[Marxism] Fwd: Fascist art | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Aug 11 13:42:54 MDT 2014

When Frank Rosengarten went over to Italy in 1956 to work on his 
dissertation, he planned on researching Vasco Pratolini, a novelist best 
known for “Il quartiere”, a work known as “The Naked Streets” in 
English. He had been told that Pratolini was a Communist, an affiliation 
that made sense given the strong identification he had with his 
working-class protagonists. He seemed at first blush to have all the 
right connections, developing a friendship with Roberto Rossellini 
during WWII, fighting with the partisans against Il Duce and the Nazis, 
and developing a whole body of work that was similar to that of Ignacio 
Silone if not as well known.

Eventually Frank discovered to his complete surprise that Pratolini was 
a card-carrying member of the Fascist party until the late 1930s:

"The fact is – and it is a difficult fact to grasp – young Pratolini 
looked on Fascism as marking a revolutionary turn in Italian history, a 
new order that would redeem the working class and establish a society of 
equals, based on labor, with the state assuming the role of 
disciplinarian, making sure that private interest groups would never 
threaten the lives of the Italian masses. He even believed that Fascism 
had a universal and liberating role to play in the world. His 
disillusionment therefore was doubly painful. The empty space in his 
ideological universe was filled by the only political force that, in his 
view, in the Italy of 1943 to 1945, could bring about the revolution 
that Fascism had left unrealized, namely the renascent Italian Communist 
Party led by Palmiro Togliatti. And behind Togliatti there was the great 
Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci, whose writings Pratolini began to read, 
in fragmentary and clandestine publications, in 1944 or 1945."

I doubt that Frank, who died a couple of weeks ago after a year long 
battle with prostate cancer, was well enough to have attended the show 
on Italian Futurism at the Guggenheim but I am sure he would have been 
reminded of Pratolini.

I attended the show yesterday with long-time friend and Marxmail 
co-moderator Les Schaffer and was amazed to discover how a generation of 
Italy’s most talented artists could have lent themselves to the fascist 
cause. As we walked down the ramp, the paintings and other art works had 
the same kind of bold spirit and experimental drive as Russian art of 
the early 1920s.

full: http://louisproyect.org/2014/08/11/fascist-art/

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