by Carlo Parcelli

Ezra Skinhead:
The Cantos as "The Anthem of Fascism"

   On the Ezra Pound list last year a series of exchanges flashed and flared surrounding the research of a scholar named En Lin Wei. En Lin Wei, in a critical fashion reminiscent of Robert Casillo's The Genealogy of Demons, claimed that his research demonstrated that Pound's Cantos are a manual for Fascists albeit borne of a fascism fundamentally Confucian in nature. The implication among critics like En Lin Wei, Casillo, and others is that the Cantos' main function is as ideology and that this was Pound's primary intent. In fact, one Italian list member went so far as to assert that the Cantos are the "Anthem of Fascism." The slightly veiled intimation is that the Cantos, if not the bible, is certainly one of Fascism's central and necessary texts.

   I set out to test this assertion by contacting the living, breathing congregation that Pound's catechism was purported to hold in its sway. I contacted Fascist, Neo-Nazi, Christian Identity, White Supremacist and Skin Head groups around the world, asking them what influence Ezra Pound and his Cantos had on their organizations and/or any individuals within their organization. Of the dozens of queries I made, I received three replies. Groups I wrote to or emailed included the American Nationalist Union, Aryan Nations, British Nationalist Party, The David Duke Report, National Alliance, Nationalist Socialist Movement, National Socialist White Peoples Party, World Church of the Creator, Aryan National Front, and many more. I sent follow up requests when no reply was forthcoming. In many cases I contacted local affiliates seeking Canto loving Neo-Nazis in places like Altoona, PA and Missoula, MT.

My query read:

"My name is Carlo Parcelli. I am planning an article on the influence of the poetry and other writings of American ex-patriot poet, Ezra Pound, on so-called Neo-Nazi, Fascist and White Supremacists organizations.

If Pound's work has played any role in the thinking of your group, I would be very interested in hearing about this.

Further, I would also be interested to hear if the works of Ezra Pound have had any personal influence on you or any member of your group.

Finally, if Pound has not influenced your group, to what extent are any of the members of your organization familiar with Pound's work or the biographical details of his life? Also, which works, e.g. which poems, books such as Jefferson and/or Mussolini, or his radio broadcasts over Italian airwaves during World War II are your members aware of?

I thank you in advance for your response."

When I received few responses, I tweaked the query several times in the hopes of stimulating more replies, but essentially the above is representative.

   The three replies I did receive were from Tom Metzger, founder of the White Aryan Resistance; Rocky J. Suhayda, Chairman of the American Nazi Party; and Pound biographer, Eustace Mullins who now heads (or more accurately---is) The National Commission for Judicial Reform.

Metzger wrote:

"I have some of his poetry but it is his life that is more important to me and his sacrifice."
Rocky Suhayda wrote:
"Dear Sir: I will try to answer your questions as best I can. Ezra Pound was a "Fascist", we on the other hand are "National Socialists". Fascism and National Socialism are two distinct ideological systems. Fascism is basically an ECONOMIC [all caps in original] doctrine, whereas National Socialism bases its' tenents firmly upon RACE. The distinction here, is that "anybody" could be a fact the Grand Rabbi of Rome was a member of the Fascist Party...but, ONLY members of the Aryan White RACE can be National Socialists, as National Socialism put RACE before economic interests. This does not mean that as National Socialists, we do not care about the economic interests of our people...far from it. But, it means that unlike Fascism whose MAIN concern was "economics" that could feasably (sic) embrace ANY race...National Socialism is concerned with OUR Folk ONLY. Pound therefor had/has little impact upon our ideological viewpoints, except that he was one of the few Americans who sided against the jewish-controlled system in WWII...and was willing to pay the price for it. The fact that he was locked up in Saint Elisabeths' (sic) and other mental institutions by this corrupt system, simply as punishment for his (sic) just how "free and Liberal" the institutions of "democracy" really are. It reminds me of the old Soviet use of "mental health" care, for those who were dissidents in their evil system. Pound was a man of HIS time...we try to live in todays (sic) world and not focus too much on the past...his writings are of perhaps interest to those who seek "curios" out of historical events...but, not really relevant today. I hope that this answers your query.

For White WORKER Power!
Rocky J. Suhayda, Chairman"

Finally, Eustace Mullins wrote:
"Dear Carlo Parcelli;

Many thanks for taking time from playing Dungeons and Dragons to expose me to your fascination with Harry Potter mythology. Your use of the term, far right, Noeo Naxi (sic or intentional?) & White Supremacist (sic) indicates you are a devoted reader of the Daily Worker. And the ADL Bulletin, and other anti-American hatemongers. You state you have made a number of queries, suggesting that this is a current ADL propaganda operation, for which I hope they are paying you well, as they have many millions of tax exempt dollars to indulge their insane fantasies of an America dominated by the Ku Klux Klan, hate crimes, and right wing fanatics.

For your information, there has never been and is not a far right, Christian right. extreme (sic) rightwing etc in the United States. These myths are promulgated by Zionist propagandists as whipping boys to which they could consign any American who objected to turning over the entire United States to Zionist terrorists. The mythical "Christian right" is a billion dollar industry invented by Zionists to persuade gullible Christians to donate millions to promote Zionist propaganda in the United States. I have never seen any evidence in the Christian right that they have any acquaintance or belief with or belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ, as they are dedicated to extorting more billions from a supine United States Congress to pay for killing more Palestinian women and children.

Since there is no far right, Ezra Pound could not have any influence on something which does not exist. He spent most of his life in Europe, with the exception of thirteen and a half years of illegal impsironmet (sic) on trumped up charges of treason which the Zionist occupation Government finally dropped, admitting that they were without foundation. Your request that I suggest individuals and organization ("s" cut off) that claim Pound as an influence is also impossible, as I know of no such entities. Your concluding request is even mre (sic) ludicrous, that I state Pound's impact on far right and international politics, since there is no such impact. I suggest you return to the Harry Potter childrens (sic) fantasies and leave serious thought to adults.

With all goodwill
Eustace Mullins"

   The one fact that arises from these letters, and just as tellingly from the dozens of non-responses, is that if the Cantos are the "anthem of Fascism" the fascists are not singing it. If it is the "bible of Fascism" then the scripturalists are not scouring it for the practical minutiae of reaction.

   There are those who are 'scouring' the Cantos creating lengthy commentaries on virtually every detail. And presumably they are doing this primarily for the poetry, not the ideology. Its not Pound's ideology that is feeding the families of those academics dedicated to Pound 'scripturalism.' Ask Tom Metzger or Rocky Suhayda if Pound has put any bread on their table.

   The Cantos are not vectored or reducible enough to serve as ideology. They are too variegated to serve as an anthem and that variegation is too idiosyncratic to serve as a bible, notwithstanding the idiosyncratic nature of the bible itself. Pound himself wrote in Canto XVI: "That's the trick with a crowd,/ Get 'em into the street and get 'em moving." The only 'crowd' Pound ever got 'moving' is the undisciplined phalanx of poets, literary critics, and academics whose connection to Neo-Nazism et. al. is imperceptible and whose reaction to it is ineffectual when not non-existent.

   If you want a real connection, the OSS/CIA has had a genuinely deeply felt, historically confirmed love affair with Italian Fascists, not Pound. Through brown shirt organizations like Cicio Gelli's Gladio, the CIA subverted Italian elections, planted bombs in Italian railway stations, murdered Italian leftists and union organizers, ran heroin and illegal arms, along with a hundred other felonious endeavors. All the gangsters were in on it, even the nominal ones like Lucky Luciano and the Sicilian mafia. Expand the geography to include Nazi Germany and you have the OSS/CIA/DIA/ONI/NSC/PFIAB/State Department's Operation Paper Clip which brought hundreds of Nazis to the U.S., including the former head of NASA, Wernher von Braun, and his Peenemunde pal, Walter Dornberger. Notice the epistemological as well as historical continuity of scientific/mathematical immunity between the Nazi rocket project and our own.

   The CIA's best poet was James Jesus Angleton, unless you want to blow Robert Conquest's cover. Fifth rate hacks, both. "I aim for the stars; but sometimes I hit London," sang Wernher von Braun. Now that's a 'fascist anthem' backed up by V-2s. First, we had Hollywood and now moral nitwits like Tom Hanks and Ron Howard lionizing the legacy of the Nazi fuck. Oh, to have mathematical universality translated epistemologically into scientific immunity and thus to escape the gallows or, at least, 13 years in the looney bin. The Americans would never make the mistake the Nazis made when they expelled the so-called 'Jewish scientists.' No, Jimmy Byrnes and Bob Lovett knew that science is a discipline of laws and that a scientific mind was a terrible thing to waste no matter how many thousands of innocents it had laid waste to. A poetic mind that had murdered no one; well, that's another matter. Morality and ethics, unlike mathematics, and like poetry, are subjective. And, in the world of the scientific positivism, they are mere metaphor. The rule of law does not apply because control of the 'laws of nature' is a behavioral blank check for any pathology.

   Speaking of pathology, Tom Metzger's reply is perfunctory. Rocky Suhayda is simply struggling with distinctions that do not exist, but fulfill a certain ideological taxonomy of unsavory needs. Neither in any way addresses Pound's poetry. Both, as do the many non-correspondents by their silence, reveal that Pound's influence is non-existent.

   Likewise the most 'interesting' correspondent, Eustace Mullins, ridicules the notion of Pound's influence. Indeed, Mullins ridicules the idea that the question could even be asked.

   When I read Mullins' biography of Pound 30 years ago, I found it to be among the most enlightening in one particular respect; Mullins seemed to share many of the same personality traits of his subject. His letter above serves as a reprise of some of those traits.

   First and foremost there is the paranoia that Mullins exhibits that has nothing constructive to recommend it.

   Then there is the contempt for popular culture with the implication that Dungeons and Dragons and Harry Potter are money driven and foisted on the vulnerable, e.g. children. The seamless jump from capitalist production to Zionist conspiracy is also another Poundian trait.

   Likewise the remarks comparing me to the intellectual equivalent of a child and therefore an easy mark for 'Zionist' plots, conforms to Pound's paternalism and didacticism. I am easily rendered an unwitting co-conspirator by a cunning cabal of the 'other.' The fact that none of Mullins' "I don't care what you're sellin'. Get off my porch" buckshot hits its mark speaks to why neither Mullins nor Pound have been effective revolutionaries. The Cantos are just not revolutionary material and generally neither are its choices of subject matter, including Confucius. (I would suspect that En Lin Wei's Confucians, the Chinese Communists, are not reading the Cantos either.) From this perspective the work of En Lin Wei, Robert Casillo, and others is what Pound would have called 'a howler.'

   Finally, there is the stubborn denial that drives the Pisan Cantos and that Pound never steadfastly repudiated except in nearly useless anecdotes like Ginsberg's. Who better to write about Pound than Mullins! The difference is Pound wrote exquisite poetry. Mullins did not. We would do well not to forget this in our ambition and self-interest. Look around. The poetry world can ill afford to diminish any of its great modernist lights, given the dumbed down crap that has followed.

   Casillo, En Lin Wei, Bacigalupo, et. al. not only do Pound, but the world, a disservice. By reducing fascism to an aesthetic, they diminish its very real dangers. By comparing the Cantos to Mein Kampf or the writings of Goebbels, they confuse literature, which operates in its own primacy, with dogma or propaganda that is always secondary to political action. Pound has had tremendous poetic influence and no political impact. If this point is not made with the three responses I did get, it is most vividly established by the 60 responses I never received.