Guardian letters page
13 June 2009
Alex Danchev manages to get to the last paragraph of his article on Marinetti and futurism before the word fascism appears ("Workers of the mind, unite", 6 June). And when he does, it seems almost incidental: "Predictably, he saw in fascism the possibility of realising futurist dreams. He was soon disillusioned. His own relationship with Mussolini quickly curdled."
No mention here of Marinetti's Fasci Futuristi party for which he stood for election in 1919, his 1924 pamphlet Futurismo e Fascismo, his joining of Mussolini's fascist party, his volunteering in 1935 for the invasion of Abyssinia, his fighting in the 1942 Italian campaign on the Don, or his joining of Mussolini's last stand in his puppet fascist republic at Salò.
Everything about Marinetti is redolent of fascism. His relationship with Mussolini cooled because Mussolini compromised with conservative institutions and was embarrassed by Marinetti's radicalism. Danchev's tone typifies a long tradition of underplaying the connection.