The Road to Wigan Pier 2.doc

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Political Science
POL 1201
Elizabeth Beaumont

The Road to Wigan Pier part 2 Given the problems Orwell sees, why isn't there greater support for socialism? • "Form one point of view, Socialism is such elementary common sense that I am sometimes amazed that it has not established itself already. The world is a raft sailing through space, with, potentially, plenty of provisions for everybody; the idea that we must all cooperate and see to it that everyone does his fair share of the work and gets his fair share of the provisions seems so blatantly obvious that one would say that no one could possibly fail to accept it unless he had some corrupt motive for clinging to the present system. Yet the fact that we have got to face is that Socialism is not establishing itself. Instead of going forward, the cause of Socialism is visibly going back." Key Themes: • Class: its complexities and entrenchment ◦ class prejudice and class snobbery • Socialism's "PR" problems ◦ Socialists themselves ◦ Common perceptions of a socialist future • The goal of a more humane, pragmatic, "marketable" socialism Problem One: The Problem of Class • Orwell launches his meditation socialism's unpopularity with a discussion class: ◦ " . . . you have got to take up a definite attitude on the terribly difficult issue of class" • Orwell's arguments are partly based on his study of working-class people, but also based on his own experiences and upbringing as a "shoddy genteel". He is a snob and he knows it. • Orwell points out that while many condemn the negative effects of class, it's a very difficult matter to eradicate it: ◦ "We all rail against class-distinctions, but very few people seriously want to abolish them. Here you come upon the important fact that every revolution opinion draws part of its strength from a secret conviction that nothing can be changed." • Orwell things we are deeply socialized to hold class prejudices ◦ A middle class Socialist has difficulty overcoming "the training of his childhood, when he was taught to hate, fear, and despise the working class." • Overcoming class prejudice can't be done by saying we are all equal or "wishing it away" or holding sumer camps: it means "abolishing a part of yourself . . . All of my notions -- notions of good and evil, of pleasant and u
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