Poetry News

Ezra Pound's Daughter Sues Italian Fascist Group CasaPound

By Harriet Staff

Jacket Copy reports that a far-right Italian group called CasaPound is being sued by Ezra Pound's daughter, Mary de Rachewiltz, who is 86, after a group sympathizer in Florence went on a shooting spree, killing two men from Senegal, wounding three others and then killing himself:

CasaPound has distanced itself from the shooter, who had spoken at group meetings. "We are very sorry about this. She doesn't really know about us. We are not racist or violent," Simone di Stefano, an official with the group, told the Guardian. "We would like to resolve this out of the courts -- Pound is not a trademark and anyone can refer to his ideas."

De Rachewiltz, for her part, does not think the organization should use her father's name. "A politically compromised organisation like this has no business using the name Pound," she told the Guardian. She points to his work as explanation. "Pound was not leftwing or rightwing and you have to understand The Cantos to understand that. It is also a question of style. I have seen pictures of their shaven-headed leader and it does not impress me."

We read up a little bit on CasaPound. From a November article in the Tapei Times called "Italian fascists staying true to Mussolini":

By holding cultural debates on themes as diverse as revolutionary Che Guevara and author Jack Kerouac, CasaPound has sought to separate itself from Italy’s old-style, street-fighting neo-fascists. The group is named after Ezra Pound, the US poet who sided with Mussolini during the war.

Mussolini’s racial laws were “a mistake,” di Stefano said.

“We believe in the national community and the Jews in Italy are part of that,” he said.

As for Pound’s own anti--semitism, “at the time it was very common throughout the world.”

The organization steers clear of what di Stefano, 35, calls fascist “nostalgia” and focuses on promoting cheap housing and occupying empty properties. The movement also runs a telephone helpline to counter loan sharks and dispatches members to help out during natural disasters.

CasaPound’s approach to economics is pure Mussolini, with an emphasis on renationalization. On immigration, the stance is typical of the far right.

“We want to stop it. Low-cost immigrant workers mean Italians are unable to negotiate wages, while the immigrants are exploited,” he said.

Di Stefano denied claims of its members attacking left-wing rallies and defends the behavior of CasaPound supporters — who have got into the habit of whipping each other with their belts in the moshpit during gigs by the band led by CasaPound’s president, Gianluca Iannone.

Originally Published: January 2nd, 2012