What are a few of the differences between Communism and Animalism?

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vanertc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although there is more than one type of communist system, George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a satire on the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the ruthless reign of Joseph Stalin, who created a communist society based on the philosophies of Karl Marx. To understand the differences between Animalism and Marxist communism, we must understand the basic principles of each.

In the novel, Animalism is founded by the boar Old Major (and, you guessed it, he represents Karl Marx himself). Under the rule of the pigs, Animalism is summed up in seven commandments, as follows:

  1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.

  2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.

  3. No animal shall wear clothes.

  4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.

  5. No animal shall drink alcohol.

  6. No animal shall kill any other animal.

  7. All animals are equal.

Initially, we can see through these rules that they are trying to replace the tsarist regime of Mr. Jones with an egalitarian society in which they are all equal. So let’s see how Animalism compares to communism. Marx believed that three steps were necessary to produce the perfect communist society:

1.The existing government must be totally destroyed via revolution, to make way for the new government.

Yes, the animals run Mr. Jones off the farm and twice they successfully defend Animal Farm from intruding humans, but they do not entirely change the way the farm is governed. The pigs merely take over Mr. Jones’ role as dictator. The animals are still overworked proletarians (working class), living off meager rations of food and unable to make their own choices. The commandments designed to create equality are gradually altered by the pigs to accommodate their own greed. The farm begins with a tsarist regime and it continues under one, so technically, Animalism is different from communism on this point.

2. Next, communists believed that the new government must have autocratic rule, meaning an individual or an elite group is to have total control over the masses. This way society can have completely molded systems of education, economy, religion, agriculture, labor, etc. Citizens are not to own property, only the government, with the idea that resources will be doled out evenly to all, an idea called collectivism.

In this regard Animalism is very closely molded after communism, since Napoleon becomes dictator, as Joseph Stalin did following the Russian Revolution. He uses his dogs like the KGB to enforce his rules and allows certain pigs to be part of his elite group. They make and enforce all rules and decisions for the animals, controlling every aspect of their lives, right down to when they go to bed and when they get up.

3. The final phase of communism, ideally, is to become a utopian society, in which citizens can live in peace, knowing that their government provides for their every need. Wealth and resources are evenly distributed among all. There is no conflict, since all citizens are of the the same class, religion, and belief system. Everyone lives happily in true equality.

The ultimate difference between true Marxist communism and Animalism is that that animals become an oppressed society rather than developing the hoped-for utopia. This happens for some of the same reasons communism failed in the Soviet Union. Under the dictatorship of Napoleon, their “market” drops out from under them when the pigs are tricked several times in their tradings with humans, who cheat them out of precious resources. Plus, the pigs consume for themselves any extra resources that they acquire. Their food production is never high enough to provide for all the animals, and so their “economy” quickly weakens. In the end the pigs are too greedy and the animals are too uneducated and beaten down to make any positive improvements.