A Poet’s Legacy: As Neo-Fascists Claim Ezra Pound, His Family Says, ‘Hands Off’

My piece on Ezra-Pound loving fascists has just been published in Time:

The American poet Ezra Pound might seem a strange sort of inspiration for a group of Italian neo-fascists. That is, until one remembers that Pound was an admirer of Benito Mussolini, a defender of Adolf Hitler and, that while living in Italy during World War II, he broadcast a series of anti-Semitic radio addresses calling for American neutrality. Indeed, so stirring has the poet’s memory proved in right-wing circles that Italy’s most prominent neo-fascist organization has named itself in his memory: CasaPound, or Pound’s House.

The group was formed in 2003 when activists occupied a vacant government building not far from Rome’s train station, seizing the property as a squat for homeless Italians and setting up their headquarters inside. Pound’s name was chosen not only because he sympathized with Italy’s wartime government, but also for his criticism of global capitalism, which the occupiers found useful to buttress their arguments for seizing the unused offices. “Ezra Pound said that property we don’t use becomes a sort of financial capital,” says Simone di Stefano, one of the group’s founders. “For us, rent is a form of usury.”

Read the rest.