Study Guide

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti - Vorticists for Violence

Vorticists for Violence

This group riffed off of Wyndham Lewis's Vorticist movement—because according to its founding member (Marinetti), that's the way movements are born: by giving the beat-down to other groups. If it seems reactionary, that's because it is. Lewis may have been a real crank, but Marinetti was even more cantankerous.

Many of these meetings disintegrated into snark fests. Even though expert art critics still don't know exactly what Vorticism was, they do know that it involved lots of painting and rejecting middle-class Victorian family values. This was enough of a foundation for the spin-off group Vorticists for Violence to develop. VFV just took the ideas of Vorticism and gave all of it a belligerent angle. It's not enough to stir people to action—you have to get them going with a little hand-to-hand combat.

Ezra Pound
Reluctant President

Ezra didn't exactly jump at the chance to lead VFV. He loved fascism and radical upheaval and all, but ultimately he was a poet who preferred to compose lengthy pieces (called "Cantos") in several different languages and full of references that no one understood except maybe T.S. Eliot—and even he may have been pretending.

Wyndham Lewis
Propagandist

Although he was at first reluctant to work in someone else's Vorticist organization, Lewis was so good at PR that he couldn't resist. He would throw together amazing posters full of aggressive fonts and superlatives telling the people what they needed to hear, know, and do.

Benito Mussolini
Battle Orchestration

Mussolini—a.k.a. Il Duce—was a shoe-in for leader and organizer of all violent activity. Participants in skirmishes never wore shirts (it's all about the macho, memba?); we're talking a 1930's version of Fight Club here. Benito always peppered fascist ideas into the battle plan. The goal: Militant to the max. The motto: "War: What is it good for? Absolutely everything."