I’ll just drop this one right here.
For counterpoint … and an actual review of the book … there’s Ben Sixsmith at Spectator, honing in on a particularly head-scratching part of Osterweil’s case.
‘When it comes to small business, family owned business or locally owned business, they are no more likely to provide worker protections. They are no more likely to have to provide good stuff for the community than big businesses.’
Well, I don’t see what gives to Osterweil the darn right to determine whose businesses deserve to survive but perhaps they provide good products, friendly service and a local alternative to the mega-corps which are swallowing up Western economies in the aftermath of a vicious COVID-19-lockdown combo.
Chain envy by an anarchist? Say it ain’t so.
One Author’s Argument ‘In Defense Of Looting’, by Natalie Escobar (NPR)
In the past months of demonstrations for Black lives, there has been a lot of hand-wringing about looting. Whether it was New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying that stealing purses and sneakers from high-end stores in Manhattan was “inexcusable,” or St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter saying looters were “destroy[ing] our community,” police officers, government officials and pundits alike have bemoaned the property damage and demanded an end to the riots. And just this week, rioters have burned buildings and looted stores in Kenosha, Wis., 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.
I spoke with Osterweil about this summer’s riots, the common narratives surrounding looting, and why “nonviolence” can be a misleading term. Our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity …