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  1. TopTop #1
    Abraham Entin's Avatar
    Abraham Entin

    Let's Talk Looting


    Over the past 60 years, whenever there has been an uprising in the Black community that involved destruction of property, a reaction against "looting" has been part and parcel of the response by the White power structure and the white community at large. "Why are they destroying their own neighborhood?" "Don't they know it dilutes their message?" "That isn't the right/best way to make yourself heard."

    At best, these responses are ignorant or disingenuous. At worst they are cynical attempts to cut off discussion about the actual causes of the uprising and the issues at stake.

    As a person born just after WWII into a Jewish family, I have always felt my designation as "White" to have a tenuous and impermanent reality. Jews in Germany, after all, thought they were German. In this country, it was not that long ago there were signs that read "no dogs or Jews", just as there were signs that said "No Irish need apply". The definition of who is white, who belongs to the dominant group, is in the hands of that group. Others may gain entry, but one is always in danger of bring thrown out.

    With that said, let me talk about how we talk about looting.

    In the first place there is the implicit equivalency of damage to human beings and property. "We won't talk to you about violence to people while there is property being damaged". Mike Pence received a good amount of push-back to his statement about protecting "property and people"--but it shouldn't be any surprise. White society has a long history of owning black people--as slaves, share-croppers, servants and prisoners--so it should not be surprising when that equivalency is articulated in these statements.

    In the early days of the Civil Rights Movement white communities blamed "outside agitators" for the protests. "Their Negroes" would never have done such a thing. James Baldwin's eloquent cry that "I am not your Negro" was a challenge to that smug and patronizing assumption. This lies behind the second issue around looting discussion--the assumption that the white community gets to set the terms of the debate. "We won't talk to you until you stop your bad behavior". You need to speak in our language and under our rules of debate.

    The final and, for me, most galling part of this response to looting is the failure to recognize that White Western Hegemony has been built upon systematic looting of the people of the world and, indeed, of the planet itself. Empires loot the produce of their colonies and suck the wealth out of them--just as large corporations suck the wealth from local communities until there is nothing left to loot. Finance Capitalism is a system where the financiers create nothing but money, end up with everything. The rest of us can beg (the most desperate), borrow (the rest of us) or steal (those who emulate their betters and often end up in jail for their imitation). The loot still flows to the top.

    In the United States over 100,000 Japanese American citizens were placed in Internment camps at the beginning of WWII. Their homes, farms and businesses were seized with little or no compensation. Looting? Black musicians and artists have been consistently cheated out of their creations and compensation by white agents, recording companies and other entities in their Industries. Looting?
    The list goes on and on. As Woody Guthrie put it "As through this world you travel you'll see lots of funny men, some will rob you with a 6-gun, some with a fountain pen." Who is the bigger thief.? According to Woody, "As through this world you wander, as through this world you roam, you'll never see an outlaw drive a family from their home."

    My suggestion is that those outraged by some windows broken at a Target store by young people who have been consistently ignored, and when not ignored often brutalized, start paying more attention to the pervasive and demoralizing looting that defines the economic system in which we live, and which has always treated the bodies, souls and spirits of non-whites as part of a landscape which is, at the end of the day, theirs for the looting.
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  2. TopTop #2
    podfish's Avatar
    Supporting Member

    Re: Let's Talk Looting

    Quote Abraham Entin wrote: View Post
    I am amazed and gratified to see that this position seems to be widely held, from the quotable woman in Minneapolis whose own store was looted and still sees it as an understandable action, to the wide number of mainstream media and politicians who refuse to be distracted from the protests by the peripheral violent acts.
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  3. TopTop #3
    wisewomn's Avatar

    Re: Let's Talk Looting

    From Thom Hartmann:

    How Do We End the Looting?
    Looting is the word of the day, on the lips of every newscaster, the president, and elected officials across the country. And, indeed, looting is a major problem in America.

    In 1981, when Ronald Reagan ended the New Deal era, crushed labor unions, and massively cut the top personal and corporate tax rates, he kicked off the most massive and widespread looting of America since the 1920s.

    Working people all across the nation have seen over $7 trillion of their wealth looted by the top 1 percent just in the past two decades, reducing them from the middle class to the working poor.

    Small and medium sized businesses, since Reagan stopped enforcing the Sherman AntiTrust Act in 1983, have seen their companies looted by giant monopolies and predatory banksters like Mitt Romney.

    Millions of homeowners across the nation had their homes looted by thugs like Steven Mnuchin, California's "Foreclosure King," and Wall Street banksters like Jamie Dimon, a practice that's again exploding.

    Hungry people across America have had their food supplies looted by defense contractors whose ever-increasing chunk of federal spending has come at the expense of food stamps and other agricultural supports.

    Billionaires and the Trump Crime Family looted out nation's treasury to the tune of $1.5 trillion in 2017, and have looted over $2 trillion out of monies appropriated recently to help COVID19 victims.

    Betsy DeVos has looted billions from our public schools to give to her buddies in the for-profit and religious education industries.

    George W. Bush looted trillions out of Medicare when he partially privatized the program in 2005 with so-called "Medicare Advantage," throwing the system into crisis.

    Bush and his fellow thugs also looted the Post Office, taking $5 billion a year from them for a decade to stop them from converting their fleet of vehicles to electric and hydrogen power, and set the USPS up for sale to FedEx or USP.

    Students across the country have lost $1.7 trillion to banking looters empowered by Bush's 2005 bankruptcy "reform" legislation that will force them into debt, in some cases, until the day they die.

    Sick people have been looted - to the tune of over a trillion dollars a year - by giant insurance companies that pay their executives millions and sometimes even billions.

    African Americans and Hispanics have been looted of trillions in reduced pay by racist employers and giant corporations, while their safety, lives and peace of mind have been looted by racist police.

    Asylum seekers and immigrants have had their lives and children looted from them by brutal thugs like Steven Miller and Donald Trump.

    Our air and water - and the survival of our planet - have been looted by giant fossil fuel companies and the billionaires who own them, leading to mass migrations and millions of deaths every year.

    Local media, cable systems, and small internet service providers have been looted by giant corporate thugs, to the point where news has become infotainment, Americans are dumbed down, and the average American family pays more than twice - sometimes ten times - as much for internet and cable TV service as people in other developed countries.

    Our food supply has been looted by giant corporations that have destroyed family farms, poisoned rural communities with factory farms, and provoked an epidemic of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

    It's time for looting to stop in America.

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  5. TopTop #4
    Hotspring 44's Avatar
    Hotspring 44

    Re: Let's Talk Looting

    It may be a rehearsed "performance"; but it speaks to the topic here quite succinctly.

    Last edited by Barry; 06-17-2020 at 12:54 PM.
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  7. TopTop #5
    wisewomn's Avatar

    Re: Let's Talk Looting

    I also highly recommend the Trevor Noah talk:

    Quote Hotspring 44 wrote: View Post
    It may be a rehearsed "performance"; but it speaks to the topic here quite succinctly.

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  9. TopTop #6
    Valley Oak's Avatar
    Valley Oak

    Re: Let's Talk Looting

    Excellent video! I have subscribed to this Youtube channel as a result. Thank you! Says it like it is! The truth is powerful.

    Quote Hotspring 44 wrote: View Post
    It may be a rehearsed "performance"; but it speaks to the topic here quite succinctly.

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