Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Extract from a letter Basil Bunting wrote to Ezra Pound, February 1931:

ENGLAND. If Wales and the North don’t rise this autumn, there’s little hope of anything but extinction. The new program of the T.U.C. should be drawn up quite simply, thus:
 1.     Hang Rothschild and a select retinue of “merchant bankers”.
2.     Confine Rothermere in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum with public warning to Beaverbrook and the Berries.
3.     Warn Australia Canada S Africa that if they dont both pay up their proportionate share of the cost of the fleet and loosen up a bit on the immigration restrictions, they will be put up for public auction to any buyer who cares to undertake the job of reconquering them, such as Germany or the U.S.A.
4.     No import dues, and a bloody big supertax.
5.     Abolish the game laws.
6.     Abolish the Home Office.
7.     Confiscate the church lands and royalties After that elect a new house of Commons and omit to summon any of the hereditary peers to parliament.


David K Wayne said...

Would 'Rothschild and a select retinue of “merchant bankers” be a not-so-coded reference to Pound's racial bete noire perhaps? The use of 'select' reads as rather ominous in light of the bigger picture...

The 'destroy usury!' banners seen at OWS carry some unpleasant racial-historical connotations too.

Alex Niven said...

Yeah that was my initial reaction. But given that Bunting had quite a bad falling out with Pound in the late-thirties about P's anti-Semitism, I don't think that's really plausible, though I wouldn't wholly rule out some low-level, garden variety (though still obviously very serious) bigotry on Bunting's part.

On the OWS thing, surely you can oppose something as abstract as usury without it bearing racial connotations? Not that I would want to be complacent and dismiss the possibility of it happening in the future, but I haven't seen any trace of anti-Semitism whatsoever in this climate of popular disdain for the bankers. While there are new and pernicious Jewish stereotypes these days, we're quite far from the the time when debt and finance were stereotyped as "Jewish" shibboleths aren't we?

David K Wayne said...

There were one or two placards that were anti-semitic. Of course, Fox news et al seized on them as representative of the whole thing.

It also came to mind cos I got a twitter request from someone called 'Destroy Usury' just before I saw your post. I declined because every one of his/her tweets were calls for Islamic prayer on the hour (& nothing else). Putting two & two together, I declined cos I got worried at the likelihood of anti-semitic rants...