Demand A Name Change For Pershing Square

Matt Sedillo Tele-Jaguar Exclusive

As monuments to Confederates, Conquistadors and mass murderers of various other racists stripes are torn down throughout the country let us also throw the shameful legacy of General John Pershing into that mix.

A graduate of West Point Pershing began his murderous career in the Indian Wars first stationed in New Mexico killing Apaches. Pershing later participated in the infamous massacres campaigned against Lakota Sioux. Though not present at Wounded Knee, he was a leading commander in the Ghost Dance Campaign from which Wounded Knee is remembered. This is a disgrace.

Later in his bloody career Pershing went on to murder people overseas in the so called Spanish American war. In this disgusting episode of U$ imperialism, Pershing was not sent out to fight Spaniards but instead to crush Filipino resistance to U$ imperialism. Pershing traveled to the Philippines to spill yet more blood. He claimed at the time he was bringing “civilization” to the “Moros” as Filipino Muslims were referred to by the people who were murdering them. It is important to not the poem by Rudyard Kipling “White Man’s Burden” was actually a plea for the U$ to do their part in the ongoing Euro conquest of the world broadly and to do so specifically by suppressing the Philippines, whose people Kipling referred to as “half devil, half child.” That racist poet Kipling may have said it, but the racist murder Pershing actually did it. This too is a disgrace.

The war crimes of John Pershing extend to Mexico as well. John Pershing was the leading figure in the so called Punitive Expedition, later named the Mexican expedition. This was a murderous campaign led by John Pershing into Mexico to literally punish Pancho Villa and his supporters for their role in the Mexican Revolution. The general and his soldiers, then and now were referred to as “bandits.” Though a small military campaign that still resulted in the murder of hundreds of Mexicans, the lore surrounding this incident has deep impact on the U$ psyche vis-a-vis Mexican/Chicano people. The popular concept of the “bandito” was likely first crystallized in the American psyche during Pershing’s campaign. Truly this is a monument to disgrace.

Pershing Square is where much of LA activist and organizers convene to dream and fight for a better world. Why stand in the name of a racist murderer?

It is not for one writer to suggest what the name should be. The people of Los Angeles should get together and decide this. However the current state of affairs is completely unacceptable. Change the name.

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