Futurism Forever has often been accused of holding a dogmatic attachment to the Italian Futurist movement. A movement that stated in it’s Manifesto that it wanted to be thrown into the dustbin of history and replaced with younger generations when the time comes. While it is true that Italian Futurism forms the foundation for what we do, we aim to take the general idea of Futurism, rejection of the past and embrace of the future, build upon it and make it relevant to the 21st century. In this series I will highlight some of the points of the original movement in which we part ways with Marinetti as they are no longer relevant to 21st century realities. I have stated most of these points on numerous occasion on the podcast, but I think they need to be highlighted in text form for easy referral.
First of all, what were the defining characteristics of Futurism? According to Marinetti in Geometrical and Mechanical Splendour and Sensitivity Toward Numbers:
It’s essential characteristics are: a healthy forgetfulness, hope, desire, unbridled strength, speed, light, the will, order, discipline, method; a feeling for the great city; an aggressive optimism stemming from a passion for sport and the toning of muscles; untrammelled imagination, being here, there and everywhere, brevity and simultaneity derived from tourism, business, and journalism; a passion for success, a pioneering instinct for breaking records, the enthusiastic emulation of electricity and machines; an essential conciseness and compactness; the sweet precision of machinery and of well oiled thought; the harmony of energies converging in one victorious path.
Much of the characteristics of Futurism, according to Marinetti, are fairly timeless and are just as relevant today as they were 100 years ago. The Futurist is above all things an innovator, somebody who is flexible and capable of thinking outside of the box, someone who is able to adapt to societal changes and flourish because of them, not in spite of them. What changes with the times are the details of Futurism. We don’t need to be super excited about planes or automobiles anymore. That would be dogmatism, and Futurists reject dogma. While it is easy to understand why Marinetti was excited about these things 100 years ago, they are common place now, and we need to continue to look forward as Marinetti did, not fetishize the technology that was new in Marinetti’s time. Pessimism over technology is not a fresh/new perspective either. Conservative Revolutionaries like Spengler and Niekisch took the opposite view on technology, that it would be destructive and have a negative influence on society and culture, and when one looks at the state of modern man, it could appear as if they were right. But in my view Technology is just a tool that is as good or as bad as the people in control of it. The culprit of modern bug man culture is capitalist consumerism and neoliberalism. Had technology been implemented along Futurist lines, rather than liberal ones, the results would be in stark contrast to modern consumerism.
But onto the topic of the first instalment of the Futurism and Dogmatism series. Marinetti famously declared war to be the worlds only hygiene. He was an outspoken proponent for Italy’s involvement in WWI. He and the rest of the movement took part in the war themselves, with several of them dying young in the process and countless others being injured. While I find Marinetti’s enthusiasm in the war and his willingness to sacrifice himself for Italy to be admirable, I don’t think this position is relevant to American dissidents today. When you support the troops or enlist yourself you are not fighting for your nation, your people or your community. You are fighting for private interests and American imperialism, which in real time means pushing the liberal values that we oppose onto every corner of the globe. This is not to say I’m a pacifist, far from it, but to paraphrase Tyler Durden in the movie Fight Club, “our great war is a spiritual war, our great depression is our lives”. As dissidents our struggle is to break the chains of neoliberalism and capitalism. And right now, as our worldview is in the extreme minority, our focus should be on the greater, rather than the lesser war, which Julius Evola talks about in Metaphysics of war:
The greater holy war is of an inner and spiritual nature; the other is the material war waged externally against an enemy population with the particular intent of bringing “infidel” populations under the rule of “God’s Law” (al-Islam). The relationship between the “greater” and “lesser holy war”, however, mirrors the relationship between the soul and the body; in order to understand the heroic asceticism or “path of action”, it is necessary to understand the situation in which the two paths merge, the “lesser holy war” becoming the means through which a “greater holy war” is carried out, and vice versa: the “little holy war”, or the external one, becomes almost a ritual action that expresses and gives witness to the reality of the first.
While Evola is a Traditionalist and we are Futurists I feel this concept of the greater vs the lesser war is still relevant to what we are trying to do with Futurism Forever. FF is not an overtly political group. We are not apolitical either, but art and culture have always been our main focus. We hope to influence culture through art, so the war that concerns us is the culture war. In my view, culture (spirit) acts as the greater war and politics (material) the lesser war, since politics are downstream of culture.
War can take the form of tanks, bombs and guns, but this is not always the case. To quote Jose Luis Ontiveros:“Culture is a battlefield and its conquest is a necessity that precedes the seizure of power.” Now Mao Zedong: “Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed”. So war can take many forms. Many of our critics have complained that we “aren’t in the military or volunteering to fight in Ukraine. As war loving Futurists you should be out fighting in wars, not podcasting and blogging.” But these are not wars that concern or interest us. The culture war is what concerns us at this point in time. When we have the culture on our side we can engage with politics, and when we have conquered politics we can wage wars that we believe in. Good wars that fight injustice and cultural backwardness, not impose it.
You have to crawl before you can walk. When people try and engage in politics before the culture is on their side it results in failure and waste of time and resources. When people engage in violence without the power structure on their side it results in anti-social lone wolf attacks against people who are usually not in control of anything and these acts do more to hurt rather help your cause.
If I thought these approaches would be beneficial in helping us accomplish our goals right now, I would put my energies in that direction, but I genuinely think it is a waste of everyones time.
So as “cultural warriors” what are we opposed to and what are we in favour of?
We are opposed to empty and meaningless “postmodern” art that inspires nothing but boredom and indifference.
We are opposed to sterile and safe art.
We are opposed to rebooted and recycled ideas (Marvel, Star Wars, Friday the 13th part 72 etc)
We are opposed to modern bugman culture.
We are in favour of art that is relevant to our lives and inspires strong feeling whether it be righteous anger, exuberant laughter or morose sadness. Just make us feel something again!
We are in favor of art that is bold and unafraid of upsetting bourgeious attitudes.
We are in favor of new ideas and demand new heros and villains.
We are in favor of vitality, a strong sense of community and comraderie and a cohesive culture that we can all genuinely take pride in.
It is also worth noting that while, for political reasons, the Italian Futurists glorified war, the Russian Futurists opposed the very same war, so an anti-war stance, in the conventional sense, given political circumstances, is not at all incompatible with a Futurist framework. War can be a powerful tool for social progress and change, but this is not always the case. The details matter, so a more nuanced view on the issue is necessary for the 21st century Futurist. I would like to close this installment with a quote from Fen de Villers Manifesto for Aesthetic Reinvigoration: “Lets break through the walls of creative imprisonment, and march into a new era of aesthetic vigor.”