Iconoclasts Vandalize Statues of Columbus in New York and Baltimore
A statue of Christopher Columbus was knocked off its pedestal and broken into pieces in Yonkers, New York, on August 29, with CBS News in New York reporting that it was the fourth time in 10 days that a statue of Columbus had been vandalized. Yonkers, a city of 195,000 people, is immediately north of the New York City borough of the Bronx. Two days later, another statue of Columbus was vandalized in Astoria, Queens, as the words “Don’t honor genocide” and “take it down” were stenciled on the base of the statue at Astoria’s Columbus Triangle Park.
Both of these incidents prompted words of outrage from local residents. “I’m horrified that something like that has happened in Yonkers,” CBS New York quoted resident Patsy Gambardella, Jr.
Gambardella Jr. told the news reporter he thinks a small group of people are to blame for the vandalism. “I think these are all copycat actions,” he said. “To have people come out and destroy them because of their personal opinion, it’s very disrespectful and shows us a very bad direction in the way America is going.”
CBS News also interviewed residents of Astoria who were upset to see the statue vandalized there. “I’m upset, because [I’ve lived] here all my life, and I don’t like seeing the neighborhood being destroyed — our history. What’s next, George Washington and federal hall?” one woman said. “All the statues should stay up,” a man said. “They put them up for a reason.”
The Baltimore Sun reported back on August 21 that the monument believed to be the first one erected in honor of Columbus in America had been vandalized.
“This is happening everywhere,” the Sun quoted Kevin Caira, president of the Sons of Italy’s Commission for Social Justice. Because Columbus was a native of Genoa, Italy, Americans of Italian ancestry are proud of his role in opening up the exploration of the Americas by Europeans.
That Sun report included a link to a video posted on YouTube by a user named “Popular Resistance.” The video obviously was shot by someone who had accompanied the man who took a sledgehammer to the plaque at the monument’s base, which had read: “Sacred to the memory of Chris. Columbus, Octob. XII, MDCCVIIIC.”
The narrator of the video claimed: “Christopher Columbus symbolizes the initial invasion of European capitalism into the Western Hemisphere. Columbus initiated a centuries-old wave of terrorism, murder, genocide, rape, slavery, ecological degradation, and capitalist exploitation of labor in the Americas.”
The narrator did not limit himself to attacking Columbus, further revealing his agenda, when he said: “Observe how vehemently Republican and Democratic ‘misleaders’ defend genocidal terrorists like Christopher Columbus and George Washington.” The narrator of the video accompanying the man who vandalized the Columbus statue revealed much about his leanings, especially in his charge that Columbus initiated “capitalist exploitation of labor in the Americas.” If those words sound familiar, consider these words from the Communist Manifesto:
• “Modern Industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of laborers, crowded into the factory, are organized like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army, they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois state; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and, above all, in the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself.”
• “No sooner is the exploitation of the laborer by the manufacturer, so far at an end, that he receives his wages in cash, than he is set upon by the other portion of the bourgeoisie, the landlord, the shopkeeper, the pawnbroker, etc.”
• “But does wage labor create any property for the laborer? Not a bit. It creates capital, i.e., that kind of property which exploits wage labor, and which cannot increase except upon conditions of begetting a new supply of wage labor for fresh exploitation.”
If the narrator accompanying the vandal did not himself read the Communist Manifesto, he was at least indirectly influenced by someone who had.
The significance of the Marxist leanings of those who vandalized the Baltimore Columbus monument is found in the connection between those who vandalized the Columbus statures and those who have vandalized Confederate monuments. This connect has been noted by the media. The New York Daily News observed in its report about the vandalizing of the stature in Queens:
Monuments to Columbus have been a hot topic of debate since white supremacists and neo-Nazis violently protested plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 4-5.
Of course, that report perpetuates a false premise. Though white supremacists and neo-Nazis have expressed support for Confederate monuments, they are few in number and do not represent the millions of defenders of Confederate symbols who are neither Nazis nor racists. A report in The New American on August 17 revealed that Jason Kessler, the organizer behind the “Unite the Right” event in Charlottesville that turned violent, was a member of the Occupy Wall Street movement and an Obama supporter.
Following those protests, a mob of vandals spilling over from a rally organized by several communist, socialist, and anarcho-syndicalist groups toppled a bronze statue of a Confederate soldier in front of a county administrative building in Durham, North Carolina.
Just prior to the vandals’ destruction of the statue, protesters surrounded its base. Video circulating online captured the anger of the protesters, many shouting in chorus: “We, we are the revolution!” followed by “You can’t stop the revolution.” The protesters’ reference to “the revolution” makes perfect sense when one considers the affiliations of those participating.
Durham’s Herald-Sun reported that groups at the “rally” included members of the Triangle People’s Assembly, Workers World Party, Industrial Workers of the World, Democratic Socialists of America, and the Antifa movement.
The Workers World Party is a communist party founded in 1959 by Sam Marcy, whose followers split off from the Socialist Workers Party (SWP).
We reported in an article on August 16 that Takiyah Fatima Thompson, a member of Workers World Party (WWP) and a student at N.C. Central University, was arrested on August 15 for playing a leading role in toppling the statue. On its own website, the WWP describes itself as “a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist party dedicated to organizing and fighting for a socialist revolution in the United States and around the world.”
As anarchy and destruction of property and attacks against historic monuments revered by Americans escalates, it is important to remember that these acts go far beyond grievances against Robert E. Lee or Christopher Columbus, and (soon) even George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The vandal who took the lead in pulling down the statue in Durham is a member of a party describing itself as “a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist party,” and the individual posting the video of the vandalism of the Columbus statue in Baltimore goes by the name, “Popular Resistance.” These acts have a common thread. They are part of a cultural revolution attempting to undermine our civilization.
This theme is explored in detail in the cover article for the September 18 print edition of The New American, entitled: “America’s Cultural Revolution.” The main cover story in that issue observes that leftist groups such as Antifa (members of which have taken an active role in destroying Confederate monuments) and Black Lives Matter are copying the violent practices of Mao’s Red Guards.
The revolutionaries have a much larger agenda than going after statues of Confederates or Columbus. Their goal is to destroy American civilization as well as the republic that defends that civilization, and to replace them with a secular socialist state.
Our heritage of freedom and our cultural institutions must be defended and preserved.