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On Looting

Looting is an obvious response to the glorification of consumer products On Looting

Civilian Bailouts
Looting: A peoples bailout
Photo by Gabe Pierce

Looting is an obvious response to the glorification of consumer products— commodities in a society that worships conspicuous consumption. The very act of looting is resistance to the celebrity status of these commodities and what they imply: inanimate objects celebrated for the image, status, and privilege they create, and the way that privilege is assumed to confer the protection of the police, the army, and other forms of the states monopoly on armed violence.

What is the police? They are the active guards of the commodity, those dead objects created by the labor of underpaid and exploited workers—the police have the job to ensure that the products of this exploited labor remains a commodity. These commodities have the magical property that these objects must be paid for, instead of remaining mere passive and inanimate objects (sneakers, fancy watches, iPhones & Teslas) that could be subject to anyone who comes along to make use of them.

In rejecting the humiliation of being subjected to the police, looters are at the same time rejecting the humiliation of being subjected to the media-celebration and glorification of these dead objects (most often produced during the exploitation of their own labor) into commodities.

Looting, in other terms, is both a rejection of the commodity and the violence used to protect its spectacular status, and a Peoples Bailout by other means.

References

Debord, G. (1993). Le Déclin et la chute de l’économie spectaculaire-marchande. Paris: J.J. Pauvert aux Belles Lettres.