Eric Lee in his for recent opinion column for Solidarity took issue with Gary Younge’s piece in the Guardian in which Younge advocates removing all statues, regardless of whether they are slave traders or revolutionaries.
Eric says how “Socialists should not agree. There are statues that need to come down because they honour people or causes that should not be honoured, full stop... But there are also statues that should go up, in remembrance of people — and causes — which we should honour.”
He goes on to name revolutionaries such as Andreu Nin, Rosa Luxemburg and others who should have statues “honouring” them. This to me seems to be an advocacy for cult of personality, which in essence is Stalinist.
As far as I’m aware, nowhere in socialist theory is cult of personality advocated. Also we may never know, but I highly doubt the likes of Rosa Luxemburg would want statues built of them, rather they would want us to build a socialist future.
Eric concludes by saying: “Socialists look forward instead to living in the kind of country that chooses to honour people like Nin, Luxemburg, Zhordania, and the others. And yes, Trotsky too. In the centre of St. Petersburg.” Well yes, I’m sure most of us want to live in a country which honours these historical figures, but in terms of erecting statues? I hope not. Further it seems rather idealistic and utopian to then name the places they should be built in.
I believe the best way to honour these people is not to erect statues, but to actually implement their teachings into our lives and to bring about a socialist revolution, and thereby creating a better world for all.
Mo Starke Hannon, London