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Occupy St. Louis Graffiti Betrays Taggers' Ignorance of History

Categories: Occupy STL
naked truth.jpg
The Naked Truth, unadorned as intended.
Taggers hit Compton Hill Reservoir Park last night in an "unofficial" response to the police action that took place there last week, spraying pithy slogans like "class war" and "cops, pigs, murderers" on statues and buildings. It's unofficial because Occupy St. Louis has denounced the graffiti in an apology made to the president of the Compton Hills Water Tower and Park Preservation Society.

Here's the problem with that: Spray painting "Class War" on the statue, The Naked Truth, is akin to painting "Serene Pacifism" on a statue of Dick Cheney.

The German-American Alliance made a gift of the statue to the people of St. Louis in 1914, to honor the memories of Carl Schurz, Emil Preetorius and Carl Daenzer, the three German-American editors of St. Louis' crusading German language newspaper, the Westliche Post. It is these gentlemen's names that are in fact carved into the stone behind the statue.

All three men were political radicals who fled their homeland because of their activities in the 1848 revolutions. All three men were radical emancipationists who fought for the equality of all men. The Westliche Post reflected those beliefs under each man's stewardship; Preetorius gave firebrand writer Joseph Pulitzer -- the man who wrote this famous platform -- his first job as a cub reporter.

Carl Schurz eventually left St. Louis and became the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, among other things. In 1899 he delivered a potent speech entitled "The Policy of Imperialism" to the Anti-Imperialistic Conference in Chicago that included  the following passage:
I confidently trust that the American people will prove themselves ... too wise not to detect the false pride or the dangerous ambitions or the selfish schemes which so often hide themselves under that deceptive cry of mock patriotism: "Our country, right or wrong!" They will not fail to recognize that our dignity, our free institutions and the peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: "Our country--when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right."
If you didn't know that speech was more than 100 years old, you might suspect it had been written with the Occupy movement in mind. Maybe the responsible party will get a little more education themselves before they take it upon themselves to educate the rest of us.


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23 comments
Mr. Pissed!!
Mr. Pissed!!

I recently read this article and was outraged by the comment "why are people be forced to vandalize historical monuments in order to have their voices heard."  If your message isn't being heard then it is either a poor message or you are a poor communicator.

I'm proud to live in this neighborhood and anyone spraying paint on property that does not belong to them needs a beating.  I'm tired of the paint and this was community property.  If you sincerely believe that anyone had a need or a right to spray paint on community property then perhaps the community should reciprocate and spray paint their feelings on the matter on the occupy St. Louis hangout on Arsenal.  I'm sure then the homeowner would feel just as outraged as the rest of us in the neighborhood

As far as having their voices heard, I now have no interest in listening.  Even if the occupy St. Louis group doesn't condone the grafiti they clearly can not control their members.  What community would give them any kind of support.  GET THE HELL OUT OF OUR NEIGHBORHOOD!!!

Roned
Roned

There is a large sign posted in plain sight posting the hours of the Compton Hill Park. They are posted so there is no mistake that after hours activity is against park ordinances. If you are in the park after those hours I do not feel sorry for you if the police have to use force to get you to leave. Those are the rules that we follow in this community to keep our parks free of trash, graffiti, drugs, vandalism, and vagrants. Trust me I understand the point of this whole "Occupy" movement. As much as we put up with in the city its these rules and the enforcent of them that keep things from going to shit. When I see someone get their ass kicked for not following the rules then you probably had it coming. 

Cyber Slammer
Cyber Slammer

Fucking sorry fucking losers....get a job you assholes.

Fuck-suburbs
Fuck-suburbs

It was probably a group of those smelly cocksucker 'anarchist' firebugs that have infested areas of the south side, especially around Cherokee St. You know, the same bunch of puppet making fuckstick clowns that think it's cool to bust security cameras when they are not pissing into jars in their hovels. The lot of these dinglefucks (most of which where born and raised with a silver spoon in their mouth and are now rebelling against their jerkoff parents in the stupidest way possible) should be rounded up and we can toss their patchouli and armpit smelling drumbeating asses off the Eads Bridge.

Southside Towing
Southside Towing

You can expect a bunch of suburbanites to know the message of this monument. They probably don't live in the city, know it, or respect it. Like most residents in this region. Nice try, Reagan.

Dudleydoolittle
Dudleydoolittle

The comparison between the Occupy protestors and Ron Paul's libertarian insurgency couldn't be more glaring to me.  There is a good chance that Ron Paul will be on the ballot in all 50 states in 2012, through a variety of mechanisms, and will get enough percent of the votes to help candidates run in 2014.  Occupiers, on the other hand, are stuck with a centrist Democratic moving further to the right and a single game--one which has garnered a lot of attention but not many practical victories.  IMO, Occupy protestors need to learn some lessons about working both the "inside" and "outside" game if they want to be more than an internet footnote.

Bryan Sutter
Bryan Sutter

 I'm no snitch but I'll be pretty amused if it turns out that the individuals responsible are who I think it is.

Joe
Joe

All of this is Obama's fault!

Funksoul 1965
Funksoul 1965

Really saddened that anyone associated with the Occupy movements would do something so ridiculous... Especially to an innocent, beautiful, historic place. Shame this article will probably be lost on the culprits. Got a problem with the cops? Take it to City Hall and the media outlets.

Trondell_Violent_N_Sheeit
Trondell_Violent_N_Sheeit

When it's finally discovered that it was the work of coloreds that will be the end of the story (poor Yadarius is repressed and misunderstood, he's the victim of racist Whites). If it can't be pinned on Whitey, it's not newsworthy anymore.

Ann Learner
Ann Learner

Thanks RFT for the history lesson.  I deplore head bashing and deplore this graffiti.  Head bashing is far worse than graffiti, but graffiti is not the solution for violent police actions. I heard the ACLU is working with the people who were attacked at Compton on Thurs. Keep your mind and energies on bring out the whole story, on taking this to court, on solving the problem of violence.  It will take time and effort.  Graffiti and cleaning it up physically and metaphorically is a waste of energies needed to solve the problem of police violence.

Missy Fit
Missy Fit

Um, who was forced to spray paint a statue?

elachance2
elachance2

It doesn't reflect an ignorance of history at all, it merely reflects the anger and the symbolism that statue holds for Occupy protesters  It seems pretty evident that the statue holds a particularly large amount of gravity to protesters because it is poised starring at the exact spot that Occupy protesters were viciously attacked by the police.  The local news organizations reported with bias, and avoided showing any aftermath of the violent confrontation such as bloodied young men, several of which were hospitalized.

The irony of a statue titled the Naked Truth starring at a spot where "truth" had been blatantly abandoned made it a perfect target for the anger and frustration of occupiers who were there or victimized that night. The statues historical significance only aids in amplifying the voices of the perpetrators.   Had something deemed "appropriate" by you the journalist been targeted you probably wouldn't have batted an eye at it, we wouldn't be reading this, and I wouldn't be responding right now. Instead of questioning whether or not Occupy protesters are educated(a symptom of the very problems being protested), the real question that should be asked is why are people be forced to vandalize historical monuments in order to have their voices heard, even if it is through biased journalism such as this.

KITTY
KITTY

The fucking scum bags strike again. I would like to graffiti all of them with burning red branding irons. But that would be too good for them.  Oh yea, they educate us alright - on what pieces of shit they really are.

Elachance2
Elachance2

Coercion in one form or another, while it was hyperbole, I feel it was obvious that the word "forced" was not to be taken literally.   The question I was presenting is why are these you individuals left with so few avenues to express their anger with a system that ignored their suffering and supported the perpetrators of violence against them? How else were they going to bring attention to this heinous act against them? They can't afford a lawyer, the news and media presented a biased story. Symbolic destruction of public property seemed to be an option. I think they succeeded. 

Chris
Chris

 Take your copy of 'The Communist Manifesto' and shove it up your ass.

Trebortire
Trebortire

If you want people to know what happened, post the videos of it. There mut of been several ceil phones with video cameras. If you want support, show the truth. If out of all  those people, no one had a ceil phone or the presence of mind to video it, take a lesson from the Right and use U tube

missy fit
missy fit

I'm sorry, but the police are not my enemy.  I live in the third district and am much upset with the occupy protestors for coming into my neighborhood and starting problems than I am with the actions of the police.

A real 99%r
A real 99%r

Are you kidding?  All they've done is prove what everyone already thinks that Occupy is full of misguided, disrepectful, unhinged agitators that would usher in a reign of anarchy and replace it with nothing.

Occupy is full of malcontents who rail against the world because it's not what they think it should be and can't live in the world the way it is.  Spray painting this statue proves that and Paul's writing reveals how completely uneducated and insensitive they are.  Only as an apologist could you justify what they've done.  That's what you are.

guest
guest

Succeeded in what, exactly? Drawing condemnation from both those opposed to the movement and those who support it? This act did not advance their cause, and will only aid those opposed to the occupy movement in their criticisms. The way to respond to a terrible action is not by acting terribly, but by breaking the cycle and attempting to find solutions in non-violent, non-public-art-defacing ways.

John
John

 The video sucks, and doesn't really show anything other than a bunch of spoiled white kids yelling "fuck you" at African-American police officers.  They don't have have anything better.

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