It happened in the Sacking of Rome in 410 AD, again in 8th century Byzantium, the Paramara dynasty tried it in 13th century India, and of course it swept Europe throughout the Reformation. Iconoclasm has a long and global history of savage and fundamentalist attempts to rid countries of their history. Perhaps one of the most compelling arguments for removing the statue of Cromwell from the Houses of Parliament is that it’s what he would have wanted, given his own efforts to rid the country of any simulacra. The baying mob has come for Edward Colston, Baden-Powell and has a map of several more enemies of the people who are no longer worthy of the national memory. After decapitating a confederate statue, protestors in Virginia proceeded to almost decapitate one of their own in the toppling of said statue. However, I personally believe that they are not going far enough in this cause, and would like to suggest some further offenders who should be knocked off their pedestal.
Marx and Engels: Rather than simply touting the, perhaps lazy and disingenuous, claim that these two so-and-sos were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions under communist regimes which have followed their manifesto, these two held some values which are not acceptable in the modern day. Just as the American Declaration of Independence missed out the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for slaves in America, it seems that the communist manifesto did not believe that all peoples had nothing to lose but their chains. In the writings of Marx and Engels it is evidently clear that the two were very much racist. This may not be why their names are remembered, and their views may be ‘products of their time’, but they are not the views we hold in civilised society today. They also weren’t always separated from their communist ideals among followers, as shown by the 1921 slogan of the CPSA: “Workers of the world, unite and fight for a white South Africa!” I expect to see the workers of the world uniting to bring down their respective statues in Highgate Cemetery and Manchester (this would be round two for the Engels statue which was previously cut in half and dumped after the fall of communism in Ukraine).
Gandhi: The image of peaceful protest, and sandal afficionado, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi has been taught in schools as an hero of how to achieve change. Unfortunately, in the recent cloud of iconoclasm, people are beginning to remember his unsavoury views on Africans. Although he was crucial for the independence movement and anti-colonialism, he saw BIPOC as lower races and clearly had some caveats to “the good man being the friend of all living things”. At the time of writing, the mob is desecrating his statues across the country. He certainly deserves no place in parliament square.
Martin Luther King Jr: The idea that people be judged not on the colour of their skin but the content of their character enables systemic racism to thrive, and ‘colour-blindness’ is a frequent tool used by covert white-supremacists. While he may have been an important figure in the civil rights movement, he is a useful weapon in the establishment’s arsenal to distract attention from systemic racism to a view which is purely individual and ‘skin-deep’. He must be removed from Washington Park.
Nelson Mandela: Although a great hero for ending apartheid, his early years were not so heroic. Like Baden-Powell, his party was violently anti-Boer, and he suggested that any black South Africans who did not agree with his position should have their noses cut off. He supported the coup of Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, whose kleptocracy stole the wealth from everyday Nigerians. We do not support Baden-Powell, we do not support Abacha, we cannot support Mandela.
Mount Rushmore: This might be a fairly hefty dynamite job, however this commemorates two slave-owners (Washington and Jefferson), Theodore Roosevelt, whose views on Native Americans were fairly intolerable, and Abraham Lincoln, who may have abolished slavery, but did so cynically and did not believe in equal rights. This memorial should be quarried and the resulting stone be used to rebuild some of the buildings of black businesses which have been destroyed in the wake of the George Floyd killing.
The Lincoln Memorial: Added to the above, I’m not sure why, but Earl Grey was originally on the list for abolishing slavery, so it is only consistent to give honest Abe the same treatment. Lincoln didn’t even come up with a soothing tea blend…
All Wars Memorial to Black Soldiers and Sailors: These brave soldiers fought to defend the white-supremacist American state, and just like the 54th Massachusetts memorial, deserve some vandalism. Just as a black cop is still a cop, we can’t be giving these agents of oppression a pass. Bring. It. Down.
The Statue of Unity, India: The largest statue in the world, this effigy of Sardar Patel was finished as recently as 2018. Commissioned by Hindu-nationalist Modi, one might expect that it is a slightly poisoned chalice. While Patel was ‘the Bismarck of India’, and very influential in the unification of 562 princely states, he was an important figure in Partition. Just as we do not accept the statue of Louis Mountbatten on the Horse Guards parade (see toppletheracists.org), Prince Charles’ great uncle who was assassinated, we should not revere his co-conspirators. How can a Statue of Unity celebrate an Architect of Partition?
Equestrian Statue of Genghis Khan: It seems somewhat strange that as late as 2008 people could find it acceptable to commemorate, in 131-feet of stainless steel, Genghis Khan who, it seems fair to say, was a certified bad egg. A staunch believer that #nolivesmatter, Khan is estimated to have been responsible for the deaths of 40 million people. He also established a slave trade the length of Eurasia, and his personal misdeeds have resulted in 1 in 200 men worldwide carrying his Y-chromosome. The statue should be melted down, the steel used to make barbed-wire fences around autonomous, police-free zones.
The Unknown Warrior, Westminster Abbey: As we do not know the exact identity of this fallen British soldier, we cannot know for sure that he was not involved in the Boer War and the British concentration camps. With such a level of doubt, I think it is fair that the epitaph be erased and the body exhumed pending further investigation.
Statue of David, Michelangelo: The sins of David are well documented. Most notable are the rape of Bathsheba and the brutal killing of the Palestinian, Goliath. He bears some responsibility for the establishment of the State of Israel, and as such is complicit in their crimes. He did not tolerate the Philistines, and we should not tolerate him.
Augustus of Prima Porta and Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius: Both of these managed to escape the desecrations of the dark ages, and while that is already criminal in itself, both were notable slave owners, Augustus famously winning his primacy after defeating the African Queen Cleopatra, causing her suicide. They are iconic of Europa-centric white oppression, and have no place in modern society.
The Elgin Marbles: While we have them in our care, we must destroy these vile glorifications of the sins of man. The Elgin Marbles depict such atrocities as the Amazonomachy, celebrating the destruction of the world’s first progressive, woman-led state, and solidifying in Western culture the idea of patriarchy. They also depict Zeus (a notorious rapist), the genocide of the centaurs and further horrifying acts of the early Greeks. Inextricable from imperialism, they were built from the plundered wealth of the Athenian empire, and it was the British empire who then shamefully saved them from their rightful destruction by the Ottomans.
Cristo Redentor: Watching over Rio de Janeiro at 120-feet, this is regarded as one of the 7 modern wonders of the world. It is the most famous of the colossal Christ statues, and a true landmark in South America. However, this is a time where we must ask uncomfortable questions about ourselves and our culture and as such it is right that we question whether we can glorify such a problematic figure as Jesus Christ. Among his more egregious philosophies were forgiving the soldiers of the state for putting an innocent man to death, supporting the paying of taxes to the tyrant Caesar, and perpetuating the jaded dogma that children should not be punished for the sins of their ancestors. The last of these is the most harmful to modern society, as it is used by white-supremacists to argue that people born nearly two centuries after the abolition of slavery should not be held responsible for the actions and profits of their forebears. This kind of logic would suggest that the University of Liverpool were wrong to rename Gladstone Hall on account of his father owning slaves. I propose that this monument should be torn down and a clenched fist be installed in its place to show solidarity for the BLM movement.
Lady Justice, Old Bailey: If one desires to see how entrenched systemic racism in the UK is, one need look no further than this statue standing over the entrance to the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales. Lady Justice is notoriously blindfolded, which not only casts aspersions on a woman’s ability to be impartial, but more fundamentally it demonstrates that at the heart of the justice system in the UK, and around the world, Justice should be blind to those she judges. Imagine the pain of a BIPOC mounting these steps and looking up to see such a discriminatory policy as ‘all being equal before the law’. No doubt over Christmas dinner one hears one’s grandparents uttering such calumnies, and one shudders and reaches for a Brussel sprout to mask the wincing. I am ashamed to admit that I have allowed my elders to come out with this reprehensible ideology without making any attempt at correction. Worse, isonomy has found its way into the UN declaration of Human Rights (article 7 for those wondering)! But we are no longer the society which evolved from Pericles, from Cicero, from Christianity, from Magna Carta, from the Enlightenment. We do not subscribe to imperialistic principles such as the Rule of Law. We are the mob, we have our principles. We shall liberate the west from itself.