A far-left party in Germany has erected a statue of Vladimir Lenin, the communist leader in the western city of Gelsenkirchen. The Marxist-Leninist Part of Germany or MLPD, put the statue up in front of its headquarters. The MLPD is a direct descendant of the Communist Party that ruled East Berlin for decades during the Cold War.
City officials attempted to block the statue’s installation but courts blocked their appeal.
“We live in a time in which many countries of the world are reflecting on memorials,” said mayor Frank Baranowski. “It’s hard to put up with the fact that a dictator from the 21st Century is being placed on a pedestal and a memorial is being made out of it. Unfortunately the courts have decided otherwise, we must accept that, but not without comment.”
The MLPD however describes Lenin as “an ahead-of-his-time thinker of world-historical importance, an early fighter for freedom and democracy.”
A statue of Ulysses S. Grant was torn down in recent days here in the United States. Grant was a Civil War hero who fought on the side of the Union and against slavery. New York’s Museum of Natural History announced just today that it will be removing a statue of President Teddy Roosevelt that has stood on its grounds since 1940. Roosevelt was one of the most progressive presidents in U.S. history. He had a record of being anti-monopoly, pro-consumer rights and a staunch conservationist.
The juxtaposition of imagery should not go un-noted. Heroes and presidents who share many of the same ideals as today’s progressives purportedly do have monuments in their honor torn down, while communist leaders’ deadly histories are being whitewashed and monuments are raised in their honor.