Looting as Prelude to Revolution

Reporter Natalie Escobar offered an interesting news report for National Public Radio on August 31. It went like this: “In the past months of demonstrations for Black lives, there has been a lot of hand-wringing about looting...Just this week, rioters have burned buildings and looted stores in Kenosha, Wisconsin., following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, to which Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson has said: ‘Peaceful protesting is a constitutionally protected form of free speech. Rioting is not.’ “

“Writer Vicky Osterweil’s book, In Defense of Looting, came out on Tuesday. When she finished it, back in April, she wrote (rather presciently) that ‘a new energy of resistance is building across the country.’ Now, as protests and riots continue to grip cities, she argues that looting is a powerful tool to bring about real, lasting change in society. The rioters who smash windows and take items from stores, she says, are engaging in a powerful tactic that questions the justice of  ‘law and order,’ and the distribution of property and wealth in an unequal society.”

We’ve come a long way from the principles evinced by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who urged his followers to eschew violence and looting, which would deservedly give the civil rights cause a bad name.

Now this woman extols looting as a warning shot for the revolution to come . I hope she gets nabbed coming out of a Best Buy with a TV set in her arms.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.


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