NPR Defends Looting – While Accepting Your Tax Money

Vicky Osterweil’s new book, “In Defense of Looting,” “makes the case that looting isn’t a betrayal of protests for Black lives, but a vital aspect of the movement,” writes Claire Fallon in the Huffington Post. Fallon approvingly connected Osterweil’s defense of looting directly to rioting in Wisconsin last week that led to two dead and millions of dollars in damages against innocent bystanders who saw their life’s work go up in smoke.


National Public Radio also decided to feature Osterweil Thursday on its podcast “Code Switch,” for which the tag line is “Race. In your face,” under the banner “America reckons with racial injustice.” The interview openly makes the case that the existence of racial injustice in history justifies violent crime.

NPR assistant editor Natalie Escobar, a graduate of the nation’s top-rated journalism school at Northwestern University and who previously worked at The Atlantic, uses her publicly funded job and platform to interview Osterweil about his new book. It is expanded from a 2014 essay with the same name issued in the wake of the Michael Brown riots in Ferguson, Mo., which also included looting.

Osterweil is a transgender male who calls himself a “writer, editor, and agitator.” His Twitter handle is Vicky_ACAB. ACAB means “all cops are b-stards.” The acronym has been spray-painted on buildings in Kenosha and numerous other riot-torn American cities this summer in the name of Black Lives Matter. Osterweil has written for The Nation, an openly Jacobin publication, and Al Jazeera America, according to his Barnes and Noble bio.

“In the past months of demonstrations for Black lives, there has been a lot of hand-wringing about looting,” Escobar opens the introduction to their interview. Since the looting-accompanied rioting has ruined myriad innocent, largely working-class and minority Americans‘ businesses and lives, yes, I’d say there has been “a lot of hand-wringing about looting.”

Escobar wants to turn that into hand-waving. Osterweil “argues that looting is a powerful tool to bring about real, lasting change in society,” Escobar writes. “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.”

Looting is wealth redistribution. Good to know.

Another thing Osterweil says is that Democrat public officials’ and the media’s constant attempts this summer to distinguish the rioters from “peaceful protesters” is a lie and a ruse: “Another trope that’s very common is that looters and rioters are not part of the protest, and they’re not part of the movement. That has to do with the history of protesters trying to appear respectable and politically legible as a movement, and not wanting to be too frightening or threatening….the history of the movement for liberation in America is full of looters and rioters. They’ve always been a part of our movement.”

Osterweil clarifies early in his NPR interview that he is indeed openly supporting theft in the name of justice: “When I use the word looting, I mean the mass expropriation of property, mass shoplifting during a moment of upheaval or riot. That’s the thing I’m defending. I’m not defending any situation in which property is stolen by force. ”

Stealing is force, bucko. Taking away someone’s property is taking away his life. That’s because, for non-criminals, money comes from work. Work requires time. Time is a limited and precious commodity. Non-criminals use large parts of our lives to work to generate the income that we use to buy things. Therefore, property represents a portion of our lives. Taking someone’s property therefore equals taking part of his life away. (This is also why high taxes are immoral.)

This is a publicly funded “news” organization using U.S. tax dollars to glamorize and rationalize theft and property damage. While that may be surprising, considering that professors and teachers at tax-funded institutions use their comfortable public sinecures to also encourage looting and rioting, maybe it shouldn’t be. Just like they haven’t done anything to keep public funds from people who teach Americans to hate America, however, don’t look to Republicans to defund NPR any time soon.

Osterweil says many other eyebrow-raising things, including in this section of the NPR interview:

[Looting] does a number of important things. 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…It also attacks the very way in which food and things are distributed. It attacks the idea of property, and it attacks the idea that in order for someone to have a roof over their head or have a meal ticket, they have to work for a boss, in order to buy things that people just like them somewhere else in the world had to make under the same conditions. It points to the way in which that’s unjust…Importantly, I think especially when it’s in the context of a Black uprising like the one we’re living through now, it also attacks the history of whiteness and white supremacy. 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. Looting strikes at the heart of property, of whiteness and of the police. It gets to the very root of the way those three things are interconnected. And also it provides people with an imaginative sense of freedom and pleasure and helps them imagine a world that could be…riots and looting are experienced as sort of joyous and liberatory.

Osterweil’s essay “In Defense of Looting” was also promoted this summer in GQ magazine’s “Reading List for Radicalizing Your Parents.” The GQ article summarizes the essay: “In challenging the widely accepted notion that the civil rights movement was non-violent, and that its non-violence predicated its limited successes, Vicky Osterweil flatly lays out the practical, tactical, and political benefits of rioting and looting.” Note how here GQ legitimizes violence in the name of “civil rights.”

To the left, using the wrong pronoun for a transgender person is violence, but violently stealing your stuff is civil rights. As Federalist Senior Contributor Ellie Bufkin said to me, “The left has destroyed language so fully that a white man who claims to be a woman has written that black people stealing things is freedom.”

“One thing about looting is it freaks people out. But in terms of potential crimes that people can commit against the state, it’s basically nonviolent. You’re mass shoplifting. Most stores are insured; it’s just hurting insurance companies on some level. It’s just money. It’s just property. It’s not actually hurting any people,” Osterweil told NPR. In his 2014 essay, he said looting has been “one of the most righteous anti-white supremacist tactics available” in America.

In his Huffington Post interview with an obviously smitten white iGen female, Osterweil says “the savage has no concept of property; they don’t actually have any real ownership to the land.” True. To him, however, being “savage” is a good thing. It is a goal.

He also very openly explains why Black Lives Matter protesters are going after police: It’s because they are only superficially interested in what is alleged to be police brutality. More deeply, they attack the police because the police are an emblem of and the front-line guarantors of law and order. The police’s job is to secure people’s lives and property. Socialists want both of those to be under their control, not left to individuals to manage independently.

As Georgi Boorman explains, the left’s talk about white privilege and “antiracism” is not really about race. It’s about redistribution of wealth and power. It’s ultimately about socialism. The rioters and looters believe they are entitled to other people’s things. They are simply the rough, street version of the current Democrat Party.

“People don’t talk about this movement being an attack on private property,” Osterweil told HuffPo. But it is: “And that’s because if we attack whiteness, private property, and the police all at once, you’re talking about a revolution.”

12 Comments on this post.
  • Tom
    4 September 2020 at 3:41 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Looting in a Democratic city is simply a payback by the city government to the populace for all of the money they have personally stolen. A payback that these Democratic thieves never use any of THEIR money. They just let the looting to occur so YOU pay the populace back for THEIR theft.

  • Marc
    4 September 2020 at 4:00 pm
    Leave a Reply

    I mostly listen to NPR for laughs. The programming they feature is entertaining is a sort of upside down way due to the crazy ideas presented. But featuring the likes of Osterweil is beyond the pale. To think that committing crimes in the name of social justice is the way to transform society shows how unhinged the thinking is. It is only going to make things worse and will alienate most. If this gets bad enough, just wait and see what the backlash might hold. I wish I could use my tax dollars to shut down NPR. Would be money well spent.

  • Mari Jo Oneill
    4 September 2020 at 4:03 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Stop giving my tsx dollars to these left wing sites,they deserve nothing but SCORN.

  • Arielle Lancaster
    4 September 2020 at 4:46 pm
    Leave a Reply

    I am sorry, but LOOTING is NEVER acceptable, under any circumstances ! These looters DO behave like “Savages”, and that is NEVER a good thing. This author is 100% WRONG, and TRIVIALIZES this act, which is wrong on so many levels!

  • michael zitterman
    4 September 2020 at 7:30 pm
    Leave a Reply

    These people lack common sense, balance, the ability to think rationally, etc.

    A rational discussion appears requisite to clear the issue.

    Thank you.

  • Bobb
    5 September 2020 at 1:49 am
    Leave a Reply

    The distribution of property and wealth in an unequal society.” What country is being referred to? Who distributes property and wealth? It didn’t come from the United States they don’t divivy out money and property’s you work and sweat and tears to get your property and wealth. What planet is this person from. Also the other statement Most stores are insured; it’s just hurting insurance companies on some level. It’s just money. It’s just property. It’s not actually hurting any people,” Get a life in the real world. We pay to have our properties insured they don’t do that foe free! See how insurance rates go up if you want to insure a business in any city. Especially one that don’t stop the riots. You don’t have a clue of what you are saying. Check the real world!

  • BobB
    5 September 2020 at 1:55 am
    Leave a Reply

    The distribution of property and wealth in an unequal society.” What country is being referred to? Who distributes property and wealth? It didn’t come from the United States they don’t divivy out money and property’s you work and sweat and tears to get your property and wealth. What world is this person from. Also the other statement Most stores are insured; it’s just hurting insurance companies on some level. It’s just money. It’s just property. It’s not actually hurting any people,” Check the real world. We pay to have our properties insured they don’t do that for free! See how insurance rates go up if you want to insure a business in any city. Especially one that don’t stop the riots. You don’t know what you are saying. Check the real world!

  • Rose
    5 September 2020 at 3:33 am
    Leave a Reply

    Wow what an idiot.

  • Mari Jo Oneill
    5 September 2020 at 3:45 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Stop using my tax dollars to fund left wing lunacy. Thisvis always the same and using “race” or ” racism” udually without reasons. People are tired of this .

  • Joanne
    5 September 2020 at 4:37 pm
    Leave a Reply

    I am really tired of each side blaming the other side and saying things that aren’t true. I think that Osterwell needs some education because he obviously has no idea how life works.

    I also think that to say that NPR defends looting is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. That’s like saying that Santa Claus is a gangster because he delivered presents to Al Capone when he was a child.

    Just because they interview someone with stupid ideas doesn’t mean they agree with it. After all, they also interview some of the radical, ridiculous right wing people.

  • Rob
    6 September 2020 at 6:25 pm
    Leave a Reply

    So a terrorist openly tells you that the attack on the police is all about interfering with their ability to protect the public good AND you’re participating in a debate on whether looting is wrong? No wonder these terrorists have picked this period in time to come out of the shadows! And ignorant people who “don’t believe their is a Deep State of Elites” using these terrorists to retain their control, believe Biden/Harris are actually part of a SOLUTION? Like him or not, Trump has slowed them down so hopefully enough Americans will wake up by Nov 2020 and keep the only Roadblock we have right now to save America!

  • Molly
    7 September 2020 at 3:07 am
    Leave a Reply

    Defund NPR

  • Leave a Reply

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