Futurism and Politics

By the beginning of the 20th century, Italy was far behind the rest of the European powers. About half of the population was illiterate and the country was not moving forward technologically at a fast rate.

FT Marinetti had a dream to pull Italy out of it’s “dark” state, and “drag it, screaming and shouting if necessisary, into the modern twentieth century. He wanted Italy to become a center for European art and culture. To help complete this task, Marinetti wrote the Futurist Manifesto. The manifesto defamed the natural world and history, and glorified the future, the machine, speed, movement, violence and war. “We want to glorify war, the world’s only hygiene, militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful ideas which kill...”

Around this time, Mussolini, a Marxist Socialist, was editor of the socialist newspaper, Avanti. Marinetti saw Mussolini to have similar ideas as himself and thought of him as moving in a similar direction.

Mussolini broke off from the Socialist movement and created Fascism (from fasces, a bundle of rods wrapped around an axe, the symbol of power in imperial Rome).

In 1919 Marinetti joined the Fascists and produced the political manifestos 'What is Futurism?' , 'The Manifesto of the Futurist Party' and his important political texts 'Futurist Democracy: Political Dynamism' and 'Beyond Communism'.

Marinetti and other futurists were arrested with Mussolini after he (Mussolini) lost the Italian election of 1919.

In 1920 Futurism broke away from Fascism. Marinetti accused fascism of passéism (pass´- of the past).

In 1922 Futurism and Fascism reunite. The futurists participate in the fascists’ “March on Rome”, and the result of this is Mussolini as the dictator of Italy.

In 1924 Fascism rejects Futurism as it’s signature art movement, however Mussolini and Marinetti remain friends. Mussolini appoints Marinetti as a founding member of his Nationalistic Italian Academy.

In 1938 Marinetti opposes anti-semetic sentiments. This is his and the futurists final political act.