept steadily at work, but the morale of the Party itself. Even
the humblest Party member is expected to be competent, industrious, and even
intelligent within narrow limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a
credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adula-
tion, and orgiastic triumph. In other words it is necessary that he should have
the mentality appropriate to a state of war. It does not matter whether the
war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does not
matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is that a state
of war should exist. The splitting of the intelligence which the Party requires
of its members, and which is more easily achieved in an atmosphere of war, is
now almost universal, but the higher up the ranks one goes, the more marked it
becomes. It is precisely in the Inner Party that war hysteria and hatred of the
enemy are strongest. In his capacity as an administrator, it is often necessary
for a member of the Inner Party to know that this or that item of war news is
untruthful, and he may often be aware that the entire war is spurious and is ei-
ther not happening or is being waged for purposes quite other than the declared
ones: but such knowledge is easily neutralized by the technique of doublethink.
Meanwhile no Inner Party member wavers for an instant in his mystical belief
that the war is real, and that it is bound to end victoriously, with Oceania the
undisputed master of the entire world.
All members of the Inner Party believe in this coming conquest as an article
of faith. It is to be achieved either by gradually acquiring more and more ter-
ritory and so building up an overwhelming preponderance of power, or by the
discovery of some new and unanswerable weapon. The search for new weapons
continues unceasingly, and is one of the very few remaining activities in which
the inventive or speculative type of mind can find any outlet. In Oceania at the
present day, Science, in the old sense, has almost ceased to exist. In Newspeak
there is no word for ’Science’. The empirical method of thought, on which all
the scientific achievements of the past were founded, is opposed to the most
fundamental principles of Ingsoc. And even technological progress only hap-
pens when its products can in some way be used for the diminution of human
liberty. In all the useful arts the world is either standing still or going back-
wards. The fields are cultivated with horse-ploughs while books are written by
machinery. But in matters of vital importance — meaning, in effect, war and
police espionage — the empirical approach is still encouraged, or at least toler-
ated. The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth
and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought. There
are therefore two great problems which the Party is concerned to solve. One is
how to discover, against his will, what another human being is thinking, and
the other is how to kill several hundred million people in a few seconds without
giving warning beforehand. In so far as scientific research still continues, this
is its subject matter. The scientist of today is either a mixture of psychologist
and inquisitor, studying with real ordinary minuteness the meaning of facial
113

expressions, gestures, and tones of voice, and testing the truth-producing ef-
fects of drugs, shock therapy, hypnosis, and physical torture; or he is chemist,
physicist, or biologist concerned only with such branches of his special subject
as are relevant to the taking of life. In the vast laboratories of the Ministry of
Peace, and in the experimental stations hidden in the Brazilian forests, or in the
Australian desert, or on lost islands of the Antarctic, the teams of experts are
indefatigably at work. Some are concerned simply with planning the logistics
of future wars; others devise larger and larger rocket bombs, more and more
powerful explosives, and more and more impenetrable armour- plating; others
search for new and deadlier gases, or for soluble poisons capable of being pro-
duced in such quantities as to destroy the vegetation of whole continents, or for
breeds of disease germs immunized against all possible antibodies; others strive
to produce a vehicle that shall bore its way under the soil like a submarine
under the water, or an aeroplane as independent of its base as a sailing-ship;
others explore even remoter possibilities such as focusing the sun’s rays through
lenses suspended thousands of kilometres away in space, or producing artificial
earthquakes and tidal waves by tapping the heat at the earth’s centre.
But none of these projects ever comes anywhere near realization, and none
of the three super-states ever gains a significant lead on the others. What is
more remarkable is that all three powers already possess, in the atomic bomb,
a weapon far more powerful than any that their present researches are likely to
discover. Although the Party, according to its habit, claims the invention for
itself, atomic bombs first appeared as early as the nineteen-forties, and were
first used on a large scale about ten years later. At that time some hundreds of
bombs were dropped on industrial centres, chiefly in European Russia, Western
Europe, and North America. The effect was to convince the ruling groups of
all countries that a few more atomic bombs would mean the end of organized
society, and hence of their own power. Thereafter, although no formal agree-
ment was ever made or hinted at, no more bombs were dropped. All three
powers merely continue to produce atomic bombs and store them up against
the decisive opportunity which they all believe will come sooner or later. And
meanwhile the art of war has remained almost stationary for thirty or forty
years. Helicopters are more used than they were formerly, bombing planes have
been largely superseded by self-propelled projectiles, and the fragile movable
battleship has given way to the almost unsinkable Floating Fortress; but other-
wise there has been little development. The tank, the submarine, the torpedo,
the machine gun, even the rifle and the hand grenade are still in use. And
in spite of the endless slaughters reported in the Press and on the telescreens,
the desperate battles of earlier wars, in which hundreds of thousands or even
millions of men were often killed in a few weeks, have never been repeated.
None of the three super-states ever attempts any manoeuvre which involves
the risk of serious defeat. When any large operation is undertaken, it is usually
a surprise attack against an ally. The strategy that all three powers are follow-
ing, or pretend to themselves that they are following, is the same. The plan is,
by a combination of fighting, bargaining, and well-timed strokes of treachery, to
acquire a ring of bases completely encircling one or other of the rival states, and
then to sign a pact of friendship with that rival and remain on peaceful terms
for so many years as to lull suspicion to sleep. During this time rockets loaded
with atomic bombs can be assembled at all the strategic spots; finally they will
all be fired simultaneously, with effects so devastating as to make retaliation
114

impossible. It will then be time to sign a pact of friendship with the remain-
ing world-power, in preparation for another attack. This scheme, it is hardly
necessary to say, is a mere daydream, impossible of realization. Moreover, no
fighting ever occurs except in the disputed areas round the Equator and the
Pole: no invasion of enemy territory is ever undertaken. This explains the fact
that in some places the frontiers between the superstates are arbitrary. Eurasia,
for example, could easily conquer the British Isles, which are geographically
part of Europe, or on the other hand it would be possible for Oceania to push
its frontiers to the Rhine or even to the Vistula. But this would violate the
principle, followed on all sides though never formulated, of cultural integrity. If
Oceania were to conquer the areas that used once to be known as France and
Germany, it would be necessary either to exterminate the inhabitants, a task of
great physical difficulty, or to assimilate a population of about a hundred million
people, who, so far as technical development goes, are roughly on the Oceanic
level. The problem is the same for all three super-states. It is absolutely neces-
sary to their structure that there should be no contact with foreigners, except,
to a limited extent, with war prisoners and coloured slaves. Even the official
ally of the moment is always regarded with the darkest suspicion. War prisoners
apart, the average citizen of Oceania never sets eyes on a citizen of either Eura-
sia or Eastasia, and he is forbidden the knowledge of foreign languages. If he
were allowed contact with foreigners he would discover that they are creatures
similar to himself and that most of what he has been told about them is lies.
The sealed world in which he lives would be broken, and the fear, hatred, and
self-righteousness on which his morale depends might evaporate. It is therefore
realized on all sides that however often Persia, or Egypt, or Java, or Ceylon
may change hands, the main frontiers must never be crossed by anything except
bombs.
Under this lies a fact never mentioned aloud, but tacitly understood and
acted upon: namely, that the conditions of life in all three super-states are very
much the same. In Oceania the prevailing philosophy is called Ingsoc, in Eurasia
it is called Neo-Bolshevism, and in Eastasia it is called by a Chinese name usu-
ally translated as Death-Worship, but perhaps better rendered as Obliteration
of the Self. The citizen of Oceania is not allowed to know anything of the tenets
of the other two philosophies, but he is taught to execrate them as barbarous
outrages upon morality and common sense. Actually the three philosophies
are barely distinguishable, and the social systems which they support are not
distinguishable at all. Everywhere there is the same pyramidal structure, the
same worship of semi-divine leader, the same economy existing by and for con-
tinuous warfare. It follows that the three super-states not only cannot conquer
one another, but would gain no advantage by doing so. On the contrary, so
long as they remain in conflict they prop one another up, like three sheaves of
corn. And, as usual, the ruling groups of all three powers are simultaneously
aware and unaware of what they are doing. Their lives are dedicated to world
conquest, but they also know that it is necessary that the war should continue
everlastingly and without victory. Meanwhile the fact that there is no danger
of conquest makes possible the denial of reality which is the special feature of
Ingsoc and its rival systems of thought. Here it is necessary to repeat what has
been said earlier, that by becoming continuous war has fundamentally changed
its character.
In past ages, a war, almost by definition, was something that sooner or later
115

came to an end, usually in unmistakable victory or defeat. In the past, also,
war was one of the main instruments by which human societies were kept in
touch with physical reality. All rulers in all ages have tried to impose a false
view of the world upon their followers, but they could not afford to encourage
any illusion that tended to impair military efficiency. So long as defeat meant
the loss of independence, or some other result generally held to be undesirable,
the precautions against defeat had to be serious. Physical facts could not be
ignored. In philosophy, or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might
make five, but when one was designing a gun or an aeroplane they had to make
four. Inefficient nations were always conquered sooner or later, and the struggle
for efficiency was inimical to illusions. Moreover, to be efficient it was necessary
to be able to learn from the past, which meant having a fairly accurate idea of
what had happened in the past. Newspapers and history books were, of course,
always coloured and biased, but falsification of the kind that is practised today
would have been impossible. War was a sure safeguard of sanity, and so far
as the ruling classes were concerned it was probably the most important of all
safeguards. While wars could be won or lost, no ruling class could be completely
irresponsible.
But when war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases to be dangerous.
When war is continuous there is no such thing as military necessity. Technical
progress can cease and the most palpable facts can be denied or disregarded. As
we have seen, researches that could be called scientific are still carried out for
the purposes of war, but they are essentially a kind of daydreaming, and their
failure to show results is not important. Efficiency, even military efficiency, is
no longer needed. Nothing is efficient in Oceania except the Thought Police.
Since each of the three super-states is unconquerable, each is in effect a separate
universe within which almost any perversion of thought can be safely practised.
Reality only exerts its pressure through the needs of everyday life — the need
to eat and drink, to get shelter and clothing, to avoid swallowing poison or
stepping out of top-storey windows, and the like. Between life and death, and
between physical pleasure and physical pain, there is still a distinction, but that
is all. Cut off from contact with the outer world, and with the past, the citizen
of Oceania is like a man in interstellar space, who has no way of knowing which
direction is up and which is down. The rulers of such a state are absolute, as
the Pharaohs or the Caesars could not be. They are obliged to prevent their
followers from starving to death in numbers large enough to be inconvenient,
and they are obliged to remain at the same low level of military technique as
their rivals; but once that minimum is achieved, they can twist reality into
whatever shape they choose.
The war, therefore, if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is
merely an imposture. It is like the battles between certain ruminant animals
whose horns are set at such an angle that they are incapable of hurting one
another. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It eats up the surplus of
consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that a
hierarchical society needs. War, it will be seen, is now a purely internal affair. In
the past, the ruling groups of all countries, although they might recognize their
common interest and therefore limit the destructiveness of war, did fight against
one another, and the victor always plundered the vanquished. In our own day
they are not fighting against one another at all. The war is waged by each
ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make
116

or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact.
The very word ’war’, therefore, has become misleading. It would probably be
accurate to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to exist. The
peculiar pressure that it exerted on human beings between the Neolithic Age
and the early twentieth century has disappeared and been replaced by something
quite different. The effect would be much the same if the three super-states,
instead of fighting one another, should agree to live in perpetual peace, each
inviolate within its own boundaries. For in that case each would still be a
self-contained universe, freed for ever from the sobering influence of external
danger. A peace that was truly permanent would be the same as a permanent
war. This — although the vast majority of Party members understand it only
in a shallower sense — is the inner meaning of the Party slogan: War is Peace.

117.

He understood
how; he did not understand why. Chapter I, like Chapter III, had not actu-
ally told him anything that he did not know, it had merely systematized the
knowledge that he possessed already. But after reading it he knew better than
before that he was not mad. Being in a minority, even a minority of one, did
not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung
to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.

p-126

Selection_869

LEON TROTSKY
THE REVOLUTION
BETRAYED
What Is the Soviet Union
And Where Is It Going?

‘I’he director of a l\foscow factory, a prominent com­
munist, boasts in Pravda of the cultural growth of the
en terprise directed by him. “A mechanic telephones :
‘What is your order, sir, check the furnace immediately
or wait?’ I answer : ‘Wait.’ ,,* The mechanic addresses the
director with extreme respect, using the second person
plural, while the director answers him in the second person
singular. And this disgraceful dialogue, impossible in any
cultured capitalist country, is related by the director him­
self on the pages of Pravda as something entirely n ormal !
The editor does not object because he does not notice it.

P.103
-It is impossible to convey the flavor of this dialogue in English. The
second person singular is used either with intimates in t oken of affection,
OJ’
wi!h chlJdren, servants and animals In token of superiority.

123

Where lies the theoretical mistake of the bureaucracy
-in the basic premise or the conclusion? In the one and
the other. To the first announcements of “complete

tri­umph”, the Left Opposition answered ; You must not
limit yourself to the socio-juridical form of relations which
are unripe, contradictory, in agriculture still very un­
stable, abstracting from the fundamental criterion : level
of the productive forces. Juridical forms themselves have

SOCIALISM AND THE STATE
61
an essentially different social content in dependence upon
the height of the technical level. “Law can never be higher
than the economic structure and the cultural level  con­ditioned

by it.” (Marx)
Soviet forms of property on a basis of the most modern
achievements of American technique transplanted into

all branches of economic life that would indeed be the

first stage of socialism. Sovietforms with a low productivity

of labor mean only a tran­sitional regime whose destiny history

has not yet finally weighed.
“Is it not monstrous ?’�-we wrote in March 193�. “The
country can not get out of a famine of goods. There is a
stoppage of supplies at every step. Children lack milk.

But the official oracles announce : ‘The country has entered
into the period of socialism !’ Would it be possible more
viciously to compromise the name of socialism ?” Karl
Radek, now . a prominent publicist- of the ruling Soviet
circles, parried these remarks in the German liberal paper,
Berliner Tageblatt, in a special issue devoted to the Soviet
Union (May 1932) , in the following words which deserve
to be immortal :

“Milk is a product of cows and not of
socialism, and you would have actually to confuse socialism
with the image of a country where rivers flow milk, in
order not to understand that a country can rise for a time
to a higher level of development without any considerable
rise in the material situation of the popular masses.”

These lines were written when a horrible famine was raging in the
country.
Socialism is a structure of planned production to the
end of the best satisfaction of human needs ; otherwise it
does not deserve the name of socialism. If cows are

social­ized, but there are too few of them, or they have

too meager udders, then conflicts arise out of the inadequate
supply of milk-conflicts between city and country, be­
tween collectives and individual peasants, between dif­
ferent strata of the proletariat, between the whole toiling
mass and the bureaucracy.
(·Written before the arrest of Karl Radek in August 1986 o n charges
a terroristic conspiracy against the Soviet leaders.-TR.A.NS.)

The last gambit
The Last Gambit- Pchelovod

Internal Predictor of the USSR:
explanation of the terminology used
The term “predictor-corrector” originates from calculus mathematics, where it names the whole group of
methods. In them the solution is found with successive approximations. The algorithm represents a cycle with
two consequent operations executed: the first one is the solution prediction and the second is checking if the
predicted solution satisfies the problem accuracy requirement. The algorithm comes to its end when the predic-
tion satisfies the accuracy requirement.
Moreover, the scheme of ruling, in which the ruling signal is formed using the prognosis of the future sys-
tem behaviour as well as the information of its present state, is also sometimes called “predictor-corrector”
(though it is possibly more right to call it “predirector-corrector” – it directs the way in advance). With the
scheme of “predictor-corrector” the highest quality of ruling is provided since the part of information circuits
is completed through the predicted future but not through the accomplished past. This fact allows to reduce the
lateness of ruling relative to the perturbation action to zero; and to use the forestalling ruling, (where the rul-
ing action forestalls the cause that forces ruling), if it is needed. Considering different conflicts, from the view
of the theory of ruling the scheme of predictor corrector often excludes even a possibility to strive with the sys-
tem using it in advance.
So, the term “predictor-corrector” is widely known among mathematicians and technicians in the West.
As it follows from the history, the predictor-corrector scheme was used for ruling the social systems even in
the ancient times. The superior zhrechestvo 1 of the ancient Egypt was called “hierophants”, which meant their
ability to read the fate (i.e. the matrix of possible states), to foresee the future. The last one is the basis of any
ruling, since to rule a system (here: a society) is to lead it to the chosen certain variant from many possible
ones on the basis of knowing these possible states. It’s naturally that choosing the variant depends on the real
morality and will of those, who have achieved the foresight and ruling on its base.
The Russian word “жрец” (“zhrets”) is a composed word as many other ancient Russian words. The letter
Ж (Zh – is read as French ‘j’) means the word ЖИЗНЬ (Life); and the word РЕЦ means “the one who
speaks”. “Жречество” (“zhrechestvo”) means something like a community of zhretses; the suffix ‘-stvo’ re-
fers to the English suffix ‘-hood’ like in “brotherhood”, or to ‘-ship’ as in “friendship”; and the stem variation
is widely used in Russian, so ‘ts’ (is read as German ‘z’) in zhrets turns to ‘ch’ in zhrechestvo with adding a
suffix. Thus zhrets can be understood as he who speaks about the Life (the Life in its whole sense, about the
Life of men, of the mankind and the Humanity, of Cosmos the whole Universe, and of God), and zhrechestvo
speaks about the Life for the Good of the society.
In English there is a word “a priest” which is usually translated into Russian as “zhrets”, but it is not right,
since “a priest” is an adherent of a certain confession, church or pagan beliefs, a pope, a clergyman etc. We
will use it in such sense. The nearest analogue to the word “zhrets” in English is the word “soothsayer”, but
understood not as “a foreteller” or “a fortune-teller”, but as “he who tells (and speaks) the sooth (the truth)
”. We will use the word zhrets using this Latin transliteration.
Жречество занято жизнеречением 2 во благо общества.
Zhrechestvo speaks about the Life for the Good of the society.
The phonetics, the lexical and conceptual systems of Russian language are rather special. This phrase can-
not be translated into other languages without loosing many sides of sense and many associative relations. So
the term “predictor-corrector” was introduced for better understanding of this and for using in English. How-
ever, today we introduce the word zhrets to English and will use it.
It is useful for an English speaking reader to learn Russian language to understand many particular features
of its root, lexical, conceptual systems. We translate many works into English today, but it is sometimes im-
possible to translate all meanings of the word and all its relatives! Moreover, “to translate” means “to find a
word in another language for the same thing, for the same image”. But how can one translate the concept, if
there are no images in another language, no such things at all! Thus one should do not “a trans-lation” but “in-
tro-lation” (introduction, intromission). So we “introlate” the word zhrets. And also we introlate another word:
знахарь “znakhar”.
“Znakhar” (‘kh’ is a single consonant as Scottish ‘ch’ in “loch”) originates from the verb “знать” (“to
know”), which is very close to the word “значить” (“to mean”, “to sign”); the suffix ‘-арь’ (‘-ar’) refers to
the Latin suffix (‘-ist’), so znakhar is “he who knows”, who has some knowledge but doesn’t
share it with people.
1
Read a bit forward
The suffix ‘-ен’ refers to English ‘-ing’ meaning an action named with the previous verb. So “речь” (verb is “ре-
кать” though today it is used not without different prefixes) – turns into “речение” and in English can be found as
“speaking” (but not in its modern usual meaning) like an action when one speaks.
2Today in Russian all the words with such meaning: “ведун”, “ведьма” (from “ведать”=“to know” 1 ), “зна-
харь” means something like “a witch”, “a quack doctor”. But it doesn’t mean that one cannot understand the
word in its literal meaning. And in literal meaning the word znakhar means only “he who knows ”.
Zhretses with their foresight, knowledge, words in advance lead the course of life of society to an absence
of poverty and to the well-structured and comfortable state, with all this keeping the society in harmony with
the Earth biosphere, the Cosmos and the God.
Znakhars are self-interested while exploiting the society on the basis of their knowledge, and they wittingly
cultivate the ignorance and perverted knowledge in the society exploited.
And this is the difference between zhrechestvo and znakharstvo.
The harmony of society, its culture and Earth biosphere needs the global level of responsibility and of
CARENESS about the well-being (not only a material one) of all nations on the Earth. English is today the
most popular for international communication. So we take care of that you, English speakers, understand that
what we want to say you but not what the masters of “false horses of enlightenment” 2 want to give you as our
opinion.
Russians don’t need such words as “conception” – we have the word “жизнестрой” (“Life organization”),
and English can also find some its old roots to avoid the dead Latin.
Our opponents must understand that their monopoly on the knowledge is over. Using imagery: We
pour our “spring water” into their “old wine-skins” for their “skins” split: we don’t like their “skins”
and their stupefying narcotic “wine”.

“Translators – are false horses of enlightenment” Pushkin

My dear Watson, – he said at last, – don’t you think, that certain things in life are not worth learning?
Was not it you, who once quoted for me some astonishing saying of the Great Russian poet Pushkin: «

“A fiction that elevates my soul is dearer to me than a host of base and despicable truths”. Pushkin

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11 thoughts on “THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF OLIGARCHICAL COLLECTIVISM by Emmanuel Goldstein. “Translators – are false horses of enlightenment” (Pushkin)

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