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Sunday, 1 July 2018

No, George Orwell Wasn’t a Spy for British Intelligence (or a crypto-Right-winger)

Tom Secker 

Ever since the revelation that the radical author George Orwell had provided names of possible communists to British intelligence, liberal revisionists have claimed he was a crypto-racist and a British spy. Any honest examination of the available documents shows that not only is this untrue, Orwell was the subject of surveillance and investigation by British intelligence for over a decade.

To many, he came close to being a secular saint. George Orwell, born 115 years ago on Monday, was the writer who…
The Independent recently ran an article asking if Orwell was ‘secretly a reactionary snitch’. It recounts how in 1996 the declassification of a Foreign Office file chronicling a meeting between Orwell and an agent of the FCO in 1949 shocked many readers and admirers of Orwell’s writings.

Orwell had met with his friend Celia Kirwan, who worked for the Information Research Department — an FCO unit devoted to gathering information on suspected communists and carrying out anti-communist propaganda operations. He provided her with a list of 38 names of people he suspected to be pro-Stalin or fellow travelers.

In 1948 the post-war Labour government set up an anti-Communist propaganda unit within the Foreign Office called the…

Liberal Reactionaries and Orwell’s ‘Jewish Question’


Even before the list itself became available, left-wing critics laid into Orwell for his supposed racism. Alexander Cockburn, who is otherwise an excellent writer and journalist, said:
There seems to be general agreement by Orwell’s fans, left and right, to skate gently over Orwell’s suspicions of Jews, homosexuals and blacks.
When Cockburn wrote that in 1998 he was right — there was a tendency for Orwell’s fans to simply avoid this question. However, by the time Ben Norton arrived on the scene trying to draw attention to himself by endorsing the idea that Orwell was a secret bigot, that opinion had spread all over the internet.

Norton’s article is full of attention-grabbing phrases like ‘reactionary snitch’, ‘outright counter-revolutionary snitch’ and ‘the first in a long line of Trots-turned-neocons.’

What is missing from his analysis is any facts. 

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