Thursday, 9 January 2014

Foolish & Fertile Fabrications

Official lies produce black-market in truth & Rumour

Tameside TUC produced the booklet above
at the time of the 70th anniversary of the
Spanish Civil War, in 2006 (see Other Publications)
IN March, the International Brigade Memorial Trust will host an event entitled 'Taking Sides. Artists and Writers on the Spanish Civil War' see post on this Blog by 'Barry' on the 30th, December 2013 about George Orwell's comments on the promoting of false stories in much of the media in the 1930s about the Spanish war.   'Barry' refers to Frank Pitcairn (Claud Cockburn, 1904-1981) substantial contribution to the creation of fabrications and lies about the Spanish Civil War, but he failed to mention the defence of lying put forward by Cockburn, who was a Communist journalist and editor of The Week, 1933-46, (a Communist newsletter for private subscribers) that was together with the Daily Worker suppressed during World War II.
Mr. Cockburn (Frank Pitcairn)in March 1938, together with Otto Katz, fabricated a news story that there had been a military uprising against Franco in Tetuan (Spanish Morocco. Dr. Peter Davison in his edition of George Orwell's Complete Works 'Facing Unpleasant Facts 1937-1939' writes:
'This communist propaganda was designed to give the impression that Franco might still be defeated and so persuade the French to open their border; see Thomas, 805, n.3.' According to Dr. Davison, Claud Cockburn/ Frank Pitcairn 'was implacably opposed to the POUM', and Davison wrote that 'in a televised interview, broadcast in the BBC program "Arena" to mark 1984, he [Cockburn] said, "Any damage I could do them [the POUM] I would do".' 
Mr. Cockburn then added:
'No bones about that at all. In the same way after all you are prepared to shoot people with a gun. Well then - as in my case, the typewriter was somewhat more mighty than the rifle. (See his "Reporter in Spain" (1936) and his "Crossing the Line" (1956), which refers to this fraud (27-28)'.
George Orwell didn't think much of this kind of justification for lies, which was often used by the communists in the 1930s, was very prudent or indeed useful in so far as while it may deceive some people for a short time it often led to a violent reaction against the perpetrators of the fabrication once the truth dawn on them.
A recent example of this problem of official lying was reported in an article in yesterday's International Herald Tribune by the author Yu Hua, who writes:
'In recent years, all too often the Chinese authorities have issued false statements inn an effort to conceal the truth about matters of public concern, with the result that rumors thrive as people grope for clues about what really happened. As official lies and popular rumours vie for supremacy, it becomes all the harder to distinguish between fact and fiction, especially on the Internet.'
Mr. Yu Hua continues:
'Chinese people of my generation that grew up during the Mao era have long been accustomed to government mendacity: from the Great Leap Forward's grossly inflated claims about rice production to the recent fib about Mr. Wang's sick leave. (But) the difference [now] is thatbefore the Internet and microblogs, popular rumors spread mouth to mouth, with very limited circulation, and official fairy tales enjoyed a virtual monopoly. But once the Internet and, more particularly, microblogs came onto the scene, the social reach of rumors soon eclipsed that of official media - and official mythmaking's monopoly was broken.'
It is to be hoped that those on the panel of speakers at the International Brigade Memorial Trust [IBMT] event in March this year dealing with 'Taking Sides: Artists and Writers on the Spanish Civil War', will deal with this problem of press fabrication in the Spanish Civil War. 


Bulldog said...

You need some perspective. Have a look at the disgraceful and shameful HOLODOMOR perpetrated by Jewish Bolsheviks upon the Ukrainians in the early 1930's. YOU MIGHT NOT BE SO COCKY AND SMUG WHEN YOU LEARN ABOUT THAT YOU FOOLISH MORONS!

Bulldog said...

commie filth

Editor said...

Oh dear! These days attacking the Communist Party is like kicking a cripple or participating in some form of necrophilia. The British left may be 'loco', but if this is an example of a right-wing critique; well it lacks judgement. Surely Bulldog has read what we have had to say about the 1930s Ukrainian HOLODOMOR on this Blog in the past?