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With statues.

Historically, statue-toppling occurs at the END of a revolution, i.e: after a circle of tyrants has been dispersed, not before. It’s supposed to be the final, symbolic “nail in the coffin” of unpopular governments. Examples include Iraq, after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and the former Rhodesia after a protracted anti-colonial struggle.

Why do this before? You risk so much for nothing of substance in return save for a cheap, fleeting high. Instant gratification, nothing more. Additionally, these actions take place in highly liberal and cosmopolitan cities, which is another way of saying you’re not communicating anything particularly controversial or mind-blowing to the people who live there.

Toppling a statue because it is a monument to genocide rings hollow when in fact, the very city in which it stands is itself such a monument. Is that what we want? Modern smart cities that remain irremediably colonial and ecocidal in their very structure, but hey, at least we got rid of all the bad man statues?

Wouldn’t that be worse, in a way? You set yourself up for recuperation. All it takes is for some progressively minded politician to order these statues down, and then you’re left with a city, still genocidal in it’s functions, but now with a veneer of post-colonial reconciliation. A nazi is a nazi whether or not he has his uniform on 24/7. Personally, I would prefer that these statues stay standing until civilization itself, and its cities, have been abolished. Let them stand as a reminder to what all cities are all about.