Control is constant in totalitarian regimes
Control is constant in totalitarian regimes. These regimes forcefully highlight the fallibility of the human race succumbing to power. It is a reoccurring happening in countries and nations from different constituents of the world. China, Germany, Iraq, Italy and North Korea; these are all countries that have endured or exist under the malevolent control of totalitarian regimes (“Examples of Totalitarianism”). George Orwell’s 1984 explains a society that can mirror some of these regimes in history. They pressurize their citizens to adapt to an ideology using specific techniques. But who exactly are ‘they’? In Karl Marx’s Capital he states that in a developed society, like Oceania, there are only two classes: the larger proletariat working class and capitalist class (793). The theory proposes that capitalists thrive when the proletarians and working class are alienated. Orwell conveys the endless cycle of manipulation in such a regime by using the concept of Newspeak, commodities such as victory gin and cigarettes and the fear mongering image of Emmanuel Goldstein, all of which are distributed by the Party.
The concept of Newspeak is intended to intellectually dull the population of Oceania by simply enforcing the citizens to gradually limit their vocabulary and to reduce the meaning of language. It is used to limit freedom of thought and self-expression between individuals in society and how it easily meets the ideological needs of INGSOC (or the English Socialist Party). One term used in the language of Newspeak is ‘thoughtcrime’. ‘Thoughtcrime’ is written exactly for what it is—the act of committing a crime from one’s internal thoughts. According to Winston, who is the novel’s main protagonist, “Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime IS death.” The idea that thoughtcrime even exists in the world of Orwell’s book is indicative of how once an outrageous notion is given a credible name, the easier it is to establish and have the consumers accept it. Newspeak was invented by the Party for the public but it was not always present in Oceania, Eastasia and Eurasia. Before Newspeak there was Oldspeak. Oldspeak is interpreted to be the ‘normal’ unfettered language used before the control of the Party was implemented. None of the proles clearly remember the past before the Party. Orwell narrates Winston’s inability to remember, “He tried to squeeze out some childhood memory that should tell him whether London had always been quite like this… But it was no use, he could not remember: nothing remained of his childhood except a series of bright-lit tableaux occurring against no background and mostly unintelligible.” North Korea faced a similar problem where a leader by the name of Kim Il-Sung had created a confined system where “information (and misinformation) came from the state, and citizens dared not display the slightest disloyalty to their leader for fear of vanishing into a prison camp, never to be seen again” (Szczepanski). Haplessly, North Korea’s past still continues into the present day with Il-Sung’s grandson, Kim Jong-un, taking after him and continuing his infamous legacy. While North Korea does not have a tool like Newspeak to act as an excuse to manipulate their people, the systemic aims created by the bourgeoisie in both societies are quite similar; to prevent the profitable cycle from ending. From incorporating a new language, the bourgeoisie are given an opportunity to add control to their capitalist society while feeding the rest of the population into a false consciousness. North Korea, in a very straightforwardly fashion compared to INGSOC, does not allow any foreign information. The proles do not have any other choice but to believe what information is being supplied is real and do not possess any outside information to prove otherwise.
For a pleasure deprived society, Victory gin and cigarettes have an unusually ubiquitous presence in the domestic and urban scenery of Nineteen Eighty-Four. According to Marx, “A commodity is, in the first place, an object outside of us, a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort or another. The nature of such wants, whether, for instance, they spring from the stomach or from fancy, makes no difference. Neither are we here concerned to know how the object satisfies these wants, whether directly as means of subsistence, or indirectly as means of production” (45). The inner party mass produces many ‘victory’ products, exploiting the production of commodities in the hands of many.