Before 1984: A new idea of how Orwell's hell came to be

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Roberto El Rey, Mar 5, 2017.

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  1. Threadmarks: Part Seven: The First Seeds of Ingsoc

    Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

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    August 24, 1936
    Socialist Labour Party Headquarters
    Lambeth


    In the office of the Chief Whip of the Socialist Labour Party, Oswald Mosley brought the heel of his hand down on a mahogany desk.

    "I'm telling you, Emmanuel, if we care to do more than just get through the next election, we must revise our ideology. Socialism is on the rise everywhere. Sweden, Spain, Germany, America--maybe they're doing it in different ways, but they're all for what we're for."

    Emmanuel Goldstein, MP for Whitechapel and Chief Whip of Socialist Labour, winced at some of the things Mosley liked to call "socialism". True, the new rising movement in Sweden might call itself "National Socialism", but it was obviously just a clone of the dictatorship in Berlin, which, from what he'd read in the newspapers, had little in common with the socialism Goldstein envisioned. He would never go there himself--he'd read about the way they treated Jews there--but it appeared to Goldstein that the benefits of welfare and nationalization applied almost entirely to "Aryans", as Hitler called them, while the Jews were left to fend for themselves or, sometimes, left bloody in the street. For this reason he was very skeptical of the German, and now the Swedish, brand of "socialism".

    Mosley continued. "If we don't keep up, we'll fall behind. There's no single kind of socialism--you can't argue with that. It's a flexible system, and it's changing all the time. Every year a new kind of socialism emerges in some new country. England is headed towards socialism sooner or later, and if this party wants to lead the charge, we've got to open ourselves up to new positions. If we keep pushing a single, narrow ideology, we'll be left in the dust within ten years."

    Mosley had a point. Even discounting the German "national" socialism, there was no point equating American social democracy with Russian communism. And since Trotsky had invaded Finland and drawn the world's ire, it would be a bad idea to align too closely with the Russian brand of socialism. Then again, it would be unwise to get too close to American socialism, in case Thomas lost the election. Britain would need its own kind of socialism, and Socialist Labour would be the party to supply it. The challenge, though, would be to find this "British Socialism". Perhaps it wouldn't hurt to take inspiration from a few brethren movements.

    "What do you propose we do?" asked Goldstein.

    "I'd like to visit some of the places where socialism is on the rise," replied Mosley. "Russia, Italy, Sweden, Germany, America and Catalonia, if we can pull that off. A 'tour', if you like, of the socialist world*. I'll do some interviews, make some observations, and bring back what I find. We can use some of the other countries' ideas in our next election campaign."

    "I don't think we can afford to send you to America. And I don't want you visiting Germany," said Goldstein. "You know the way they treat Jews there. That's not a system I care to model this party after."

    Mosley nodded in agreement. "Fair enough. Just Russia, Sweden, Italy and Catalonia, then." Catalonia was a good idea. Since the civil war had started in Spain, everyone had been saying Catalonia was a golden kingdom without the crown. Anarchism might just have something to it.

    "All right, if you can clear it with Maxton and the Party Treasurer, we'll send you. But I want Eric Blair will go with you."

    "Blair, the reporter? Fine," said Mosley, who had taken a liking to Blair in the past few months. "I assume he will be publishing the details of my trip in the Times?"

    "That's the idea, as long as his editor will print them." The Socialist Labour Party wasn't exactly up to its tits in cash. If it was going to spend a few thousand quid subsidizing Mosley's autumn holiday, they'd better get some good publicity out of it.

    "All right, then," said Oswald Mosley, hiding a bit of excitement. "I'll go ask Maxton," he said as he turned out the door. Goldstein sat back in his chair, imagining what Mosley might see abroad. As he picked up the telephone receiver and waited to be connected with Blair's office, he wondered to himself what "British Socialism" would end up looking like.



    * In OTL, Mosley did a "tour" of this kind in 1932, but only in Mussolini's Italy, where he became impressed with Italian fascism. This is what pushed him to found the BUF.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  2. bhlee0019 Just An Ordinary CItizen

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    So.. Mosley might become Big Brother...
     
  3. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

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    Perhaps.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
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  4. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

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    Mosley and Blair's Tour

    On 4 October, when Mosley embarked on his continental tour with reporter Eric Blair in tow, he was curious but sceptical of the "new ideologies" that were springing up all over Europe in the name of socialism. When the pair returned to London on 2 November, Mosley was convinced that every brand of socialism contained a distinct kernel of brilliance that must be integrated into the agenda of the Socialist Labour Party. The same day Mosley and Blair returned from Catalonia, they insisted upon sitting down with Goldstein and Maxton and expounding their findings with zeal.
    MosleyTourMap.png
    Places visited by Mosley and Blair during their tour.


    In Sweden, where the local National Socialist party had just gained power, Mosley was impressed with the strong level of unity. They had seen a mob of demonstrators of all ages and classes march through Stockholm to celebrate the election; such cross-national unity, Mosley said, was nowhere to be found in Britain, save for the workers' strikes that so polarised the nation. He had seen the long-term effects of such unity in Italy, where every citizen of Rome and Milan appeared to feel a common sense of purpose and order. A socialist society, Mosley argued, would only function if the citizens were unified in its name; Socialist Labour would do well to promote this sort of uniformity in Britain.

    In Moscow, Mosley was impressed with the Communist Party's devotion to its people. In just a few years, the CPSU had built thousands of concrete tenements to house the homeless, had recruited millions of devoted socialists into its ranks, and had integrated itself wholly into Soviet society. If Socialist Labour were to have the same effect, Mosley argued, the Party would have to act as the Leninist "vanguard" of British socialism. Even before it held electoral power, it would have to assume the role of housing the homeless, employing the jobless and feeding the hungry. Only then, when the Party had built a reputation as a national body for popular welfare, would the British people give the Party a perennial mandate to implement socialism.

    In Catalonia, that jewel of anarchism in northeastern Spain, Blair had been far more impressed than Mosley. While Mosley doubted the leaderless society's ability to defend itself from the war raging further down the peninsula, Blair marveled at the freedom and prosperity the people enjoyed, as well as the common sense of brotherhood, devotion, and public service befitting only a socialist society. Although Mosley disdained the province in his travel journal, Blair sent a glowing editorial on it to his office in The Times.

    The Election of 1936

    As Mosley conquered the bastions of socialism, Blair chronicled his meetings and interviews with politicians and citizens in his column in The Times, raising Mosley's profile and popularity back home. Prime Minister Baldwin sensed this rising popularity, and he called a general election to be held on 3 December, so that the Social Labourites would not have the time to incorporate the new ideas into their platform.

    This turned out to be a massive blunder. Less than a week after the election was called, Socialist Norman Thomas in America was elected President, greatly emboldening socialists in Britain. The election was already underway when Mosley returned from the Continent; despite his weariness, however, he immediately embarked on a speaking tour across the nation, rallying crowds from London to Aberdeen and spreading the new agenda of Socialist Labour.

    This new agenda was, in fact, rather vague. James Maxton and Emmanuel Goldstein (who was becoming more like the vice-Party leader) would not agree to greatly change the Party's platform so soon before an election, but they did agree on three concepts for future elections:

    1. The Party would focus on maintaining national unity in the future and would try to foster near-universal acceptance of socialized programs of health, education, etc.

    2. Outside of politics, the Party would establish itself as an independent body of social welfare, and if the election were lost, the Party would independently seek ways to employ the jobless, educate the uneducated and feed the hungry from outside of the political establishment.

    3. In the future, the Party would open itself up to proponents of what Mosley called "brethren movements": communism, anarchism or authoritarian socialism. Mosley was keen on allowing fascism to establish itself within the Party, seeing it as "orderly socialism", but Blair and Maxton objected, calling this idea self-contradictory. So, they agreed, full-fledged fascists would be excluded, but socialists in favor of more authoritarian implementations of would be welcomed into the Party. In effect, the Party would transform itself into a "Big Tent" of different socialist ideologies.

    The rejuvenated Socialist Labour Party was growing more popular with the public, thanks to the raised profiles of figures like Mosley and Goldstein. The United States would soon have a socialist government, a fact which emboldened socialists in the U.K. The people as a whole were growing rather tired of Conservative rule, and were willing to give Labour a try again. Whatever the cause, on 5 December, Prime Minister Baldwin opened the Daily Express to find with surprise that he had been unseated.

    Labour and Socialist Labour had eked a joint majority out of the huge proportion of seats the Conservatives had had before the election. After negotiation between Central and Socialist Labour, Central Labour leader Arthur Greenwood was christened Prime Minister, with an integrated cabinet of ministers from both parties, including Mosley as Chancellor, Goldstein as Minister of Health, and Goldstein's friend Lazarus Aaronson, the new MP for Camberwell North, as Financial Secretary.

    Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 9.18.07 AM.png
    Europe in 1936
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017 at 1:26 PM
  5. bhlee0019 Just An Ordinary CItizen

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    They accepted authoritarian socialism? That's not a good sign.. And mosley.. What is he planning?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017
  6. Fourthspartan56 Technocratic Progressive

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    Well they're going to turn into Ingsoc so that should be expected ;)
     
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  7. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

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    No it is not.;)

    At the moment, Mosley's not planning anything special. But as the ideological composition of the Party becomes more, ahem, "diverse", he'll be forced to take a side at one point or another.
     
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  8. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

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    Is this video working for everyone? If not please say and I will post a summary.
     
  9. bhlee0019 Just An Ordinary CItizen

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    can you write summary please, i need to know who exactly is leading finland and Sweden at time of war..
     
  10. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

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    At the time of the war, Finland is led by Prime Minister Toivo Kivimäki. Sweden is led by Per Albin Hansson. I thought I said it in there?

    As for a full summary:


    The Soviets invade Finland on April 12 1936. The Finnish government appeals to Sweden for help and Sweden gladly sends the troops to defend their neighbor. However, 20,000 Swedish troops are killed as the Russians advance across the country, and the Russians conquer and annex Finland by August. This sends the Swedish people into a rage of anti-Communism, anti-Bolshevism, Nordic nationalism, etc. In the elections of that September, the Swedish Nazi Party is swept into power and Party leader Birger Furugård is made Prime Minister. He quickly begins forging strong ties with Hitler.

    Finally, the UK General Election in December results in a Central Labour/Socialist Labour majority. Labour leader Arthur Greenwood becomes Prime Minister and leads a government made up of both parties. Cabinet members include (forgot to mention these in the post initially) Mosley as Chancellor, Goldstein as Minister of Health and Aaronson as Financial Secretary. Foreign Secretary Herbert Morrison says that the government will be ready to take military action to stop the rise of fascism.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017 at 1:39 PM
  11. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

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    To be clear, this is the point in which Aaronson, already a longtime friend of Goldstein, enters politics.
     
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  12. Threadmarks: Part Eight: Three Sides to Every Story

    Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

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    Tukhachevskiburg, Bavarian SSR
    The New York Times, 13 January 1937
    SWEDEN SIGNS FOUR-WAY PACT WITH GERMANY, ITALY AND JAPAN; MUSSOLINI DECLARES NEW EUROPEAN "AXIS" WILL DETERMINE FUTURE ORDER OF EUROPE



    [​IMG]
    Swedish Riksledare Birger Furugard (left), German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler (center) and German Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels (right) in Berlin at the signing of the Quadripartite Pact yesterday.
    The Times, 9 May 1937
    USSR, GREECE, SPAIN SIGN PACT AGAINST GERMANY, ITALY AND SWEDEN; "ANTI-FASCIST COALITION" FORMED
    Eric Blair

    This week, General Secretary Trotsky of the USSR, Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas of Greece and Prime Minister Manuel Azana of the Spanish Republic met in Moscow to ratify the Charter of the Anti-Fascist Coalition. The Anti-Fascist Coalition, a military alliance of the three countries in opposition to fascism, has been in the works since the cross-continental "Axis" of fascist powers was formed in January, and it was solidified with the signing of the Charter on the sixth of May. At the signing ceremony, General Secretary Trotsky declared that the new Coalition will rush to the defence of not just its member states, but also to "any country or people that finds itself menaced by fascist aggression".




    The North Sea Alliance

    By early 1938, Western Europe was shrouded in fear. In six months of rivalry, tensions between the Axis Powers and the Anti-Fascist Coalition (of which Russia was the only relevant member) had reached frightening heights. Two separate incidents on the Soviet-Swedish border had just barely been resolved, and with the triumph of the Iron Guard in Romania in December, it seemed that Trotsky would soon have another Axis Power on his doorstep. With every passing month, war seemed more inevitable, and the French and British knew very well that in a European war, the worst possible thing to be was friendless.

    By mid-March, the prospect of an alliance between Britain, France, and the Low Countries was already quite certain; Norway, Yugoslavia and Poland were slated to join as well. But Anglo-Polish relations chilled over after the Hamburg Conference*, when Prime Minister Greenwood refused Hitler's claims to the Sudetenland. At this decision, the Polish government raged that, since his claim on the Czechs was frustrated, Hitler would only be more likely to attack Poland. While Czechoslovakia would be present at the declaration of the North Sea Alliance in May, Poland would be notably absent. And despite Prime Minister Greenwood's best efforts to coax the United States into joining, the staunchly pacifist President Thomas refused, along with the pro-neutrality Congress. In a similar vein, pacifist Cabinet members George Lansbury, Oswald Mosley, Lazarus Aaronson and Emmanuel Goldstein resigned their posts as a result of the signing, reducing the prevalence of the Socialist Labour Party in the British government.

    Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 7.59.38 PM.png
    The three factions of Europe in May 1938. Dark grey is the Axis Powers, red is the Anti-Fascist Coalition, and Blue is the North Sea Alliance.

    Thus, in May of 1938, three distinct factions had cropped up in Europe: The Axis Powers, which formed a solid black belt across the continent; The Coalition, whose two inferior member states were quite isolated from the red behemoth in the East; and the Alliance, or simply the Allies, which had a core of five members and three isolate outposts, each one uniquely threatened by a different Axis Power.

    *TTL's Munich Conference
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017 at 12:54 PM
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