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Item of the Month – March 2015

War Commentary, 1944

War Commentary, 1944This anarchist publication ran into trouble in November 1945 when some of the people selling it were arrested for obstruction outside Hyde Park in London.  One of the five men refused to pay the forty shillings fine and was sent to prison for one month.

They were defended in print by George Orwell.  He wrote a column in Tribune, called As I Please.  As is usually the case with the best of Orwell’s journalism you can quite happily be reading it when you encounter a few sentences, or perhaps a paragraph, that has such a contemporary resonance you wonder if he is actually dead.  From the article Freedom of the Park, in which Orwell defends the publishers of War Commentary, there is this:

‘The notion that certain opinions cannot safely be allowed a hearing is growing.  It is given currency by intellectuals who confuse the issue by not distinguishing between democratic opposition and open rebellion, and it is reflected in our growing indifference to tyranny and injustice abroad’.