by Jason Kessler
Nineteen years ago, the late Sam Francis published a column presciently titled The War On Christmas Is A War On The West. Since then, the link between the ongoing suppression of Christmas symbols in the Public Square and the more recent suppression of the Historic American Nation’s symbols, from the Confederate Battle Flag to statues of abolitionists, blatantly part of the Great Replacement, has become undeniable—most visible most recently in pro-Palestinian attacks on Christmas Tree lightings.
But the destruction of monuments of white heroes isn’t just symbolic. Like a Russian doll, it has inner layer upon inner layer of deep psychological, strategic and spiritual consequences. On the very surface, we perceive simple sloganeering about “racial justice,” “change,” and “White Supremacy” used by the most mindless, emotional and brainwashed masses. Beneath those platitudes, however, are primitive cultural and ethnic hatreds dating to mankind’s primordial origins. Understanding these phenomena will help us understand the full significance of the Woke movement’s racial and political revolution.
That revolution, which began with the race riots of the 1960s, culminated in the “anti-racist” 2020 Floyd Hoax riots that seemed focused on unfinished grievances with the 2017 Charlottesville Unite the Right rally—I was the permit holder—and its defense of Confederate monuments. But it wasn’t just Confederate monuments that were torn down. As many prophesied, including Donald Trump and myself —and Sam Francis, many years ago—they attacked American Founders like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.
Monuments of kings like Leopold II in Antwerp, Belgium, or Louis The Ninth of France in St. Louis, explorers such as Christopher Columbus, and authors like Thomas Carlyle in Glasgow, Scotland, were toppled or vandalized across the West [Kelvingrove statue of Thomas Carlyle vandalised with anti-police graffiti, by Hamish Morrison, Glasgow Times, June 8, 2020]. Even monuments of Leftists, Abolitionists, and anti-racists were torn down [Photos of defaced statue of Philly abolitionist Matthias Baldwin go viral, by Rob Tornoe, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 2020]. All are (or were) monuments to white men, which speaks to the defining primordial element of such Leftist iconoclasm.
The roots of iconoclasm can be traced to the Roman concept of Damnatio Memoriae. After the death of an emperor, the Senate either deified the deceased leader as a transcendent, revered god, or banished his memory from public life. Latin for “condemnation of memory,” Damnatio Memoriae involved the destruction of all likenesses of the fallen emperor from monuments to coins. This was especially useful during the transition to politically adversarial regimes after assassinations and revolutions.
Since then, iconoclasm has occurred in the context of liberation from tyranny, such as the toppling of monuments to Stalin and Lenin after the fall of the Soviet Union, or the toppling of monuments to dictator Saddam Hussein after the American invasion of Iraq.
On the other hand, iconoclasm often takes on sinister connotations when totalitarian ideologues use it to suppress and censor icons of a persecuted population, be they ethnic, cultural, or political. In these cases, the destruction of monuments is typically meant to demoralize rivals who are also being subjugated or murdered.
Black historian Jean-Francois Manicom (pictured) of the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool UK explains:
Toppling statues is also undeniably a violent act, an assault on a realistic and symbolic replica of a person. In Ancient Egypt, sculptors were called “the guardians of life,” because the role of the statue in a tomb was to keep the dead alive by serving as a spiritual avatar of their mortal remains.
Why we topple statues, Politico, June 12, 2020
On the secular plane, the iconoclasm seeks to assert dictatorial control of information accessible to the masses. They must forget their own heroes and history and that an alternative to the new regime ever existed. Positive depictions of the past that might inspire dissent must be obliterated. Think 1984’s Ministry of Truth.
A prototypical example: the iconoclasm of the Leftist Totalitarian Jacobins during the French Revolution of 1789 and ensuing Reign of Terror. The Jacobins not only rebelled against Louis XVI in favor of radical democratic republicanism, but also, inspired by dogmatic Enlightenment Leftism, waged war against the entirety of the French bourgeoisie.
Like the 21st century Woke movement spearheading Confederate statue removal, the Jacobins embarked on a Year Zero project that uprooted and replaced the very foundations of society and instilled the ideology of the new regime. In August 1792, an equestrian statue of Louis XV standing in the Place Louis XV was toppled and melted down. The revolutionaries replaced it with a statue of “Liberty,” by Francois Frederic Lemot, and renamed the square Place de la Révolution, now called the Place de la Concorde. Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette, were guillotined there.
Monument destruction was rampant and peaked during the Terror, which also executed 15,000-17,000 people by guillotine. As many as 10,000 died in prison or without trial. The Year Zero project also included renaming the months of the year and suppressing the traditional Catholic faith of the French, replacing it with Maximilian Robespierre’s Cult of the Supreme Being. At the Basilica of St. Denis, the revolutionaries even disinterred long-dead royals, desecrated their remains, and destroyed their tombs [The Revolutionary Exhumations at St-Denis, 1793, by Suzanne Glover Lindsay, Center for the Study of Material and Visual Cultures of Religion, Yale.edu].
Although the Woke Revolutionaries in America have not organized a mass slaughter of whites—yet—they have made whites the most despised racial group. Then again, whites are already the most frequent victims of interracial murder.
Now, compare the destruction of icons during the French Revolution to the Woke Revolution of 21st century America. Like Louis XV’s statue, in October 2023, Charlottesville’s Robert E. Lee monument was removed and melted down so that an Afrocentric communist group, Swords into Plowshares, could refashion the metal into an icon of black supremacy valued by the city’s new ruling elites. Like Place Louis XV, Charlottesville’s Lee Park was changed to Emancipation Park, a name with significance in the Afrocentric narrative of American history.
Wokeism has also made revolutionary changes to the sacred symbols and founding myths of America. The multicolored “Pride Flag” has replaced the Stars and Stripes in many homes, businesses, and government office buildings in Woke revolutionary cities. The New York Times’s 1619 Project falsely claimed that the arrival of African slaves to Jamestown, Virginia, that year was the “true founding” of the United States, as opposed to the arrival of the first English colonists in 1607, or the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
The destruction of monuments to white Western leaders cannot be fully understood without looking at the destruction of cultural heritage in ethno-religious wars. Throughout the Middle East, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has famously destroyed priceless historical artifacts such as Sufi, Shi’a, and Sunni shrines, St. Elijah’s Monastery, the Arch of Triumph, and human-headed winged bull statues from the gates of Nineveh (eighth century B.C.).
- ISIS Has Destroyed One of Iraq’s Oldest Christian Sites, by Steven Lee Myers, New York Times, January 20, 2016
- ISIS destroys Arch of Triumph in Syria’s Palmyra ruins, by Jethro Mullen and Schams Elwazer, CNN, October 6, 2015
- ISIS Smashes Priceless, Ancient Statues in Iraq, National Geographic, February 27, 2015
ISIS claims that monuments and heritage sites are destroyed because they are blasphemous in Wahhabi Islam. But the fanatics also gain media attention with enormous propaganda value by distributing videos of shooting and bulldozing artifacts [The Strategy Behind the Islamic State’s Destruction of Ancient Sites, by Sarah Almukhtar, New York Times, March 28, 2016].
ISIS’ iconoclasm is a military strategy” represent(ing) a logical and instrumental means of employing violence to achieve political ends,” foreign policy analysts explain:
Three independent variables are present and inter-connected: namely, the degradation and delegitimization of the existing social and cultural fabric; the removal of all reference to a previous society or culture; and an attempt to reconstruct society in keeping with a new totalitarian vision or ideology.
Iconoclasm and strategic thought: Islamic State and cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria, by Matthew Clapperton, David Martin Jones and M. L. R. Smith, International Affairs, September 2017
Statue destruction here mimics classical ancient statue destruction by Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS et al. pic.twitter.com/i3FGa2NqZm
— DrDHMenke, PhD, MS, BA. (@DrDMenke) August 15, 2017
Thus monument destruction is not merely a spontaneous outburst of anger. It’s a tactic in an ideological cadre’s larger strategy to implement a totalitarian political agenda. Toppling and replacing statues signals a changing of the guard, when one set of rulers replaces another.
With statue destruction, the Rainbow Coalition of the Woke is attempting to delegitimize the cultural fabric of the United States and Europe as one of “White Supremacy.” In this country, Steve Sailer’s Coalition of the Fringes seeks the supremacy of its own ethnos (mostly nonwhite and non-Christian), its own Founding Myth (1619), and even its own banner (the rainbow Pride flag).
The eradication of cultural monuments is just one revolutionary tactic, however. Others include renaming streets, buildings and even birds. Woke translations of historical events and culture often replace white figures with mythical nonwhites to hide Americans’ past, disguise Americans’ ethnic cleansing in the present, and in the end, cow Americans to accept dispossession out of sheer self-hatred. Like the French Revolutionaries, their Woke American ideological descendants are even disinterring Confederate dead.
The final element in this totalitarian agenda is isolating and destroying anyone who challenges the tenets of The New Values. There can be no rivals to “racial justice.” Any dissent is “White Supremacist” terrorism that must be confronted and suppressed by the state. Dissidents must be canceled, then professionally and financially ruined.