Oligarchical Collectivism

The Theory and Practice of
Oligarchical Collectivism
Emmanuel Goldstein
Who is Emmanuel
Look back at your vocabulary
He was once a high-ranking party
member until he betrayed the party
Now he is supposedly the leader of the
What is this book?
It is a book within a book. Winston is
reading it in 1984 and we are reading
what he is
It is THE book of the Resistance
Every member of the Brotherhood is
supposed to read it
Winston tells Julia she has to read it, but
she asks Winston to read it to her instead
Chapter 1 – Ignorance is
Since the beginning of civilization,
there has been three kinds of people:
– The high, the middle, and the low
– They have been divided in many ways,
had many ways, and tried to rebel
– After the upheaval ends, we are always
left with these three kinds of people
*Winston stops reading here and jumps ahead to chapter 3
Chapter 3 – War is Peace
The splitting up of the world into three
great superstates was foreseen before
the middle of the 20th century
– Europe had been absorbed by Russia
forming Eurasia
– The British Empire had been absorbed by
the United States forming Oceania
– Eastasia emerged after another decade of
confused fighting
Chapter 3 – War is Peace
In one combination or another, these three
superstates are permanently at war, and
have been so for the past 25 years
It is a warfare of limited aims between
combatants who are unable to destroy one
another, have no material cause for
fighting, and are not divided by any genuine
ideological difference
Chapter 3 – War is Peace
The war involves very small numbers of
people, mostly highly trained specialists,
and causes comparatively few casualties
None of the three superstates could be
definitely conquered even by the other two
in combination – they are too evenly
matched and their natural defenses are too
Chapter 3 – War is Peace
Between the frontiers of the three
superstates, and not permanently in the
possession of any of them , there is a rough
quadrilateral with its corners at Tangier,
Brazzaville, Darwin, and Hong Kong
containing about 1/5 of the population of
the world
It is for the possession of these thickly
populated regions and of the northern ice
cap that the three powers are constantly
1984 Map
Chapter 3 – War is Peace
The primary aim of modern warfare is
to use up the products of the machine
without raising the general standard of
As a whole, the world is more
primitive than it was 50 years ago
Chapter 3 – War is Peace
From the moment the machine made its
first appearance it was clear to all thinking
people that the need for human drudgery,
and therefore to a great extent for human
inequity had disappeared
If the machine were deliberately used for
that end, hunger, overwork, dirt, illiteracy,
and disease could be eliminated within a
few generations.
Chapter 3 – War is Peace
The machine did raise the standard of
living of the average human being
very greatly over a period of about
fifty years at the end of the 19th and
beginning of the 20th century
Chapter 3 – War is Peace
If leisure and security were enjoyed by all
alike, the great mass of human beings who
are normally stupefied by poverty would
become literate and would learn to think for
themselves; and when once they had done
this, they would sooner or later realize that
the privileged minority had no function, and
they would sweep it away
Chapter 3 – War is Peace
The essential act of war is destruction, not
necessarily of human lives, but of the
products of human labor
War is a way of shattering to pieces , or
pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in
the depths of the sea, materials which
might otherwise be used to make the
masses too comfortable, and hence, in the
long run, too intelligent
Chapter 3 – War is Peace
The humblest party member is
expected to be competent and
He should also be an ignorant fanatic
It does not matter whether the war is
going well or badly – all that is needed
is that a state of war should exist
Chapter 3 – War is Peace
The two aims of the party:
– To conquer the whole surface of the
– To extinguish once and for all the
possibility of independent thought
Chapter 3 – War is Peace
All three powers continue to produce atomic
bombs and store them up but don’t use
War has remained the same for 30-40 years
– Helicopters still used
– Bombing planes have been replaced by selfpropelled projectiles
– Tank, torpedo, submarine, rifle, hand grenade
still in use
Chapter 3 – War is Peace
All three superstates need to make sure
there is no contact with foreigners because
they would realize that they are all similar
and have been told lies
The conditions of life in all three superstates
are very much the same
– Political systems similar
– Similar ruling groups
Chapter 3 – War is Peace
The war is waged by each ruling group
against its own subjects and the
object of war is not to make or
prevent conquests of territory, but to
keep the structure of society in tact
This is the meaning of “War is Peace”
At this point Winston goes back to Chapter 1
Chapter 1 – Ignorance is
Back to the three groups (upper,
middle, and lower classes)
They have always had the same
– Upper – Stay where they are
– Middle – Change places with the upper
– Lower – Create a society in which
everyone is equal
Chapter 1 – Ignorance is
With the development of machines it was no
longer necessary to have the classes
anymore – there was enough of everything
for everyone to be wealthy
– But the upper class wouldn’t allow this
The advances in technology also allowed
people to be under constant surveillance
Chapter 1 – Ignorance is
Each of the three superstates cannot
be conquered except through slow
demographic changes which a
government with wide powers can
easily avert
Chapter 1 – Ignorance is
Problem is overproduction – need to
keep the lower classes needy
War uses up goods and takes care of
the surplus
Chapter 1 – Ignorance is
Big Brother:
– Infallible
– All powerful
– All good things are because of his
– He will never die – no one knows when
he was born
– He is the guise in which the Party
chooses to represent itself to the world
Chapter 1 – Ignorance is
In Oceania there is no law
Thoughts and actions which, when
detected, mean certain death are NOT
formally forbidden, and the endless purges,
arrests, tortures, imprisonments, and
vaporizations are not inflicted as
punishments for crimes which have actually
been committed, but are merely the wipingout of persons who might perhaps commit a
crime at some time in the future
Chapter 1 – Ignorance is
The contradictions in the government
are necessary so that the government
can retain power forever
The entire government depends on