Statues around the world are coming down at an unprecedented speed.
Ever since Edward Colston’s statue was pulled down in Bristol, mayors and citizens alike are reconsidering what role statues of slave traders – and even streets named after people who made their fortunes from the slave trade – have in public life.
As some archivists and historians have pointed out, there are other ways to educate people about the history of the slave trade – and for most people, knowledge of who Edward Colston has come after the statue was pulled down.
Since then, Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has commissioned a review into links to the slave trade, and even pulled down another statue, of Robert Miligan, in the east end of London (after much campaigning on the issue from members of the community).
Now, the Tory MP for Crawley has suggested that a statue of Karl Marx come down too, saying that he was an antisemite and responsible for the deaths of millions.
In replies, people pointed out the obvious – that the statue he was referring to is a monument at a grave, and that Marx himself was Jewish.
Someone else suggested the removal of a statue of Adam Smith, the economist, by pointing out that he too had written books on economic ideologies.
Smith may have tweeted without realising that the statues coming down aren’t because people may have been personally racist, but because the people in question benefited from slavery.