Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 09, 2020

How To Change The Meaning Of Monuments Without Removing Them

On Sunday protesters toppled a bronze statue of the 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, England. It was thrown into a river. Some had tried for years to get rid of the monument but others had rejected that as Colston had also donated a lot for various local social purposes. Some of the institutions he had supported still exist.

In the U.S. there are many discussions about removing memorials and statues of people who had fought in support of slavery during the civil war.

But when and where is it right to remove the memorials our ancestors erected?

When the Taliban destroyed a large Buddha statue figure in Bamyan, Afghanistan, there was a global outrage. The U.S. toppled Saddam Hussein statues in Baghdad to some applause but also as an act of propaganda. After the Nazi-led Maidan putsch the Ukraine removed many statues of Lenin and erected some new ones which glorify fascists. Czechia is currently in a struggle with Russia over the potential removal of a memorial that hails Soviet troops for liberating the country from the fascist German occupation.

Which of these removals were right or wrong? To whom?

What about statues of George Washington, the slave owner, or of Winston Churchill, the mass murderer and utter racist. Should they all be taken down? What about John Stuart Mill?

How will future children learn about the bad sides of those men if they go down the memory holes of history?

Where does such iconoclasm end?

Here is a concept that may help to avoid conflicts over such memorials.

The German language has two different words for memorials:

  • A 'Denkmal' is a memorial of a historic incident, period or figure. It is generally seen as honorific. Its linguistic root is the verb 'denken' which means 'to think' combined with the noun 'Mal' which means 'mark'.
  • A 'Mahnmal' is also a memorial of a historic incident, period or figure. But its purpose is to serve as a lesson or warning. Its linguistic root is 'mahnen' which means 'to urge' 'to exhort' 'to admonish' again combined with 'Mal' which means "mark".

A memorial that was once erected as a 'think-mark' can be turned into an 'exhort-mark' by changing its context.

A famous example is the memorial for the 76th Infantry Regiment in Hamburg, Germany. During the first world war the 76th had been recruited in Hamburg and fought with great losses at the western front. A memorial for its soldiers was only built in 1936 when the Nazis  ruled in Germany.


The memorial shows marching soldiers. The inscription above the soldiers means "Germany must live even if we must die".


The main purpose of the memorial at the time of its creation was obviously not to remember the soldiers of the 76th but to propagandize for the new wars the Nazis were planing and preparing for.

After the second world war there were many discussions if the memorial should be removed or not. One side saw it as glorifying war while the other side saw it as a honorable reminder of the soldiers of the 76th who were children of the city. Both sides were objectively right.

In the early 1980s a compromise was found. The memorial would stay but it would be amended with a second one a few steps away. This would turn the whole ensemble from a 'Denkmal' into a 'Mahnmal'.

The Austrian sculptor Alfred Hrdlicka was hired to create a counterpoint to the war glorifying memorial. His work depicts the horrors of war and includes a reference to the Operation Gomorrah bombing in July 1943 which had killed some 35,000 civilians in Hamburg.


There have been other conversions from 'Denkmal' to 'Mahnmal' in several places. Sometimes by just adding a bronze plaque with words that describe the historic context of the original 'Denkmal' or which explains that the good man depicted also had quite bad sides.

Artists will come up with better ideas for such purposes. Ask them to do so.

The controversial monuments should be reminders that we must learn and teach history in a way that is not one sided or glorifying. Setting them into context or countering them with new art is a better way to do that than to just throw them aside.


Posted by b on June 9, 2020 at 18:25 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Leopold II tobe put in a cave: good riddance!
(from an Aussie paper.. do they start feeling the heat?)
In fact the region gov has announced it will not be reinstalled after restoration.

Posted by: Mina | Jun 9 2020 18:37 utc | 1


Thank you. I've had it with all these reactionary platitudes addressing injustices to people who died centuries ago that will do absolutely nothing to resolve those committed today and only ensure we commit the same mistakes over and over instead of, as you put it, reflecting and taking note of history.

Posted by: Et Tu | Jun 9 2020 19:05 utc | 2

At least there are two of us now.

Posted by: Squeeth | Jun 9 2020 19:05 utc | 3

Actually, that might be a good idea. When they took down one of Robert Mulligan's statues, I look up a couple of images and found one from some time ago, where the statue was still standing, but someone added corpses and coffins lying in front of it. Artistically, it was rather impressive and did just this denkmal->mahnmal conversion, but without damaging any of the old.

Posted by: Tom | Jun 9 2020 19:11 utc | 4

Hitler abolished freemasonry and shut down antifa. These are two reasons there should be statues to him in every major western city.

Posted by: Heros | Jun 9 2020 19:13 utc | 5

In the U.S. there are many discussions about removing memorials and statues of people who had fought in support of slavery during the civil war.

So all people who fought for the Confederate side "fought in support of slavery"? I guess this is the meme that has been pushed by the victors to rewrite history..

What maybe 1% of southerners owned slaves, but they were willing to die, sacrifice their sons, fathers and husbands to support slavery?

If the civil war was predominately about slavery why wasn't the emancipation proclamation issued by Lincoln at the very beginning of the war?

Robert E. Lee, who freed slaves that he owned and whose statue is being torn down now in Virginia, was offered command of the Northern army, but he declined because he felt his loyalty should be to his state, not to the federales..why would a person who freed slaves, fight "to support slavery"?

But whatever, let's say with one voice, that the only reason that people fought the civil war was "to support slavery"..history, after all, is what we say it is..

Posted by: Grant | Jun 9 2020 19:17 utc | 6

Well done b. This is an excellent post and finely written.

A society is only fit to construct admonishment out of sculpture when it has embraced an admonishment within, and can feel a collective sense of remorse. Where the work of building community is still fractured and unfinished, suffering and struggle remain the harsh teachers.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 9 2020 19:20 utc | 7

thanks b.. this is a thoughtful post that would require those who have a different view on statues to broaden their view... i like the idea...

so, what happens when people want to put up a statue of bill gates for example?? how does that get processed?? it is true certain figures are much more polarizing... i am sure if it was up to trump there would already be a statue of him somewhere important... a lot of this is shoving stuff in people's faces who have a different view on reality... how about holocaust museums and statues? do we have enough of those already, or isn't it likely some aspiring politician - i am think of stephen harpers work on this here in canada - who want to glamourize something for all the wrong reasons... where do people get a say? to me toppling some of these statues is where they get a say... sure, the toppling of saddams statue was entirely for propaganda purposes.. but so was the fact it was put up... where does the line get drawn??

Posted by: james | Jun 9 2020 19:27 utc | 8

These Social (in)Justice Activists don't care about history, culture or even society, they seem more like a lynch mob for hire being organized by outside forces. Look at the figures they've gone after beyond just figures involved in the slave trade, Winston Churchill, Gandhi, even Abraham Lincoln. I can understand why a German, a Boer or an Indian might hate Churchill over his cruel policies and actions, but why would BLM activist care about those crimes so much they made a detour just to deface his statue? Gandhi said some insulting things about Africans, but did that really justify defacing his statue and embarrassing the UK government so much they had to apologize to the state of India? Defacing Lincoln's statue is even more ridiculous for obvious reasons.

These aren't the actions of logical people trying to enact social or legal reforms. These seem more like the acts of colour revolutionary types trying to destabilize the government to the extent that it collapses and is replaced. Boris Johnston's government is so crisis ridden that I suspect there's a reasonable chance his party could revolt and replace him with a Theresa May type Europhile or even pull a motion of confidence to try and replace him with new Blairite Labour leader. The timing of these protests in the US and how quickly scientists and Democrats reversed themselves on the dangers of the Corona Virus to support the protests, are even more suspect. The Democrats are pulling out all the stops to try to get ride of Trump, however I don't see what the point is. Despite all of his blathering, Trump has continued the vast majority of Obama's policies so I'm not sure how different he really will be, unless their real fear is that he'll actually start prosecuting senior political figures over their role in the Russiagate fraud.

Posted by: Kadath | Jun 9 2020 19:27 utc | 9

@Grant | 6

"Robert E. Lee, who freed slaves that he owned and whose statue is being torn down now in Virginia, was offered command of the Northern army, but he declined because he felt his loyalty should be to his state, not to the federales..why would a person who freed slaves, fight "to support slavery"?"

Robert E. Lee was a high level freemason like all the rest of the genocidal Civil War generals. He left his masonic brothers at West Point and instead led the the south into a genocidal massacre just as the brotherhood required of him. As a reward for this treachery his life was spared and he was portrayed as a hero for what he thought was all of posterity.

Posted by: Heros | Jun 9 2020 19:30 utc | 10

I feel compelled to comment for the first time here.

First of all, this is a great write up as usual and what a splendid highlight of German rational thinking to solve the issue of controversial monuments.

However, I am not sure there is a similar solution in the United States because racist hatred is the very fabric of American society.

The United States had its foundation built on exterminating indigenous Americans. Columbus discovered the New World over a century before the United States began to form in any shape and the original Europeans sailing to the New World in the 17th century absolutely knew that they were going to go settle on inhabited lands and drive the indigenous population out. George Washington himself is quoted as saying something to the order of 'they (indigenous people) scatter like wildlife when we (Europeans) settle', meaning that whites can just move in anywhere they want and the indigenous will simply find another place to live.

So every white person of any influence that came to America knew they were going to steal land from indigenous people at the absolute least. They all then proceeded to exterminate them and to find excuses to exterminate the indigenous all through the 1800's.

The United States then industrialized chattel slavery of black people for over 150 years.

Honestly, those two events make the events of World War II labor camps seem like a distant third if just those three events were to be ranked in order of most destructive, and yet in the United States children are taught repeatedly about the dangers of what happened in WWII with very little real discussion of the history of slavery in the United States and almost no discussion whatsoever of the genocide of indigenous Americans.

The children here are educated to ignore their failings and only understand the world in so much as Goldman Sachs and Walmart want them to understand it. And these children are not really educated at all. The education system is very much designed to keep children uneducated in America, mainly through a financial barrier to entry.

While I do think a Denkmal is an elegant solution to the problems of controversial monuments, I don't think the United States is ready for it. The United States needs a dose of heavy deprogramming for a few generations along with a side of reparations to really begin to address the deep rooted hatred that has been intentionally sewn into the culture here by the greedy slave owners that have ruled the United States since its inception.

Posted by: Rutherford82 | Jun 9 2020 19:30 utc | 11

Re: #7 Grant,

The Confederacy committed the only truly unforgivable crime in human history, they lost the war, Vae victis! Accordingly, historians and sociologists will only talk about the crimes of the losing side while ignoring their virtues, good deeds or complexities. Conversely, the crimes of the victors are quietly forgotten and downplayed and every decision is lauded as being motivated by virtuous intentions.

Posted by: Kadath | Jun 9 2020 19:39 utc | 12

There are quite some references to King Leopold 2 in Belgium since he got a lot of money by extracting resources from his private property Congo and he built a lot of stuff with that.
His private property was taken away from him when it became undeniable that the practices in his property caused the death of very many people. The number which is being mentioned most often now is 12 million dead. I think that number gained that honor simply by being the highest bidder but the amount of atrocities was massive. I don't recall learning about that at school but I may not have been paying attention.
In any case these days there is a general awareness that Leopold 2 was an exceptional mass murderer and at the moment there is some noise being made about removing statues and I had the same idea as b. you can always change the message attached to the references. I mean, are you trying to hide your past? Right then.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 9 2020 19:53 utc | 13

This one touches my specialty (art history).

The correct answer here is simple: there's no correct answer. The construction and destruction of monuments is as old as the invention of monuments. There's really nothing we can do about it, and any artist, politician or ideologue who thinks his monument will last forever is delusional. Art is never universal.

Indeed, the monuments that survive to our times - intact or not - are the exception to the rule, not the rule. They are literally a miracle, a very unlikely product of destiny. Not only that, but most monuments and sculptures only survived to our present days because they were destroyed: in sacks of cities, the looters had the habit to throw the statuary to the ground, breaking them. The new city (if it was rebuilt) would be built over the rubble of the old one. That's why, for example, archaeologists have excavated some 16 Troys (the Troy of the Illiad being Troy VI, if I'm not mistaken). When the city wasn't rebuilt, dust would cover the statues and monuments (their fragments), which enabled us to observe them today.

If those statues and monuments haven't been destroyed violently, they probably wouldn't survive to our present times. In Ancient Rome, sculpture was purely a propaganda device, in a world where mass press didn't exist. Generally, there was one sculptor for the bust and one for the rest of the body (the bust one being the best one, the better paid and the most famous). To cut costs, it was normal for a new emperor to reuse the body of statues of the old emperor, only putting his bust on top of it. When an emperor was very unpopular with the Senate, he would suffer damnatio memoriae, which includes the destruction of all his statues and the prohibition of production of new ones with his image. It's also worth noting that all Roman statues were colored, and that the best statue painters were as cherished as the best sculptors in Roman society.

When statues were made of bronze or gold, their life expectancy were even shorter. Economic crises happened in the Ancient World, and when they happened, those kind of statues were the first to be molten in order to produce coinage to pay for the soldiers or ransom (if you lost the war). When a city was successfully sacked, those were also taken and molten. That's why the few bronze statues from Ancient Greece we have today are from sunken ships in the Aegean.

There were exceptions to the rule: important idols of cities served to appease the gods, and were kept locked inside temples where only selected priests could enter. Those statues survived for as long as the city/society survived, being only lost and destroyed by earthquakes, eruptions, exceptionally violent wars, deep changes of societal rules etc. But even those were eventually destroyed unless by exceptional luck of destiny (e.g. we don't have the Palladium).

So, my hint is for people not to lose their precious time thinking about statues and monuments. They'll all disappear eventually, more likely for political reasons than not. More likely by human action than by natural action. They only matter insofar as the extant society that takes care of them think they matter. Eventually, there will come a time in history where they won't matter, and they will be destroyed.

An interesting fact about Lenin statues being toppled in Ukraine: Lenin hated personality cult. He would certainly not agree with the construction of any statue of him. I don't think any was built while he was alive, or, if it was, with his consent. As a communist, he wasn't of the idealist type, and didn't believe in superstition of idols or anything else.

Posted by: vk | Jun 9 2020 19:58 utc | 14

agreed Grany #6 anyone who thinks
that the civil war was fought for
slavery has a lot of reading to do.

Posted by: frank | Jun 9 2020 19:58 utc | 15

Word is, if Trump gets a second term, he wants a Trump Memorial constructed next to the Lincoln Memorial. I think the greatest American POTUS ever deserves his own memorial in real time, don't you?

Posted by: | Jun 9 2020 20:02 utc | 16

Kadath @12
As a matter of fact the Confederacy has been treated very well by historians since 1865.
And not just historians either vide Gone with the Wind, one of the most influential movies Hollywood ever produced and Birth of a Nation.
Glorification of the confederacy-still evident in the use of the battle flag- was one of the ideological justifications for the Jim Crow era which is still going strong in Minneapolis as recent events have shown. And Robert E Lee has been much more gently treated by history than either Grant or Sherman.
The South, it was once said was "Wrong but Romantic" while the North was "Right but repulsive" and for decades that was the Establishment view.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 9 2020 20:02 utc | 17

Re: Rutherford82 #11

"United States because racist hatred is the very fabric of American society. The United States had its foundation built on exterminating indigenous Americans."

Arguments like that have no weight with me for the simple fact that every country or region in the world throughout the history of mankind has seized territory, expelled native populations, settled their own populations and then likewise been eventually victimized by its neighbours. The Frank are a Germanic people, yet they traveled Westward across Europe, expelled the native Celtic people then eventually created a country called France. Japan was conquered by the Yayoi peoples from (probably) Korean who displaced the original Ainu population.

Heck, what about Alsace and Lorraine, the Germans took it from France in 1870, expelled most of the French population, then settled Germans on it. France took it back in 1918, expelled the German population, then settled French on it. The Germans took it back in 1941 expelled the French population and settled Germans on it, the French took it back in 1945, expel the German population and settled French on it. Rather then blunder into the hopeless morass of trying to right historical wrongs from before when their grandfather was born, people should focus on the problems of the problems of today, the future and the immediate past, because I guarantee you tearing down all of the Confederate monuments (or Columbus statues, or Cromwell statues) will not help your present situation one bit

Posted by: Kadath | Jun 9 2020 20:05 utc | 18

When you erase history, you forget about it. Robert E. Lee was, at the time, America's greatest General. That he chose to be a Virginian first and an American second, is history. Arlington National Cemetery used to be Lee's home. He lived there. Gonna tear that down too? To remedy the mistakes of the past, you need to at least know the mistakes of the past.

These statues are a reminder of the mistakes of the past. Not remembering them condemns you to commit them again.

Posted by: rgl | Jun 9 2020 20:06 utc | 19

Slightly off topic, but a this is the current thread on #Revolution2020 I am posting the news here:


The collapse of the Soviet Union has allowed globalist Capital to establish a 30-year regime of loot and blunder. The unequal distribution wealth has made the Western world inherently unstable. Not only the West, but also third world countries following the Western neoliberal model. Any match may light a revolt or revolution.

It started with the "Arab Spring". Syria was nearly destroyed because of neoliberal economic policies adopted in the 2000s. Ukraine followed in 2014. The root cause of the riots in Hong Kong is the inequality and relative poverty brought by the city's Capitalist model.

In the news today:

The insurgents are establishing safe zones. No fly zones next? - TheDonald

SpaceRussian 1 point 3 hours ago

So. A section of a U.S city is occupied by insurgents. Ones with popular support from the city population. Sounds like the cluster ducks in the Middle East.

Any attempt to move in and quash the occupation zone will be a clusterfuck both in PR and the fact the area population supports them. Reliability of Local Law Enforcement is now questionable considering they abandoned the station to start with.

Given their success here so far. I’d imagine plans are underway to pull off similar moves in other cities along the liberal occupied West Coast.

Local Law Enforcement and National Guard stationer in these cities should be considered Compromised until proven otherwise.

Protesters Establish Autonomous Zone Around Seattle PD Building as Police Retreat - DemocracyNow!

In Seattle, protesters are claiming victory after they established a barricaded zone around a police precinct building that had been the site of protests — and a brutal police crackdown — for eight days. The precinct building is now boarded up. Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best described the move as an exercise in “trust and deescalation.

Seattle sleepless as authorities mobilise after locals declare ‘free zone’

Citizens have declared the Capitol Hill inner suburb of Seattle a ‘free zone’. - Autonomous zone: But locals took direct action and six blocks in Capitol Hill have now been barricaded. CCTV cameras there have also been disabled.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jun 9 2020 20:08 utc | 20

maybe the problem is that we build Denkmale for Soldiers and the guys that send the Soldiers to their death, that we build them for 'men of means and men of stand' but hardly ever for the women and children they abused, that we build denkmale for the rubbish of the world while never ever for their victims.
So fuck yeah, topple the cast bronze of slave traders, the racists, the men that killed millions for their own gratification and lets build cast bronze for the raped slave pregnant with her white owners new slave child, lets build cast bronze for the women and children who died in the blitz and in the dresden bombing, lets cast bronze for the civilians slaughters by dumb fucking soldiers who only obey orders and so on and so forth.
enough of this worshipping the men - and ain't it funny that all of these cast bronze are of men', lets finally remember those killed with nary a thought by the men of class and means.

Posted by: Sabine | Jun 9 2020 20:18 utc | 21

It's well understood in the USA that a lot of the monuments to 19th century confederate rebels were put up starting in the about 1920 by racists.

No one disputes that George Washington owned slaves, but to equate him with confederate generals is a big stretch.

And yeah, the Taliban extremists were destroying culture when they turned the giant Buddas into dust. Destroying others' religion is what many extremists do, look at Europeans in North and South America.

Posted by: Jay | Jun 9 2020 20:23 utc | 22

Thanks b, great text! What we see is really dangerous.
I fear bookburning is next for these crazies. The mob have taken over the streets obviously and the same lonies talk about get rid of the police.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 9 2020 20:24 utc | 23

Grant (9)

Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy called slavery, "The issue of transcendent magnitude" with respect to the decision to secede from the Union. His vice president, Alexander Stevens, said essentially the same thing in his "Cornerstone" speech. He described slavery as the "cornerstone" of the society the Confederacy was fighting the war to build. He stated that he issue of slavery made a war with the North inevitable. I encourage you to read his speech. The leaders of the Confederacy stated in unequivocal language that they were fighting to preserve slavery. How can anyone presume to know better than they did about their reasons for fighting the war? Take them at their word.

Posted by: David | Jun 9 2020 20:33 utc | 24

The problem with changing 'denkmal' to 'mahnmal' is that we attach a reputation to categories of things while formally we treat them as neutral. 'Art' generally has a good reputation so art which you disapprove of should not be called art, even though formally art is a neutral category. 'Intelligent' has a good reputation so when people do very stupid things we refuse to call them intelligent. They are 'not really intelligent'. A statue generally carries a good reputation so people conclude undeserving targets should not get a statue.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 9 2020 20:36 utc | 25

Meanwhile in REAL America

Violence in the U.S.A. 2020

18 murders in 24 hours:
Inside the most violent day in 60 years in Chicago “We’ve never seen anything
like it, at all,” said Max Kapustin, the senior research director at the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

While Chicago was roiled by another day of protests and looting in the wake of
George Floyd’s murder,
18 people were killed Sunday, May 31, making it the single most violent day in Chicago in six decades, according to the University of Chicago Crime Lab. The lab’s data doesn’t go back further than 1961.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger, a longtime crusader against gun violence who leads St. Sabina Church in Auburn Gresham, said it was “open season” last weekend in his neighborhood and others on the South and West sides.

“On Saturday and particularly Sunday, I heard people saying all over, ‘Hey, there’s no police anywhere, police ain’t doing nothing,’” Pfleger said.

“I sat and watched a store looted for over an hour,” he added. “No police came. I got in my car and drove around to some other places getting looted [and] didn’t see police anywhere.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on May 31 alone, Chicago’s 911 emergency center received 65,000 calls for all types of service — 50,000 more than on a usual day.

Posted by: Ashino | Jun 9 2020 20:40 utc | 26

Re: Bevin #17,

The reason the Confederacy was well treated by historians in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War was that the US government wanted to reconciled with the Southern populations and a Cultural Revolution type situation of purging the entire Southern culture was not desired. However, in the immediate post-WW II era, the need for an even stronger central Federal Government to fight the Cold War meant that the US government needed more control of States and southern intransigence on the issue of black rights were a liability in the Cold War struggle, with the Soviet Union criticizing the US's record of rights for blacks in their own country (since the Cold War was a massive struggle for influence on the Third World, the optics on this were "bad"). Accordingly, the US Federal government started pushing the Southern States to start enforcing citizen rights for Blacks in their territory. There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself (indeed it is a public good). But one aspect of this policy was to delegitimize the reasons that the Southern states ceded for in the first place and to demonize Southern Culture in general, casting the Federal (central) government in a heroic light fighting to free the slaves (as opposed to seizing more power for itself as an up and coming major power in the Americans - something the US could never have done if it lost roughly 2/5 of it's population and territory).

The utter refusal by the general public consciousness to admit the complexities (and yes the legitimate reasons for ceding) in the events leading up to the Civil War is being contested to some extend by the populations in the Southern states who see it as an attack upon their cultural identity (which it is). The problem is that there is no unifying identity being offered to the people of the Southern states, originally (in the 1950s/60s) the alternative identity being offered was the American identity, but since the 1990s the Democratic party has worked on the Rainbow coalition theory, which hold that if you united enough (85%+) of marginalized groups (blacks, gays, latino) within the US population you only need a small proportion (30%) of the white majority to win an election - so in effect you minimize the amount of resources you put in to convincing middle-of-the-road type for the elections, all that matters is getting out the base. However, by it's very nature this tactic is extremely divisive because it creates an US vs them attitude between the periphery and the perceived center and the other party (the Republicans) have an obvious incentive to do the same tactic with the groups the Democrats ignored (gun rights, religious groups, etc..). This will not create a unifying identify that people will work within to create policies that reflect the consensus opinion of the entire population, it creates a winner take all, crush the loser attitude which is incredibly destructive for any society (but especially a Democracy).

Posted by: Kadath | Jun 9 2020 20:45 utc | 27

We have seen this type of activity in the not so distant past. Brown shirts burning books.

Posted by: MJ | Jun 9 2020 21:00 utc | 28

@18 Kadath

True, but how many cultures industrialized a slave trade directly after that?

As far as I know, the United States was the first and this behavior is the very core of our national identity. That we gained a nation by exterminating the indigenous is not notable, but we have not had centuries here to establish an identity separate from our racist establishment.

Posted by: Rutherford82 | Jun 9 2020 21:00 utc | 29

Those wanting to save our raciest statutes do have a point--
they are great to urinate on.
Not that much of an issue- a monument to our raciest and sexist past.

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | Jun 9 2020 21:00 utc | 30

The meaning assigned to statues is assigned by we — the collective.
At any given time, we —the collective — decide what one such artifact means as it is being currently observed. Sometime with the obsession of keeping history (however made up). Sometime so, that it keeps such an artifact in the public eye for the consumption of the masses, or to muse about.
Oops, guess I’m doing just that.

The meaning assigned could be, of the great culture that creates such an artifact. —> Bamyan Buddha.

The meaning assigned could be, of the great culture (currently thought of as backward) that destroys such an artifact. —> Bamyan Buddha.

Can anybody say what is the meaning assigned to the well revered lion-headed figurine is the oldest-known zoomorphic (animal-shaped) sculpture in the world? No, We just cherish the history of it, whatever the true meaning might be.

How about Urfa Man? The oldest known statue.

Should we go postal on them, if we ever found their true meaning? Of course NOT.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Jun 9 2020 21:02 utc | 31

As a historian, monumental statuary are important artifacts, the removal of which is an abomination. Much better is the German idea of presenting the entire story surrounding the individual or event. Since all history telling is revisionist, usually the entire tale's untold particularly when it comes to individuals. For example, Reagan sanctioned a very long list of crimes and corruption that killed and displaced millions globally while legitimizing financial fraud and furthering the destruction of the Social Contract at home, but do any of the monuments to that demented man say so? Or perhaps should Nixon only be glorified by his admonition, "I'm not a crook"? Why isn't there a life-sized statue of the car carrying JFK sitting on the road at Dealy Plaza in Dallas depicting the moment his head gets blown apart killing him--indeed, why not most of the motorcade and a short inscription saying No Magic Bullet Involved as much of the memorial is aimed at backing the Big Lie of the Warren Commission. Was there any monument made to take note of the Teapot Dome Scandal; a brass plaque on the exterior of the Watergate Building noting the events that took place there; in other words, how many monuments are missing.

I recall the Greek practice of erecting a Trophy, and as per Wikipedia:

"In ancient Greece, trophies were made on the battlefields of victorious battles, from captured arms and standards, and were hung upon a tree or a large stake made to resemble a warrior. Often, these ancient trophies were inscribed with a story of the battle and were dedicated to various gods. Trophies made about naval victories sometimes consisted of entire ships (or what remained of them) laid out on the beach. To destroy a trophy was considered a sacrilege."

So many in the world are illiterate when it comes to history. Some makers of monuments are wise to the likelihood of people in the future wanting to modify or add to their creation, as was Borglum with his Mt. Rushmore, and construct them to make such attempts futile. There're lots of additional facts about his four figures that some might believe disqualify them from being immortalized in such a manner. Let people learn the reasons from both sides of the debate and become enlightened.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 9 2020 21:05 utc | 32

Statues is correct--
My spell check interfered--

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | Jun 9 2020 21:06 utc | 33

Rutherford82... great comments, in particular the last lines in your post @ 11.. i hope you post more often...

Posted by: james | Jun 9 2020 21:08 utc | 34

Bamyan Buddha

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | Jun 9 2020 21:08 utc | 35

I have just come home, and checked MOA finding this very interesting post from ‘b’ I have an interest in this subject ! I live 15 miles from where that statue in Bristol U.K. was. I fully indorse it’s removal on Sunday! I do have a small amount of local knowledge as to the back ground to its timely removal.
I do appreciate the sentiment behind ‘b’ view here ! But in this instance, at this time and locally here he is wrong.
His sentiment overlooks the present topical situation regarding the planned deliberate murder of George Floyd combined with the repulsive racist present president of America.
Here in Bristol several years ago we had a major problem with racists and racist police.
I’m pleased to say we delt with both !! We delt with them both on the street and through the official channels my city now lives in peace . With out fear of fascism.
Sundays statue relocation to the bottom of the very dock where slaves were disembarked was SYMBOLIC Colston should remain there. As a warning to both American and U.K. governments to pull back from fascism.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 9 2020 21:18 utc | 36

I know Bristol very well - and I am quite familiar with its history. I hope Edward Colston stays on the bottom of the harbour, where he belongs. But he probably will be salvaged, at some stage, and put in a museum - where people will be able to historically study him.

We don't really need statues to teach us about history. Bristol doesn't need those statues, either. They have an excellent Radical History group. They also have the People's Republic of Stokes Croft, and they have some very fine, relatively recent and contemporary, street art adorning their city. I have been very impressed by the way that thousands of Bristol residents turned out to peacefully, but persistently, topple Edward Colston a couple of days ago. It is something that many Bristol people have been wanting to do for many years.

I am sure the people of Bristol will be quite capable of deciding, for themselves, whether to leave the plinth empty, or to use it to support some more appropriate street art to celebrate Bristol's current multi-racial and multi-cultural diversity and/or Black Lives Matter and the history of black people in Bristol.

Posted by: Clive | Jun 9 2020 21:19 utc | 37

@33 James

Thank you for the kind words.

I'm not very well read, or usually coherent, but I really enjoy reading b and the terrific commentary here. The ideas are usually so well formulated that I was nervous to post here for a few years.

To bring it back on topic, I have a hard time imagining Americans in Virginia appreciating if Robert E. Lee were made into a Mahnmal, or had one added beside him.

Perhaps a scene where Robert E. Lee is saluting a contingent of African American soldiers is what it could look like, but I don't believe many in Virginia would see that image and learn a valuable lesson yet. You may in Virginia be able to use the aura of the military to help overcome these prejudices, but in South Carolina, Alabama, and several other places, Mahnmal would likely only influence future generations and with support from conservative leaders and conservative media.

Posted by: Rutherford82 | Jun 9 2020 21:27 utc | 38

Sadiq Khan sets up a commission for tearing down London’s statues as he attempts to drag the capital from 2020 to Year Zero
Ghandi statue next?

During the same protest in London, Gandhi’s statue was also emblazoned with the word “racist”. The Mahatma could hardly be accused of being an apologist for British imperialism, and played a huge role in India gaining independence from the Crown. However, rather than focus on that, the protesters have chosen to home in on negative remarks he made about black people when he was a lawyer in South Africa. It isn’t a pleasant fact, but it remains one, nonetheless, that his views were fairly middle-of-the-road for his time. So, should he be condemned for them, rather than being venerated for gaining independence for his homeland?

Sadiq Khan has always been a shameless egotist and is far more interested in improving his public profile than actually doing anything for London and its people. He spends 26 percent more on PR than Boris Johnson did when he was mayor.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 9 2020 21:31 utc | 39

When you erase history, you forget about it.

How about when you misrepresent history?

This video, for example, sets the record straight in relation to the Johnson County War. These two fail to realize that the cattle barons won and there is no democracy. Sure, they're so much more than cattle barons now, but they and their ilk won and they rule the roost regardless of their current business operations.

Wyomingites have been lied to about the history of their state. Davis sets the record straight about the Johnson County War.

Johnson County War: A Wyoming Signatures Interview with John Davis

Here's A Great Denkmal Stature related To The Johnson County War — Nate Champion Was Ten Times The Man Robert E. Lee Wasn't

Posted by: | Jun 9 2020 21:32 utc | 40

vk @14: yeah, but none of that is really helpful, is it? i need some advice about which buildings to torch and which not. Herodotus did not just accept that all memory would be extirpated by time. Nor do I have enough Molotov cocktails for all the buildings in Washington DC that really need torching. and epidemiology, for just one example, is a historical study, requiring an impetus to preservation which includes self-preservation, so all us kids need something more than "shit happens except the stroke of luck."

Monumentalization is not just about statues and the like. Walk around L'Enfant Plaza or the Pentagon parking lot or any state capitol or courthouse in the land. Olympia, WA has built a temple to "Insurance" on the capitol grounds, along with one to "Justice." Right next to its monumental art celebrating how awesome WW1 and the Vietnam War were. These architectural incarnations of "our" "values" (insurance? ffs) represent the rock of capitalism, its solidity, inevitability and its brutal tyranny over all other forms (our Pentagon kicks their Kremlin ass), upon which the garbage shopping & strip mall and big box Amazon warehouse fiberglass suburban neon society can be built, the nothing that will not endure 40 years b/c it's not designed to. These grand "civic" buildings also show the US as both continuous with and the fulfillment of "Western civ". from Thebes or Luxor to Rome to...Washington, DC, plundering "Cleopatra's needles" shows both how civilized and superior we are.

what about all that crap, grand architecture? Not sure, but after the Pentagon, the HUD building must go. both of these, purely on aesthetic grounds. brutal in how horrible they are. and as everyone does nothing but self-praise, even a Betsy DeVos will have this problem, as, for services rendered, she is immortalized in art. Which, by her own account, and many others, she will have deserved.

some shit needs to be torn down. tear all that civil war shit down. all of it. fuck all of them. self-congratulatory delusions. in the interest of fairness, cuz there is nothing more tedious than listening to history channel jockeys refight the US Civil War. why should I be proud of a nation that needed a civil war, and this war, to end slavery? Piss on all that civil war crap. all monuments are self-justifying delusional ex post facto rationalizations and distortions anyway. We will acknowledge that by obliterating from public memory all this retarded US civil war hoopla. including all flags. "mahnmal" und "denkmal" the rest, but set an example of recognition that these monuments are all propaganda, all over the world, and torch the civil war crap.

Posted by: jason | Jun 9 2020 21:37 utc | 41

B suggested keeping a contentous statue but adding to it to put its history in true context, he may not be aware that this very thing was tried right here in Bristol with a plaque putting the statue into context. That plaque has been removed/stolen.
No simpathy or sentiment should be given to fascism or slavery. Present or past. Both needs to be crushed !
Or it will surely crush you.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 9 2020 21:43 utc | 42

@ 37 Rutherford82... i wouldn't hold back on commenting... you have something very relevant to say..

i agree with you here - "I have a hard time imagining Americans in Virginia appreciating if Robert E. Lee were made into a Mahnmal, or had one added beside him."
interestingly enough a site some of the posters here pay some attention to is of a person who lives in virginia and writes from a particular vantage point that i don't generally share.. however, i appreciate hearing different viewpoints.. you might find this interesting..

Mayor Lavar Stoney proposes further "contextualization."

from last wednesday june 3rd and in the article above - i am sure b saw this too...
""Richmond ( virginia ) Mayor Levar Stoney announced Wednesday that he and 9th District Councilman Mike Jones will introduce an ordinance on July 1 to remove all city-controlled Confederate statues from Monument Avenue."

Posted by: james | Jun 9 2020 21:46 utc | 43

Kadath @27--

The first very detailed history of the Civil War period published in its aftermath wasn't sympathetic to the South, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America was published in three volumes by incoming Vice President Henry Wilson beginning in 1872, the first volume of which can be read at the link. Historian Allan Nevins eight volume Ordeal of the Union published from 1947-1971 is excellent but even it contains omissions. Shelby Foote wrote a three volume series sympathetic to his Southern roots and made this famous observation to another pair of historians:

"In a 1997 interview with Donald Faulkner and William Kennedy, Foote stated that he would have fought for the Confederacy, and, 'What's more, I would fight for the Confederacy today if the circumstances were similar. There's a great deal of misunderstanding about the Confederacy, the Confederate flag, slavery, the whole thing. The political correctness of today is no way to look at the middle of the 19th century. The Confederates fought for some substantially good things. States' rights is not just a theoretical excuse for oppressing people. You have to understand that the raggedy Confederate soldier who owned no slaves and probably couldn't even read the Constitution, let alone understand it, when he was captured by Union soldiers and asked, 'What are you fighting for?' replied, 'I'm fighting because you're down here.' So I certainly would have fought to keep people from invading my native state.'"

In my personal collection, I have 23 books pertaining to the Civil War Period 1820-1876 covering the Antebellum and Reconstruction Eras, including Nevins series. Wilson's three tomes I have in PDF format. In contrast, my wife who lived most of her life in Georgia didn't even know until I told her recently how the Civil War got underway, who fired first and the questions pertinent to that aspect of the affair. And if you haven't read The Disruption of American Democracy which details the massive political snafu that led to the South's Secession and can be downloaded freely at the link, then you're ignorant of one of that era's most important events that led to a massive tragedy--for that's exactly what the War to Retain the Union was that few historians are willing to admit since both sides were in the wrong and today's statue pulling completely neglects.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 9 2020 21:48 utc | 44

I think there is a difference between memorials for soldiers or wars and for single persons.
You would not like to have a Hitler Memorial, would you?
And the slave trade was playing in the same league of Unmenschlichkeit as the Holocaust.
So make no mistake to think we should remember some slave trader as a philanthropist only because he spend some of the money he made by slave trading for poor people.
Hitler did so too.

Posted by: Mats | Jun 9 2020 21:59 utc | 45

The murder of George Floyd in the US had a strong resonance with us here at Bristol U.K.
and here’s why !

take a while to reaserch this case and you may understand why Bristol stood up and in support of George Floyed last Sunday.
The Bristol statue was symbolic throwing it in the dock was also symbolical!

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 9 2020 22:01 utc | 46

They might want to start with Albert Pikes statue in DC’s Judiciary Square

Posted by: Kay Fabe | Jun 9 2020 22:12 utc | 47

One of those rare B takes that I fervently disagree with.

What's happening in Amerikkka to these counter-revolutionary 'artifacts' (most of these statues were put up after the end of the civil war....) is one step on the long road towards justice against the settler-colonial state.

If you can't understand this, then you must do more to step out of your sphere of euro-centrism.

Posted by: dimitrov | Jun 9 2020 22:22 utc | 48

@ David #24:

"The leaders of the Confederacy stated in unequivocal language that they were fighting to preserve slavery."

There is no question the political leadership of the South seceded to preserve slavery.

There is also no question that Lee fought for the South out of loyalty to his native state, Virginia. Had VA not seceded, Lee may have fought for the north.

Posted by: Caliman | Jun 9 2020 22:33 utc | 49

Regarding the USA war of 1860”s, we can describe it two valid ways:

- The southern oligarchs fought to secede in order to preserve their wealth and power. They said so in their articles of secession. (Doesn’t matter how they pitched their cause to their white serfs.). Calling it a “war over slavery” seems valid.

- The northern oligarchs invaded the south in order to preserve their empire. Calling it a “War of Northern Aggression” seems valid.

This is like lizard’s “It’s true...” poem the other day. The two competing camps of oligarchs described their reasons. Just accept both. Both narratives are true.

Posted by: oglalla | Jun 9 2020 22:54 utc | 50

Despite my dislike of Pike I agree with b on statues. History should be preserved, not destroyed.

Indeed the focus on the confederates as the cause of slavery is indeed misdirected as slavery in the slave states was not even the main reason for the civil war.

The main cause of slavery in the America’s was Europe. Portuguese, the British, the Spanish, the French, the Dutch Empires, and the Danish slave colonies that were responsible for taking 10 million Africans from Africa with the help of Africans who sold them.

Of these 10 million slaves, 500,000 were brought to the British colonies of North America. After the Revolution the US government banned the importation of slaves. Some were still smuggled in but for the most part the slave population grew as their owners realized they were valuable capital and treated them well enough that they would be able to have children to provide replacements when their parents died off. This was not the norm as many of the slaves sent to South America and Caribbean were worked to death and died early and could only be replaced by bringing in new slaves.

Obviously, slavery was an inherited and politically difficult to end due to the dependance on land owners in the south. The Civil War provided the opportunity to end it and was motivated in part yo punish those in the south who tried to break away and to free the slaves to counter the whites in the south from regaining strength .

During this time, actually well before the Civil War capitalists were waking up to how inefficient slavery was. British banned it outright as a result. Cost of acquisition, transportation, food, housing, health care, etc were expensive. They realized wage slavery worked best. Give them a pittance, and let them feed, house and care for themselves. This worked so long as a labor surplus existed. I industrialization and immigration ensured a surplus of workers. Slavery was not needed. We all became wage slaves and still are to this day. Robots and AI will ensure far fewer of us will earn a wage in future. We are a problem and so population will be reduced. suggests maybe 70% will be gone by 2025.

Posted by: Kay Fabe | Jun 9 2020 22:55 utc | 51

Here in Bristol in the last ten years we have had our share of racist mobs marching through the streets. Protected by a massive police presents.
Bristol is a multi-cultural city. ‘The English defenc league ‘ held ther march in June each year, deliberately to provoke trouble. 7 years ago they succeeded. anti fascist engaged them ! It was a rout, both the edl and the police were humiliated!
The moral of this story is when the police take the wrong side the public have to take action.
In the U.K. the edl are now an illegal organisation.
I beleave another comparison with recent US events that portshead police station got burned down.
It was new and not quite open yet.
The point is when the police protect criminal thug racists ther is only one way to stop them. Sadly.
The obveous remedy is for the police to do the job we pay them for, keeping the law.
Thankfully sanity provalid and the racists now keep quite.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 9 2020 23:00 utc | 52

I like b’s suggestion but prefer another: replace these statues to free up limited public space to dedicate to people and moments we admire.

Erect statues of Hugh Thompson, for instance.

I prefer not to stroll around parks or public spaces looking at statues of hideous beasts, even if they’re re-depicted as a Mahnmal. I prefer to stroll around positive monuments, monuments of people we want to celebrate.

Posted by: oglalla | Jun 9 2020 23:03 utc | 53


Thats not right. Lincoln was content to let them keep their slaves. However, Lincoln was not going to allow them to expand slavery to the territories. If the South won future wars may have been fought over the territories.

A more immediate problem for the South was the Governments high tariffs on machinery they needed to import to provide cheap food to the North. There was also a bit of meddling by British agents who sought to split the South from the North as a first step toward recovering the US

British and French intended to blockade the North. If they did so the South might have won. Russia coming off a loss in Crimea sought payback and moved in to stop the blockade. The British had no desire for another war with Russia so backed off. Russia deserves dome credit for ending Slavery.

In the end the British (Palmerstons mafia) took out Lincoln to punish him for thwarting their plans

Posted by: Kay Fabe | Jun 9 2020 23:10 utc | 54

@ Posted by: oglalla | Jun 9 2020 22:54 utc | 49

None of the terms are historically precise.

The facts on the field didn't favor the South by mid-1800s:

1) the much more dynamic and vibrant North, with its much more efficient wage labor system, already had six times over the South's population (and growing);

2) even though with six less people, the South kept parity both in the Senate and in the Congress, because of an ossified Constitution.

The melting pot was getting hotter and hotter, and the turning point came, ironically, by a Southern (Democrat) POTUS: James K. Polk invaded and successfully subjugated Mexico. That war triggered the California dilemma: should it be a slave state or a free state?

Already at the time, the slave system was already showing clear signs of exhaustion: the Southern slave lords were highly dependent on financialization of slaves, by highly leveraging their prices through a bubble in the British textile market. This would create a huge problem during the Civil War, as you couldn't send slaves to the front lines: besides the risk of a slave revolt, they were worth a fortune in the financial market. The sum of slaves were equal in money terms to the whole industrial park of the North.

The South also had the problem of the limits of slave labor: you could force a slave to do menial, simple work, but not complex, educated work. As a result, the South didn't have a significant fleet to fight against the North. They knew this weakness, as they counted the UK would side with them when they declared the Civil War - and the British certainly had a capable navy which could neutralize the North in American territory, as the war of 1812 showed.

However, California had great prospects economically for the southerners, as it was all about the huge gold reserves of the region. Slave labor is irrelevant for complex labor, but it works wonders in mines, as the ancient Romans showed. California's hot climate also made slave reproduction/exportation viable.

After intense discussions in the Congress, it was determined that the fate of California would be decided by "whoever gets there first, gets everything". In practice, that meant California would be Northern, as the North had six times more people, who were free to go there. In no time, California was occupied with wage laborers. The fact that California was baptized as the "people's republic" represents the middle finger to the South, adding insult to injury.

The loss of California was too much for the southerners, who declared secession and attacked first. We shouldn't get too precious here, as both sides wanted to annihilate the other, and war was well under way. It was a mutual decision, nobody was deceived. The cadets from the West Point who went to fight for the South literally had time to say goodbye to their colleagues who decided "to stay" (i.e. fight for the Union) and march to their side of the front.

Posted by: vk | Jun 9 2020 23:12 utc | 55

Maybe a tangent but what did Germany due with eponymous names in medicine that were linked with Nazi ideology? For example, in the USA, we've gotten away from naming Reiter's syndrome (Hans Reiter) and Wegener's granulomatosis (Friedrich Wegener). Can you be a good scientist but still have questionable morality or social values?

Posted by: dgerling | Jun 9 2020 23:14 utc | 56

I think the Bristol statue of Edward Colston should be replaced by a statue of Nelson Mandela ! This would send a message to the people of America and their president. Remember apartheid South Africa .

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 9 2020 23:15 utc | 57

Many people observed that we are experiencing a kind of re-feudalisation.
But many miss the important aspect of regrading to a (pseudo) *medieval mind frame*.
Perhaps its main component is dogmatic thinking, which is closely related to moral thinking.
And this, moral thinking, I regard as one of the most fundamental problems of our times. It can only provide some correction, but in itself is completely arbitrary.
We can see here at the Moon of Alabama site, how much of discussions are of a moral nature, with only small amounts of the real world in it. Consider "the virus" for example: whatever "hot news" fits into the own agenda, is immediately announced as a kind of truth.

Concerning history: there are no sins, no wrongdoings, of the past. Stars explode, meteors crash into the earth, whatever -- there is no right or wrong associated with that. They are all part of today's present. Men's actions of the past are natural phenomena, without any moral value.

One just needs to observe the cult of "learning from the past": people here just have agendas, which are projected back into the past. "History" is just a projection, at least in its current dominant form. Any true historical science has naturally no relation at all to any kind of moral values.

Concerning "monuments": that's just a kind of political action. And there is no political framework available in our time. That's a fundamental property of the times we are living: atomisation. Needed is a proper scientific understanding of the world, and this is indeed possible, since "proper" includes the degree of accuracy needed. But "complexity" is replaced by medieval thinking, that is, moral thinking ("what ought to be").

Preserving the monuments for whatever reasons, destroying them for whatever reason: all that belongs to the medieval mindset. As every mindset, at the right time in small doses it has its meaning. But all the morals (left, right, whatever) nowadays reign (and reasoning is left to the technician).

The right action today concerning "monuments" is to nearly completely ignore everything about them. Discussing them is like the endless talk about trillions of irrelevant details of US-politics (whatever some irrelevant person of the days shouts loudest), which nearly completely drowns (also at this site here) the absolutely needed and highly nontrivial discussion of the true state of the world (which has no relation to any moral whatsoever). Only on the basis of that one could start thinking about what should (and could) be.

(The comment by vk @14 goes in a similar direction. I added here some in a sense positive statements about what is needed in my assessment.)

Posted by: Oliver K | Jun 9 2020 23:18 utc | 58

Monuments are a waste of time and resources. History is remembered by people discussing it and studying it - not by blocks of stone.

Meanwhile, *real* history is made on the street.

‘They set us up’: US police arrested over 10,000 protesters, many non-violent
[The Guardian]

A staggering 12,000 complaints against police in Seattle, Washington, were made over the weekend of 30 May in response to excessive force at protests.

A Denver, Colorado, police officer was fired for posting on Instagram “let’s start a riot”. In New York City, videos surfaced of NYPD officers pointing a gun at protesters, driving an SUV into a crowd of protesters, swiping a protester with a car door, an officer flashing a white supremacy symbol, and another officer shoving a woman to the ground, which left her hospitalized.

Several protesters and bystanders around the US have been left hospitalized from rubber bullet wounds, bean bags, teargas canisters and batons, while police have reportedly torn down medical tents and destroyed water bottles meant for protesters.

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dan Rojas was arrested on the morning of 27 May. Though there were no protests occurring at the time, Rojas had decided to clean up fragments of rubber bullets, teargas and frag canisters on the public sidewalk in his neighborhood when six police officers confronted him and arrested him.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 9 2020 23:21 utc | 59

Now we know who some people here take their cues from...

Trump floats baseless conspiracy about 75-year-old Buffalo protester pushed to ground by police

Gugino’s lawyer called the president’s suggestions “dark, dangerous, and untrue.”

“No one from law enforcement has even suggested anything otherwise,” Kelly Zarcone said in a statement. “So we are at a loss to understand why the president of the United States would make such dark, dangerous, and untrue accusations against him.”

Trump is known to promote baseless conspiracies from his Twitter perch.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 9 2020 23:24 utc | 60

Monuments demand attention to symbols or viewpoints not values, a sloppy education for children or the ignorant. If left alone or balanced weakly or at a distance, they continue to honor wrongdoing, a demand for tribal loyalty. If there is no path to balance, destruction is better than leaving a glorification of injustice among living victims.

For distorted or one-sided monuments, denkmal plus mahnmal may look balanced to the educated. If the addition shows the opposing view or consequence of error, strongly in size and drama, it may be educational. But if the issue is complex, an addition may be unable to address the error, and might compete only as a demand for honor of some alternative confusing to children or the ignorant.

For example, showing slaves or war horrors next to Robert E Lee blames him for a conflict due also to the North. The lesson of the US Civil War is that real solutions existed but Congress by then a circus of factional demagogues. How do we symbolize the need for public debate reform as a monument next to one of the opposing demagogues? Lincoln had to set up debates at hotel in DC instead of Congress, but faction reps could not find the easy solutions. Maybe assemble the demagogue statues in a circus with a great Question: why could they not debate real solutions?

Posted by: Sam F | Jun 9 2020 23:27 utc | 61

Austin police investigating why officers fired at crowd transporting injured man

The 20-year-old reportedly suffered brain damage after being struck in the head by beanbag rounds fired by police. The firing of those projectiles is also under investigation.

I have a possible explanation. They were bringing the wounded student towards the officers. The officers were probably ex-military who served in Iraq and reacted as US soldiers often did - shooting civilians under suspicion that they were "insurgents".

This is why you shouldn't hire ex-military as police. Of course, I have *no proof* these officers *are* ex-military. But it would explain what happened.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 9 2020 23:30 utc | 62

A nation that destroys its past, will likely destroy its future.

Posted by: Dick | Jun 9 2020 23:32 utc | 63

So having given the local background context to the removal of the Edward Colston statue.
To clarify my view of ‘b’ opinion and post !
I entirely agree with him ! In a normal sane setting.and time.
But that is not we are seeing now with Trumps inciting violence / dog whistle leadership. Plus his / America’s invading inocent countrys, threating to invade more. Subverting and replacing ligitemate governments.ect ect. All out of the Hitler play book.
These are not normal times, a stand needs to be made.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 9 2020 23:34 utc | 64

Re: vk #14

Lenin was very supportive of the raising of statues to Taras Shevchenko as well as Marx and Engels. He was against personality cults in general, but he could appreciate the presence of statues of revolutionaries (including, obviously, himself after death). The first Lenin statue was raised in 1924 shortly after his death and it was a local workers' initiative.

As for the events in Ukraine, it all has to do with the far-right ideology of the Ukrainian Nazi trash and their western backers. It is absolutely not a coincidence that pro-Russian crowds began to gather in Lenin Squares under Lenin statues after the Maidan putsch. Today, such monuments & localities are to be found in free Donbass and Crimea among the territories that comprised Ukraine until 2014.

Posted by: Constantine | Jun 9 2020 23:36 utc | 65

Thank you, vk. Very informative, as always.

>> Monuments are a waste of time and resources. History is remembered
>> by people discussing it and studying it - not by blocks of stone.

Reasonable. But, most people won’t read and discuss. *If* we want to “market” certain ideals to those people, monuments are one way to do that.

How many civil war enactors or “history” buffs would change their historical focus if only a statue of some slave-holding solider wasn’t erected in their neighborhood park 100 years ago?

Posted by: oglalla | Jun 9 2020 23:36 utc | 66


I’m raising money to erect a diorama of Trump texting from his bunker while the world burns outside. And a statue of him holding aloft a book. (Some say it was a “Bible”. But, how do we really know?)

How much can I put you down for and will that be by cash or check?

Posted by: oglalla | Jun 9 2020 23:42 utc | 67

Posted by: Oliver K | Jun 9 2020 23:18 utc | 56

Agree with your viewpoint as stated. I especially like this paragraph:

Concerning history: there are no sins, no wrongdoings, of the past. Stars explode, meteors crash into the earth, whatever -- there is no right or wrong associated with that. They are all part of today's present. Men's actions of the past are natural phenomena, without any moral value.

I am an "anti-moralist" or as another word phrases it, "amoralist." Moral codes are mostly a waste of energy. I read a book a few months ago called, "Against Moral Responsibility" which sums up the arguments against ascribing "moral responsibility" to people's actions.

Of course, this doesn't mean any given action is "right." But I don't use the term in the same sense most do. I view things as being "correct" or "incorrect." That is to say, factually correct or incorrect, given the circumstances and a definition of one's purpose.

There is also the issue of whether being "correct" is even relevant. In a rational society of rational entities, it would be. But we aren't living in a rational society. We're living in a monkey zoo. If we were living in a rational society, virtually nothing we see around us today would exist.

So how we behave today should rationally be governed by the fact that we aren't living in a rational society. Therefore basically the only criteria to govern one's actions should be strategic and tactical and focused on the goal of surviving and prospering and becoming independent of the circumstances we are forced to live in to true sovereignty.

In that mind-set, monuments are just a joke - as is most of the binary conflicts that people are mired in. When I comment here advocating something or denouncing something, it is in reference to that mythical "rational society" and whether something is "correct" or not. But in the real world, almost none of this is relevant.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 9 2020 23:49 utc | 68

Wow! I read every comment and not one, not even b's piece mentioned a key piece of context. WHEN these statues were erected (heh heh he said erected) and who put most of them up.

In fact, there was a long period during which statues were only put up sparsely if at all, but then suddenly during two distinct periods of Civil Rights protest by African Americans and their supporters, Southern (and some Northern) states started seeing monuments to Confederate Civil War heros appearing in very public places, sometimes funded by the taxpayer (including blacks) but often by the Daughters of the Confederacy.

I'm not a fan of all of SPLC's work or their principals, but the veracity of the temporal data obtained and used for this "study" findings is not really up for debate.

From an NPR piece:

The most recent comprehensive study of Confederate statues and monuments across the country was published by the Southern Poverty Law Center last year. A look at this chart shows huge spikes in construction twice during the 20th century: in the early 1900s, and then again in the 1950s and 60s. Both were times of extreme civil rights tension.

Here is another guy's take on the issue that makes a good case for just why these monuments were constructed.

Also, anyone who thinks that the Civil War wasn't about slavery only needs to read the various speeches of the Confederate generals and oligarchy at the time (as someone else pointed out above). Was it *ONLY* about slavery? That's a different discussion, but it makes no difference whether only 1% of southerners (allegedly) possessed slaves - the ones who didn't were fighting for their masters, the same masters of the slaves and for the economic system of the American Confederate South.

Posted by: _K_C_ | Jun 9 2020 23:53 utc | 69

Sam F @59--

In my comment @43 above, I mention the great importance of Nichols Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Disruption of American Democracy, which from your questions you haven't read. I linked to a site where you can freely download that invaluable book and discover the answers to your excellent question, for that answer is highly complex and takes an entire book to properly address. Simply saying, They were incapable of talking to each other is, while true, very unsatisfying for there's no attempt to supply the why? It's proper to infer from my comment that what occurred was very much an accident of circumstances, but again I'm not supplying the why for it's quite complicated. I reference the book because the book does an excellent job of providing the whys.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 9 2020 23:53 utc | 70

Posted by: oglalla | Jun 9 2020 23:36 utc | 64 But, most people won’t read and discuss. *If* we want to “market” certain ideals to those people, monuments are one way to do that.

If they won't read or discuss, then the monument most likely will be misinterpreted or ignored. I don't think I've ever bothered to look at a monument except casually and with zero reaction. Possibly I might have been curious about the event that inspired it, but I've never bothered to research anything as a result. Whereas reference to an event in a book or Web page might immediately inspire some research.

Again, an utter waste of time and resources. As you say, it's done to "market" ideas - most of which are bogus.

Posted by: oglalla | Jun 9 2020 23:42 utc | 65 How much can I put you down for and will that be by cash or check?

Not one thin dime.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 9 2020 23:56 utc | 71

@59 Sam F

My poor attempt at conceptualizing how to flip the script with Robert E. Lee does in fact highlight the complexity of the U.S. Civil War more than it adds to the idea of Denkmal and Mahnmal.

I would say that there is a fundamental difference in American culture though. To reflect on the 76th infantry statue in Germany, the culture of Germany is, largely through leadership, in a position to learn from Mahnmal, certainly about war atrocities.

In the U.S., the culture is still completely mired in violence, at least as far as the leaders are concerned. We are unable to have any learning moments about these issues until the leadership steer the attitude to a place of healing. Case in point, everybody loves George W. Bush now because Ellen Degeneres says so.

As a result of endless glorification of war in the U.S. and the fact that our Reich has not been destroyed here yet in order for us to learn to loathe war, the idea that being a champion of the Confederate South is impossible to eradicate. There will always be a strong argument for Confederate supporters because the support for war overall is abundant and it does not exclude a person who would join a war for any reason, of which Confederate supporters are able to come up many examples that dodge the issues of slavery and racism.

In the U.S., if I were to put a statue of Robert E. Lee in my front yard, it is likely that up to half of my neighbors would come over and congratulate me, and not because they had the educated opinion about state's rights and that Lee would have fought for the North if Virginia had. No, half of my neighbors would congratulate me specifically because they thought Lee was fighting to keep slavery going and they thought that was the reason I placed the statue.

No amount of Mahnmal can fix the problem yet.

Posted by: Rutherford82 | Jun 10 2020 0:11 utc | 72

The North didn't fight to free the slaves. The North only wanted to end the expansion of slavery. In fact, Lincoln's 'Emancipation Proclamation' came nearly two years into the war (not at the war's beginning!).

While the war effectively ended chattel slavery, it didn't end White Supremacist thoughts and attitudes. Erecting statutes to (white) Southern generals helped to perpetuate these attitudes across generations.

I don't think you can contextualize a living ideology. When African Americans won Civil Rights in the 1960's that was only half the battle. African Americans must still fight for respect against supremacist/racist attitudes.

We see this with the death of George Floyd. Even though most white Americans will acknowledge that Floyd's killing was wrong, most white Americans easily accept the establishment's dismissal of the killing as not racial and merely an excuse to loot. And now they have added a new twist: another attempt by the radical left or Deep State to unseat Trump. Yes, they are more concerned about Trump (much more so) than racial justice.

Thus, for a certain period of time, it's almost certainly better to replace statues and monuments with a different memorial along with a mention of the statue/monument that has been replaced. As historical artifacts, museums are the best place for the statutes/monuments for the time being.

Germany allowed the memorial for the 76th Infantry Regiment in Hamburg to stand because it wasn't directly supporting Nazism and Germany had already gone through "de-Nazification". Only decades later were they able to arrive at an appropriate contextualization. Confederate statues in USA are different because they celebrate a hateful ideology that still lives, and many would say, thrives.

Note: I'm not saying that all whites are racist or that all racists are white. Nor am I saying that there has not been any progressive over the last few decades. But you can't celebrate a Supremist past and end Supremists attitudes at the same time.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 10 2020 0:17 utc | 73

Don’t ya just love google maps !

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 10 2020 0:31 utc | 74

Tim Cushing over at TechDirt comments again.

Peaceful Protests Around The Nation Are Being Greeted By Police Violence. Remind Me Again How Peaceful Protests Are Better?

Say what you will for peace and reason, but we're dealing with unreasonable forces that consider themselves soldiers in a warzone, rather than public servants in troubled areas where a little kindness on their part would go a long way.

Peaceful protests can effect change. I'm not arguing that they can't. But decades of peaceful protests -- interrupted occasionally by violent civil uprisings -- haven't changed much in this nation. And that's just the last 50 years of this on/off cycle.

He lists a number of cop-initiated violence links, many from the Greg Doucette Twitter feed.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 10 2020 1:00 utc | 75

War is usually about economics, the Civil War (or perhaps more accurately, the War of Northern Agression) was no different..

The South bought its manufactured goods from the North..
North's prices got too high..
South gets cheaper manufactured goods from Europe..
North says fu guys and puts a tariff on manufactured goods from Europe...
Europe says no, fu guys and puts a tariff on Southern cotton..

South now has to pay more for manufactured goods and gets less money for cotton because the North wanted to put the screws to the South...

If a state voluntarily joins a union, why can they not voluntarily leave? North acted like an abusive husband..

People now pretend like they would be soo different about slavery..they virtue signal to the rest of us, that if they had been born in a family that owned slaves in 1860, then they would have immediately done the right thing and freed all their slaves..I serious doubt it..

Posted by: Sam | Jun 10 2020 1:26 utc | 76

@ "Heros"

I am the author of I rarely do this. I rarely comment on other websites, but I asm making an exception for you.

I wish you knew how much grief I've suffered for telling the truth about General Grant. I think you may be the first person ever who has supported what I say about the so-called "Civil War." It was anything but. However, you do the subject a great injustice "blaming" the Freemasons. I do not and cannot explain why Grant did what he did, but I can tell you from years of research and very subtle communications involving a highly impressive technical capability regarding my work, that the "real" Freemasons were the Southern Freemasons. They were the Founding Fathers. It is they who were defeated in the CIvil War. And it is their great grandchildren who gave us the Georgia Guidestones and for that I admire them to no end. Maybe I am insane. Who knows? But if I am not, then what I am telling you is the truth, because these men let me know so. I even know where they live. It is not far from the Georgia Guidestones. The world is not what it seems, and soon ours, the Fifth World, will be like all those that went before.

Posted by: Jane Doe | Jun 10 2020 1:33 utc | 77

It looks like 60 statues have now been identified for removal in Britain ! (one way or the other))

Cecil Rhodes statue is next on the list at oxford (he was a white supremist)
Massive protest there all day today.
If he hasn’t been toppled now, he’l be gone any day !

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 10 2020 1:36 utc | 78

All monuments to evil need to be removed. No splainin' needed.

Posted by: Joshua | Jun 10 2020 1:41 utc | 79

Leaving statues of well known slavers & mass-murderers out in the open on public display at places where the public have no choice but to walk past them every day is an inexcusable celebration of the riches & fame which can be gained from oppression.
Not to mention the effect it has upon descendants of the slaves or the millions of children whose right arms were cut off to force Congolese from their lands so Leopold could grab the silver underneath. In many cases the descendants are still living a life where whitefella oppression is a major feature, yet they are supposed to tolerate these celebrations of intolerance which are imposed on them?

I think not. If others really do want to keep these oxidised old pieces of shit, stick them in a museum surrounded by truthful information which contextualises exactly what this scum got up to.
At least that way people who find the images repulsive and sick have a choice about whether they want to see the damn things or not.

My mother used to tell a story about how after the Great War a bunch of local councillors campaigned to build a war memorial dedicated to the young men (two of which were my mother's elder brothers) who got killed in the war.
It happened at a time when it was her Da's turn to be mayor and he was opposed to it.
He didn't find war to be so great any more after his two eldest boys copped it, so he argued for a public library to educate people sufficiently that they would see through the nonsense warmongers pushed out (yeah must have been an idealist). The council compromised and after much arguing over cost they built both. The library was closed down years ago - cutbacks, but the mundane same as every other town monument to war still stands - with a few additions for ww2 & korea.

IMO of all the statues around this rock I have seen less than 5% would be 'worthy'. The rest were all rich bastards or politicians, sometimes both who exploited all around, sacrificing them for their own ends. A few like that Colston bloke in Bristol became worried about their reputations so they tip some cash in local charities. How is destroying the lives of more than 100,000 africans 'balanced' by handing out a bit of charity to a couple of thousand whitefellas in england? Isn't it just slavewashing and the opposite of commendable?

Churchill's statues should come down but the bulldust surrounding that low life scummy pol is still powerful in england so there isn't much chance.
Although the statue of 'Bomber' Harris, only went up in 1991, I reckon it will be coming down soon.

This bloke who masterminded the campaign of bombing German cities in ww2, claimed he was only going after military targets, yet once they ran out, he continued by enveloping Dresden which had zero strategic value, in a firestorm which made thousands of civilians into crispy critters.

Get rid of all of the statues. I doubt that many humans who do not have sociopathic tendencies have ever had a statue dedicated to them.
These aren't history, the acts they committed are the history, if people really want to know what some sycophantic sculptor reckoned how they looked then stick em in an upmarket version of Madame Tussaud's surrounded with the history detailing their actions, and pay for it by selling rotten food to chuck at them all.

Posted by: A User | Jun 10 2020 1:44 utc | 80

Sam @ Jun10 1:26 # 74

Yes, exactly. The North was siphoning-off an increasing share of the value of slave labor. And with Lincoln's election would come a new tariff that would increase the North's portion of slave profits.

Most white people in both North and South believed in White Supremacy (over American Indians, Africans, and other races). The South didn't think Northern whites would die to free blacks. That's why they made the issue about slavery and their way of life (no one claims to go to war over profits).

And they were mostly right. The Union had a very difficult time recruiting soldiers.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 10 2020 1:48 utc | 81

My @ 76
Contained the wrong link ! Hopefully this is the right one.

Tiredness ! So good night all.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 10 2020 1:51 utc | 82

With the abolition of slavery the slaves received no compensation.
And yet the slave owning family’s received compensation inperpuity ! An annual payment only ending in the 1970’s yes the 1970’s

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 10 2020 2:21 utc | 83

Posted by: A User | Jun 10 2020 1:44 utc | 78

Get rid of all of the statues. I doubt that many humans who do not have sociopathic tendencies have ever had a statue dedicated to them.

Really? Would you get rid of this one too?

Posted by: hopehely | Jun 10 2020 2:26 utc | 84

The Viet Nam War Memorial in Washington is the only war memorial I find tolerable because it lists the damage done without the heroic larger than life posturing of idiots on horses and soldiers with guns & armor. Find your buddies name and shed a tear for the senseless loss of his life. No need to leave existing war statuary standing. Smash it all. Put up a kiosk where people can push a button and see a video of the historic atrocity of their choice. Make it indestructible so that it will survive a nuclear blast and still work in case any survivor would still like to remember all the grandeur of war.

If the community wants statuary, give them statues of animals, like my favorite the Great Pyrenees, a wonderful breed of dog. For the kids T-Rex statues would be good. And best of all, Big Mouth Billy Bass singing uplifting tunes is suitable for all.

Posted by: jadan | Jun 10 2020 2:50 utc | 85

I think if we just abolished all statues the problem would be solved.

To hell with statues. And who cares about history. Or art history. Anyone read the story of David in the Old Testament. I think we all know a famous museum in Florence that should be focused on now. Yeah. That guy was a Zioinist, right?

I mean, this is super stupid.

Should we just destroy everything? Maybe even an offensive statue will make someone read a bit and learn.

And I fully agree with the boss, B, regarding this issue. Sad. Sad. Sad.

And everyone who is anti-statue at least has something to attack.

And, hell, while we're at it, we better get rid of those dosh garned plinths.

Posted by: lex talionis | Jun 10 2020 3:15 utc | 86

hmm, personally i am ok with the name.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jun 10 2020 3:19 utc | 87

re hopehely | Jun 10 2020 2:26 utc | 82
who asked "Really? Would you get rid of this one too?".
I dunno if Tesla was one of the 5% or not but I strongly suspect that according to amerikan culture, he was definitely a loser, who could be discounted on those grounds lol.
There may be one or two worthies who cop a piece of shit sculpture but the price we all have to pay in being forced to tolerate monuments to the worst in society made over to appear to be the best, is simply too high.
This is exactly analogous to the honours system. Every now and again a genuinely decent human being cops an honour, sometimes because they slipped through the cracks, sometimes because throwing in a genuine hero type takes the pressure off governments caught rewarding and/or pardoning the foul scum who pols rub shoulders with.
The cost of an honours system is too high to be justified by a few decent people every decade or so. By cost I mean the large scale corruption that greedy sociopaths who get an honour engage in.

There are very few historical events that are down to a single human being anyway, instead of beating up the exaggerated deeds of one human, it has always made more sense to me that the reality of history be displayed in a way that teaches us about the gamut of human nature.

Posted by: A User | Jun 10 2020 3:45 utc | 88

Posted by: lex talionis | Jun 10 2020 3:15 utc | 84 And, hell, while we're at it, we better get rid of those dosh garned plinths.

Let's not forget the gargoyles... :-)

San Francisco had to go around to all the office buildings for *years* after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and get rid of cornices and other crap older buildings had. I say monuments are an earthquake hazard. :-)

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 10 2020 4:00 utc | 89

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 10 2020 1:48 utc | 79 Most white people in both North and South believed in White Supremacy (over American Indians, Africans, and other races).

Including Abraham Lincoln. I'm sure many people here have seen this quoted many times in various places.

Did Abraham Lincoln Express Opposition to Racial Equality?

During his famous debates with Sen. Stephen Douglas, Lincoln explained to the crowd: “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races … I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races from living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be a position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 10 2020 4:05 utc | 90


For sure! When I lived in SF I was super offended by that statue of the kneeling Native American in your neighborhood, TL, tenderloin. I think there is a statue of Goethe in Golden Gate Park. I hated having to read him.

Coit Tower has always triggered me, too.

let's just get back to year zero and build a statue to Pol Pot.

wait... ; )
As a former Bay Arean, is KPOO still on the air? I used to love being offended by them.

Posted by: lex talionis | Jun 10 2020 4:11 utc | 91

Rutherford 82 @11
I really like your comment. The education is a big problem, it was written about by Kozol (I forgot the book title), and many others that the education is not a federal matter but in the hands of the local administrations, and of course the poor areas do not have the money to spend on education. Another issue is the endemic dislike of anything "intellectual" in this society. Unlike in Germany for example, or other european countries, where a high school teachers enjoy the social status of doctors and lawyers. Success is to have money! that is the mantra, how you get it - does not count in many US minds. The lack of self-criticism in some ethnic and social groups could also be a problem in analyzing statistical ´models´...this feature was mentioned by R. Kapuscinski in his reports from West Africa (I forgot which country he was reporting from).

Posted by: bystander 04 | Jun 10 2020 4:13 utc | 92

Bless you for mentioning Cecil Rhodes. I wish to see Cecil Rhodes statue comes down sooner than later, hopefully before the week over. I also like to see Chris Patten Chancellor University of Oxford since 2003 forced resignation, he was the Last governor of HongKong and an ardent raciest when he defended the pro-democracy anarchist in HK. He also defended Cecil Rhodes in the past in Oxford University.

Cecil Rhodes represent the worst of the worst of Anglo Saxon British empire.

Posted by: JC | Jun 10 2020 4:14 utc | 93

I had a hard job getting my head around some of these defensive arguments. Having waded through all of Craig Murray's Moral Equivalence from beginning to end I found myself in the comments. Comment #2 was from the author in response to Comment #1 by Squeeth (same name as the author of Comment #3 in this MoA thread). Part of Mr Murray's response to Squeeth's comment included this confused/confusing assertion:

"Because something is morally wrong does not mean it should be illegal. The Scottish government’s new hate speech law being a good example, criminalising the merely tasteless."

That's sounds like cherry-picked Moral Equivalence to me. i.e. a for the sake of argument argument.
But whatever, I think the Moral Equivalence being proposed on the basis of a toppled statue of Edward Colston falls flat on it's face when one clarifies a minor presumed detail of Colston's infamy.
Had the victims of Colston's slave-trading been White British Subjects kidnapped and sold to Eastern, Middle Eastern or African potentates, Colston would probably have been lynched and buried in an unmarked grave. But his victims being black made his enterpri$e AOK among Blighty's racist blighters.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 10 2020 4:24 utc | 94

vk #14

Lenin hated personality cult. He would certainly not agree with the construction of any statue of him. I don't think any was built while he was alive, or, if it was, with his consent. As a communist, he wasn't of the idealist type, and didn't believe in superstition of idols or anything else.

BS to that vk.

Lenin was most definitely an idealist as were many advocating socialism then - and now. Certainly he was a pragmatist as well but there is no doubting the ideal of building a more humane society free from thieving capitalists and the war mongers who slouch along in their shadow.

As for your proposition

If those statues and monuments haven't been destroyed violently, they probably wouldn't survive to our present times.

Let me remind you of the longevity of monuments and statues to human endeavour in the form of the stone circles at Nabta Playa and throughout the planet, the sphinx, the pyramids, the extraordinary megalithic structures found in Peru at Cusko etc and throughout the world. Consider the extraordinary structures in Turkey at Gobekli Tepi. The Barabar Caves in India cut by Buddhist monks from solid stone in an excavation technique found throughout the planet.

These are all monuments to human creation and worship - they just don't name a person, thankfully.

Then consider the ancient art of Indigenous Australians stretching back tens of thousands of years. Today the philistines at Rio Tinto just dynamite them as they are on top of their 'precious' ore deposits. Many survive and many are perennial monuments to Indigenous ingenuity such as the fish traps, built and rebuilt for the duration of Indigenous habitation stretching back to between the last two ice ages at the very least.

They all survived well to the present time. Can you not dismiss our heritage so lightly please.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 10 2020 4:28 utc | 95

Dont let’s loose sight of the reason these statues are being ‘removed now’, is purely as a clear protest and rejection of Trump’ and his criminal cop thugs, the american white supremists and the killing of George Floyd !
So if enyone here or elsewhere wishes to prevent these statues being distroyed, the easiest and fairest way would be for America andU.K. to return to law and order.
Which is more important human life or a piece of stone or metal ?

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 10 2020 4:31 utc | 96

Posted by: jadan | Jun 10 2020 2:50 utc | 83

"The Viet Nam War Memorial in Washington is the only war memorial I find tolerable because it lists the damage done without the heroic..."

Excuse me did you find the memorial tolerable? I was almost a victim, but fortunately an I-20 holder saved my life. Like over 40,000 to 60,000 young Americans died and over 2 millions casualties in the SEA nations, and Americans now recruiting the Vietnamese, Japanese, Koreans, Australians, and Indians in a much bigger war with China?

Posted by: JC | Jun 10 2020 4:33 utc | 97

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 10 2020 4:31 utc | 94

I'm offended if you think only Trump and his criminal cops and thugs are responsible... You failed to mentioned he other criminals the like of Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden are responsible too. Did you see Pelosi using Ghanaian people fabric on their neck in twitter?

I can't find this Ghanaian tweets really it shows how foreigner think of American politics..

"I had to say something about the American politic.mp4"

Posted by: JC | Jun 10 2020 5:01 utc | 98

Posted by: A User | Jun 10 2020 3:45 utc | 88

There may be one or two worthies who cop a piece of shit sculpture but the price we all have to pay in being forced to tolerate monuments to the worst in society made over to appear to be the best, is simply too high.

Well it seems that you just dislike statues and monuments of rulers, warlords, politicians and other scumbags.
I dislike them too.
OTOH, I find statues of poets and monuments of scientists OK. These are good national icons IMO.

Posted by: hopehely | Jun 10 2020 5:50 utc | 99

Removal of monuments is intrinsically about controlling a narrative; a premise which I am opposed to as a matter of principle. When this is done forcefully -- through violence, through the imposition of will of a vocal minority over the silent majority, expediently through blitz action, so that any consideration, thought or discussion by necessity occurs post facto -- the inexcusable nature of this conduct becomes apparent even to the casual observer. But even the measured approach suggested in the OP, of augmenting monuments with plaques and installations to contextualize and update their purpose to suit fickle modern sensibilities, remains an exercise in narrative control.

Monuments evolve naturally, as the ideals, events or even myths which they were erected to represent or reinforce cease being resonant. Like the abandoned shrines of dead religions, or the tombstones whose engravings have become illegible, any perceived demons or wraiths residing within are the product of primitive superstition. Such apparitions are instead found in living flesh, which, unlike statues, will defend itself from harm and may even retaliate. Thus, in the war of ideas, the battle with adverse symbols is symbolic; a convenient refuge for cowards who style themselves commissars.

Posted by: Skiffer | Jun 10 2020 5:54 utc | 100

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