Do you agree with this statement? Black Lives activist says looting, destroying private property is patriotic
A high-profile Black Lives Matter protester lecturing students at Yale said protesters who have destroyed private property in cities like Ferguson, Missouri, were employing a “righteous tactic” to force change.
DeRay McKesson, the 30-year-old activist hired to deliver for credit lectures at the prestigious university for two days, said Black Lives looters are the modern-day equivalent to the patriots behind the historic Boston Tea Party.
The lecturer had students examine an essay written over the summer titled “In Defense of Looting.”
Here’s an excerpt from the lengthy piece:
The mystifying ideological claim that looting is violent and non-political is one that has been carefully produced by the ruling class because it is precisely the violent maintenance of property which is both the basis and end of their power. Looting is extremely dangerous to the rich (and most white people) because it reveals, with an immediacy that has to be moralized away, that the idea of private property is just that: an idea, a tenuous and contingent structure of consent, backed up by the lethal force of the state. When rioters take territory and loot, they are revealing precisely how, in a space without cops, property relations can be destroyed and things can be had for free.
On a less abstract level there is a practical and tactical benefit to looting. Whenever people worry about looting, there is an implicit sense that the looter must necessarily be acting selfishly, “opportunistically,” and in excess. But why is it bad to grab an opportunity to improve well-being, to make life better, easier, or more comfortable? Or, as Hannah Black put it on Twitter: “Cops exist so people can’t loot ie have nice things for free so idk why it’s so confusing that people loot when they protest against cops” [sic]. Only if you believe that having nice things for free is amoral, if you believe, in short, that the current (white-supremacist, settler-colonialist) regime of property is just, can you believe that looting is amoral in itself.
When asked about the lesson by Fox News, McKesson defended the selected reading material.
“The relationship and tension between protest and property destruction is something that America has grappled with since the Revolutionary War & the Boston Tea Party,” he said via Twitter. “The reading … allowed us to explore all sides of the American historical relationships and tensions present in protest.”