The British left’s flagship newspaper is facing the call to eat its own tail, after more than 12,000 people have signed a petition calling for the liberal, pro-Black Lives Matter Guardian to be shut down over its historical links to slavery and for siding with the Confederate states during the American Civil War.
The Change.org petition to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) already has more than 12,000 signatures with the number growing hourly, spurred on by accusations against the newspaper of hypocrisy for backing the far-left BLM while having a history connected to slavery.
The call comes after far-left activists have demanded the removal of statues of prominent figures in British history who may have profited from slavery, supported colonialism, or even have been wrongly accused of extremism.
The Guardian had published pieces in the past admitting not only did it print anti-Lincoln propaganda, but said Manchester’s working-class mill workers who refused to touch plantation cotton — in solidarity with black American slaves — should be effectively subjected to slavery themselves and forced back to work.
The then-named Manchester Guardian was founded in 1821 by John Edward Taylor, who profited from cotton plantation slavery, according to political website Guido Fawkes. After he died in 1844, the newspaper continued its relationship with the slave trade, making money from the slave-backing cotton mill owners of Manchester who paid for advertising.
Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner admitted in 2017:
It [The Manchester Guardian] even sided with the slave-owning south in the American civil war: the paper demanded that the Manchester cotton workers who starved in the streets because they refused to touch cotton picked by American slaves should be forced back into work. (Abraham Lincoln wrote to the “working men of Manchester” in 1863 to thank them for their “sublime Christian heroism, which has not been surpassed in any age or in any country”.)
During Black History Month in 2008, The Guardian published a letter revealing that the newspaper had printed confederate propaganda against Abraham Lincoln in October 1862, writing that “it was an evil day both for America and the world when he was chosen President of the United States”.
The left-wing newspaper also claimed in 1863, according to The Sun, that President Lincoln had “no desire to abolish slavery except as a means of extrication from the difficulties of government”.
“Nor is Mr Lincoln’s re-election by fraud, violence, and intimidation rendered a matter of comparatively small importance solely by the fact that it reveals nothing with respect to the real wishes and thoughts of the majority of his fellow countrymen,” The Manchester Guardian wrote 18 months later.
When President Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, The Manchester Guardian said, “of his rule, we can never speak except as a series of acts abhorrent to every true notion of constitutional right and human liberty”.
London Assembly member David Kurten remarked on the petition: “The Guardian was founded using money from slave labour. By its own logic, it should abolish itself.”
In 2011, Guardian associate editor Martin Kettle tried to write a blushing apology for his newspaper, claiming that “support for the south was anything but unusual among liberal and progressive 1860s Britain”.
He also implied that actions should be viewed through the historical context — “The Guardian’s stance on the US civil war was of its era.” — a privilege denied to the likes of Edward Colston, who, despite using his wealth to found hospitals, schools, and almshouses for the poor, had his statue violently torn down and will forever be remembered as nothing but a slave profiter.
Daily Mail columnist Peter Hitchens dug up the opinion piece last week, saying of it: “I do think this (beautifully honest) confession of the SuperWoke Guardian’s support for the slave-owning Confederacy (and its furious loathing for Lincoln) in the American Civil War is one of the great discoveries of the day. ‘Who shall ‘scape whipping?'”