Submitted to It’s Going Down
On Saturday, September 23, an attempt will be made by the people of New Orleans to tear down the city’s most well-known and iconic statue, Andrew Jackson, the center-piece of Jackson Square. Released by the Take em Down NOLA Coalition, this call to action follows nearly a year of legal wrangling with the courts and broken promises by the city to remove four other well-known monuments to racism.
This is not a bluff.
Located in the heart of the French Quarter, New Orleans’ most historic neighborhood, Andrew Jackson is one of many monoliths acting as a daily reminder of the looming racist menace this city lives under. Another four statues—that the city has been unable to fulfill its promise to remove—all commemorate the Confederacy.
Photo of the Andrew Jackson statue.
While the Jackson statue is not currently being contested legally, this emblematic monument continues to form the public’s idea of New Orleans. Given Jackson’s white-supremacist and genocidal track record, his effigy makes for a coherent and apt site of resistance. Any sincere attempt to remove Jackson (from his high horse) will make it abundantly clear that we refuse to wait any longer for self-serving politicians to do what is right.
In New Orleans, white supremacy hides in plain sight. The ubiquitous presence of these racist monuments ensures them as part of an ‘historical legacy’, so protected by popular support, in fact, that your car may be firebombed if you attempt to remove them legally.
The regimes these monuments represent have changed, their mechanisms altered, but their essence lives on by way of cyclical oppression and legalized slavery. The institutions of policing, prisons, housing, schools, healthcare, non-profits, resource extraction, to name a few, allow power to accumulate through vamping on the labor and output of the poor and oppressed. This is the systemic genocidal racism these monuments reify daily in image. It’s high-time we do something about it.
This Saturday, September 24th in Jackson Square in the French Quarter everyone from white supremacist vigilantes to squeamish liberals will find it very difficult to hide the truth.
Having exhausted all other legal channels to remove the monuments, this call to action is the logical, albeit daring, next step. We repeat: it is not a bluff. Success on Saturday demands autonomous commitment on the part of everyone who wishes to take the fight against white supremacy one big step forward. Lets remove the shadows of racism from New Orleans. Let’s #TakeEmDown.
We ready. We comin’. Take em down.
Photo of the Jefferson Davis statue, taken this week.
A little background on the other four Confederate monuments under legal contestation:
- General Robert E. Lee: Standing fifty feet up with his arms crossed Lee defiantly faces what was once the Reconstruction government’s seat of power. Demarcating the line between the confederate neighborhoods uptown and their sworn-enemies downtown, Lee is the most visible and monolithic of the statues, a constant reminder of the horrors of slavery as well as the Reconstruction era.
- General P.T. Beauregard: “Beau-regard” is French for “good-looking”. We think some reconstructive face-surgery with a sledgehammer would be an improvement.
- Liberty Monument: A monument to the White League paramilitary-led insurrection, which in 1873 briefly overthrew the Reconstruction government. Since it was built the monument has been a rallying point for white supremacists.
- Jefferson Davis: President of the Confederate States of America. Nuff said.
Photo of the Beauregard statue, shortly after the Milwaukee uprising began.
Photo of Lee Circle, 2012.
Liberty Monument, 2004, the night before David Duke was set to hold a rally there.