By Huey Dessalines
January 6, 2020
SAINT LOUIS: The slogan “No War,” along with the hammer and sickle, appeared in red spraypaint on the Soldiers’ Memorial museum and monument in Downtown Saint Louis over the weekend. Bourgeois news outlet Saint Louis Post-Dispatch states:
“A Post-Dispatch photographer counted four parts of the memorial’s exterior that were defaced — not far from some surveillance cameras. The Missouri Historical Society said that the vandalism was discovered Sunday morning and occurred overnight. Police were notified of the incident. “We are saddened that anyone would deface a memorial to those who have made the supreme sacrifice for their country,” said Leigh Walters, the organization’s director of marketing and communications, in a statement. The memorial first opened in 1938, and was built in honor of World War I soldiers. The structure reopened in 2018, after a two-year, $30 million renovation that significantly expanded the building’s exhibit space.”
The Soldiers Memorial was recently renovated and reopened after a two year, $30 million dollar renovation. Keep in mind that homeless people, many of whom are veterans, routinely sleep around this massively expensive chunk of rock that the bourgeois media is fawning over for a bit of red paint. The ruling class cares nothing for those it sends off to die in its wars, dumping their ashes in landfills, testing biological agents on them, and leaving their families in precarious positions but monuments to the idea of war are cherished and fawned over. This concern for buildings over the people abroad and at home impacted by these wars is par for the course for late stage fascist America.
The tagged slogan appeared within a day of a march sponsored by various organizations in Saint Louis including DSA, PSL, and ProJo (Progressive Jews of Saint Louis). The march occurred in conjunction with various other marches encouraged by the revisionist led ANSWER Coalition against the latest US atrocities in Iraq and Syria. Comrades in FTP-Chicago wrote an article critiquing the “march and rally approach” pursued by many revisionist and reformist organizations, stating:
“While rallies of this nature imbue in participants a sense of revolutionary spirit, comradery, and confrontation of power, they do little to build the mass anti-war movement that they posture as. The people are not showing up to these rallies, though they are not fond of war. The connections between imperialism and their own issues, like food insecurity, job insecurity, gentrification and evictions, and state violence, need to be made. The ruling class will reap record-breaking profits, while the people have to pay more in groceries, gas, and other necessities. Moreover, institutions of political power that exist outside of, and directly confront the imperial ruling class’s own institutions, must be developed. Without first doing this, anti-war demonstrations will continue to be limited only to radicals, confused by why shouting their obscure platitudes hasn’t yet stopped imperialism.”
It is essential to struggle for a militant, revolutionary, anti-war movement which does not just respond to Yankee imperialist saber rattling and attacks, but really works to bring the war home in a big way by organizing and relying on the masses in their tens of millions, along with engaging in counter-recruitment activity and building of dual power structures to combat the so-called “poverty draft”, which calls Black and Brown proletarian and semi-proletarian youth to their demise on behalf of Yankee imperialism.
The painting of a slogan on the Soldiers’ Memorial demonstrates that there are elements among the masses in Saint Louis who are tired of the stale march and rally approach recycled from 2003. For all the feet in the street, the war continued. Only through militant, mass based direct action which disrupts the work of Yankee imperialism and corporations that benefit from the making of war (such as Boeing, which maintains substantial apparatus right here in Saint Louis) can we build the anti-war movement we need.
Propaganda such as that which appeared Friday is a sign of the boldness and daring of the masses, but more is needed. Paint can not bring down empire anymore than an endless cycle of permitted and police-marshalled protests and rallies can. Marches and rallies have their place, but Communists must always be outward facing, towards the masses, and continually recruiting more of the masses to be turned into Communists, building infrastructure, connections, and networks that are in practice nascent dual power and mass bases, and continually doing educational and propaganda work among the people, connecting the issues of gentrification, lack of basic infrastructure, housing, food and garbage disposal in popular neighborhoods, and police brutality to the machinations of US imperialism abroad. Our demonstrations must be combative and militant, and unite not just the left but as many revolutionaries as possible around basic demands both abroad and at home. This is the foundation for a real revolutionary movement that can topple the American empire.