Politics

Defending Looters

A new book proclaims that looting "gets people what they need for free immediately."

Arnold Ahlert · Sep. 3, 2020

Just when one might think “progressive” leftists have reached the bottom of the barrel in terms of moral and intellectual bankruptcy, they prove one wrong. Vicky (formerly Willie) Osterweil, a “trans-woman” who calls himself a “writer, editor, and agitator,” and whose Twitter handle is “Vicky_ACAB” — as in, All Cops Are Bastards — has written a book titled In Defense of Looting: A Riotous History of Uncivil Action, in which he insists looting is morally justifiable because “without police and without state oppression, we can have things for free.”

Perhaps even less surprising than Osterweil’s twisted worldview is the reality that National Public Radio (NPR) was more than willing to provide him with a platform to promote his contemptible ideas. That would be the same NPR funded by taxpayers, and one would be hard-pressed to find a better reason to cut off its government funding.

Natalie Escobar, who interviewed Osterweil for NPR, describes his book as “prescient” because it was completed in April, shortly before the wholesale rioting that was inflicted on the nation. “I spoke with Osterweil about this summer’s riots, the common narratives surrounding looting, and why ‘nonviolence’ can be a misleading term,” Escobar explains.

No one is more determined to mislead Americans than the progressive Left. And the most recent “common narrative” that epitomizes that effort was CNN’s description of the rioting in Kenosha as “fiery but peaceful.”

Osterweil makes that network seem amateurish by comparison. “When I use the word looting, I mean the mass expropriation of property, mass shoplifting during a moment of upheaval or riot,” he states. “That’s the thing I’m defending. I’m not defending any situation in which property is stolen by force. It’s not a home invasion either. It’s about a certain kind of action that’s taken during protests and riots.”

In Kenosha, 71-year-old Robert Cobb, who attempted to prevent his friend’s mattress store from having its property “massively expropriated,” had his jaw broken by the mob. He was lucky. Retired St. Louis police captain David Dorn was murdered for defending a friend’s store. In Osterweil’s alternative universe, one is left to wonder if “stolen by force” applies to such encounters, or if he believes people should simply allow the mob to have its way and pick up the pieces afterwards.

In Minneapolis and St. Paul, a number of business owners, many of them immigrants, are discovering that picking up the pieces comes with a hefty price tag. They are being presented with bills for demolishing what’s left of their businesses, far in excess of what insurance companies are willing to pay, because government regulations require all debris from a burned-out building to be treated as hazardous waste. For many, this additional body blow will delay rebuilding for months — if it takes place at all.

For Osterweil and other equally deluded souls, such inconvenient realities apparently pale in comparison to the “upside” of anarchy. Looting “does a number of important things,” he insists. “It gets people what they need for free immediately, which means that they are capable of living and reproducing their lives without having to rely on jobs or a wage — which, during COVID times, is widely unreliable or, particularly in these communities is often not available, or it comes at great risk. That’s looting’s most basic tactical power as a political mode of action.”

Too bad book royalties can’t be expropriated in such a manner, since Osterweil believes that the “very basis of property in the U.S. is derived through whiteness and through Black oppression, through the history of slavery and settler domination of the country.”

And while it’s one thing for a clueless bloviator like Osterweil to view the concept of private property as evidence of systemic racism, it’s quite another when five prosecutors view the Rule of Law itself through the same prism. “Our criminal legal system was constructed to control Black people and people of color,” assert district attorneys Diana Becton of Contra Costa County, California; Satana Deberry of Durham County, North Carolina; and Rachael Rollins of Suffolk County, Massachusetts, along with circuit attorney Kim Gardner of St. Louis and state’s attorney Kim Foxx of Cook County, Illinois. “Its injustices are not new but are deeply rooted in our country’s shameful history of slavery and legacy of racial violence. The system is acting exactly as it was intended to, and that is the problem. We should know: We’re Black, we’re female, and we’re prosecutors.”

More like racial arsonists posing as prosecutors, at least three of whom have revealed they’re willing to walk the walk of selective law enforcement. Foxx engaged in “substantial abuses” regarding her handling of the Jussie Smollett race hoax, according to a special prosecutor assigned to the case. Gardner is attempting to charge white St. Louis homeowners Mark and Patricia McCloskey with felonies for the “crime” of defending their property from a mob who had broken down a gate to access it — even as she released every single looter and rioter arrested by police following two days of mayhem in June. And Becton is now mandating her prosecutors to consider looters’ “needs” before considering criminal charges against them.

Osterweil’s equally distorted vision elicits no sympathy even for essential places like grocery stores or pharmacies that have been looted — and burned — by the mob. “They are no more likely to have to provide good stuff for the community than big businesses,” he declares, adding that the idea “the small-business owner must be respected, that the small-business owner creates jobs and is part of the community” is nothing more than “a right-wing myth” and that attacking those establishments is “ultimately about attacking like modes of oppression that exist in the community.”

Osterweil was also interviewed by the HuffPost, and in an unintentional burst of honesty he gives the game away, noting that “the savage has no concept of property,” and “if we attack whiteness, private property, and the police all at once, you’re talking about a revolution.”

Who apparently embraces that revolution? “Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is reelected?” Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden asked. VP candidate Kamala Harris? “If you’re able to, chip in now to @MNFreedomFund to help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota,” she tweeted on June 1.

In reference to Osterweil’s book, Wall Street Journal columnist James Freeman asks, “Is this the moment for centrist Democrats to part ways with the modern American left?”

Who’s kidding whom? Centrist Democrats no longer exist in any meaningful way. In city after Democrat-controlled city, party members have not only tolerated the looting, they have abetted it with police stand-down orders, no-bail releases, and the refusal to allow federal law enforcement to intervene. Thus, under the best of the current circumstances, Democrat Party figures who stayed silent on the subject for four days during their convention and now seek to blame President Trump for the violence are the mob’s accomplices.

Under worst of circumstances? As George Orwell put it in Animal Farm, “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”


Update: Regrets. NPR has a few, and is now backtracking on the bad idea of interviewing Osterweil without much in the way of pushback.

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