In an interview last Thursday, the author of a book titled In Defense of Looting told National Public Radio (NPR) that looting enables rioters to steal others’ property with “an imaginative sense of freedom and pleasure.”
Vicky Osterweil explained her theory to a supportive NPR that looting is merely a means to address the unequal distribution of wealth. She claims there is a distinction between “the mass expropriation of property, mass shoplifting during a moment of upheaval or riot” and “any situation in which property is stolen by force.”
She added that looting “attacks the history of whiteness and white supremacy,” because “the reason that the world is organized that way, obviously, is for the profit of the people who own the stores and the factories. So you get to the heart of that property relation, and demonstrate that without police and without state oppression, we can have things for free.”
“Looting strikes at the heart of property, of whiteness and of the police…,” she added. “And also it provides people with an imaginative sense of freedom and pleasure and helps them imagine a world that could be. And I think that’s a part of it that doesn’t really get talked about—that riots and looting are experienced as sort of joyous and liberatory.”
Except by the people whose property is stolen or destroyed.
71 Known Connections
Over the course of NPR’s history, some of its broadcasts have made big headlines with their incendiary anti-conservative rhetoric. In July 1995, for instance, after Republican Senator Jesse Helms had stated that the federal government was spending too much money on AIDS research, NPR’s legal-affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg said: “I think he [Helms] ought to be worried about what’s going on in the Good Lord’s mind, because if there is retributive justice, he’ll get AIDS from a transfusion, or one of his grandchildren will get it.”
In November 2009, the NPR website featured an animated video disparaging the Tea Party movement by teaching readers how “to speak Tea Bag.”
EDITORS NOTE: This Discover the Networks column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.