Critical Support for Looters

As I’ve said repeatedly, the election this fall is Joe Biden’s to lose. Trump has failed to establish the kind of rapport with the media that comes almost effortlessly even to criminal incompetents like Andrew Cuomo and George W. Bush. I suppose he could try to tweet his way around CNN and MSNBC, but I don’t think it will be enough.

The Republicans, however, have one last card to play. People are getting desperate. What’s going on in Minneapolis is only the beginning. This Summer, as the money and food run out, people will feel less hesitant about taking to the streets to riot. Protests against police brutality almost always become protests against private property, against the unequal distribution of wealth.

This is more of a problem for the Democrats than for the Republicans. For Republicans, it’s pretty simple. “Shoot to kill.” For the Democrats it’s a lot more complex. This Spring, just after Super Tuesday, the DNC expelled the last remnants of New Deal liberalism from the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party ideology, a marriage of convenience between conservative, pro-Wall Street economics and leftist identity politics, depends upon an alliance of upper-middle-class white professionals in the suburbs and working class blacks.

Covid-19 will test this alliance. When the protests in Minneapolis against police brutality turned violent, the corporate media shifted on a dime. They stopped talking about racism and started talking about looting. Conservatives, in turn, stopped yelling about “fake news” and quickly amplified the narrative, so familiar from Hurricane Katrina, that the protesters are a threat to private property and need to be put down. The question is whether or not those “Karens” still full of rage about Hillary Clinton’s defeat (Is there a male equivalent of a Karen? Honky? Cracker?) will continue to side with those elderly black voters in South Carolina, or will thy desert the bourgeois, liberal identitarian coalition and start calling for blood? Will they stop talking about Russians and start talking about the safety of our neighborhoods and “good” schools?

The jury is out.

As for me, I support looting, but with certain reservations. Don’t loot small businesses. Don’t loot property owned by immigrants. Don’t loot bike stores, but by all means loot the hell out of big corporations like Target and McDonalds. When I saw the video coverage of people carrying merchandise out of Target, I didn’t see criminals. Indeed, if you want to steal the easiest way to to it is to form a corporation and get bailed out by the government. What I saw were poor and working class people living check to check willing to risk jail time for a few hundred dollars worth of groceries and consumer goods. Look at this video. Do these look like criminals to you? To me they look like scared, desperate people hoping that in a few months they’ll have money to buy food.

But as I said, my support for looting is critical, not unconditional. In the long run, I don’t think it’s an effective strategy. Covid-19 isn’t changing anything. It’s accelerating social and economic trends that were already going on, even before the lock downs. The ruling class doesn’t want brick and mortar stores. They want more Amazon. They want to store their goods in huge, militarized warehouses, and ship them to customers via privatized couriers like UPS and Fedex. They don’t want restaurants and coffee shops where people sit down together. They want us to order our coffee and fast food on an app, and pick them up at the drive through. Neoliberal capitalism wants to shred the very last social ties between flesh and blood people and replace them with bits and bytes.

A more effective form of looting might be to drive an 18-wheeler through the gates of an Amazon warehouse and “liberate” everything inside. At the very least it might give Jeff Bezos a heart attack. But in the end, Amazon’s insurance company will pay up, then declare bankruptcy. President Biden, or President Trump, in turn, will declare the insurance company “critical infrastructure” and bail it out at the taxpayers expense. But don’t get me wrong. Loot. Loot. Loot. Loot until every talking head in the media breaks down and cries on the air. By all means storm the Bastille, but keep in mind that sooner or later we’re going to have to cut off the King’s head, and then we’re going to have to defend the revolution against the white terror (which will take the form of “concerned citizens with AR-15s) that’s sure to follow.

10 comments

  1. They are too expensive to buy – your Amazon warehouse probably contains many:
    Amazon.ca – Pitchforks:

    https://www.amazon.ca/s?k=Pitchfork&i=tools&page=2&qid=1590685640&ref=sr_pg_2

  2. John Thurloe · · Reply

    CNN commentator Van Jones has invoked the wrath of a thousand Karens, warning black people that they have more to fear from “white liberal Hillary Clinton supporters” who pretend to be allies than they do from the KKK.

    Malcolm X decades ago called white liberals “the worst enemy to America, and the worst enemy to the black man,” explaining that unlike conservatives who at least make no pretense of comradeship, liberals use the black community as “pawns,” manipulating them to achieve their goals. “One is a wolf, the other is a fox,” he famously said.

    1. Interesting that the guy who pushed Obama into firing Van Jones back in 2009 was a then little known Indiana radio host named Mike Pence.

      I think these protests could go either way.

      The Democrats don’t care about my vote (I’m a white male college graduate in a blue state over 50 who’s still a leftist, that rarest of unicorns, what Chomsky would call a “statistical anomaly” ) but they don’t really want black votes under 30 either.

      Both parties are competing for a tiny minority of “moderate” rich professionals in a few swing states.

      So on one hand the protests could spook them into voting for Trump. On the other hand, Trump’s extremist rhetoric could spook them into voting for Biden.

      Meanwhile the angry leftist youth are burning down police stations (and I doubt many of the people in that protest were over 30).

  3. John Thurloe · · Reply

    The WSJ today is warning that the subsidy money that has ‘sustained’ the unemployed and small business is about to run out. The Fed has stopped printing money and the Atlanta fed is forecasting a second quarter GDP drop of over 50%.

    It’s summer and as people emerge from lockdown they are apt to be very angry and frightened. The second phase wave of bankruptcies is gathering speed.

    It’s not that anything can happen it’s that something will happen. An explosive situation. And not just in the U.S. but in many countries. Things can go over the top anywhere, in any direction and to any degree. The elites have lost control and are left in reactive mode. And their resources are poor and their ranks divided. Meanwhile, Russia+China are sitting pretty.

    This is a rare time in history. It will be a very bitter election. Trump will push that the Democrats are the party of lockdown. The Democrats have nothing positive to run on, to say ‘by this we will make things better’. Their platform is reduced to being anti-Trump. And that’s a losing hand to play.

    1. What I saw in those looting videos was poor people planning ahead. If you can steal 300 dollars worth of household items now, you won’t have to take that money out of your food budget in the Summer.

  4. John Thurloe · · Reply

    A poll released by the U.S. Census Bureau this week revealed that at least nine million American households that include children are unsure whether they’ll be able to access enough food in the next four weeks and millions more are experiencing housing insecurity during the lockdown.

    Since the virus panic began spreading across the country in March, food banks have reported skyrocketing numbers of Americans relying on their services, including many who had never before needed assistance accessing food.

    And…America’s boomers, are ditching metro areas, panic hoarding RVs, and escaping to the countryside ahead of the possibility a second virus wave could materialize later this year, there is just no way in hell that a V-shaped economic recovery will be seen this year. Think about it, these folks are going in hibernation.

    Plus…According to the Los Angeles Times, approximately one out of every 1000 African-American males will die at the hands of our police…

    “About 1 in 1,000 black men and boys in America can expect to die at the hands of police, according to a new analysis of deaths involving law enforcement officers. That makes them 2.5 times more likely than white men and boys to die during an encounter with cops.”

    Now watching protesters trash the CNN Atlanta HQ. Hot time, summer in the city…

    1. While the Boomers are gloating over having expelled Bernie, the under 30s, and the last remnants of New Deal liberalism from the Democratic Party in order to appeal to socially liberal economically conservative Karens in wealthy suburbia the under 30s are burning down police stations and laying siege to CNN. Funny thing is I’m a Boomer-Xer (someone born between 1960 and 1968), living in wealthy suburbia that no longer has the elderly living in nursing homes (over 100 people in my town of 20,000 have died) and I have no desire to go anywhere. I suppose I should be in Brooklyn with the protesters though.

      1. John Thurloe · · Reply

        I’ve organized and marshalled a great many protests. The tradition I worked within always, always put up a substantial field force of well trained marshals. Even in the 1970s we used walkie-talkies, armbands for identification with experienced officers. This allowed us to keep between our forces and the police or counter-demonstrators. It also kept our own tightly focused. Nobody took off and trashed stuff. This made for tough unity among our numbers. We had the numbers. We were disciplined, organized and we knew it. And we knew everyone else knew it too. When were running the show we looked good and hammered our political points home with focus.

        If you have say 5000 protesters in column of march flaked by marshals and heading for some place with purpose – you get respect. And your people are proud. If you have 5000 people broken up, roaming around without discipline trashing stuff – you look like shit and don’t get respect.

        If you believe in your cause, draw up your ranks and act smart. Plus more people will turn out when they see you all know what you’re doing.

        1. That helps when it’s a centrally organized protest. I know what unions always have their marshals clear people out after the last speaker because the cops love to attack people when the speeches are over and the crowd is thinning out. But these protests going on now, while not exactly spontaneous, have been organized in the age of social media. A lot of unaffiliated people just show up. There probably isn’t even time to organize security.

    2. I had a real visceral hated for white boomer males during the Obama administration. There were times when it seemed like every white man over 40 in New Jersey was some kind of Tea Partier. They gave us Christie and ruined New Jersey Transit, but they couldn’t take any seats in congress . I suppose Corzine, an ex Goldman CEO, was so disliked that nobody left of center came out to vote. Then Christie’s replacement turned out to be another Goldman Sachs CEO. Goldman Sachs basically owns this state, even though it’s still sort of liberal (although for how long is the question).

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