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Emmanuel Goldstein is a character in George Orwell's classic dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. He is the number one enemy of the state according to the Party. He is depicted as the head of a mysterious (and possibly fictitious) anti-party organization called "The Brotherhood" and to have written the book The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism. Despite being a key part of the story, he is only actually seen and heard on telescreen, and may in fact be nothing more than a useful propaganda fabrication of the Ministry of Truth.
In the novel, Goldstein is rumoured to be a former top member of the Party and an early associate of its leader, "Big Brother". Goldstein is said to have broken away early in the movement and started an organization known as "The Brotherhood", dedicated to the fall of the Party. Ostensibly "The Brotherhood" is organized into cells, with each member required to read The Book, supposedly written by Goldstein, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism. Goldstein is always the subject of the "Two Minutes Hate", a daily, 2-minute period beginning at 11:00 am at which an image of Goldstein is shown on the telescreen, which helps to ensure that popular devotion towards Big Brother is continuous.
The novel raises but leaves unanswered the questions of whether Goldstein or "The Brotherhood" really exist. When asked by Winston in the torture room, Inner Party member O'Brien adamantly refuses to reveal whether "The Brotherhood" truly exists:
Winston: Does the Brotherhood exist?
O'Brien: That, Winston, you will never know. If we choose to set you free when we have finished with you, and if you live to be ninety years old, still you will never learn whether the answer to that question is Yes or No. As long as you live it will be an unsolved riddle in your mind.
O'Brien claims that Goldstein's book was in fact written by the Party leadership, including himself, but this statement still leaves the questions of Goldstein and the Brotherhood's existence unanswered, as it could have been an untrue statement made by O'Brien in order to manipulate Winston's thinking and break his spirit.
The reader may surmise that a political opposition to Big Brother — namely, Goldstein — was psychologically necessary in order to distract, unite and focus the anger of the people of Oceania. Ostensibly, Goldstein serves an important role as both a convenient scapegoat for the totalitarian regime in Nineteen Eighty-Four, and justifying reason for surveillance and elimination of civil liberties.
Not long after the novel's appearance, a number of contemporary commentators noticed that the biography, appearance, writing style and political thought of Emmanuel Goldstein closely paralleled that of Leon Trotsky. Born Lev Bronshtein, Trotsky was a close associate of Russian revolutionary Lenin and later the chief rival of Stalin, the latter of whom branded Trotsky a traitor and expelled him from the Soviet Union in 1927. In exile, Trotsky wrote The Revolution Betrayed, denouncing Stalin and the Soviet Union. During the Great Purges of the 1930s, Stalin's propaganda invariably depicted Trotsky as the instigator of all supposed plots and acts of sabotage. In 1940, he was murdered in Mexico by Ramón Mercader, a Stalinist agent.
In 1954, Isaac Deutscher wrote that Goldstein's book in Nineteen Eighty-Four was intended as a "paraphrase" of The Revolution Betrayed. In 1956, Irving Howe described Goldstein's book as "clearly a replica" of Trotsky's The Revolution Betrayed, writing that the parts that seemed to be imitating Trotsky were "among the best passages" of the novel. Critic Adrian Wanner, writing in a collection of essays edited by Harold Bloom, described Goldstein's book as a "parody" of The Revolution Betrayed, noting that Orwell was deeply ambivalent about Trotsky. Orwell wrote of Trotskyism that
The fact that Trotskyists are everywhere a persecuted minority, and that the accusation usually made against them, i. e. of collaborating with the Fascists, is obviously false, creates an impression that Trotskyism is intellectually and morally superior to Communism; but it is doubtful whether there is much difference.
The widespread vilification of President Richard Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal inspired commentary comparing his treatment in the media with the Two Minutes Hate sessions focused on Emmanuel Goldstein. Nixon's earlier decision to go to China, long considered a Cold War foe, had earlier inspired comparisons with Emmanuel Goldstein's analysis of the shifting alliances of the three superpowers in Nineteen Eighty-Four.
"Goldstein is the Osama Bin Laden figure in Orwell’s novel, an extremely elusive person who is never seen, never captured, but believed by the leadership of Oceania to be still alive and hatching his conspiracies: perhaps somewhere beyond the sea, under the protection of his foreign paymasters. Since Goldstein is never captured, the battle against his crimes, treacheries, sabotages must never end."
Drawing parallels between Goldstein and Osama a week after the September 11 attacks, Professor William L. Anderson at Frostburg State University wrote a column for LewRockwell.com entitled "Osama and Goldstein".
Legal scholar Cass Sunstein, in his 2009 book Worst-Case Scenarios, coined the term "Goldstein Effect", described as "the ability to intensify public concern by giving a definite face to the adversary, specifying a human source of the underlying threat." According to Sunstein, since the U.S.-led War on Terror so heavily associated terrorism with Osama, the outrage intensified in similar ways as displayed in Nineteen Eighty-Four. However, he also pointed out how Saddam Hussein, to a great degree, and George W. Bush (to a much lesser degree) had been subject to the same Goldstein Effect.
The computer underground publisher Eric Corley used the name Emmanuel Goldstein as a pseudonym.