The Post Millennial:
Vicky Osterweil’s new book, In Defense of Looting: A Riotous History of Uncivil Action, is a social justice justification for property damage and theft. This book promoting riots is a number one new release on Amazon, a mega-corporation that benefits every time a local shop gets torched.
Osterweil’s book is a celebration of looting in the name of anti-racist action directed at dismantling whiteness and property ownership.
Speaking to NPR’s Natalie Escobar, Osterweil made the point that looting during the course of riots is a redistribution of wealth, not theft, and that property damage, too, is simply a way to reapportion assets which she deems necessary in an unequal society.
Osterweil claims that looting is what happens when people want to express that society isn’t working. She defends it as a “mass expropriation of property, mass shoplifting during a moment of upheaval or riot.” This is nonviolent, she claims, no one gets hurt, “it’s not a home invasion…”
The gaslighting Osterweil wants us to believe is that the “mass shoplifting” events we have seen in Seattle, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, New York, Portland, Kenosha, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington, DC, and so many other American cities were not undertaken by force.
For Osterweil, whose book is graced with a glossy crowbar, smashing windows, ripping down plywood, breaking into shops and taking that which does not belong to you, is perfectly fine. In fact, she believes that the term “looting” is racially based because the word comes from a Hindi root.
David Dorn died at the hands of looters and his death was live streamed to Facebook. For Osterweil, Dorn’s death was merely collateral damage in service to a greater cause. His family are suffering a deep loss because criminal thieves believed that their right to property was more important than Dorn’s right to life.