One year on from the fall of the Edward Colston statue from it’s pedestal during the Black Lives Matter protest on 7 June 2020, there’s been another media feeding frenzy focused on Bristol. The iconic statue toppling event continues to buzz around the world’s newswires. But let’s not forget that some participants in that event remain severely under pressure from the British state and its lackeys with a Crown Court trial due to start on 13 December 2021. We support the call to #DropTheCharges.
We wrote a year ago in this article: “Well, there is another great historical tradition in Bristol, that is Bristolians acting together to destroy statues of their oppressors and institutions that oppress them…Bristolians have a long history of sorting these things out, quickly, decisively (and whilst partying at the same time)…Today was no different. It was a surreal, euphoric and peaceful experience which will echo around the world.”
But as AltBristol noted in their article – We All Did It – a day later: “But after the carnival comes the blowback.”
Blowback there was from some local politicians and media, and police. But much greater it was from the Tory Government, their class and media barons. Revenge was required, and examples needed to be made. The ‘mob’ terrifies them. Ultimately four people have been persecuted to take the rap, for an event involving hundreds of active participants, and thousands of cheering onlookers. We said a year ago: “We salute all those who had the courage to do this. And we must defend them to the hilt if the police come calling on the orders of Priti Patel.” We have done our best to do our bit, but the Topplers need more support as they face the wrath of the Tories – on the streets, in local community campaigns, and in this fundraiser to help them cover their legal costs. So if you are #GladColstonsGone please do put some £’s into this crowdfunder. Donate here if you can. This is the text for the crowdfunder:
#GladColstonsGone! Support the Bristol Topplers’ Defence Fund!
On 7th June 2020, ten thousand people in Bristol succeeded where countless petitions, articles and other public objections had fallen short, removing a century-old public tribute to racism and slavery. For toppling the Colston statue, four of the ten thousand have been singled-out to face criminal damage charges and need our support before they go to trial later this year.
As fury over George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis weeks before united people around the world against systemic racism and police brutality, the Bristol action highlighted the links between the city’s racist past and present. The historic oppression of Bristol’s working class by the local wealthy elites, state & police, has in recent times focused disproportionately on people of colour through discrimination, racial profiling, and violence. This structural racism can be traced back to the white supremacist nature of the transatlantic slave trade, and its profits – from which the local white merchant elites built their own and Bristol’s wealth.
The toppling of the Edward Colston statue was a cathartic piece of non-violent direct action that rippled across the globe, igniting debates around racism, slavery and what we consider to be our ‘heritage’, as well as prompting many more local organisations in Bristol (from institutions to buildings to street names) to drop the Colston name for good.
The four protesters facing charges are due to appear at Bristol Crown Court on the 13th December 2021 for a jury trial lasting up to eight days. That means hefty additional legal costs, along with lost income and other expenses that we hope the rest of the ten thousand people who brought the Colston statue down, and supporters around the world, will ensure are covered.
How can Bristol hope to address its ongoing racial inequalities, if a slave trader is still venerated in the heart of the city? The toppling was a justified and necessary action that we believe the vast majority of Bristol stands behind. Despite the fact that calls to drop the charges are ongoing, it is likely the four will still have to stand trial.
If you are #GladColstonsGone, please donate and help spread the word!
Your donations will go towards, in priority order:
– Legal fees not covered by legal aid (estimated at £12,000).
– Covering loss of earnings sustained as a result of attending court.
– Any travel costs related to court case.
– Any other costs related to the court case.
– In the event that there are funds remaining, they will be donated to local black-led anti-racist & community groups.
@GladColstonsGone & the Defendants
You can donate via the crowdfunder link here. Thanks.