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5 responses to “Quick link – 60th anniversary of the Slansky Trial: Stalinism, anti-semitism and “anti-Zionism”.”

  1. Tim Dymond

    It’s interesting to read that Konni Zilliacus MP was denounced as ‘one of the most successful agents of the British intelligence service’. Around this time George Orwell wrote ‘In Defence of Comrade Zilliacus’ which pinged him as pro-Soviet.

    I suppose this essay for me shows that words really can be weapons when backed up by a state. Especially when ombined with the attitude that substituting one word for another gives you licence for all kinds of nasty allegations.

  2. derrida derider

    Tim, there’s no way Blair “pinged” Zilliacus as pro-Soviet – any objective reader of that exchange would conclude that Blair perpetrated an ugly smear based on no evidence at all and when Zinniacus called him on it resorted to Stalinist-style crude bluster and abuse. Had Zilliacus wished he’d have won a libel case easily.

    Based on several actions like this, I’ve always thought that Orwell never was quite the paragon of intellectual honesty that some people want to portray him as. A bloody good writer of English, though.

  3. Ambigulous

    “based on no evidence at all”

    Based on nothing but Mr Zilliacus’s own words, I think. As a keen observer of politics generally and of Stalinism, Eric Blair was well-placed to detect the MP’s political stance.

  4. derrida derider

    No, Ambigulous, Orwell specifically accused him of holding pro-Stalinist views that he did not express and so being dishonest. It therefore wasn’t “his own words” at all.

    On my reading, Zilliacus was naive at a time when such naivety was foolish and wrong, but the charge that he was a conscious Soviet agent who hid his real views to subvert the Labour government was McCarthyism before McCarthy.

  5. Tim Dymond

    Perhaps I shouldn’t have said ‘pinged’ about Orwell vs Zilliacus. All I was really doing was contrasting two allegations. Actually ‘In Defence of Comrade Zilliacus’ was (tongue in cheek) praise by Orwell – saying Zilliacus at least didn’t conceal his real views.

    In the Stalin-Tito split Zilliacus favoured Tito. That’s more admirable than going with Stalin, but only just.