These two short pieces have been taken from the Scottish Left Forum
ON LOOTING AND STATUE TOPPLING
The initial US BLM protests were accompanied by looting and statue toppling. This amounted to oppositional ‘shock and awe’ tactics. These which were mainly responsible for breaking through the usual media silence and downplaying of constitutional protests. These actions provided a signal for a massive wave of international solidarity.
Society (or rather more accurately the ruling group in any society) puts up statutes in public places as an honour and as a symbol of what type of people are to be admired. As society changes those who are honoured by the society change and is contested. At one point in history statues of Hitler were erected in Germany and then at another point they are taken down. Same with Stalin. The removal of such statues is not an attempt to erase history but to make plain the type of people society honours or rejects. In the US south statues of confederate figures were erected as a symbol of white supremacy and the growth of the power of the KKK. They are now being removed because people can see them for what they are- a symbol of racial oppression. In Britain those who made a fortune in the slave trade are no longer considered figures of human excellence and their statues are being toppled. Good. maybe put them in a museum rather than under water. But their removal is a sign of society moving on and rejecting the barbarities of the past. Imagine children growing up in a city where statues of Hitler were on public display? how would that make Jewish kids feel? indeed how would that make any decent human being feel? For black kids, statues of slave traders are not acceptable. Indeed, we should teach all children that such figures are an example of a shameful and terrible past and should be removed to a museum. We should erect statues of those who rebelled against the slave trade and fought for human freedom. Any society which honours slave traders is a deeply sick society.
- RACISM – CALLING A DIFFERENT TONE
- GEORGE FLOYD DEMONSTRATIONS IN IRELAND
- SUPPRESSION OF BLM SOLIDARITY PROTES
4. RACISM, CAPITALISM AND CLASS STRUGGLE