It made me laugh to see Jason Kessler, organizer of the Charlottesville hate march, get heckled so fiercely he had to run away.
Even better is watching the memorials to traitors come down.
It’s classic. Remember how everyone cheered when the statues of Lenin and Stalin were toppled, or the gleeful destruction of Saddam’s monuments? Only difference is that these Confederates were the losers who should never have had statues put up in the first place.
Kessler was there to open dialogue and that mob turned him away. Free speech was the real victim that day.
How will we ever move past racism if we don’t listen to their side about lynchings? Over and over and over and over and over.
Oh, and “Waaaah! Erasing history!”
There. That’s those two things out of the way.
Turi1337 . says
I mean proud moment and all, but when they start kicking a metal stature i laughed. Let it to crowds to do the strangest things :D
But for real: Well done. Tear them down. And but the destroyed monuments in a museum of shame, so nobody forgets that they where there.
I think everyone has some revisionist history when it comes to the Civil War based on what they’ve learned. However, this whole debacle has been an exercise in futility. The statues are irrelevant to fixing race relations in america. In fact, obviously an argument can be made that it hurts them even more. The point is that memorials mean different things to different people. For example, if you take the word commemorate. It could be celebration or simply recall. The reason for a monument is ambiguous. I doubt that there are many celebrations held at the statues. You can think what you want but it is history for many people and I know a lot of people that can trace a lot of their heritage back through the Civil War. Furthermore, the reason for the Civil War can be debated but both sides are conflating the Civil War with the Jim Crow south. The memorial is there because there is a guy alive today because his great great grandfather fought in the Civil War and made it out alive. It doesn’t have anything to do with oppressing another race even though dumb rednecks and dumb liberals have decided to interpret it that way. You know, because someone lived in the South they must have been racist.
I think most people view monuments as nothing more than markers of a historical person or event. My real concern is where is all of this is going and what is the goal? It sounds like it is to remove from the history books the Civil War along with any history that may be too hard for some people or rewrite history to make is more palatable. It is more likely that people who want to scapegoat the South for all the racial atrocities in america in order to make their own heritage seem more enlightened.
I do find it funny that a previous post just talking about that “it is not all the south” would now be on board with painting southern heritage as the only racists ideology. Not all the generals and soldiers were racists and if you think a country goes to war because of human rights then you need to get with the program. Somewhere there is money and control or vice versa. Slavery was a big topic and was used as a rally cry for the confederate state. The issue of slavery was a sub-issue of the main issue of state rights and control but slavery epitomized the general political thought so that is why it was a center piece.
It misses the goal, in my opinion, to ever fix racial tension in America. If you think it is even a step in the “right” direction then I’d say you are oblivious. Removing monuments is meaningless. I can’t say how the problem can be fixed but I know all of this is dumb and people taking lives and losing lives over it is just as dumb.
At the end of the day I can go about my business and the monument is the one out in the weather covered in pigeon shit. I really don’t give a shit. Take it down. Put it up. It’s history people. Leave it be and focus on today.
If somebody wants to keep the statues, maybe they should have them transported to the civil war cemeteries for confederate Soldiers ? Incidentally, those are just about the only sites where it make sense to fly the Southern battle flag.
And when it comes to any statues of *civilians* who played a role in bringing Jim Crow, those might belong to a museum but not elsewhere.
slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says
me very skeptical he was there to honestly “open debate”. That being his “branding”, in order to spout racist rhetoric at the crowd. They love to use freezepeach to deceive people into listening to their rhetoric of racism ideology.
Free Speech won, by chasing the hatemonger off the stage.
Chasing him away was as much “free speech” as anything verbal.
@birgerjohansson #5: Not a bad idea.
“I really don’t give a shit.” ctech, that’s a long way to go just to get to I-don’t-care-ville.
Others will probably more thoroughly address your post, but I wanted to address a couple of points.
“both sides are conflating the Civil War with the Jim Crow south.” In what sense are they being conflated? They are inextricably linked. Jim crow was simply a way to continue the white dominance over former slaves and their descendants that had begun in slavery. They are both part of the same original sin of this country.
“Not all the generals and soldiers were racists…” No doubt. Yet they joined a fight that was explicitly fought to preserve the institution of chattel slavery. Whether the common soldier held any personal prejudices or bigoted views is irrelevant. They fought, killed, and died to preserve a way of life that treated others as less than human.
Saad was being sarcastic, slithey.
A Masked Avenger says
I’ve been peeking at right-wing forums, and they’re making the opposite analogy: ISIS pulled down statues too.
“Our new government is founded upon exactly [this] idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”
That’s from a speech by Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the CSA. If you bother to look up the various statements of secession made by the southern states, you’ll find that every single one mentions slavery.
The only “states’ rights” involved were the right to own human beings.
Please feel free to insert notions of moral equivalence in your distal gastrointestinal orifice.
They’ve got their work cut out for them. There are over 1000 Confederate memorials in 31 states, in public parks, courthouse squares and state capitols, many in states that were nowhere near the Civil War. For instance, the Confederate Memorial Fountain in Helena, Montana, which wasn’t even a state during the War.
The number of memorials is actually increasing. In North Carolina, for instance, 35 monuments have been added since 2000, promoted by groups like the United Daughters of the Confederacy, who, like our commenter ctech up above, promote theories like the “Lost Cause’’ theory of the war: that it was fought not because of the South’s insistence on slavery, which benefited slaves as much as their masters, but on states’ rights.
I’d be all for putting up more statues/memorials. Like the one for the Nueces massacre of Freethinker Texas Unionists by Confederate troops.
God, what sorry apologetics. I couldn’t disagree with this nonsense more.
Consider when many of these memorials were constructed – almost all are 20th century, a TON of them 50’s and 60’s – Civil Rights Era. The meaning of these memorials is clear – it’s a clear statement about what the civil entities, the authority, constructing these monuments stand for.
The Mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, explained this very well recently. I urge you to watch:
Anyone who thinks that is breathtakingly ignorant or willfully stupid.
What do you suppose the goal would be of erecting a civic monument dedicated to people willing to give their lives to defend their right to own humans would be?
What is this incoherent gibberish? The Tiki-Torch SS was wearing swastikas and giving Nazi salutes. You don’t think that implies another source of racist ideology?
This is wrong-headed, ignorant, malicious nonsense that is intellectually equivalent to Holocaust denial, but has been far more destructive to America, specifically the black population. That gross revisionism underlies the horrific humanitarian disaster that took place in the South from Reconstruction through the Jim Crowe era and justifies continued abuse to this day.
If you ever want to fix racial tension you should start with an honest, accurate view of the history of racism and oppression. Beginning with apologetics for the Confederacy is a good way to be exactly wrong about everything.
You should be ashamed. Disgusting.
There is no debate. Try, you will make a fool of yourself. The Southern States were PAINFULLY clear about why they seceded:
A Masked Avenger, #10
Black people marched shouting slogans too!
Harriet Tubman concealed carried too!
Being horrible at making comparisons and analogies must be the birthright of bigots.
# 10 A Masked Avenger
ISIS pulled down statues too.
Continued example of the alt-scum’s ignorance?
For ISIS it is a religious issue (plus they may be trying to sell them on the black market)
As fusilier mentioned:
Some declarations of secession
It’s entirely about slavery.
The “states’ rights” bullshit is so transparent.
Which right were they fighting over?
The “right” to own humans.
Unfortunately, they won the war after about 20 years of fighting, with some serious damage but mostly still OK. It would be a full century before the war would flare up again and they’d suffer some more serious defeats. And here we are, fifty years later, still fighting the war.
Slavery was required by the CSA constitution. States didn’t have the right to opt out like they did in the Union. The CSA put far more restrictions on states’ rights than the Union had. It was really clear that in 1860, states’ rights was not part of the agenda.
“Not all the generals and soldiers were racists”…the idea that someone indifferent to the fact they were fighting on the side of slavery could be non-racist is incomprehensible to me. The whole culture was structured around racism, you can hardly expect the average person to be above it. I mean, we are talking about a time when even the “radical” abolitionists were often racist in other ways. Trying to absolve leaders of the Confederacy of it because some might have fought for the right to own black people just because of the money involved is nonsense.
@philipelliott: That is your interpretation of it. You are hung up on the war and slavery. Slavery was a rally point for idea that “the federal government is not going to tell us what to do”. It could have been about anything but because slavery was a staple of the culture and at that time was a large economic force it was unimaginable for a typical southern to see a life without slaves. This was a topic that most of the citizens could relate to. However, some of your bigger mover and shakers had other issues with raw goods, protective tariffs, and external exploitation. Yes, the Article of Secession for most states maintain the overlying motif of slavery and I am not saying that slavery didn’t play a part and I am not arguing the Jim Crow laws. Jim Crow did not happen until some time after the Civil War and was a southern solution to race relations problems but Jim Crow has nothing to do with a memorial to the Civil War.
They are conflated in the minds of the dumb redneck and the senseless liberal. If you believe something long enough, then it becomes inextricably linked. The monument itself does not intend to represent slavery or Jim Crow south but people have took it as that. So, that is what it is now but don’t pigeon-hole history and just take just the parts that paint your narrative. We can all agree on your narrative about history but that is not the whole story and it certainly should not be the symbolic meaning on any war monument from that era even though you and others have allowed it to be.
Anyway, I am not faulting you for your ideas as it is easy to link everything Civil War related to Jim Crow because for years dumb rednecks have waved the Confederate flag while citing Jim Crow laws. I also understand it is just easier to say the Civil War was fought over slavery. I think that is about the equivalent of what some think saying “God did it” is to scientific inquiry. The evil, racist southerners against the wholesome, righteous northerners. I am also just saying, in my opinion, a nice side effect of that is that if your heritage is not southern then you probably feel better about yourself. Either way, my point is this gets us nowhere as a society because we can’t change the past. The fact of the matter is that those people that are racist are gonna be racist regardless of any monument.
ctech @ 21:
The more apologetics you pile on, the worse it makes you look.
@monad: the point it that we don’t know the true feelings about individuals and we can argue all day long about the reasons for the war. Under that logic we should assume that there were racist fighting for the union. So, what were they fighting for? The point is that Lincoln did not really have a position on slavery and it can be argued that he shared many of the same segregated racial views as the rest of the country not just the southern states. It can also be argued that freeing slaves was simply a calculated move to save the Union. Thereby, slavery is just a pawn in the grand scheme of things. Either way, I am not trying to absolve anyone of anything. I don’t really know how any person thought of other races or treated black people back then but you should get your history straight before making those judgments and associating all things Civil War with slavery. There were more people that did not own slaves than who did and the racial divide was not just a mindset of the southern states but stretched all the way up the east coast and to the rest of the states.
Again, it is just a historical monument. I can’t help it if weak, small minded individuals can’t deal with that and have to make it about something else. I am talking about these rightwing “south will rise again” extremist idiots and the tree hugging protesters. I can at least respect the fact that those groups are interpreting the monument in those regards so that is reality even though it is not historically accurate nor the intentions of the monument. Yes, the monuments have to come down but there should have been a better way of doing it.
What? You think they’re knocking down the statue because they want to change the past (whatever that even means)?
The statues need to go because Confederacy fetishizing white supremacists are a normalized thing. They have representatives in the government from the local to state to federal level. They say these statues are their heroes and heritage. It is one of their causes. The statues need to go because they need to be told in the sternest of terms that their ideas are not valid points for discussion and their platform is not a valid platform to be debated in public space.
It’s not erasing history. There are countless books, papers, articles and documentaries, exhibits and museums on the Civil War. Civil War history isn’t going anywhere by taking down statues.
It’s not about fixing racism. It’s about not giving an inch to racist thugs. If there were statues of Nazi figures in German public spaces and neo Nazis were honoring them and using them to rally around, they’d be taken down in a heartbeat too. And rightly so.
@microraptor: If you can handle that there may be more to the history of the Civil War than just good guys vs bad guys then you are the one that looks bad. I am not making excuses or defending anybody’s actions. Let’s get that straight. As I pointed out that it is likely that you don’t like the narrative that the Civil War was not entirely about slavery so you confuse my statements as being pro slavery and defending atrocities of the South. The Civil War has a massive amount of research. You should read more in depth writing rather than the blurb in your 5th grade social studies book.
My comment is just to frame the uselessness of tearing down a historical monument if the goal is to really mend race relations. My other point is that you take someone like Dylan Roof and tell me what the solution is? That guy was a true racist and not just some white guy you went to the other side of the street to avoid a guy with a hoodie. That guy was gonna do something stupid regardless how many Civil War monuments are in existence.
I keep hearing people claiming the Civil War was about ‘states rights’. That is a crock. I won’t rehash all the well thought out responses already provided to your unfounded assertion.
In the case of the CSA, their claim is completely negated by their view of the Fugitive Slave Act. Leading up to the war, the northern states were not sufficiently enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act. (I view any enforcement of it to be problematic.) Can you name a single political figure who would soon support the CSA that talked about New York’s right to ignore the Fugitive Slave Act? You can’t because they all vehemently opposed that ‘states right’.
Just like Attorney General Jefferson Sessions loves to talk about states rights when he wants some states to deny equal protection under the law for marriage equality; he never talks about states rights regarding some states legalizing recreational marijuana. There are so many other examples of Sessions picking and choosing which Federal laws he wants enforced to the full extent and which he thinks should be ignored.
‘States rights’ is a nonsense phrase meaning ‘I personally disagree with how our democratic process decided X and should be able to ignore it without repercussion, but I love how our democratic process decided Y and you better abide by it or face the full impact of our justice system.’
Remove the desire to maintain chattel slavery from the equation and the Civil War would never have happened.
This is ass backwards. The opposition to the federal government grew out of their desire to protect slavery. That’s why the three-fifths clause is in the original Constitution.
The Southern states did not secede because of tariffs or any raw good, save cotton, and that was only because they needed slaves to produce it. The tariff dodge is a transparent lie created during Reconstruction. The Nullification Crisis in the 1830’s was about tariffs, not the Civil War.
And every economic issue you try to raise will be one step removed from slavery. The Civil War was started by the Confederacy to defend the institution of slavery. All other explanations are wrong and sad apologetics.
I note that you have not provided a single source for your rambling nonsense.
Jesus fuck this is bad.
1) Jim Crow was not a solution to race relations problems. The only problem was white Southerners oppressing the newly freed black population. It was a means of reconstituting legal oppression after the end of Reconstruction. The un-punished traitors of the Confederacy retook placed of power, abused the black population, and commenced a century long war of official and unofficial terrorism against that population.
2) The memorials had everything to do with Jim Crow. It communicated to everyone who was in charge and what they believed. Lionizing and celebrating slave owners and people who fought to defend slavery sent a very clear message to the black population and any and all fighting for civil rights.
God, this is such bullshit.
First of all, how the hell do you know what was intended? Have any sources?
Second, I would seriously doubt the press release says, “In revealing this monument to Nathan Bedford Forrest, we want to make it clear that we hate black people.” You may have to use your brain to figure out why these monuments were largely created at the turn of the 20th century (right after Plessy v. Furgeson) and in the 1950’s-60’s. Total coincidence, I’m sure.
So, erecting a monument to Nathan Bedford Forrest, one of the founders of the Ku Klux Klan, has nothing to do with the members of the Ku Klux Klan who rallied around it? Hmm…seems like you misapplied “dumb” and “senseless.”
It’s not easier, it’s much hard, largely because ignorant goofballs like you spread insane misinformation. If either the North or the South had capitulated on slavery, there would not have been a Civil War. The actual historical record shows this unequivocally.
This is your ridiculous framing.
The Civil War was fought to defend slavery, not to end it. The North was full of racist assholes, but War occurred because the South seceded and fired on Ft. Sumter. They did so immediately after the first president from the new, anti-slavery Republican Party was elected.
And yet you’ve done nothing but lie about the past in order to support your mealy-mouthed defense of white supremacist monuments. Seems like you are very interested in changing the past – or least our understanding of it.
Incidentally, that statue in Durham, NC was erected in 1924, so not exactly a “historical monument.” A lot of the Ciivl War statues around the South were erected in the 1920s including the statue of Lee in Charlottesville…more testament to Jim Crow than the Civil War. As other societies have discovered, tearing down symbols of oppression is not useless but a step in liberation. I must say that as a former Southerner, I’m rather pleased and encouraged to see people in the South starting to take action against the romantic fetishism of the Civil War, even if it is the useless but symbolic act of taking down a statue.
Also, it’s important to understand that slavery was integral to the Southern economy. According to Edward E. Baptist in The Half Has Never Been Told some 2 million slaves were sold from Virginia and North Carolina to cotton growers in the deep South in the years leading up to the war. Slaves made King Cotton possible, which made some Southerners enormously wealthy. As America’s first commodity product, you could argue that the “American Century” owes a great deal to slaves who toiled to meet their ever increasing quotas, were beaten when they failed, and continuously invented ways to meet the demand put on them by venal men who created historic myths to rationalize their inhumanity.
@dragon: In my studies you could remove the desire to maintain slavery and the Civil War still would have happened.
Also, by what measure is state’s rights unfounded and a crock? There is no way you have done any real study of the Civil War too be able to claim that state’s rights is unfounded. It is the primary idea that slavery even falls under.
Ultimately, I agree there are issues with state’s rights as it is designed to be a loophole to pick and choose but Sessions is not the only state picking and choosing when it comes to state vs federal issues.
Your talk about “idiots on both sides conflating” the south with slavery is not only inaccurate history but fundamentally misunderstands how communication and symbols work. A symbol is what people associate with it; referencing the “original meaning” is missing the point. For example, if you went around wearing a swastika but said “well actually its an ancient Hindu symbol and stupid people just keep conflating it with genocide” you would be wrong, since while it did have that origin the meaning of symbols changes over time and the swastika is now inextricably linked (in western countries at least) to Nazism. Similarly, I disagree with your arguments about the motives of the historical south but that is a moot point because in modern America, the Confederacy is a symbol of racism. For examples, see modern American white nationalists’ extensive use of Confederate imagery and the fact that most modern confederate memorials were installed long after the civil war in the backlash against civil rights. Monuments are different from history books in that history books can have nuance or condemnation while a monument is inherently a public show of respect for the thing being portrayed (literally putting it on a pedestal). A public show of respect for a symbol of racism signals contributes to a climate of racism being socially acceptable and minorities feeling unsafe, and as such is bad for race relations.
This is just the old how can anyone know anything gambit. Well, some of us can use evidence to determine what was going on with exceptionally high probability; and on the assumption they weren’t all lying in their speeches and declarations and diaries, we know in the most explicit terms that the primary causes of the secession was racial concern about slavery, economic concern about slavery, and of course concern about state’s rights to allow slavery (but explicitly not other rights like rejecting it). Many examples have been provided for you, and reading through what was said at the time will provide countless more. If you can’t tell that’s what was up, it’s not because we don’t know what the evidence says, it’s because you don’t want to accept it.
And yeah, I understand most people in the north were racist too. Very explicitly some weren’t keen in fighting against slavery, and were only trying to preserve the union, until it became clear that those had become mutually exclusive goals. What of it? They weren’t the ones who chose to start the war, the slavers did. And a statue of Lincoln is still a statue of the man who famously fought for the emancipation proclamation, while a statue of Forrest or Lee is still a statue of a man who famously killed thousands of countrymen in the cause of that pro-slavery secession. You don’t have to think the former was a saint in other ways to understand how vile it is to commemorate the latter, especially with statues built explicitly by opponents to civil rights movements to glamorize their cause.
You should get your history straight. Think rationally for a moment: is it really likely that you are the one person here who understands all its nuances, or that maybe some of us know something about it you don’t?
But they come damn close in cases like the Battle of Liberty Place Memorial, which literally thanks white supremacy for their state.
@doubtthat: You put more stock in the monuments than I do. If logically, the monuments carried the intent you propose then why has that idea been lost because I sure wasn’t taught that. They are simply a memorial to history. So, neither one of us know the intent of the monuments and can speculate but logically it doesn’t make sense for those reasons. Back closer to the life of these guys that are in the monuments then maybe people could relate fear and intimidation to them but I just don’t know and I don’t think that is an idea that can be sustained even 30 or 40 years or more removed from the war.
Why would a monument of George Washington not work just as well? The point is the same fear and intimidation (if any) should be had rather you see a monument of Nathan Bedford Forrest or George Washington. How about they are just historical monuments to indicate these guys have some place in history?
I will say you seem to know a lot but you need to look more into Jim Crow laws. A few things you just took what I said and said the same thing. Yes, one of the things that created opposition to the Union was slavery. I just framed it as how one of the southern states may have said it which was “they ain’t gonna tell us what to do”. We’re saying the same thing. I also like how you provide documentation. Please send it over I will like to honestly read it.
Thank you dragon for pointing out the gaping hole in the fucking states right argument
it’s nothing more than a beautiful bow tied on a pile of shit
no matter how pretty the bow is it does not hide the shit it is attached to.
@EveryZig: Completely agree and I have made mention of that but you put it much better. I am just not a fan of revisionist history but it is what it is now. Nice comment.
In a democratic country, mobs should not be allowed to tear down monuments, works of arts or buildings, try to hunt down people or meet out “justice”. However horrible opinion, statement or act the person may have done or said, or the object represents, it is through the democratic process or judicial system it must be handled. if you fail, you either try again or acknowledge your loss. The power of the mob must always be stopped.
Ze Madmax says
In a democratic country, the State shouldn’t tacitly endorse undemocratic regimes by allowing statues of their leaders to be put up as a way of whitewashing history. And yet, here we are…
I agree. Let’s fine them a dollar – split between however many participated.
consciousness razor says
Because the education you got about it must have sucked, dumbass.
@monad 32: You are arguing like I’ve slapped yo’ momma… with my balls. I have not said that slavery was not an issue and I am not defending any figure of the Civil War. Of course, you probably think I am missing something if you think I am saying that the Civil War was not fought over slavery. Just calm down. Slavery was a major factor.
I am saying I am disappointed that people take a silly statue the wrong way. It is clearly a racial sensitivity issue that we can’t even discuss history without being racists. There is just no reason why a statue of Lee should immediately been seen as racists anymore so than a bust of George Washington who owned plenty of slaves or a statue of Lincoln who himself still believed in segregation and black resettlement. I understand those statues are viewed that way. I am simply making a comment that it shouldn’t be and that viewing them that way and removing them is useless. The racists people are going to be racists regardless of a pigeon shit covered statue.
consciousness razor says
Oh, sure, just the other I day I was thinking to myself that I needed a whole lot of fucking indicating that “these guys have some place in history.” But then I got to thinking what about other people who once existed — where are their statues?
@consciousness razor: So, the very intent that needed to be taught in order to maintain the fear and intimidation would somehow not be taught? You don’t make any sense. Do you realize you are saying my education sucked because I was not taught racism? Why don’t you go stfu!? It is good I was not taught that if that was the true meaning of the statues. I like what I think the statues mean and it’s not all of this rightwing or liberal shitfest.
Not to de-rail the thread against ctech’s states’ rights inanity, but one small point, re PZ’s suggesting that losing isn’t something you build a statue to…well, it depends how and why you lost. Crazy Horse lost, but I can’t wait ’til the monument is finished. It’s already amazing, him on his horse riding out of the mountain. I live in Mexico, and there are statues of losers all over the place (though not too many to Santa Ana, heh heh).
Right, I’m the one that traveled to Virginia, purchased a tiki torch, and spent my day marching around and defend a monument to moral monster. Sad effort on the, “You mad, bro,” gambit.
I put stock in the Lost Causers. I am aware of history so I understand it’s significance. They are the single deadliest terror organization in American history, so, yes, I do put significance in the things they find significant.
1) Charitable Response:
Since Appomattox, Confederate sympathizers have waged an all out PR war on the legacy of the Civil War. This is how you have slanderous histories about Ulysses S. Grant, a very good president, talented general, and legitimate American hero. It’s how you end up with the crap you’ve been vomiting up about States’ Rights and tariffs. It’s how you end up with nonsense, romantic view of Confederacy and South seen in Gone With the Wind. It’s the Lost Cause of the Confederacy.
Here is an overview:
Here is a very good bit about its contemporary influence:
2) Non-Charitable answer:
There appears to be a great deal about these issues that you don’t know. I am not swayed by your personal ignorance on these matters.
The word “know” is doing a hell of a lot of work for you.
Unlike you, I have offered a series of factual statements that lead to a very strong conclusion about the intent:
1) They are monuments to traitors.
2) They are monuments to horrific humanitarian abusers.
3) They are monuments to racists.
4) They were largely erected at the beginning of legalized segregation and again in response to the Civil Rights Movement.
5) They are rallying points for racists, neo-nazis, KKK members, and other horrible people who lionize the Confederacy.
But we also have direct evidence of the reason for these horrific icons:
Oh, man, what a great point, except for, you know, THE RACIST WHITE SUPREMACISTS MARCHING IN THEIR DEFENSE TWO DAYS AGO.
Seems to undercut the “lost to history” reasoning.
Goddamn, you are an amazing generating of terrible arguments.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think these monuments should be destroyed (at least, not all of them), but they should absolutely be removed from places of public veneration. These are in places of respect, not infamy. They should be removed and put in a museum that explains their racist, horrible roots like the pile of shoes in the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.
I don’t see any monuments to HH Holmes or Ted Bundy. There are areas where their crimes are noted and the victims remembered, but they aren’t celebrated. These Southern moral perverts who raped and murdered countless black people during and after slavery, should not be held up as icons.
No, we are not. Slavery was not one among many reasons, it was the only reason. Again, if either side had capitulated on slavery – the South agrees to free the slaves, the North agrees to let them keep them and expand as they wish into the West – there would not have been a Civil War.
All other issues are either a direct result of slavery – tariffs, states’ rights (which was almost entirely about honoring the Fugitive Slave Act), material goods – or tangentially related to slavery.
The Confederacy existed to defend slavery. They lost. Immediately Lost Causers spread up to lie about the foundational reason for the Confederacy’s existence to justify further abuse of the black population. This legacy continues to this day, and you see it both in the monuments to the Confederate traitors and the disgusting assholes who march in their defense.
Good point. I meant to make a more subtle point about reading between the lines, accustomed to the dog-whistling of today’s discourse.
In the early 20th century, they had no qualms about saying things more directly. Good link.
Saganite, a haunter of demons says
I like how crummy and bendy it is. Not just toppled, but utterly ruined. Good. :-)
@consciousness razor 42: There are plenty of statues and monuments to many historical figures all over the world.
consciousness razor says
You were replying to doubtthat, who wasn’t proposing you should be taught racism but that such statues are about supporting racism (which obviously you should’ve been taught to oppose), in that they put on a literal pedestal “great men” of the past who fought to maintain slavery. So I offered your sucky education as a possible reason why you were not taught that, if indeed you were not taught that, which is hard to believe. Logically, that is a possibility, and you appeared not to understand that fact.
Explain how you think you can blame liberals for this shitfest. Can’t wait to hear some more of your right-wing talking points about that.
Info on the “historically important” statues. Short version: they’re not. A lot of them were cheap, recent and generic. Hell, there’ve been some erected this century
And ctech, if you think they don’t have modern resonance – look at who’s defending them. Look at those Fascists, turning up with their swastikas and Confederate flags, and literally killing people, and tell me again that it’s just about remembering history.
Mike Smith says
However, we want to conceptualize the War of Southern Treason that a lot of the monuments under discussion are celebrating and/or commemorating white supremacy, the ideology that people should have a lesser set of legal rights because they happen to be black. They are repugnant to all people of good faith and this is beyond dispute. Why is it beyond doubt? Read the fucking inscription on some of them. To wit: http://www.telesurtv.net/__export/1493082748367/sites/telesur/img/news/2017/04/24/liberty-place-monument.jpg_1718483346.jpg
“United States Troops Took Over the State and Reinstated the Usurpers. But the National Election November 1876 Recognized White Supremacy In the South and Gave Us Our State.”
So no, the monuments’ meaning are not up for debate. They are literally dedicated to white supremacy. Jesus fucking Christ.
consciousness razor says
You can’t be that dense. Are there plenty of statues of all of the people who had to endure slavery? Why not those people? Are they not “historical figures”?
If all you wanted is stuff that portrays our history, then I propose we take down 1000 copies of White Dude On Horse Who Killed For Slavery and put something better in their places, which represents the people who ought to be a greater concern to us.
I argue like I am being lied to. Like right now, you say you are not “defending any figure of the Civil War”. Yet what I responded to first was your statement that they are not all racists. And you have essentially been arguing that while slavery was a “major issue”, it shouldn’t be regarded as what the southern figures were fighting for, never mind what they said about it. That’s defending them.
As far as the statues simply representing their place in history, that sounds great, but where are the others? Generals like Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, or William Bradford and his unjustly massacred soldiers, or the slaves who did so much of the south’s work, or other historical notables like Benedict Arnold? If there’s nothing behind it but memory, why did Lee and Forrest somehow get put on pedestals so much more often? I’m skeptical you really think it is just a sign of their existence, that you wouldn’t read anything into putting up those others all over Charlottesville.
Removing the statues is useful precisely because they represent and endorsement of slavery. The fact that you think they shouldn’t represent racism does not change the fact that here and now they do in fact represent racism.
And yet here you go quietly sliding from “these statues should not represent veneration” to “these statues do not represent veneration”. You don’t get to do that while arguing honestly; it isn’t up to you to decide what symbols do or don’t represent for large numbers of other people.
There’s a difference between not being taught to engage in racism and not being taught that racism exists. Would you also consider it a good thing if you were not taught what slurs mean and you went around using them as exclamations because to you they are just funny nonsense sounds with no further meaning? (And then went on to say that surely others who pointedly shout those slurs around minorities must also just be having innocent fun with nonsense sounds, and we can never know if they intended otherwise?)
Well, I’m convinced.
You know, there’s now a statue of Shaq outside of STAPLES center, ergo the founder of the deadliest terror organization in American history, the KKK, should have a statue, too.
The logic is flawless. There are, in fact, lots of statutes.
@doubtthat: Wikipedia, theatlantic, and nytimes. Somehow I am not surprised. Your series of factual of statements are bullcrap and you know it. None of those have any bearing on if a municipality decides to erect a monument and those statements don’t lead to any conclusion on the intent.
You get your version of history and I won’t judge where you get it from. They tell you the monuments were for that and you believe it. Nothing wrong with that. It is a moving piece from the nytimes. The original intent is irrelevant because their intent fuels racism now. I said I don’t think the original intent was that and you provided a nytimes articles that provides no details except to say that there are records to show that they were designed for hatred. Not very compelling but maybe they got it from somewhere. Perhaps the commissioner made a note in the financial journal or it says on the bottom of the monument, “for the sustainability of racism and hatred. All ye who enter here must be white”. Okay, I can concede that the monuments were placed there to strike fear in the hearts of african americans and serve as motivation to the small percentage of the population that were traditionalists. That sounds idiotic but you should never trust your town council.
Either way, I agree with a lot of what you say except that slavery was the only reason.
Where exactly did you perform these studies? Please cite sources. Do you really think the Tariff of 1828 was sufficient to dissolve the Union? If so, why 30+ years later.
In the interests of space, I merely provided one concrete, undeniable counter-example (Fugitive Slave Act (FSA)). You didn’t even try to address it. The term has no defined meaning. I challenge you to provide a credible definition.
Ah, the first refuge of the apologist: ‘any real study’, The Courtier’s Reply. You cannot address the FSA, so falsely claim the messenger isn’t as learned as you. I could easily say that if you had done ‘any real study’, you would have already contemplated the issues related to the FSA. By your complete refusal to address it, I am concerned that your study was significantly less than mine. As though you only learned one side rather than both sides.
My answer is all detailed above. The term has no defined meaning. It is incoherent to say slavery falls under ‘states rights’ but the FSA does not. You are being incoherent on the issue.
I thought you would recognize that when I use the phrase ‘LIKE Jefferson Sessions’, I was using him as an example among many. There are plenty of dishonest people who use the term hypocritically. Like you.
BTW, Sessions is not a ‘state’, I suspect you dropped a word there.
Have anyone ever mentioned that you’re not the only person on the planet? By their very nature, public symbols involve people other than you.
If all you argue is that you, personally, wouldn’t have pulled down the statue, that’s one thing. However, when you argue that others shouldn’t have done so, you sure as fuck need to come with something better than “I don’t mind”.
Alternatively, get used to being called an apologist for racists. Feel free to declare that this just proves you right and we’re all a bunch of meanies, but get used to it.
@Dragon I only mention that because aside from slavery the topic of state’s rights was a major topic of the causes of declaration. So, while the declarations have been heavily cited I mentioned you may want to at least attempt a read at those before you say state’s rights is not even on the table. The declarations are riddled with it. Keep cherry picking your history.
@Monad: I am not sure why you think I am defending anyone but simply saying that they may not all be racists is somehow defending them. I don’t know Robert E Lee. Maybe you do and he slept with your wife. I don’t know. That would be pretty vile and cause for hatred. Typically, monuments are erected in a place of significance related to the individual. For example, perhaps there is a monument of Grant in his hometown. I don’t know. There should be. Also, people drive a benz all day long and their founder had ties to the nazis and even used slave labor. There is probably a monument to Karl Benz somewhere.
@EveryZig: Removing them is not useful but maybe given time it will be. I agree with everything else. I understand the meaning of monuments and that it is not up to me to decide how people feel nor is it okay for them to decide for me. I can call it stupid that those monuments represent what they do for the large groups of people. I look at those monuments the same way I look at other monuments of other slave owners. Also, I was not told when I was young that a statue I pass everyday was placed there to keep all the blacks out. Not sure why if that was the purpose. It seems like the people that commissioned the monument would have made other provisions to keep that idea going.
@LykeX: I am not an apologists for racists. You should at least get that 1 thing right. You should realize that you are part of the problem that you can’t have open discussions without throwing out someone is a racist. I only hate they pulled down the statues for the reasons because I don’t share that interpretation of the monuments. I understand why they did and I even agree with it but that does not mean I have to like it.
@jefrir: I agree. I have said it should be. I understand it is not and that maybe the towns have hidden intentions when erecting the statues but only the dumb rednecks and liberal nuts have continued the practice. The liberals for making a big deal out of it.
I am in agreement with you guys on about all of it but you have some revisionist history and I have my own revisionist history. The end.
Mikko Sandt says
The rage and the self-righteous ideological fervor of those kids assaulting the poor statue, that’s just creepy. If this were China during the Cultural Revolution, those same kids would be out there killing instead of merely toppling statues. And PZ is championing these lunatics?
Brony, Social Justice Cenobite says
How do you assault a statue?
Brony, Social Justice Cenobite says
That’s looks like a non-literal rhetorical hook that allows you to slide things towards your fantasy story about the protestors being violent.
Haha, oh god. It just doesn’t take long for the true colors to show, does it?
Feel free to contradict any and all of my sources, if you can. What did they get wrong? Please share.
But, of course, you will never do that work. You realize you’ve floated into waters far too deep for you, but you lack the dignity to just admit it.
The NY Times was quoting from the statements made by people at the unveiling of the monuments. The people that erected the monument explained their reasons. It’s impossible to get a more accurate explanation for why those things exist.
But, of course, you can’t have your silly beliefs challenged, so in your ears your fingers go…
Yeah, I bet they did. Probably from the records they site.
Here’s a very detailed breakdown of the Lost Cause, racist bullshit underlying a Confederate Monument in Mississippi. Quotes and citations a plenty:
And yet you have offered not a single other explanation that wasn’t either transparently bullshit (tariffs) or just another way of saying slavery (“States’ Rights” – right to do what, exactly?). Slavery was THE issue.
Go ahead and list the points of friction between Southern state governments and the Federal United States Government in the late 1850’s. What were the major disputes?
Mikko Sandt says
@Brony, Social Justice Cenobite
They are violent.
Violence against statues of ancient ethical monsters =/= violence against living human beings.
The statue that was pulled down in Durham was of a generic Confederate soldier. There are identical ones in multiple other Southern towns within a few miles drive. It really isn’t marking a particular person or place of historical significance.
It’s easy to say monuments should go up in places where the people were significant, but it’s transparently not this issue. As has been pointed out, New Orleans never put up a statue of Longstreet who led there after the war; they put up one to Lee, who had little to do with the place. You are sidestepping the actual nature of these monuments.
I obviously don’t know Lee in person, but I do know him from writings. He’s famously the man who once wrote about how slavery was an evil to the whites, but of great benefit to the otherwise uncivilized blacks, that should endure as long as providence felt it necessary. He’s the man who once wrote about how blacks should not be votes as they lacked the intelligence and other qualities to handle it. Were you not aware of such things, or do they not mean anything to you?
Then we have all we know of him from other people – that he was a man who would have brine poured on his slaves after they were whipped, who would refuse to exchange captured soldiers as prisoners rather than property if they were black, and so on. If he had slept with my wife, would it really reflect any worse on him than what we know of his arguing and fighting for racism?
It would be one thing to say you don’t know what people like Lee were like. But those who have paid them any passing attention do. You should try reading up on them.
Mikko Sandt says
Never said they’re the same thing. However, under a different political system these kids would no question be unleashing all that self-righteous rage on actual people. Now they’ve got no choice but to settle on poor statues.
Morever, this was a statue commemorating a Confederate soldier, no more a “monster” than a regular Wehrmacht soldier was during World War II.
So, a total monster, then?
@doubtthat: Actually, stfu until you read The Declaration of Causes of Seceding States. Just pick one state. They are riddled with many disputes other than slavery. In fact, to help you out… you don’t even need to read the entire thing. To act like slavery was the only cause is egregious. You are a product of the most basic form of history and brainwashing. I am not ignoring any facts. I understand the fugitive slave law and its implications. You are the only one ignoring historical facts and I don’t think you read your ole miss article yourself. If we are talking about original intent, both articles (nytimes and ole miss) talk about disenfranchised voters that made way to move the monuments to more public venues. So, how was the original intent meant to strike fear into the hearts of minorities when they were initially placing the monuments in cemeteries? I already conceded that there could be monuments erected with that reason.
consciousness razor says
Not at all obvious, since you would never say they’re the same thing; neither would they.
Actually, they do. The fucker who ran over those people in Charlottesville is in the same political system as the rest of us, and that is what he chose to do. The people you’re complaining about did nothing like that.
But won’t anyone think of the poor statues? We should set up a fund for their family members.
Get a fucking grip.
Which is a fucking problem.
Haha, I quoted from the Declaration of Secession from Mississippi above. Here it is again:
Really de-emphasizing slavery, there.
Yes, I’ve read all of those. The reason I challenged is precisely because I have read them. The major states’ rights issue that the South was worried was…wait for it…the North failing to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. That evil old North wasn’t sending escaped slaves back into bondage. What a gross breach of the South’s sovereignty.
Again, had either side capitulated on the slavery issue, there would not have been a Civil War. This is simply a matter of history. Provide one other reason. You cited a bunch of documents that show very compellingly that slavery was the central issue, the main issue, and the only issue that necessitated war.
Clearly, you don’t.
Haha, good lord, man.
The disenfranchised voters were….the black citizens. The point of the Ole Miss article is that prior to Jim Crow, Confederate monuments were restricted to cemeteries. It was only after legalized white supremacy took over that the Lost Causers could start using public space to spread their bullshit. The entire point of the article is how Lost Cause mythos and white supremacy are the driving force behind the Ole Miss monuments.
I mean, if you could that article and miss the points they label 1, 2, 3, and 4, then devote a paragraph to each, I don’t know what to tell you. Hard to be more clear than that.
Look, man, this may be pointless. I can’t say it any clearer than the article did.
They put the monuments in cemeteries right after the war because the Reconstruction government wouldn’t allow them to use public spaces to spread malicious pro-Confederacy propaganda.
Once Reconstruction ended and Plessy v. Ferguson was decided, the Southern authority began significant legal oppression of the black population, and one big showing of that was the erection of monuments to the Confederacy. It’s spelled out very simply and in great detail. You may want to engage in a re-read.
Many posters here, including myself, have pointed out over and over that every time ‘states rights’ was used around the Civil War, it was a code word for continuing chattel slavery and to extend it to the territories. It was a dog whistle. It has no other meaning in this context.
Such dishonesty does not become you, ctech. I clearly know about many people claiming it, or I couldn’t have pointed out the dishonesty of using it for maintaining chattel slavery while ignoring it for the FSA. You may want to learn enough history to begin to understand the intent behind words we use. Did King George really ‘utterly neglect’ the following?
Did Hitler really mean all the things he said in the Sudetenland speech? Did the Bush administration really have credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction? Was the Maine sabotaged? Do you think Voter ID laws are actually intended to stop the tiny fraction of voters who vote twice? (Those are all rhetorical, I do not expect an answer to the above paragraph.)
You seem to have memorized statements from history, but you have just proven that you learned nothing from the rote memorization.
Priceless! Project all you want.
So, because somewhere else someone else may or may not have directed violence at someone…huh? What’s your point?
Come on, dude, this is getting tiresome. These monuments to the noble Confederate Rebel have a long, obvious history in spreading Lost Cause myth.
The statue, itself, is an exploitative lie. In the dedication speech, the speaker bragged about “horse-whipping a negro wench” in defense of the “Anglo-Saxon Race.”
Yes, they are moral monsters.
ctech @ 72:
Oh, f*ck this horsesh*t. Aside from your total lack of reading comprehension and/or understanding, it doesn’t matter if slavery was the “only cause” or just one of hundreds. The fact that one side was fighting to MAINTAIN THE RIGHT TO OWN OTHER HUMAN BEINGS should be fought against, protested against, opposed at every turn in unequivocal means, and NOT have statutes erected to honor those that fought FOR SLAVERY.
Mikko Sandt says
The only reason those vandals aren’t resorting to violence against humans is because they know they couldn’t get away with it. The behavior on display is anything but civil or mentally sound. Protesting is one thing. Destroying public property, especially with such passion, is quite another. There’s no place for violent left-wing mobs in a democracy. (They’re probably all on some kind of mood-altering medication to boot, or going to a therapist funded by their parents, like most left-wing college kids seem to be in the United States these days.)
The average Confederate soldier doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment. He was probably drafted against his will, or believed he was fighting not for slavery but against a dangerously powerful federal state. Yes, he in all likelihood believed in slavery, because that’s the environment he was raised in, but that doesn’t make him a monster worthy of being treated like this. (Although it wouldn’t surprise me if the moronic left-wing mob thought they were toppling Lee’s statue or something.)
Is there a bingo card that includes a space for claiming your opponents are a bunch of stoners?
Or, maybe because they understand the difference between a *statue* and a *person*.
Something you clearly can’t distinguish:
The average Confederate soldier is DEAD.
No, it doesn’t make him a “monster”. It makes him a despicable human being and makes “the environment he was raised in” a toxic pool of racism and inhumanity.
chigau (違う) says
You’d hafta be a stoner to think that a statue is an actual Confederate soldier.
Mikko Sandt says
I’m well aware of where the real allegiances of many of these southern sympathizers lie, but that doesn’t mean a Confederate soldier can’t have his own statue or that left-wing mob violence is acceptable. Even Lee was hardly anything close to the racist monster the left is trying to make him out to be. These left-wing iconoclasts are a far bigger problem to American democracy than a statue dedicated to a great American general who happened to be fighting for the wrong side.
consciousness razor says
Impressive mind-reading skills. Could I get my horoscope now?
Yes, of course, it would be better if they were all very impassionately and stoically destroying a statue of some evil fuck who shouldn’t be treated like a national hero. Obviously. You don’t feel very strongly about it, so why should they? It just smells of insanity and depravity and viciousness, for anyone to have feelings different from yours. Obviously.
Since ancient times, that’s exactly the worry that people have had about democracies, because those are literally societies which are run by mobs of people.
Anyway, I don’t see violence in the video, but destruction of property. You have violent counterfactuals in your mind (if this were China, if something something, etc.), which are not what we’re actually dealing with in the real world.
100% of Confederate soldiers aren’t getting any kind of treatment, because they are all dead. You are talking about a statue, not a soldier. Ceci n’est pas une pipe. Keep that straight in your head, to make your ranting a bit less incoherent.
Mikko Sandt says
People generally speaking assault statues because they’re seen as proxies for the real thing. If you merely wish to voice your political disagreement, there are saner ways to do that than by appearing like a lunatic in attacking an inanimate object.
Furthermore, such lunacy isn’t helping anyone. The partisan divide has only deepened recently largely thanks to these left-wing college mobs that make even Trump seem like a reasonable person in comparison. In fact, you could argue the left-wing mobs are responsible for the fact that America is ruled by such a buffoon now. You want to give him a second term as well?
consciousness razor says
You could argue that, jimb. We should all fondly remember that one time Mikko Sandt managed to say something true, perhaps even erect a statue to commemorate such a noteworthy event. But seriously, why the fuck would you argue that?
Mikko Sandt says
Thank you for pointing out that the statue is, in fact, a statue and not an actual human being. I don’t currently own a horoscope, but when I see what seems like a very angry person kicking a statue representing a human being, there aren’t many conclusions I can draw from that.
Come to think of it, they should build a gigantic statue of Lee and put it right next to Lincoln’s in Washingon, DC, for no other reason but to piss these people off. To back off in the face of violent crowds consisting of college kids high on SSRIs would be morally abhorrent.
So much silliness in one tight little paragraph, nice.
1) “Mob violence?” You’re flagrantly abusing that concept. They pulled down a statue. At worst it’s mob vandalism. This is the fundamental absurdity underlying your strange concern for the cheap monument.
2) It was not a statue to a Confederate Rebel. It was a statue meant to represent the Confederate dead or the Confederate soldier. There was no “Old Joe.” This is relevant because you seem to be trying to make this some personal affront to a specific person.
3) This is classic Lost Cause propaganda. You’re the sort of dupe they rely on. They want you to get overwhelmed by treacly emotion for Johnny Reb and his cheek full of good old Carolina Tobbacki, and lose the narrative. They fought to maintain slavery. It doesn’t matter what each individual thought. It was their purpose. There are plenty of monuments in cemeteries testifying to their sacrifice for an evil cause. There’s no reason to venerate it in a public setting.
4) Lee was a racist slave owner who beat the humans he owned. When he had a choice, he chose to fight to defend slavery. I don’t know what else you think we’re saying about him, but that’s pretty bad. He was on the wrong side of history in just about every way, despite his well-groomed beard. Once again, you’ve fallen deeply for Lost Cause propaganda concerning Lee. He was an important historical figure, to be sure, but he should be studied, not honored. He should be a lesson in how talent cannot overcome horrific moral behavior.
5) The left-wing iconoclasts are rightly destroying efforts to honor traitorous rebels who defended a gross humanitarian abuse. Those same noble rebels then spent the next century terrorizing, murdering, raping, lynching, and abusing the freed slave population. Sorry if I don’t get a tear in my eye for those moral monsters.
6) The statements made at the unveiling of the statue unambiguously show that the primary goal was to intimidate and humiliate the black population. That is why the statue was made. It should have been ripped down years ago.
Man, I must be getting some shitty anti-depressents, I’m not getting any kind of murderous kill-high off of mine. I just want to die less.
And yet you managed to pick a comically wrong one.
Mikko Sandt @ 84:
No shit. They are “proxies for the real thing”, as in, “not actually the real thing”.
As opposed to an actual Nazi killing Heather Heyer, and actual human being. But let’s continue discussing the treatment of the “poor statue” <- actual quote of Mikko Sandt @ 61.
Fuck you Mikko Sandt.
consciousness razor says
You’re welcome? No, that’s not it… go fuck yourself. Yep, sure enough, that’s what I wanted to say.
An odd statement. Does anybody ever “own” one? I do not think that word means what you think it means.
Speaking of which, who owns public things in a democracy? Just the white nationalist fuckstains, or is it everybody? If the same garbage is littered about the country in a thousand places like it’s a fucking Starbuck’s franchise and deemed to be public property, are the garbage collectors destroying said property or are they doing us all a service?
I haven’t counted how many are possible. Here’s one: these people are opposed to violence, in particular the kinds such statues represent, namely slavery and war.
It is entirely appropriate, morally and psychologically and socially and in every sense I have reason to care about, to be very angry about what it represents. It does no one any harm to kick it after it’s been torn down and express the anger, frustration, etc., which that person rightfully has. Of course, that suggests the exact opposite of a person who’d be violent toward other people.
So… you’ve got nothing.
That makes sense. Surely, that’s why we built all of the other fantastic monuments in our nation’s capital: to give hateful fools like you a chance to piss people off.
Go fuck yourself.
Mikko Sandt, #82
Haha, “happened to be”
The following orders defense. What a clueless fool you are.
Mikko Sandt, #61
Sure, you SJWs say you represent the downtrodden, but I defy you to offer an example of someone so boldly giving voice to the voiceless as Mikko has done with statues.
consciousness razor says
I could only come up with Clint Eastwood and his empty chair, but really that’s a poor substitute for what Mikko has done for us here, as well as for the poor statues of course. Now if Eastwood had proposed making a chair purely to piss people off (which wouldn’t suggest any possible violent motivations, heavens no), then start holding conversations with it, maybe a puppet show or an interpretive dance routine … well, then it would be a tough choice.
Hats off to you, asshole.
People, please don’t be too hard on Mikko. He spends too much time playing Duke Nukem, so it’s understandable that his grasp of real life issues is quite poor. (Disclosure: self-deprecating humor – I’m a fan of the games myself. I actually used to visit Mikko’s site a long time ago; back then I didn’t know that he was a far-right buffoon.)
Even if we leave aside the question of what motivated the Confederates during the US Civil War – and I’m pretty sure that there is a broad consensus among contemporary historians that slavery was pretty central, if not the only issue – these statues were mostly put up by white organizations and white local governments many years after the Civil War, during the time of Jim Crow and later the era of Civil Rights struggles. The idea that they had nothing to do with white supremacy in a time and place when white supremacy was at the heart of society and politics strains credulity. I think that both the right and the left are correct when they see these statues as symbols of white domination of society.
I also noticed earlier that someone compared a monument to the average confederate soldier to a monument to the average Wehrmacht soldier of World War II. It’s an interesting comparison, because I don’t think that there are many public monuments in Germany to the average German soldier of WWII – certainly not on the scale of monuments to Confederate soldiers. This is right and appropriate, in my opinion, because one should not put up monuments to an evil war for an evil cause. This doesn’t mean that everyone who fought in the German military in WWII was a terrible person, or that they should be treated badly, but putting up statues in public places (except perhaps cemeteries) is generally done as a form of commemoration which implies approval.
Violent right wing mobs on the other hand …
Pulling the statue down will bring Heather Heyer back and it is an act of vandalism, but it is a beautiful “Fuck You” to the
alt rightNeo-Nazis at time when there can not be enough “Fuck You”s.
Consciousness Razor @91
I have to disagree with you here.
I have this to say to the people kicking the fallen statue or any one who wants to follow their example. Next time wear safety shoes kids mkay.
The international community has pretty consistently held that, at least in theory, the Nuremburg defense is bullshit and there is a moral obligation to disobey immoral orders, even at personal risk.
If we were totally cool with persecuting Nazi war criminals who were “just following orders” or “defending home and country”, why should we be any kinder to the memory of these traitorous soldiers and their war of “Northern Aggression”?
Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says
Given the extent of right-wing mob violence throughout history, especially recent history…why the sudden interest?
Fuck off with the crocodile tears.
@ Mikko Sandt
-from Leningrad: State of Siege by Michael Jones
That’s an eyewitness account from a German soldier about a “spontaneous self-cleansing action,” during which an SS officer attached to his unit has “encouraged” locals to round up and exterminate nearly 4000 Jewish men, women, and children using clubs and rocks. As he said, “they” (meaning the German soldiers) just stood there. Totally indifferent. But please, tell me how the average Wehrmacht soldier wasn’t really a part of the evil. Right after you tell me how the average Confederate soldier didn’t really know what the war was about.
You’re right, though- the behavior on display there is anything but civil. You’re entirely wrong that that’s a bad thing. Where the state and the law uphold evil, it is the responsibility of decent human beings to fight back. Sometimes that means breaking the instruments and symbols of evil, which most definitely includes statues celebrating the traitorous slavers of the Confederacy.
chigau (違う) says
Does anyone know when that particular statue was erected?
I tried but my google-fu crapped-out.
1924, I believe
A photo-essay in the Grauniad, Confederate statues removed across southern US states.
As a semi-aside. Seriously, Mikko, go fuck yourself. It’s bad enough you’re personifying and defending a statue erected for racist purposes, but your several remarks demonizing people who take antidepressants is fucking scummy and you should be ashamed. From the bottom of my heart: fuck you sideways.
It seems to me utterly disingenuous to pretend that statues and monuments of this kind are somehow value-neutral. Statues and monuments of this kind have never been value-neutral – they have always been erected to promote an individual, a viewpoint or an ideal. They trace back, obviously and self-consciously, to ancient Roman traditions of public display and veneration. In fact, almost alone among public art forms, the equestrian statue of the famous general has seen virtually no change in the last two thousand years. The Roman masons who were knocking off copies of Praxiteles for Nero would understand implicitly what these Robert E. Lees and Ulysses S. Grants and confederate soldiers are all about.
It was more explicit in the ancient world, because most people couldn’t read and public statuary was one of the few ways you could project an approved version of history for people to consume. Inscriptions served the same purpose for the literate, on a more sophisticated level. Who and what you choose to immortalise in public monuments is a choice. Putting up public monuments at all is a choice, and one that requires considerable determination and resources to realise.
I’m not all that familiar with the American Civil War. But I do know a fair bit about the Roman Civil Wars that saw the end of the Republic and the onset of the Principate. Perhaps the most famous monument to those times is Augustus’s Res Gestae – a huge inscribed CV which the first Emperor had put up all over the Empire, in Greek as well as Latin, to cement in people’s minds how great he was and how just and generous his actions were. It devotes precisely one line to the thirty odd years of civil war that saw Augustus come to power – “he liberated the state from the control of a faction”. It’s a masterclass in erasing the complexities of history, the motivations of enemies and the moral murkiness of human events. Needless to say the Res Gestae was usually accompanied by plenty of statues of Augustus himself – looking resplendent in his twenties, even though he was a very old man by the time the project was undertaken. No statues of Cicero or Antony or Cassius and Brutus though, funnily enough.
This is the tradition in which these statues and monuments sit. This is what they do, what they are for, what they are. This is what they have always been about. To my mind it would be a very good thing if all societies made a regular assessment of their monumental displays, if they have to have them at all, and retired problematic ones regularly. I’m somewhat unhappy with most of the bronzes in Parliament Square myself – Cromwell, Churchill, Wellington, all of them did some pretty disgusting things (Churchill in India in particular – he was a big chubby racist). I think we should engage with this whole tradition far more cautiously and with far more seriousness and inquiry than is currently the case.
Further than that, I would speculate, albeit there may not be a direct or immediately-obvious connection (lineage to trace). What I’m mostly thinking of here are some of the ancient Egyptian statuary, some of whose names we (still) know. However, how publicly or prominently these were displayed I’m quite uncertain on.
And then there is also non–”Western” cultures…
Oh, there are plenty of other cultures of monumental statuary in the world. But ours derives almost exclusively from the Roman one, and consciously so.
I would say the Roman tradition certainly did owe something to the Egyptian and Greek traditions, particularly the fusion of the two under the Ptolemies. Imperial stylings in art and architecture had to borrow from earlier kingly traditions of power display, which Rome imported from its eastern possessions. Republican statuary tended to be a lot less extravagant than Imperial, for obvious reasons. Though the tradition of putting up statues to commemorate great generals as examples to their descendants was alive and well under the Republic.
Wikipedia has a handy List of monuments and memorials of the Confederate States of America.
Sometimes on this blog somebody posts something that makes so little sense to me that I start doubting my reading skills or proficiency in the English language. Then you people start responding, and I see that it wasn’t making sense at all in the first place. Thank you.
Whew. That took a long read to wade throught the loads of racist apologia and I do not have much to contribute besides a little trivia about Germany:
There are memorials to fallen Wehrmacht soldiers throughout Germany. But they are not opulent statues propagating the “ideals” the fought for, but usually incospicuous plaques with lists of names somewhere on a village cemetery, commemorating the dead specific individuals.
As far as I can tell, Germans view these fallen soldiers as victims of the poisonous Nazi ideology too, but I tend not to speak about these issues with my german colleagues too much. What I know is that Nazism is not popular in Germany, not even with recent resurgence and anti-imigrant fear mongering and propaganda.
And there are exactly ZERO statues of WW2 generals and high ranking officials. Germans remember the vileness of those people very well even without them.
As a white college student currently taking medication for OCD, eat shit Mikko Sandt. Eat shit until you physically resemble the sack of manure you have in place of a brain. Fuck you for accusing college students who understand that these statues represent a toxic ideology of being mentally ill. Fuck you for suggesting that being on medication makes you want to kill people. Fuck you for your pigshit ignorant, condescending view of college students in general.
White supremacists fucking murdered someone and injured at least 20 other people at a rally to defend one of these piece of shit statues. The people who defend these statues are far more likely to injure and kill actual human beings than the people who want them torn down. Instead of accusing progressives who tear down these statues of being maniacs who want to murder people for real, how about you focus on the Nazi assholes who actually do murder real people?
If we want to remember the history that these statues represent, we don’t have to put them in a place that invites veneration. I wouldn’t be against putting the smashed up statue in a museum that documents the history of race relations in the US. The statue itself tells people about the abhorrent attempts to re-establish white supremacy in the decades following the Civil War, and the damage it sustained tells people about how anti-racists opposed white supremacism when it began to resurge almost a century later.
Walter Solomon says
Bingo! Monuments are solely about veneration of a person, or god, or fictional character, not history. This should be common knowledge at this point that it’s sad that it even needs to be explained. But just to put a fine point on it, if monuments are about history why are they usually not historically accurate? (can you name who is conspicuously missing in this monument in London commemorating the Allied leaders of WWII?)