In the wake of Charlottesville, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has called for the removal of one of Fremont’s quirkiest landmarks: the Lenin statue.
Murray said in a statement today that the city “should remove all these symbols” that represent hate, racism and violence, including “both confederate memorials and statues idolizing the founder of the authoritarian soviet regime.”
Here’s his full statement:
“In the last few days, Seattleites have expressed concerns and frustration over symbols of hate, racism and violence that exist in our city. Not only do these kinds of symbols represent historic injustices, their existence causes pain among those who themselves or whose family members have been impacted by these atrocities. We should remove all these symbols, no matter what political affiliation may have been assigned to them in the decades since they were erected. This includes both confederate memorials and statues idolizing the founder of the authoritarian Soviet regime. Both are on private property, but I believe the confederate memorial at Lake View Cemetery and the Lenin statue in Fremont should be removed. We should never forget our history, but we also should not idolize figures who have committed violent atrocities and sought to divide us based on who we are or where we came from.”
Yesterday a small group of protesters inspired by Trump supporter Jack Posobiec gathered in front of the statue to call for its removal.
Trump Supporters Demand Lenin Statue in Seattle be Torn Down https://t.co/pk9tQgdA5Q
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) August 16, 2017
Murray concedes that Lenin stands on private property, so the statue is not the city’s legal domain — in effect, Murray is making a request. The statue is owned by the family of Lewis Carpenter, a teacher who discovered it in Poprad, Slovakia in 1989 and shipped it to Seattle, according to Fremont.com.
Carpenter died several years ago, and the statue has been positioned prominently along N 36th St. “temporarily for viewing and sale.” The price tag is $250,000.
State Senator Reuven Carlyle disagrees with Murray. “This statue is distinctly not showcased in Fremont to celebrate the murderous, painful regime,” Carlyle writes. “It is instead installed as a testament to its defeat and the victory of open ideas through the medium and sometimes painful juxtaposition of art itself.”
Lenin is often decorated with red paint on his hands, signs and holiday lights. Explains Fremont.com: “This sculpture is placed here in the Artist’s Republic of Fremont, as a symbol of an artistic spirit that outlasts regimes and ideologies, and as tangible proof that art does outlive politics.”