There is absolutely no way to separate the trauma and terror of this domination from the capitalist empires that dominate the world today. As a result, nothing that exists under these empires, from the games played to the cultural practices, language, customs, history, statues, monuments, even the money. All of those things reflect the history of domination. The money in capitalist U.S. for example, is filled with people who brutally owned African people and/or slaughtered Indigenous people. The very people who are credited as “founding fathers” such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, etc., all represent this oppressive legacy. It cannot be separated. Domination, exploitation, and the current empires are all one and the same.
Consequently, there can and will be no discussion about justifying the existence of any symbol of this white supremacist history. We understand the complete ignorance and disaffection that most European people hold in the Western Hemisphere. We also understand that there are always going to be colonized people who figure out that there is a lane to profitability by siding and becoming the voice of reactionary white supremacy. Regardless of all of that dysfunction, the cold truth is any and all representation of the U.S. automatically denigrates the histories of colonized people. This is difficult for people to accept who wish to believe we all started at the same point and have the same history. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This reality is so institutionalized that you can take any area of these colonized lands and you can quickly find the contradictions. Here in the city I live in, Sacramento, I live blocks from Sutter’s Fort, a monument to a military leader who indiscriminately and savagely murdered Indigenous peoples. A little farther away is Kit Carson Middle School where my daughter attended. Kit Carson was another savage murderer of Indigenous peoples. In Memphis, Tennessee, where my daughter lives, in a park not far from her residence, a status of Nathan Bedford, one of the founders of the Ku Klux Klan stands. You can find statues of Klan members everywhere throughout this country because many of them were also highly respected public officials. Throughout Baja California, the Spanish missions are looked upon by settler colonial cultural protectionists as historic monuments when in reality, these are retro tributes to a brutal history. The current efforts to destroy these so-called monuments is symbolic in itself. Its an effort to challenge the racist narrative that has upheld the contributions of these brutes by honoring them with these tributes. As Franz Fanon discussed in “Black Skins, White Masks”, by toppling those racist symbols, the people heal the scars of that suffering so that we can strengthen ourselves to step up our game to fight on further.
By fighting on further we mean the resolution of this racist history isn’t to replace slave owning George Washington on the one dollar bill with an African or Indigenous person. Instead, the correct solution is to struggle to dismantle the racist system that the symbols glorify. The toppling of the statues, etc., is simply the opening salvo. And, although the petti-bourgeoisie elected personnel are jumping on board to try and take control of the narrative (and reduce it to one of just reforming certain elements of this racist system), even an alien who has landed on Earth can recognize that the real issue is this backward system, and changing it. Not, just the symbols of the system. Everyone understands that when a person decides to leave an abusive relationship, they don’t often just up and leave. Instead, they engage smaller symbolic actions first to grow their resolve. They remove their wedding ring. They create personal space, etc. The toppling of the statues is the removing the wedding ring phase. Understand this so you aren’t distracted into participating in a useless discussion about whether the statues should come down or not. They never should have been there in the first place. Tear them down. And, when you do, make sure you organize protection for your actions so that when reactionary, yet armed, white supremacists show up, you have people trained and prepared to confront their presence to prevent any disruption against your efforts. Then, as we tear down these savage symbols, we must continue to talk about how we can build organized efforts to increase our capacity to fight effectively for systemic change. For the complete eradication not just of the statue of the fathers of capitalism, but the elimination of capitalism itself.