Thursday, October 28, 2010

Preserving the Memory and the Teaching of Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound

by Michael Hoffman | Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

"Bank-paper must be suppressed, and the circulating medium must be restored to the nation to whom it belongs." (Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, Monticello, June 24, 1813).

"I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale." (Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, Monticello, May 28, 1816).

“Neither he (Benito Mussolini) nor T.J. (Thomas Jefferson) was interested in, nor bamboozled by money.” (Ezra Pound, Jefferson and/or Mussolini, p. 64).

This Saturday, Oct. 30 will mark the 125th annniversary of the birth of poet/philosopher Ezra Pound in the frontier town of Hailey, in what was then the “Idaho territory” of the United States.

To honor his memory and perpetuate his campaign for justice in economics and against the authority of money in government and society, Independent History and Research is reprinting his classic text, Jefferson and/or Mussolini, which has been out of print for forty years.

Pound’s union of Jefferson, the small government populist, with Mussolini the Fascist, will certainly strike the reader as the oddest of conjunctions. Prof. Alec Marsh decodes the paradox:

“...Pound's critique of capitalism...is purely Populist, certainly not Fascist. Pound was against militarism...and had little interest in youth cults, mass spectacles or mystic Italian nationalism, which he seems to have accepted simply as the Italian way of doing things. What fundamentally interested Pound in Italian Fascism was the possibility it offered for what Emilio Gentile has called 'the conquest of modernity.' That is, Pound admired the attempt by Mussolini to overcome and control the impersonal economic forces unleashed by modernization. Volitionist economics is an attempt to formulate a practical program for those who have the will to master the forces of modernity — a will that Mussolini had in abundance....It seems clear that the man, not the party, interests Pound. And Pound is interested because he thinks that Mussolini might enact the economic reforms necessary to restore social justice...” (Money and Modernity: Pound, Williams, and the Spirit of Jefferson).

If one knows anything of the history of western civilization’s struggle against usury, from the ancient Greeks to the medieval Catholics, from William Shakespeare to C.H. Douglas, a glaring contradiction will be found not in a conjunction of an American and an Italian revolutionary, but in the appropriation of Jefferson by Glenn Beck, the Fox TV disciple of the greed-is-good Khazar-capitalist, Ayn Rand.

Beck has plenty of friends in Pound’s native state. In Idaho we have a tabloid called the Capitalist Papers which is where the Tea Party and well-intentioned patriots like Phil Hart advertise and are afforded a forum.

Raul Labrador, Idaho’s “conservative” Republican candidate for Congress, is a shill for the corporate transfer of America’s wealth to China. His campaign is against “Obamacare” and government spending (except for spending on the national police state and overseas neocon empire). Nancy Pelosi is his cuss word; Ben Bernanke gets a pass.

Jefferson and/or Mussolini is not a book we intend to distribute to Idaho ignoramuses and expect that they will have a “Eurkea!” moment after reading it. It’s not a book for the completely ignorant. Pound was old school. He dealt in what the Scholastics called “First principles.” His thought patterns and arguments are lush with profundity, paradox and poetry.

Pound was not a snob, however. Like Jefferson, he was a man of the people despite an I.Q. that was off the charts. He cared intensely for the welfare of the poor and the workers. He was big on common sense and intuition and he would cherish a vision of an Idaho mountaineer in 2010 trying to parse his prose by a wood-fired stove.

We’re not promoting Jefferson and/or Mussolini as one of those supposed “blockbuster eye-opener books!” which is guaranteed to generate instant enlightenment in the reader. Since when is education anything other than a lifetime project?

Pound’s book should be in the library of every person who aspires to be learned -- we do advance that thesis and trust that it is not hyperbole.

There is no substitute for true education. One can obtain the appearance of learning by sitting at the feet of Glenn Beck and his chalkboard. Image and appearance are what modern America is all about. Mountebanks like Beck invoke the America of the past as a front for their support for anti-American usury banking and Israeli hot and cold foreign wars; the latter now being waged against Iran, where sanctions are beginning to destabilize the economy of a nation rooted in opposition to usury, and which is a threat to no one except those who believe they have a license to murder Palestinian and Lebanese civilians.

From out of this nightmare arises the writer who gave us the Pisan Cantos, the intellectual who wrote the ABC of Reading, and the courageous campaigner for economic justice who penned Jefferson and/or Mussolini.

Reading Pound’s book is a journey into a great mind. We make no warranties concerning the degree to which it will “change your life” or “wake up your neighbors.” The extent to which this book can exalt your spirit and stimulate your mind depends on the extent of your own personal character and ennoblement.

Let’s face it, most of us are not spending our days making our way through the 100 Classic Books of Western Thought. Most of us spend our reading time on newspapers and the Internet. We haven’t read Aristotle or Augustine, Chaucer or Dickens, or if we did it was ages ago, in a stuffy classroom with a mediocre teacher, and from a motivation to pass a course rather than lift up our heart and mind.

Pound’s little volume fills a two-fold void. First, it starts us on our peregrination back to the tried and true paths and founts of our civilization which the Glenn Becks of our world have suppressed. Second, it serves as a sign of contradiction to the literati of America and Europe as they meet over the next days and weeks to celebrate the 125th birthday of a domesticated Ezra Pound, shorn of his lion’s mane. They want to forget that there was a reason he was locked up for twelve years by the U.S. government and it has to do, then as now, with the life-and-death struggle with the Money Power, the evil which underlies every other evil (Matthew 6:24; 1 Timothy 6:10).

Alas, in this economy, our own publishing enterprise is no longer what it once was, as buyers and donors drop by the wayside. Therefore, we are no longer able to order a thousand copies of a book at a time, with the resulting advantageous economy of scale that such quantity purchases afford. In our straitened circumstances, wherein we are fighting to stave off bankruptcy, we have engaged the services of the print-on-demand publishing trade. By this means we finance the printing of books based on the advance orders we receive from individual readers. If you choose to order, please allow up to four weeks for delivery. Overseas please allow up to five weeks (figuring an average of an extra week for air mail).

JEFFERSON AND/OR MUSSOLINI (quality paperback; 138 pages), $17.95 plus postage and packing. Please do not send just $17.95 or your order will be returned. You must also pay for shipping (see below).

You can order by credit card at this link

Or you can pay with a US check or US Money order, as follows:
U.S. customers send $21.00 postpaid.
Canadians send US$26.00 postpaid. Foreign/Overseas send US $28.00.
Order from: Independent History and Research, Box 849, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83816 USA.

Happy Birthday Ezra!
May we never forget the price you paid for telling the truth about money!

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3 comments:

Joe Mac Lover said...

Michael: You know this book was never read by any of us in the Tea Party! We read things by Beck and Palin and this will save America from those bad naughty muslims! Vote Tea Party on Election Day!!!
sarcasm intended

Theophilus said...

"Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot are fighting in the captain's tower/ While calypso singers laugh at them and fishermen hold flowers/ Between the windows of the sea/ Where lovely mermaids go/ something something Desolation Row"

Bob Dylan

phantomzzz said...

The beginning of the song is about 3 men that were in town with the circus, and were accused of raping a girl in Duluth, Minnesota. On June 15, 1920, a mob broke them out of jail and lynched them. Postcards with pictures of the hanging were sold as souvenirs. Dylan's father was living in Duluth at the time of the hangings.