Open Letter: Manchester City Council, #GandhiMustFall
Manchester City Council have agreed to erect a statue outside of Manchester Cathedral of Mahatma Gandhi, which will be unveiled on the 25th November in order ‘promote peace’ in Manchester after the Manchester Arena attack in May 2017.
The undersigned demand that Manchester City Council reconsider this decision on the basis of Gandhi’s well-documented anti-black racism and complicity in the British Empire’s actions in Africa. Gandhi referred to Africans as ‘savages', ‘half-heathen Natives’, ‘uncivilised', 'dirty' and 'like animals', to reference only a few of his vile comments.
He saw himself as a ‘fellow-colonist’, theorising Indians as a superior race, which he called ‘Indo-Ayran’ in explicit reference to white supremacist logic. In 1905, Gandhi appealed to laws asking Indians to fight against the amaZulu, and collected funds to finance the execution of Black people fighting for self-determination and the right to their homeland.
These actions and thoughts are of course not documented in his autobiography, but they are well documented throughout his earlier correspondence and writings.
In modern times, Gandhi is used as a propaganda tool to cover up human rights abuses by the current Indian government under Modi, which is engaging in an effort to erect Gandhi statues globally to create an image of India as an anti-imperialist state. We demand that Manchester City Council refuse to be complicit in this, especially given the city’s history of anti-racist action, and to stand in solidarity with Manchester’s Black and Kashmiri communities.
We demand that Manchester City Council:
1. Release a public statement acknowledging Gandhi’s anti-black racism and apologising for trying to erect a statue, which is an insult to the Black community and the Kashmiri community in Manchester.
2. To reverse the decision to erect the statue.
3. To redistribute these funds to instead commemorate a Black anti-racist activist with connections to Manchester, such as Olive Morris or Steve Biko.
In addition to signing this open letter, please see the following template letter to send to your MP:
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