One of the independent minded leftists that I admire is George Orwell, the writer of “Animal Farm” and “1984.” Orwell was a democratic socialist, like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Unlike many leftists in the 1930s, Orwell never fell for the cult of personality surrounding Joseph Stalin. Orwell was critical of the show trials and purges in the Soviet Union that resulted in the killings of millions of people. His encounters with factional fighting among communists, anarchists and socialists during the Spanish Civil War made Orwell wary of rigid ideologues. Orwell wanted a socialism with the checks and balances that would prevent the abuse of power that he observed with Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union.
Orwell wrote “Animal Farm” and “1984” as a critique on Stalinism and a warning against authoritarian governments.
Here is a video with a general overview of George Orwell’s contribution to literature.