By Mike Talavera
Last Sunday morning, a Texas state trooper found red paint splattered on the Confederate Soldiers Monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds, with the word “Racists” spelled out on the base.
The reactionary statue, built in 1903, features Confederate president Jefferson Davis surrounded by Confederate military personnel.
Incidents like the 2015 murder of Freddie Gray, Jr. by Baltimore Police and the Charleston church massacre a few months later, where racist Dylann Roof murdered nine Black worshippers, spurred the masses to rebel against Confederate statues and monuments around the country in a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Plans to remove the Robert E Lee statue in Charlottesville in 2017 provoked fascists and self-proclaimed white nationalists to hold a “Unite the Right” rally, where they openly attacked and injured counter protesters. The reactionary violence culminated when Neo-Nazi James Alex Fields Jr. sped his car into a crowd of anti-racist and antifascist demonstrators, permanently disabling several people and killing Heather Heyer.
In April 2015 a monument to Jefferson Davis on the University of Texas campus was tagged in red spray-paint with the words “Davis Must Fall,” and just two months later the same Davis statue, as well as two other Confederate statues including Robert E. Lee, were also vandalized with the slogan “Black Lives Matter.” In January 2018, another confederate monument to Davis in South Austin was found with a red hammer and sickle painted on it.
This year has seen numerous acts of vandalism attacking both fascists and reactionaries. Most recently, Texas Nomad and fascist Christopher Ritchie, who attended “Unite the Right,” had his apartment covered in red paint with the words “Get the Fuck Out” written on his doorstep with a red hammer and sickle.
The masses have always used graffiti to express rebellion against their oppressors and exploiters, and the defacing of the Confederate Soldiers Monument shows that this tradition is alive and well in Austin.