The first futurist manifesto is a curious document. You might expect it to have been written by Henry Ford, or at least an American. But no, it was an Italian, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. The central message of the first futurist manifesto
is to destroy the world as Marinetti saw it, in 1909. Why? To make way for the beauty of speeding automobiles. Well thanks Marinetti. You got your way. A few non-industrialised nations were spared, and the Dutch, to their credit, saw what was happening and dug in their heels, but broadly speaking, cars fucked up the whole world, especially for cycling. It is totally, irretrievably, ruined.
It is remarkable how neatly my loathing of the world in 2011, is matched by The Futurists’ loathing of theirs. Many of their various manifestoes begin with the assertion that it all needs ripping up. Well, seeing as their movement got traction, I think we should all take a leaf from their book. Let’s call this world one complete mess, and call for its total destruction, as they called for the destruction theirs; for it is entirely consistent with the Enlightenment project to destroy and rebuild, over and over. “When we are forty,” Marinetti said, “let younger and stronger men than we throw us in the waste paper basket like useless manuscripts!” If he were alive, Marinetti would be well over 40. He would be almost one hundred and forty. Trashing the car-world he called for, and got, is long overdue.
He said “undermine the foundation of venerable towns”, and I say let’s blow up some roads, an that way make people take trains, or use bike paths. Let’s ruin any possibility of life in the burbs. Bring it asunder. Never mind occupying Wall Street: occupy highways and roads. Occupy the off-ramps that bring cars into cities. Occupy entrances to underground carparks. It is according to the same progressive spirit that made the world car dependent, that this generation should grace the world with the beauty of bikes.