It’s not about history. It’s about white power
Throwing a statue in a canal is the only act of colonial justice I’ve seen in my lifetime. And they won’t even give us that. White racists and white liberals have closed ranks around the statue of a slaver, the absolute worst of their kind. If they get this incensed about a statue, imagine how hard it will be to topple structural racism.
Colonialism will not give us an inch. We must take it. We must roll their rotten propaganda into the sea and write the real history of the world. One which includes our voices, without passing through white editors first.
Colonialism Was Worse Than Nazism
You have to understand that for most of the world, we live in a timeline where the Nazis won. You didn’t like a timeline where violent racists took over the world? Well, we lived it. For hundreds of years.
Colonialism was worse than Nazism. I’ll say it again, because it’s true. Colonialism was worse than the Nazis. Colonialism was a racist system of theft, slavery, torture, and murder that succeeded, and went on for centuries.
Just look at it objectively, or pretend that it happened to white people. Colonialism killed tens of millions of people, enslaved millions, tortured millions — all on a system of racial superiority. Hitler was actually jealous of this success and wanted to replicate it.
The only difference is that the Nazis did it to white people, which is unforgivable. Brutalizing people of color is totes fine.
History is written by the victors and they wrote themselves as heroes. Britain abolished slavery (they were the biggest slavers), Britain defeated evil Nazis (Churchill went on to happily kill in Bengal and run concentration camps in Africa), Britain left railroads for the colonized (like a rapist leaving a bed).
Imagine if the Nazis had lasted as long, and written their own history. We’d be walking past statues of Goering. Instead, we have to walk past Edward Colston, or King Leopold II. If the Nazis had won, we’d have to go to Berlin to see our plundered wealth. Instead, we have to go to London. Most importantly, if the Nazis had won we’d have Reich historians writing colonial history, making concessions only at the speed that their mythology can digest it. Instead, we have establishment Brits telling us that we seemed to go along happily.
What’s the difference? Do you think we liked being colonized or enslaved any more than Europeans? The difference is that colored bodies simply don’t count. We’re invisible, so the horrors of colonialism are invisible too. We have no control over history, so we get written out. If we try to take down even one piece of propaganda, those same establishment historians will get in a huff, talking about order and the right way to do things. The white way.
Labour’s Keir Starmer said that the statue should have been “brought down properly, with consent” and put in museum. Whose consent? The consent of white people. Above all, white people must not lose control of the narrative. Even white liberals close ranks around this fact. History must be written by the victors. The minute you lose the history, you lose the victory as well. You’re revealed as just a bunch of rotten old murders and thieves.
William Dalrymple, a literal colonial historian, also supports this slaver staying up until white people agree to take him down. Then he wants it put in a British-African History Museum (at some later/never date, since this place doesn’t exist). Dalrymple’s idea of an African history museum is a dumpster for racist propaganda. Is Hitler in the British museum? What makes you think we want your nasty old racists in ours?
British racism isn’t so vulgar as to call for a wall. Instead, they put up a queue.
The most important thing is that these white men are telling us to wait. Wait until white people agree (never), wait until they give up a little squeak of control (none). Whereas outright racism says no, structural racism is much too smart for that. British racism isn’t so vulgar as to call for a wall. Instead, they put up a queue.
The queue is the British Empire’s last line of defense, and it’s very effective. They tell you to wait, and we do. Wait until they apologize. Wait until they add a plaque. Wait till they build a museum to hold all their criminal propaganda up as art.
That’s why the entire establishment is threatened by the defenestration of Edward Colston. Young people have jumped the queue. Now the whole damn thing could come crashing down. The Brits might finally be revealed as the 500-year Reich that they are.
History Is Power
This is why they are so scared by a simple bronze being rolled into the sea. It’s like the Boston Tea Party. It’s not about the tea, it’s about them losing control. This is why even liberals are defending a slaver that branded children in the chest and threw 20,000 people into the sea. Because it is a slippery slope, and it ends with them looking like assholes.
And they should. And it’ll be fine. History is full of assholes and we all move on. Germany has done perfectly fine without statues of Nazis in every town square. They seem to remember their history. Acknowledging the stories and reality of the people they oppressed has not laid the German people low. They are better for it.
Jewish voices, Roma voices, the voices of POWs, of occupied peoples — these have been vital, and it’s been important that they tell their stories without Germans having the final say. Without them getting approval from some Reich culture board, and the heirs of an unbroken empire.
Remember, the German people did not overthrow the Nazi regime. They were bombed into submission, they were occupied with militaries, they were dictated to for years. History was written for them, and only after long penitence were they able to write their own.
White people will never concede this story. We have to write it over their exhortations to get back in line.
Germany is better for its forced reckoning. This terrible fate that British racists and liberals close ranks to avoid, it’s not that bad. Maybe Dalrymple would lose his literary Raj, but historians of color could split up his giant advances and write better history. Maybe the Labour Party would have to practice global solidarity. Maybe Britain would have to give up its lost white empire and be the diverse place it really is. These are all good things, for everybody. But white people will never concede this story on their own. We have to write it over their exhortations to get back in line.
Note that I’m not even talking about the outright racists here, I’m talking about the well-meaning people that nonetheless prop-up white power as much as any plinth. The outright racists have to go to the dustbin of history, and no I don’t mean an African History Museum.
Take The Power Back
I’m glad the statue went down. I’m glad a bunch of young people didn’t wait for white permission and just rolled the damn thing into a canal. They didn’t bomb Bristol, they just rolled some nasty propaganda down the street. That’s peaceful, that’s just, and that’s history. That act taught more people about colonialism than an old slaver pissing in everyone’s eye for a hundred years.
This statue was about much more than abstract notions of history. It is about the lived reality of millions of people. The very real projections of power in public space, in public life. This is not history, it’s propaganda, towering above us in the form of dirtbags like Colston, Rhodes, Churchill, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis — these are all Nazis to us and they should be treated the same.
In solidarity with the brutalized people of Europe, we demand solidarity with the brutalized people of the entire world. Our lives matter. We matter more than your damn propaganda and we have the right to write history, without white editors. You can just write it beside us, as equals, in solidarity, not subjugation.
History is power. White power won’t just give it, the Brits will kill us with queues. We have to take the power back. This statue was the first justice I’ve seen for colonialism in my lifetime. The first time we’ve taken what we deserve without waiting for white power to give it up. I pray it won’t be the last.