Por Pedro José González López.
“Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland, Beasts of every land and clime, hearken to my joyful tidings, of the Golden future time”, was the song that Old Major, the oldest pig in the Manor Farm, sang to sow the seed of the “animal revolution”.
Animal Farm by George Orwell is a classic. It is a kind of satire of the Russian Revolution; how the February Revolution of 1917 defeat Zar Nicolas II (Mr. Jones, the farmer), and later, with the October Revolution, how the “proletarian dictatorship” is established in the government. The novel shows us in a sarcastic way how after the death of the October revolution’s leader Vladimir Lenin (Old Major) ⎯his two main followers⎯Leon Trotsky (Snowball) and Joseph Stalin (Napoleon), fought to take the power of the Union ⎯the power was finally taken by Stalin.
Apart from being a satire, it is a warning for the population of all over the world. Surely, Orwell wrote this novel as an upset leftist person with the promises of “equality” after what he saw in the Spanish Civil War (where he worked as a reporter for the BBC). During this period of time, Orwell figured out that any kind of political ideology reigning in Europe ⎯fascism or socialism⎯was harmful to the citizens of a country.
The author portrays different kinds of animals as a representation of different social classes. First, the pigs represent the elite and the political class (which is always the same). They are represented mainly by Napoleon and Snowball. Secondly, the hens, sheep, and cows, are the middle class.
But you must put your attention in the figure of Boxer, the most laborious horse in the farm, and in Old Benjamin, the donkey. The former one represents the hard-working class; the curious thing is he never complains about the government’s unfair policies. He always worked hard, until he eventually dies alone in a slaughterhouse after he becomes old and useless to the politicians. Meanwhile, the donkey is a representation of those citizens and public figures who, knowing what is going on in the government departments, do nothing absolutely nothing.
Changing things up, let focus on Argentina on the twenty-first Century. We are living in a kind of Animal Farm where, while the politicians are filling their pockets with high taxes they must pay, which are not inverted for the welfare of the country. The object of these tributary charges has nothing to do with a program of development and progress.
We, the people, also have to blame for that. Not only are we voting and legitimating a system that implies tyranny as is the modern democracy, but also agreeing with unfair laws; resembling what happens in the Animal Farm with Napoleon’s decrees. Furthermore, a point which must ring a bell is related to the “crack” that divides our society, the fighting between the two major political parties. All controversies about which one is the best, when both are the same and, at some point, partners.
The political class, to justify their decrees and unfair laws, wants us to believe that we live in a permanent state of war, as Napoleon does in the Animal Farm with the fake stories of Snowball attacking the farm in the night and blaming him for all the awful things that happen. As to put an example: the war against the inflation, the war against the patriarchy, the war against the coronavirus, the war against the farm, etc.; things that only divide our society and do not let us to see the real enemy, who comes from abroad. Orwell also put emphasis on this phenomenon in one of his other great novels, “1984”.
The animals forget quickly what the original Commandments said and what the pigs made, but we humans also do it too. At the time of voting and choosing a representative, we tend to forget quickly what that person has promised in his political campaign or what he did when he had the power in the past. So we are, in part, partners in their crimes.
The Constitution is only valid when they need to acquire the power. After that, it becomes just but some printed paper about some kind of obligations of the political class and the rights of the people.
And the funniest thing at the end of the Animal Farm ⎯which also happens in real life⎯is that the pigs start to do what they promise never to do: walking in two legs, sleeping on a bed and drinking alcohol. In our world, maybe a person with good-intended thoughts wants to change how things are working, but, at the end, he never changes and repeats the same things he usually does. Instead of giving up, he keeps in the political class forever doing what he refused to do in the political campaign.
On the contrary, as we can see in reality, a few huge dogs or a little group of armed people cannot confront a group of angry people. We have to remember they are willing to defeat the unfair decrees and laws of the government. This is because when citizens rise, the game is over for the political thief class, as seen at the end of the Animal Farm novel.
Saint Thomas Aquinas says in the Summa Theologiae I-II, Quaestio 96, art. 4 that a law could be unfair because: (i) it is against the common welfare, but in favor of the individual good of the principle (politician); (ii) it is against the faculties that were given to the politician; or (iii) when the onus to a citizen is unfair in relation with the others. So, if a human law is unfair, it is not only a right but also a moral obligation to break it.
In conclusion, I must warn the lector: I do not want to call for a violent rebellion, but to a pacific one. We, the people, are not compelled to obey the laws and decrees if our conscience tells us that they are unfair.
Politicians in Argentina need to know that they are elected by the people, and they are not gods of the nation. The power of the people is given by God. And, as that power is given, it could also be revoked. Human beings are not perfect, but we must try to reach the maximum perfection as we can.
To sum up, we need to take Animal Farm by George Orwell as a compulsory book to know how harmful is to give unlimited power to a small circle of people. Moreover, to highlight how it is possible that the only ones who really work to move the country forward, result the most harmed. For that reason, we must know that politicians are humans as well, so they are imperfect, just like us. So, we must control the acts they perform in the government and never give in to any unfair law.
Pedro José González López