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Orwell’s Lessons for the Era of Trump

Orwell’s Lessons for the Era of Trump

Bob Rae

George Orwell is best known for his novels Animal Farm and 1984. Both were written toward the end of a life cut short by tuberculosis. But they came after a long period of reflection, activism, and engagement, through what one writer has called the “dark valley” of the 1920s and 30s and the death and destruction of the Second World War. 1984, we are told, is now at the top of the charts at Amazon.

“They expect the media to support the president in his role as Unifier of The People. Transgressors will be punished.”

Protecting the media is a must. The ACLU and others will be on the front lines. The media must be allowed to continue to publish the truth. People should not have to search out the Guardian and other foreign sources of news to find out what is really going on.


“Canada has to do what it can to weather this storm…”

I would like to think that Canada would do more than that. I would hope that they would engage in active resistance. This should start with, as a minimum, allowing USAns with arrests and convictions for engaging in protest to continue to freely cross the border (unlike now - where even a minor conviction 10 years ago can stop a person from entering without a drawn-out visa process). USAns may also need to enter Canada seeking asylum and refuge as political fugitives.

Will Canada do any of this? Fat chance. Right now Trudeau is happy that his Keystone XL pipeline is going to be guilt and thanks to Trump and the bullish tar-sand oil market, the Loony is finally recovering. So he does not want to piss off Trump. So much for Trudeau, the progressive savior…


" But the ugly face of European populism after the First World War…"
It is utterly typical of Rae, a man who throughout his career has been contemptuous of democracy and suspicious of popular initiatives in politics, that he would call ‘fascism’ ‘populism.’
It is nothing of the sort, in fact Rae’s politics of cosying up to plutocrats while ostensibly representing their victims, is much closer to corporatism, as Mussolini called fascism than any of the gerassroots social movements that can be called populist.
Rae was the original Blairite/Clintonite practising the politics of triangulation in the Ontario NDP-a formerly socialist party when, as Premier, he imposed neo-liberal austerity policies on a Province that he had promised to reform. After being defeated at the polls he deserted and joined the rival,Liberal party… I thought we had heard the last of him but, like a bad penny…


The thing about Trump is that he hits on kernels of truth, quite by accident. It has been a very long time since the media could be counted on to tell the truth. The media gave equal time to climate deniers, as if there was a debate about it. The media was the instrument used to lie us into the Iraq war, to paint Chelsea Manning as a traitor, happily contributed to Trump’s rise with nearly unlimited free coverage while Sanders was all but ignored. The media is still selling the Russia lies, has never reported the 50 some odd coups the US has a hand in in the last 70 years as coups, and on and on and on.

We need almost as much protection from the MSM as we do from Trump, and that really sucks. The media that needs protection is indy media. Mainstream media can go to hell–it’s where they’ve led us.


exactlly, just about everyone since Walter Cronkite has been a fraud pushing a narrative for one side or the other, saying anything to keep there high priced salary, interviewing paid hacks to back up there talking points, more concerned about there hair and makeup and looking polished for the camera than in presenting hard core facts, or god forbid a smattering of truth, to call it “news” is like calling a fart fragrant, and I doubt even Orwell could of dreamt up a trump, he is just to ludicrous and beyond belief, sort of like a fragrant fart…


Neo-liberal austerity? Rae governed Ontario during a made-in-Canada recession, and ran big deficits to stimulate the economy. Most Ontarians who voted to toss him out of office in 1995 did so because they thought he overspent, not because . Personally, I thought he did pretty well with the cards he was dealt, and would have liked to see how he managed with a second term, since the economic recovery in Ontario was well underway by 1994.

It’s as if Rae is assuming everything was going swimmingly well before Trump. No, it was quite the opposite. We are at a crisis, and Trump is a result as well as a symptom of that.

Trump isn’t right about too many issues, but he is dead on about the dishonesty of the plutocrat-controlled corporate MSM. The Left should help Trump throw gasoline on the fire consuming the corpse of the corporate MSM (Glenn Greenwald seems to be doing his part). Trump isn’t the answer, but the plutocrats’ wished-for one-world fascist government (more like a quasi-government made up of existing states controlled by treaties), the one being promoted and supported by the MSM, where all the little people were going to become completely powerless, penniless, and expendable certainly is no better.

Trump is shaking up the existing order and that can be a good thing, particularly if people on the Left can seize the opportunity to redirect information flows and reshape current expectations and beliefs regarding the role of government and the nature of democratic processes.

It would be interesting to know whether Trump has read Ayn Rand’s prolix, tedious and somewhat turgid novel Atlas Shrugged.

On the other hand, I suppose even that book, simplistic as it is, would be too much for a person with such a short attention span.

Great typo - a Freudian slip? - “Trudeau is happy that his Keystone XL pipeline is going to be guilt” lol