How 2024 Is Like 1984

What the colonizer snitch George Orwell got right

George Orwell in the colonial police, third from left, top I think

When I see atrocity after atrocity committed against the people of Gaza I think of the future we live in. It's as George Orwell described in 1984, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for ever.” Every day is a like a boot stamping on a human face, and it goes on forever. At this point 1984 isn't a prediction, it's a predicament.

1984 As Confession

First a bit of throat-clearing, lest I throw up in my own mouth. Orwell was, himself, Orwellian. Despite 1984 being critical of an oppressive state, Orwell was a literal colonizer and snitch himself. Orwell was a colonial cop in Burma and though he criticized the “unbreakable tyranny of the Raj” he was the one implementing it. He also said, “with another part I thought that the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest's guts.” Hence, before reading 1984 as a critique of totalitarianism, you have to consider the source.

Despite the Ministry of Truth being an obvious object of scorn in the book, Orwell himself was a snitch to Britain's propaganda department, called the 'Information Research Department' in a bit of doublespeak. Orwell certainly didn't like thoughts about communism, and his works were translated by the British Empire because they had “excellent propaganda value” in keeping old colonies down (anti-communism being the new 'civilizing' mission). Back home, Orwell gave the IRD names of 'thought criminals', including such colorful (re: racist) details like 'Isaac Deutcher was a “Polish Jew”; that Ian Mikardo, a columnist at the Tribune, was “silly” and “Jewish”; that the writer Cedric Dover was “Eurasian”; that Paul Robeson was a “US Negro” and “very anti-white.”'

Thus far being an opponent of the oppressive Empire he actually lived in, Orwell willingly served it. As did much of his writing, especially Animal Farm. As the IRD's Celia Kerwin wrote, '“I discussed some aspects of our work with him in great confidence,” She informed Orwell of the IRD's efforts to “expose” the “Soviet repression of the arts” and to further British colonial and postcolonial aims in Southeast Asia; “Orwell was delighted to learn of them. … He expressed his wholehearted and enthusiastic approval of our aims.”'

So please understand that I read Orwell in the same way as I read a lot of things from within the White Empire (once Britain, now America). Not as an accusation, but as a confession.

White Empire

1984 is actually a tale of the continuous White Empire Orwell himself served, the Empire which is reaching its most dystopian dénouement now. The manipulation of truth, the exploitation of war, these are not warnings about some hypothetical Empire that might be, nor about the 'Red' Empire over there, they are descriptions of the White Empire that Orwell served, and which still serves us ill today. Take, for example, the slogans within 1984:


These can be modified only slightly into the governing ethos of the modern capital of White Empire, America:


Just look at the American Department of War, renamed to the Department of Defense just as it went on the permanent offensive. What does bombing Yemen to support a genocide in Palestine have to do with the 'defense' of America? Don't ask these questions too loudly, or end up like Julian Assange. The American concept of 'national security' involves constantly bombing people nowhere near their nation and calling it self-defense. This actually makes no sense, unless–apparently—you repeat it enough. War is peace and so on.


Americans claim to be the freest people on Earth, but the average American is over $100,000 in debt. Freedom sure is expensive. Americans are forced into debt for every basic need—health, housing, education—and then they have to 'work it off,' which is just the ancient definition of slavery.

Michael Hudson goes into it in magisterial detail, but the most common ancient type of slavery was simply going into your creditors household (or sending your wife or kids there) to 'work it off'. This is the same thing most Americans do, only their labor is held in corporate portfolios through sophisticated record keeping and the constant threat of homelessness or jail (with no hope of a jubilee). And don't even get me started on the American prison system, the largest imprisonment of human beings in human history, many of them working for little or nothing (ie, slavery). This is all sold as freedom, because your brains must be in debt also. Freedom is slavery.


I don't even need to modify this one. Just watch/read America media to see industrial ignorance that just doesn't stop. The great American innovation was figuring out that you don't need to delete information as in 1984, you can instead 'flood the zone with shit' as Trump adviser Steve Bannon said. They can even say the truth sometimes, it doesn't matter, it gets buried in bullshit within seconds. American coverage of the world is wide, but an inch deep (and that inch has a knife in it). They can do this secure in the knowledge that few people will pick up a book and see through it, and those that do will remain irrelevant bloggers like yours truly, or picked up and jailed like Assange if they get too unruly.

In Orwellian doublespeak, this system is called a 'free press' despite it being insanely expensive. The right to speech is effectively (and legally) a corporate right in America, only extended to slaves via 'platforms'. Americans are, in fact, the dumbest people on the planet with the most 'muscular' foreign policy done in their names. Ignorance is strength.

The Other

The other confession in Orwell's 1984 is that 'others' will be constantly demonized, to distract from the failings of Empire. You can see that today with Jon Stewart saying, “the difference between our urinal-caked, chaotic subways and your candelabra-ed beautiful subways is the literal price of freedom.” I mean, is it? This just sounds like the bit in 1984 where they announce some fake victory against Eurasia (which is Russia) and the protagonist thinks,

Bad news coming, thought Winston. And sure enough, following on a gory description of the annihilation of a Eurasian army, with stupendous figures of killed and prisoners, came the announcement that, as from next week, the chocolate ration would be reduced from thirty grammes to twenty.

The central command of the party in 2024 as in 1984 is to ignore the evidence of your eyes and years, and to never contemplate a country that just minds its own business. Because that's bad for business. Instead people are encouraged to focus on some other place which is definitely worse than this Empire, and simps like Jon Stewart spread the message.

For Orwell, that 'something worse' was communism and it's still 'communism', now extended to just being Russian because they've gotten lazy. Today the White Empire divides the world into 'democracies' and 'authoritarians', with authoritarian meaning places that assert any authority over themselves. Meanwhile these 'democracies' they're defending are widely hated by their populations and only propped up by being better than someplace else.

Liberal democracy really just means corporate oligarchy. All the debt slaves get to choose is the paint job on the imperial war machine and the only real benefit they get out of it is a feeling of superiority. This isn't Republican or Democrat or Labour or Tory, the ruling class is always killing and all the voting class gets to choose is the bumper stickers on the warplanes.

Democrats, for example, blame the collapse of their never-existed democracy on Putin Rasputining them, uttering his name like the hated 'Goldstein' in 1984. “He [Goldstein] was the primal traitor, the earliest defiler of the Party’s purity. All subsequent crimes against the Party, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations, sprang directly out of his teaching.” Hence you get Putin springing out of Facebook to swing elections (whenever they don't go their way). If anyone says anything remotely rational about Russia the commenters pop out, saying, “'You’re a traitor!' yelled the boy. 'You’re a thought-criminal! You’re a Eurasian spy! I’ll shoot you, I’ll vaporise you, I’ll send you to the salt mines!'”

Meanwhile both sides (of the same corporate coin) blame China for their own people's despondency (they're pushing us fentanyl!) or their own children not trusting them (digital fentanyl!) or for just selling them things at a fair price (what's next, fellatio?). Or Republican blame migrants for daring come do their dishes, while Democrats quietly deport even more of them. Neither side looks at America's own role in any problem because they're both on the same side. They are the problem. Whoever said that two parties is better than one party pulled the swindle of the century. It's actually worse because the government is divided by design while the corporations are united in swindling.

The biggest swindle is the 'Defence Industry', which is the American innovation of losing wars and looting your own treasury. In 1984 Orwell described constant wars between indistinguishable global empires, when in reality it's just America rage, raging against the dying of the White. What Orwell did get right is the constant demonization of Eastasia (China) and Eurasia (Russia), with 'Islamistan' thrown in for bad measure. The current American Empire is constantly railing against some other country that is, at worst, fighting along its own borders, and using any excuse to kill a bunch of foreigners and loot its own future.

Orwell gets the power of otherization, but what he couldn't see was himself, the Empire he worked and snitched for, and the fact that a multipolar world wouldn't mean everyone behaving like sun and resource-starved Europeans. The fact is that Orwell's racism wasn't incidental to his work, and the picture he painted of Eurasia and Eastasia was just a reflection of his own Empire. Indeed, Orwell unironically called people 'Eurasian' as he turned them in to the actual thought police.

2024 As Condemnation

In 2024, we can safely say that 1984 had a lot of good predictions, just in the wrong direction. Orwell's book was a thinly disguised polemic against communism, but he missed the point. The ills of 1984 were in fact a description of the White Empire he worked for, and by 2024, the evils clearly came from 'Oceania', ie America with the UK, Australia, etc as its bitches. It was in fact capitalism, which implemented war as peace, freedom as slavery, and ignorance as strength. It was privatized propaganda which both censored content and, more effectively, just buried it under mounds of bullshit. And it was the empire Orwell collaborated with that merely continued its imperialism from a different continent.

1984 was framed as an accusation, but it was in fact a confession of crimes to come, and 2024 is the final indictment. Now we can all see the boots stamping on human faces forever in Gaza, and all the doublespeak, thought police, and dubious narrators in the world can't cover it up.