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Logo of Ingsoc in the 1984 film
Emmanuel Goldstein (defected)
|Slogan||"Big Brother is Watching You"|
"Proles and Animals are free"
"War is Peace"
"Freedom is Slavery"
"Ignorance is Strength"
"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past"
|Colours||Black White Red|
Oceania emerged from the formal political union of the United States and the countries of the British Commonwealth, which later annexed the remainder of the Americas. In that time of union, Big Brother and Emmanuel Goldstein led the Party to power in Oceania after a revolution. Upon achieving control of the government, the Party established English Socialism as the official ideology of government and society. Goldstein and Big Brother later became enemies, because of their different interpretations of Ingsoc. Consequently, Big Brother and the Party would then brand Emmanuel Goldstein as a political criminal whose sedition and treachery meant to overthrow government of the Party.
In the "forbidden" book The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, the enemy of the state Emmanuel Goldstein describes the ideology of the Party as an anti-socialism that rejects the political principles of the Socialist movement. The ubiquitous Big Brother personifies the Inner Party, by way of oversized posters and telescreens that continually watch the citizens of Oceania, whilst Ingsoc demands the submission (mental, moral, physical) of the people, that power for the sake of power is the purpose of Ingsoc, O’Brien explains to Winston Smith:
The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.
In the year 1984, Oceanian society is divided into three social classes: (i) the Inner Party, (ii) the Outer Party, and (iii) the Proles. Although the social classes have few interactions, the protagonist, Winston Smith, attends an evening at a cinema, where people from every social class view the same film programme. He visits a pub for proles without attracting notice, and visits the flat of Inner Party member O'Brien on the pretext of borrowing the newest edition of the Newspeak dictionary. Meanwhile, Ingsoc propaganda proclaims the freedom and egalitarianism of Oceania.
The upper class make up less than 2 percent of Oceania's population. Among their privileges is the ability to completely turn off their telescreens. They live in spacious, comfortable homes, have good food and drink, personal servants, and speedy transportation such as personal helicopters and automobiles and no middle-class citizen or Prole may enter an upper-class neighbourhood without permission from an upper-class citizen. According to Goldstein's book, middle-class citizens ambitious or loyal enough may be promoted to join the upper class starting from a certain age. Within the upper class are the Inner Party, whose members make policy, influence decisions, and govern.
Despite their insulation and overt privileges, the upper class are still not exempt from the government's brutal restriction of thought and behaviour, even while lies and propaganda apparently originate from their own ranks. Instead, the government offer the upper class "luxuries" and rich lifestyles in exchange for them maintaining their loyalty to the state; non-conformant upper-class citizens can still be condemned, tortured, and executed just like any other individual. Also, all upper- and middle-class citizens are expected to abstain completely from any kind of sexual activity other than normal intercourse strictly for reproduction within marriage, since allowing sex in any less restrictive forms would permit self-actualisation, individual intimacy, and intellectual freedom which all go against the Party's agenda.
Finally, even the upper class's living conditions are only "relatively" luxurious and comfortable, and Goldstein's book explains that these conditions would in fact be considered "austere" by those who remember life before Ingsoc. The upper class's living standards could be compared to that of the middle class in today's world.
The middle class is home to the Outer Party, whose members are the bureaucrats that work the State's administrative jobs and directly implement the Party's policies, while not being allowed to have any voice in their formulation whatsoever. They are essential to the Party's success, but the Party will only tolerate them under very hostile conditions. The middle class, including the Outer Party, are allowed "no vices other than cigarettes and Victory Gin", and they are the citizens under the heaviest surveillance. This is because, according to history and the Party, the middle class' combination of intellectual ability and lack of power means they are the ones that are most likely to rebel against Big Brother. They are therefore expected to sustain a continuous, patriotic frenzy for the Party, often being required to blindly accept nearly every order from their superiors, all while simultaneously being condemned to live in rundown neighbourhoods, use bicycles and subways as transportation, and to persist in an ongoing state of near starvation with meagre rations of low-quality food and drink. They could be debated as the worst off in the class system, as they lack the freedom of the proles, and the luxuries of the upper class and Inner Party.
The Proles (proletariat) make up 85% of Oceania's population. They are the lower class of workers, performing most of the manual labour required in Oceania. They live in poverty, but are politically more fortunate than the middle class because they are seldom watched. The Party keep them happy with alcohol, gambling, sport, sexual promiscuity, and prolefeed (fabricated entertainment, including pornography). Although the Proles are intellectually capable of sophisticated views of reality, the Party are not aware of this ability; therefore, the Proles are considered politically harmless. To Winston, the Proles are "truly free" and "remained human". They also maintain their native languages (such as Oldspeak), as they are believed to be stupid enough to believe the propaganda of Ingsoc and not rebel. Despite these freedoms, a few Thought Police officers are deployed among the Proles to mark down and attempt to eliminate any individuals deemed capable of rebellion. Winston Smith notes that "if there is hope, it lies in the Proles".
- "1984".Part 2, Chapter 9