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Open letter to the whiteman: Brett Bailey

INQLAB | 14.09.2014 18:34 | Anti-racism | Culture | London

Open letter to the whiteman: Brett Bailey

Referring to tens of thousands of people, as well as the various Black
organisations and Trade Union groups, who have petitioned against you as a
"mob" shows your contempt for not only black people but also the working
class generally.

You should not be surprised of this reaction in London. We are very
organised in resisting racism here. This is the place where the first
slave writers were published. This is the place where we forced our voice
to be heard then and we will now.

You would however be more correct in not talking of the "global capital of
democracy" but rather the global democracy of Capital - it is no surprise
either that you are supported but the capitalists of the City of London

And so also it is no surprise that rather than engage with the political
arguments raised against you, your are simply invoking Art as your defence
against any criticism. For us you are no different to other artists who
create nothing as workers but rather are entrepreneurs who exploit and
subjugate workers for the creation of cultural capital.

But let us talk of Art.

Both you and your workers/slaves claim to be representing Black people and
so as Black people we are therefore part of this production also. So are
the many Black organisations who are protesting and petitioning against

And although we have solidarity with them all, we are petitioning either
you or the City of London. We as part of this "Art" already.

In order to fulfil your own aims of dealing with a “territory fraught with
deep pain, anger and hatred” and to "confront people with realities that
are all too easy to leave festering in the dark” we suggest we need to
also make you confront realities – and indeed feel pain. It is telling
that you think the dark is a place to fester. For us it is a place to

It is time you yourself enter the dark. It is also telling that you are
quoted as saying that there are “people calling for a work of art to be
banned because it expresses a view they don’t agree with”. So what precise
view is Exhibit-B expressing? In the same interview no specific view is
put forward – only the idea that this is supposed to “make people aware of
systems of racism…” You have succeeded there. But we suggest a superior

We suggest a far more effective work of Art would be for you to be
shackled in the manner of a slave. For you to be held – like refugees are
in this country, like men captured in Afghanistan in 2001 without trial,
like people are all over the world because they are Black.

And to replace Exhibit-B with a TV screen which will show you in our
captivity, for a time period of our choosing, to be concluded when the
work is sold to the highest bidder.

In fact to make a more solid connection to the legacy of slavery and
capitalism maybe you need to be kidnapped by force and held?

We await your voluntary submission by email: inqalab @t
or we will come for you at the barbican