Is Futurism a left wing ideology? Short answer yes. Futurism is very much a part of the left in its belief in historical progress, liberty of all kinds including free love and a strong rejection of the old and conservative ways of doing things. Calling for the destruction of the Monarchy, marriage, and being anti-religious for most of the movement’s existences. On the economic level the Italian Futurist Political Party called for land reform and the founder of Futurism F.T Marinetti took influence from French Syndicalist writer Georges Sorel. Some of the Russian Futurist such as Vladmir Mayakovsky were Marxists and supported the Bolsheviks.
With that said why do so many people see Futurism as a right wing or even a far-right movement? The main reasons behind this are Italian Futurisms strong association with Fascism, which is largely seen as a far right movement. Along with Italian Futurisms pro war and nationalist sentiments. With most of the western and modern left being against all of these things at least in theory.
However, Nationalism and being pro war are not necessarily right-wing points. For starters there are many anti-war elements within the right throughout history such as Russell Kirk, Tucker Carlson, Alain De Benoist, Nick Fuentes, and Patrick Buchanan. Just like how there has been pro war elements of the left like the Social Democratic Party of Germany who supported World War 1, just like the Futurist or modern day examples such as Noam Chomsky or Ian Kochinski/ Vaush, who supported American troops staying in Syria and in case Kochiniski who has called for NATO intervention in Ukraine. It should also be noted that Russian Futurist Mayakovsky did not endorsed Russia’s entry into World War 1. Nationalism is also not inherently right wing. Nationalism played a major role in the French Revolution and many modern left-wing movements such as the Cuban Communist Party, Socialist Party of Moldova, Socialist Party of Majorca, Militarized Communist Party of Peru, and Left Front of Russia are all patriotic and nationalist movements. The Italian Futurist did not support Italy’s intervention into World War 1 or Nationalism or even Fascism for right wing or conservative reasons, rather they saw the war as being able to not only to give Italy more land but to destroy the older institutions like the monarchy, and church. Able to unite Italy and move past old rivalries that had plagued the country. Mussolini and Fascism in its early years held many similar positions on the war for very similar reasons. Fascist also at the time supported a republic, industrialization, syndicalism, and anti-clericalism in the early years of the movement and in their original manifesto. It was only after the war and into the 1920s did Italian Fascism went in a more conservative direction.
By then the Futurist movement began to fracture and go in many directions. Some became Marxists, others stayed loyal to Fascism but abandon Futurism for the Metaphysical art movement such as Carlo Carra. Others like F.T Marinetti and Ottone Rosai became critical and openly challenged the conservative change within Fascism but tried to work from within party and law as much as possible but largely unsuccessful and became marginal figures over time.
Other Unorthodox Left-Wing Views
While Marinetti and the Futurist were supporters of historical progress with Marinetti going as far to say “You ought to fear everything from the moss grown Past. All your hope should be in the Future. Put your trust in Progress, which is always right even when it is wrong, because it is movement, life, struggle, hope.” Like the Left the Futurist believed that the Future will be better than the past, and the new will always be better than the old. Were the Futurist differ from the rest of the left is that they never believe in an end to history or achieving a utopia were most if not all the world problems and struggles are solved.
Rather the Futurist believe that life will always be a constant struggle and that’s how the world should be. That the new will always be replacing the old, the weak, and eventually themselves.
Another Unorthodox view is that the Futurist and Marinetti in particularly did not pay lip service to the idea of equalitarianism a major part of left-wing ideology, with the idea being mostly absent from Marinetti’s writings. Even when the Futurist were on the side of equalitarian causes such as women suffrage and the destruction of older hierarchies, the Futurists did so for other reasons such as the old being better than the new and in the case for women suffrage to lead to the destruction of marriage and men becoming more attached to machines than their female counter parts. The last view was criticized by other Futurists such Valentine de Saint Point believing that a mixture of masculine and feminine traits was the future. At the same time Valentine did not believe that men and women should have equal rights believing that equal rights would destroy womens pursuit for a better future.
The final unorthodox belief is that the futurists especially the Italian branch has a strong respect for the solider and warrior. Arguably seeing them as part of the main drive of history and seeing them as highest level of society.
To conclude this article, yes Futurism is a left-wing ideology that has some unorthodox views from the rest of the left but is still part of the left, nevertheless. One could say that Futurism is a solider or warrior form of leftism. Futurism could also be seen as a less utopian and equalitarian part of the left. Along with being a bit more pragmatic when it comes to ideas such as Fascism and Communism, if they can serve Futurist purposes.