By Peter Cherry
On the morning of May 25, police found graffiti and red paint on the World War I memorial known as “The Doughboy,” in Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh commemorating the Day of Heroism. The imperialist monument was painted with the phrase “June 19, 1986, Glory to the Day of Heroism” as well as multiple hammer and sickle symbols.
The action corresponded with Memorial Day, an imperialist holiday commemorating its soldiers and plundering of the world.
Newsweek remarked, with surprising lucidity, “The phrase used in the graffiti appears to reference a battle that took place between the People’s Guerrilla Army and the Peruvian state on the same date. But so far it is unclear as to what is meant by the act of defiance on this public landmark.”
The Day of Heroism commemorates resistance to the state-sponsored genocide of Peruvian political prisoners. The revolutionary prisoners transformed their jails into shining trenches of combat, forming communal kitchens, producing handicrafts to smuggle outside to help finance the People’s War, holding study groups and lectures, and putting on cultural performances like plays. In light of this, the US-backed fascist, President Alan Garcia, ordered that all revolutionary prisoners be executed.
The Mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto, posted on Twitter, condemning the action: “This is not Pittsburgh. Whoever did this. Please leave. Today.” The Pittsburgh Police have said that they are reviewing available video footage and that the investigation is ongoing. Pittsburgh city officials have confirmed that the FBI is now involved in the investigation.
This is one of many bold commemorations of the Day of Heroism in the US that has happened over the years. Last year, the National World War I Museum was vandalized in Kansas City, along with other actions in Austin, Los Angeles, and St. Louis. Day of Heroism is observed internationally as a date of solidarity with revolutionary and political prisoners everywhere.
The presence of paint on a monument is nothing compared to the bloodshed and misery caused by US imperialism. The working class in the US become more aware of this with the increase in revolutionary actions which serve to highlight the hypocrisy of the ruling class and to make sure they never forget the crimes in which they are complicit.