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Monday, 7 November 2011

The use of language by capitalists and their media barrons

I've been wanting to do this blogpost for a while now but thought i'd finnish George Orwell's excellent if dark book 1984. Its a excellent read and would recommend it to anyone interested in class politics like myself.

One feature in the book focus's in on the use of a language to portray and alter peoples ways of thinking. This ties in very nicely to todays happenings in 2011 where the capitalist media and their friends in the city use the media to try and alter peoples views and convince them that the cuts are nessesary and enivitable which as we all know are not of course.

In his visionary 1949 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the science fiction pioneer George Orwell lays out a vision of a terrifying dystopian future where everything, even thought, ispoliced and monitored by Big Brother, an oppressive and virtually omniscient government. The diegetic world of the novel is dominated by Newspeak, a new propaganda language in which everything has at least two meanings and which uses language to obscure rather that communicate meaning and truth. Living in a world increasingly dominated by meaningless Managmentspeak – ‘going forward’, ‘learning outcomes’, ‘consultation’, etc., etc. – and by an equally meaningless and equally damaging antinomian Therapyspeak – ‘bipolar disorder’, ‘happiness’, ‘ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder’, ‘life goals’, etc., etc. – it is very difficult to escape the impression that Orwell’s future is closer to the reality that we are facing than most people would like to believe.

In 1984 George Orwell details his idea of New speak as it is called and a way of changing the language ever so slightly but not too much so people will notice slowly slipping in new words and changing their original meanings.

Appendix: The Principles of Newspeak
Key Facts
1984George Orwell
Book Three: Chapters IV–VINext Section >
Important Quotations ExplainedAppendix: The Principles of Newspeak
The Appendix of 1984 stands as Orwell’s explanation of New-speak, the official language of Oceania. Although Orwell felt that these ideas were too technical to completely integrate into the novel, they support the novel’s stance on language and thought in relation to the public’s acceptance of governmental control.

Newspeak is the official language of Oceania, scheduled for official adoption around 2050, and designed to make the ideological premises of Ingsoc (Newspeak for English Socialism, the Party’s official political alignment) the only expressible doctrine. Newspeak is engineered to remove even the possibility of rebellious thoughts—the words by which such thoughts might be articulated have been eliminated from the language. Newspeak contains no negative terms. For example, the only way to express the meaning of “bad” is through the word “ungood.” Something extremely bad is called “doubleplus ungood.”

Newspeak’s grammar is arranged so that any word can serve as any part of speech, and there are three different groups of vocabulary words. The A vocabulary contains everyday words and phrases, as Orwell says, “for such things as eating, drinking, working” and so on. In comparison with modern English, these words are fewer in number but more rigid in meaning. Newspeak leaves no room for nuance, or for degrees of meaning. The B vocabulary of Newspeak contains all words with political or ideological significance, specially tailored to engender blind acceptance of the Party’s doctrines. For example, “goodthink” means roughly the same thing as “orthodoxy.” The B vocabulary consists entirely of compound words and often compresses words into smaller forms to achieve conceptual simplicity: the English phrase “Thought Police,” for instance, is compressed into “thinkpol”; “the Ministry of Love” becomes “miniluv.” The C vocabulary encompasses words that relate specifically to science and to technical fields and disciplines. It is designed to ensure that technical knowledge remains segmented among many fields, so that no one individual can gain access to too much knowledge. In fact, there is no word for “science”; as Orwell writes, “Ingsoc” covers any meaning that such a concept could possibly have.

The particularities of Newspeak make it impossible to translate most older English (oldspeak) texts into the language; the introduction of the Declaration of Independence, for instance, can be translated only into a single word: crimethink. Furthermore, a great many technical manuals must be translated into Newspeak; it is this bulk of translation work that explains the Party’s decision to postpone the full adoption of Newspeak to 2050.

Anyone who says that the world is fully disenchanted world has obviously never really looked at contemporary advertising practices, which enchant the world for the mercenary aim of profit.

Of course my examples i make are not quite how we are today but i wanted to draw peoples ideas to the fact that what we are told in the media and in advertising is not always the gods honest truth. At the end of the day we live in a capitalist society where the sheer drive for profit by the 1 % far outways anything else . The capitalist governments we have had try and use the media and the use of the english language to bend their ideas in to a more softer reality of a neo-liberal agenda which is where we find ourselves today. The so called human face of capitalism. Which when it breaks down as it always will do into a crisis of capitalism the use of this language becomes even more pronounced as the capitalists look to guard their profits and extend them further by making the working class pay if they can get away with it.

I've mentioned the idea of divide and rule and the use of words and language in this instance is a key factor in this counter revolutionary tactic employed by the ruling class.

As Marxists we must combat this abuse of the language and look to point out the capitalists real motives in things. The little thing called democracy leads in nicely here as quite often you will hear a capitalist leader of a country state they are for democracy in their country or abroad yet if you replace that word democracy with the chance to make a profit, A capitalist order of society in other words you very quickly learn what their true intentions are.

So i may revisit this topic again in the futur on this blog as it interests me greatly but do beware what you are being told in the media and by polititians may not always be as cut dry as they would like you to believe. We must learn to question everything. Question the inequality, the hypocrisies and injustices of the ruling class. Only then will we begin to understand the true order of society .

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