AUSTIN: Opinion Editorial on Racist Monuments and their Recent Vandalism

By Ed Dalton

The vandalism, more aptly understood as an act of protest, a redecoration of the confederate monument on the grounds of the state capitol has sparked some discussion in the bourgeois media.

Starting with the opinion which is most favorable to oppressed nations and minorities, we must examine the views of NGO leader Chas Moore who states that, “I think the vandalism, while it’s something that I don’t condone and we don’t condone as an organization, I think it’s just a reflection of how sick and tired people really are of having to, you know, just look at and be surrounded by this type of thing,”

He is of course correct that the people are sick of these racist monuments, but he cannot condone such actions because ultimately he is still in service to the ruling class and their acceptable forms of protest and rebellion, which leads him to his next statement: “Maybe the Capitol is overdue for some much-needed renovations, like how can we, through art and through sculptures and statues, reflect the Texas that we’ve become?  Because those statues are not the Texas that we’ve become, that’s the Texas that we were.”

monument-cleaning
Staff at the Capitol cleaning the word “Racists” off the Confederate Soldiers Monument

To be clear, and stating a painfully obvious fact that Mr. Moore should comprehend by now, the “Texas we are” reported its police shooting 159 people, (in the first year that they recorded such information) twenty percent of whom were unarmed. In Austin alone the state of Texas murdered David Joseph, Brian Carter, Larry Jackson Jr. (all black and unarmed) just to name a few. This is the Texas “we are,” so a little red paint in the face of racist monuments symbolizing blood is appropriate to signify through art the “Texas we are.” The “Texas we are” is still a racist place that organizes violence and genocide against black people, and the states bloody monuments—or their total removal—does not change this fact. The whole concept of Texas must be combated.

Texas was founded in the open defense of the enslavement of black people, and its bloody roots have spawned the vile tree of Jim Crow laws, bearing the rope marks of countless lynching victims. Mr. Moore only hopes to find his place at the supper table of the craven monsters that run the state of Texas. Moore serves a function, when the black population of Austin gets outraged and takes to the streets, men like Moore are brought out to quell that anger, to shake hands with police officials and facilitate the surrender of the masses, the resumption of inequality as usual. The people certainly do not need the approval of men like Moore and his accomplices at Austin Justice Coalition.

Before printing Moore’s quote, bourgeois news outlet KXAN made sure to find a confederate defending jingoist to give platform too, preferring his views to even the watered down progressivism of Moore. We remind our readers that KXAN is the same outlet that sat silently on the Sandra Bland footage for years and the writer of that article, Mathew Prendergrast, is the same who simply regurgitated the Austin Police report on International Workers Day.

Prendergrast and KXAN make sure to supplement their piece by propagating the systematic racism of the state of Texas by quoting the redecorated monument which bears the following “Died for states rights guaranteed under the Constitution.  The people of the South, animated by the spirit of 1776, to preserve their rights, withdrew from the federal compact in 1861. The North resorted to coercion. The South, against overwhelming numbers and resources, fought until exhausted”

The quotation itself is a distorted history, an assortment of bourgeois falsehoods, which portrays the slave holding aristocracy; people who bought, sold, and systematically raped human beings as the victims of northern “coercion.” Paint and even relocation are far less than what this sentiment deserves, it deserves, along with all those who think this way, to be confronted, ground into dust, and dumped unceremoniously into the nearest trash heap.

This is not the position of erasing history, but understanding real history as something written by the masses who struggle daily. While there is monument to the men who died fighting for the economic interests of slaveholders, there is no historical monument for the untold millions of murdered slaves, or the indigenous people whose unmarked graves what is now called Texas stands upon. When the masses confront these monuments, it is to confront ruling class history and to celebrate the history of the oppressed who rebel, and they are in a fine tradition. It is to never forget, the wounds and marks still weigh heavy on the “Texas we are” and we cannot forget this.

Cultural symbols of the racist past and present remain a legitimate target of the people; the defacing of these symbols speaks to the masses and resonates in them. Entire revolutions had preludes that targeted cultural symbols, like the May 4th movement in China. These movements, by inspiring the masses, helped lead to the only effective ways of changing reality—the armed overthrow of the old state and its replacement with a new one.