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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/1/20

Redistribution by another name: Looting and Burning as Poor Lose Fear and as Pent-Up Rage at Cops and System Grows

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Luxury stores on Rodeo Drive looted, damaged as protests turn violent | ABC7 After a night of violence in down Los Angeles that led to 500 arrests, a mostly peaceful demonstration Saturday near The Grove and Rodeo Drive devolved in the ...
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By Dave Lindorff

Across the US, cities, especially fancy malls and outlets of major retail chains, are being busted into and ransacked, as police squad cars get flipped over and torched, in scenes not seen in the US since the mid to late 1960s.

Many of the perpetrators of these actions are black residents of these cities, but a surprising number compared to earlier such uprisings are white this time around.

The wave of shop looting and destruction of property was sparked by the shocking video of 46-year-old black security guard George Floyd being slowly killed by the brutal, violence-addicted and racist Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin, who after detaining Floyd on suspicion of the alleged non-violent act of trying to pass a counterfeit $20, pressed a knee on his neck for almost nine minute until he Floyd ceased breathing and died.

But the protests have moved far beyond just Floyd's dreadful murder.

All over the US media, voices of black leaders, white liberal politicians and news commentators are decrying the violence, the destruction, the looting and the "chaos," claiming that it "changes the narrative" from police violence against blacks to one of needing to stop the "violence."

The critics are right that the narrative has changed, but it is not that Floyd's horrific murder is being forgotten. It's that his death has awakened a fury at the American police culture of violence and authoritarianism that has been smoldering among people especially poor people of all races for not just years but decades. It has also stoked growing anger at an economic system that is focussed solely on the profits of corporations and the rich, and that is more concerned about "getting the economy going again" than about the safety and the daily need to survive of ordinary working-class people who's living standard today is lower than it was half a century ago, and that is dropping even as the stock market hits new records.

Looting, which has always been viewed as the most terrifying of all behavior on the part of the great unwashed by those who live in fancy homes and gated communities. This is because looting displays the sudden awesome power of the poor when they lose their fear of the centurions hired by the rich to protect them and their property. Seeing poor people , who cannot afford food for their families or clothes for their kids in "normal times, often having to depend on used winter coat charity drives and donated schoolbags and supplies to send them to school each year, suddenly storming into Target or Walmart stores and just grabbing what they need, leaving the places a wreck in their haste to get out and away, shocks and terrifies the comfortable.

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Dave Lindorff, winner of a 2019 "Izzy" Award for Outstanding Independent Journalism from the Park Center for Independent Media in Ithaca, is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper (more...)

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