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9 - Politics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2014

Ira B. Nadel
Affiliation:
University of British Columbia, Vancouver
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Summary

Ezra Pound's politics are a unique alloy of Jeffersonian populism, Chinese Confucianism, and his heterodox interpretation of fascism. Pound saw himself as a “left-wing fascist” because he was an economic determinist, but as a firm believer in the Jewish–Bolshevik conspiracy, Pound was also to the right of most Italian fascists, closer to their Nazi cousins. During his incarceration at St. Elizabeths, 1945–58, Pound reappeared as an American-style right-wing extremist. Convinced that the Supreme Court justices were communists, Pound worked through surrogates to attempt to prevent the integration of American schools and roll back the liberal judicial activism that threatened his strict constructionist and thoroughly Jeffersonian view of the US Constitution. Pound believed that a corrupt economic system meant a corrupt politics; inevitably, war, famines, and general devastation must follow; therefore economic change must precede political change.

Pound's politics evolved because his imagination was syncretic; he found meeting points between poetical, political, and economic programs that others found completely incompatible. The ideogrammic method of heaping like things together that became Pound's main poetic tactic in The Cantos is syncretic. The Cantos “rhyme” ancient Greece with ancient China, John Adams with Chinese history, Mussolini with Confucius. He thought analogically: “Mencius has gone into [Confucian] detail as…Van Buren has gone into detail from a Jeffersonian basis” (SPR, 96). His distinctive “Volitionist” economics was a marriage of Social Credit thinking with the stamp scrip mechanism of Sylvio Gesell – never mind that neither Major Douglas nor Pound's Gesellite correspondents could see any point of agreement.

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Ezra Pound in Context , pp. 96 - 105
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

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  • Politics
  • Edited by Ira B. Nadel, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: Ezra Pound in Context
  • Online publication: 05 July 2014
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511777486.012
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  • Politics
  • Edited by Ira B. Nadel, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: Ezra Pound in Context
  • Online publication: 05 July 2014
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511777486.012
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Politics
  • Edited by Ira B. Nadel, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: Ezra Pound in Context
  • Online publication: 05 July 2014
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511777486.012
Available formats
×