Sunday, April 19, 2015

Monuments Of Aristocratic Might and Lower - Class Deaths

Monuments to a tyrannical government, police state, failed elitist/corporate social genocide of the middle and poor classes    

By Dallas Darling

Washington DC has again become a monument of aristocratic might and lower-class deaths. But since too much knowledge and reality ignites insurrection, the recent political self-immolation in front of the U.S. Capitol building must be depoliticized. Also, the seat of a superpower, with all of its trappings of an imperial city and military hubris, must frame the gyrocopter dissenter landing on the west lawn in a threatening and national security narrative.

Leo P. Thornton, a 22-year old man from Lincolnwood, Illinois, took his own life with a gun while a protest sign was taped to his hand. 

The sign read: "Tax the One Percent." A list of political and economic abuses lay nearby his lifeless body. 

Despite enormous economic disparities and a number of tax exempt corporations, the message he was trying to deliver to Congress has yet to be discussed by any major news outlet in the U.S.

As for Doug Hughes, who landed his gyrocopter plane in the midst of aristocratic monuments, he wanted to "spotlight corruption in DC and more importantly, to present the solutions to the institutional graft."(1) 

But again, the corporate news media and radio talk show pundits framed the story within the perimeters of a radical and militant Islamic attack, or if the pilot should have been shot down by Blackhawk or Apache helicopters.

Most people suppose that great monuments and buildings are products of a civilization's achievements and the artist's liberty. But for most of history, the opposite has been true. From the great pyramids of Egypt and Great Wall of China to the aristocratic monuments of Washington DC., they are monolithic tombstones of the poor and oppressed. Millions have perished from exposure and fatigue, their hobbled bodies sacrificed for the wealthy.

Washington DC was built on the ancestral and sacred grounds of the Iroquois Confederation. After the Revolutionary War, commanders and colonists turned their guns on their Iroquois allies. Many died from disease and starvation or were massacred. 

Those siding with the British were forced to make peace. The Washington Covenant Wampum was named after George Washington who ordered the utter destruction of Iroquois homelands in 1789.(2)

Washington and other colonial aristocrats, signers of the Declaration of Independence, oversaw their city, "the mistress of the western world, the dispenser of freedom, justice and peace to unborn millions," built mainly by black slaves.(3) Thousands toiled and died under their white overseers, clearing the land for the new federal city, felling trees and uprooting the stumps that clogged the future routes of streets and avenues.

Thousands more laid the foundation to Washington DC, baked bricks, quarried stone, stirred mortar, sawed lumber, and erected the walls of the grand new temples to an Empire of Liberty. The city was named after George Washington. For two centuries the presence of black slaves, including their sacrifices, was left out of the Capitol's narrative. It was as if they had never been there, buried in the grim past much like slavery.(4)

Also buried in Washington DC are the mass movements towards political, economic and social equality. The Bonus Marchers, unemployed World War I veterans, were dispersed only by military force, leaving behind dead and wounded. The 1963 military coup shocked a bewildered nation. The assassination of Martin Luther King., Jr., in 1968, brought six days of burning and looting to the city's black areas. Vietnam protesters were beaten and tear-gassed.

Movements today are de-legitimized by the corporate media or moved miles away to "free speech zones," out of sight and mind. Meanwhile, tourists are greeted with massive monuments of aristocratic might and buildings of large scale control. Considering the ongoing military engagements propagated, manufactured and implemented by the imperial city, how many more millions will be entombed by Washington DC?

"Monuments," wrote anthropologist E. De Marrais, "are effective and enduring means of communication." Washington's monuments and buildings of aristocratic might speak of genocide, destructive wars, the suppression of civil rights, military coups and assassinations, and political self-immolation and gyrocopter dissenters. For those who attempt to keep the memory of history alive, Washington DC is an expression of tragedy.

It was never the Peoples Capitol. Instead, it has always been the Military-Corporate-Academic and Lobbyist's Capitol.

Leo Thornton and Doug Hughes are merely fodder, sacrificial offerings to monuments of aristocratic might, as were the Iroquois, black slaves, and radical reformers wanting sweeping change. Perhaps someday in the near future, there will be millions of small memorials in honor of those who finally brought about regime change.

Dallas Darling (

Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in the Context ofJohn's Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and Peace. He is a correspondent for You can read more of Dallas' writings at and


(1) "Pilot Who Landed Gyrocopter at U.S. Capitol Blogged About Why," by Josh Levs. April 16, 2015.

(3) Bordewich, Fergus M. Washington: The Making of theAmerican Capitol. New York, New York: HarperCollins, 2008., p. 6.

(4) Ibid., p. 8, 9.

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