Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

August 31, 2020

Marxism and looting: a response to Vicky Osterweil’s NPR interview

Filed under: rioting — louisproyect @ 6:27 pm

Volunteers clean up fire damage at MIGIZI Communications in Minneapolis. (Photo-MIGIZI, Facebook)

The Marxist Internet Archive has over 180,000 articles but there are none favorable toward riots before the 1960s when they became commonplace in the USA and eventually inspired similar actions in Europe. The handful that were written post-1960s were hardly celebratory.

For example, in a long and interesting article by Chris Harman titled “The Summer of 1981: a post-riot analysis”, you get a justification of them as an inchoate response to racial oppression but with a caveat. They can never have the staying power and impact of a political strike organized by the workers movement, as was typical in the 1930s:

Riots, by contrast, cannot by their very nature last very long or result in the building of rooted, permanent organisation. They are characterised by clashes with the forces of the state on the streets. Yet a riot cannot hold the forces of the state back from a particular neighbourhood for more than a couple of days at most (unless of course, it develops into something more than a riot, into a revolution that destroys the ability of the state to concentrate its forces in one locality.) Once the police have retaken control of the locality, the crowds that provided people with a feeling of collective power are dispersed. People are driven back into the isolated homes, the segmented experiences, from which the riot drew them. Within days collective exhilaration, the festival of the oppressed, has been replaced by the old atomisation, powerlessness, apathy. The riot always rises like a rocket – and drops like a stick.

In the excerpt above, the notion that a riot turning into a revolution is simply advanced as a theoretical possibility but not one upheld by Harman who continues to make the point that riots are temporary rifts in capitalist society.

Given the low level of class struggle since the end of WWII, it is to be expected that some on the left would inflate the importance of riots. For example, poet and English professor Joshua Clover wrote a Verso book titled “Riot. Strike. Riot: The New Era of Uprisings” that tries to make a virtue out of the poor conditions we operate under. Since the days of Minneapolis teamsters fighting to build a union are dead and gone, the next best thing is arson and looting since they destroy “the power of the police” and make “your neighborhood uninhabitable for people you don’t want there.” I deal with Clover here but recommend Socialist Alliance’s Ben Peterson’s article for a supreme take-down of Clover:

The book rightly goes to length to argue against reducing riots to mindless outbursts of mob violence. However, the formula suggested reduces both the strike and the riot to economic struggle. In both cases, this is insufficient. It plays down, and plainly doesn’t see the history of the political strike, which should be essential for those who want to see a revolutionary alternative.

It was political strikes which overthrew the Russian Tsarist monarchy 1917, and which dissolved the Cuban state with the flight of the dictator Batista in 1959. Both would fall outside of this definition of strike. In Australia, there is a long and important history of strikes for non-industrial reasons- such as the Green Bans to save the environment, and the refusal to send pig-Iron to Japan in support of the anti-colonial struggle in China. In 1969 one million workers took strike action to call for the release of a jailed Tramways Union leader, Clarrie O’Shea. For radicals and revolutionaries, it is actions like these that go beyond purely wage struggles which have an amazing emancipatory and revolutionary potential, but the book has nothing to say on these events.

Going much further than Clover, journalist Vicky Osterweil’s “In Defense of Looting” argues “that looting is a powerful tool to bring about real, lasting change in society”, according to her interviewer for NPR, Natalie Escobar. Given NRP’s flaccid liberalism, it is difficult to figure out what Escobar means by “real, lasting change”. In any case, her softball interview allows Osterweil to put forward some truly batty ideas.

When asked to define looting, she describes it as a subset of rioting:

…looting is more common among movements that are coming from below. It tends to be an attack on a business, a commercial space, maybe a government building—taking those things that would otherwise be commodified and controlled and sharing them for free.

I am not sure how looting a government building has much to do with commodification as if ripping off a photocopier was inspired by Bakunin. On the other hand, we all know what a “business” is. They are mainly big stores like Target that was hated by many rioters in Minneapolis but they are far out-numbered by the many shops typically run by the owner: clothing and liquor stores, etc. For Target, it’s no big deal to have a store looted with its 78 billion dollar valuation. If one store is valued at 10 million dollars, that represents only .000128 of Target’s total value. That’s equivalent to me finding a quarter under a sofa cushion. For the owner of a shoe store, the loss of his goods would throw him into poverty. That’s of little interest, of course, to someone walking off with a pair of Nike’s but it certainly doesn’t advance the cause of BLM.

Maybe having read but clearly misunderstanding Bakunin if she did, Osterweil sees looting as prefigurative of some decommodified future :

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.

I don’t know to break it to her but you will have to work to produce the Nike sneakers or any other goods that are looted, even after capitalism is abolished. The difference between then and now is that they will be based on use value rather than exchange value. Most importantly, the decisions as to what is produced and how it is produced will be made by democratic working-class bodies, not by the individual. When someone loots, this is an individual act that most often is never repeated as the goods vanish after the riots are consummated. The possibility of a looter becoming involved with grass-roots organizing is almost nil.

In her concluding remarks, she states:

But looters and rioters don’t attack private homes. They don’t attack community centers. In Minneapolis, there was a small independent bookstore that was untouched. All the blocks around it were basically looted or even leveled, burned down. And that store just remained untouched through weeks of rioting.

I don’t know if Osterweil was aware of it or not, but in Minneapolis rioters torched the local post office. Weren’t they aware that they were in a united front with Donald Trump when they threw their Molotov cocktails? Just last week, there were fifty people protesting Trump’s attack in front of the post office just beneath my high-rise. Didn’t rioters have the slightest notion that poor people rely on the post office for a welfare or unemployment check? Or a medical report? Or a letter from a relative? In “State and Revolution” Lenin describes the postal service as furnishing the example for a socialist economic system: “To organize the whole economy on the lines of the postal service . .. this is our immediate aim.” Along with the public library, the post office is the prime example of the efficiency and value of publicly-owned institutions. Oh, I forgot about libraries and rioters:

The East Lake Library after rioters “liberated” it from commodity production

From the June 2, 2020 Minneapolis StarTribune:

Among the buildings extensively damaged was Hennepin County Library’s East Lake branch in south Minneapolis, near the heavily damaged Third Police Precinct and a little more than 2 miles from the corner where police officers fatally pinned George Floyd to the street last week.

Geffen displayed two photos showing that locals had posted cardboard over the library’s broken windows and written, “Respect this community-owned library.”

Other damaged buildings provide an array of services to residents and are relatively new as part of the county’s recent move to decentralize outside downtown Minneapolis.

At the county’s South Minneapolis Regional Service Center, at Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue, every window was broken and the building was flooded with water from fire sprinklers.

As for Regional Service Centers, they are described on the county’s website as providing “access to the full range of financial, social and public health services the county offers, such as access to medical, emergency, child care and food assistance, child support and homeless services.” Sure, a perfect symbol of capitalist exploitation. Let’s trash it.

Not only was the post office destroyed, another building on the same block went down with it as the flame spread, namely the Migizi Communications building, a nonprofit that served the needs of impoverished American Indians in Minneapolis. Indian Country reported:

Migizi provides training in media arts such as radio, film and social media. It is the home of First Person Productions and also provides training for “green” jobs, such as solar energy.

Around 400 youth a year receive job training at Migizi, which employs eight people, Drummer said.

Drummer, 46, (Executive Director Kelly Drummer, Oglala Sioux) said Migizi — “eagle” in Ojibwe — was the only minority-owned building on the block as other enterprises are leasing.

All these buildings, including the Third Precinct whose burning Osterweil lauded in The Nation can easily be replaced—just like Starbucks replaced broken windows during anarchist “actions”. What can’t be easily replaced are revolutionary ideas. When I was won over to socialism in 1967, the ideas that moved me back then are the same that move me to write in defense of socialism today. But it wasn’t just a classmate at the New School who helped me reject capitalism, it was taking part in antiwar demonstrations that gave me a sense of the power of mass actions. When are marching with 250,000 people chanting “Out Now!”, you get a feel for what the masses can do when they are ready to challenge the ruling class.

My good friend Ernie Tate, who is dealing with terminal cancer right now, once explained to me how he became a socialist. He was vacationing in Paris in the summer of 1954 and stepped out on the street in the morning, when he heard some kind of parade taking place a block away. When he got there, he saw hundreds of thousands of CGT and CP workers marching under huge red banners with hammers and sickles celebrating the Vietnamese victory at Dien Bien Phu. For him, it was like a Road to Damascus conversion that led him to begin reading socialist literature and then joining the Trotskyist movement.

This is the kind of actions I identify with. If others, even in the name of Marxism, remain intoxicated by the sight of arson and looting, there’s not much I can do. In the epochal struggles facing us, we will have to deal with both reformism and ultraleftism. It is no surprise that Osterweil basks in the glow of NPR and The Nation, two primary outlets of liberal politics. They prefer futile acts of impotent rebellion to any attempts at building a revolutionary movement in the USA. The only advantage to maintaining a mass action perspective is that history is moving in an inexorable direction toward working-class resistance. When American workers begin marching down the street under revolutionary banners, bystanders will be drawn to them in the same way I was drawn to antiwar demonstrations in the 60s. Time is on our side.


  1. This looks very bad. The extent of the damage–while perhaps not on the1981 scale–is clearly significant and getting worse, and it appears that the shadowy coalition(s) behind the mass protests is shifting more in the riot direction, rather than away from it.

    It looks as if “demonstrators” and not police agents, Boogaloo Boys, or paid saboteurs, are mostly behind this–even worse news.

    I was alarmed to read on Marxmail that the Cosmonaut crew–promoters of “revolutionary sobriety” when last I heard–seem to be pushing the orgiastic, “drunken” riot nonsense.

    The Democrats, of course, are paralyzed here. They have no comeback except to pose as Better Republicans and call for Law and Order or try to stay above the fray when leadership is required. Gun sales in Kenosha are through the roof, with thousands of suburbanites–stampeded with the fear of “Them”–are tooling up like little Rambos to protect their tiny castles, even though there is no credible threat to them. Biden/Harris have no response but talking to the mayor and pushing Law and Order.

    Trump’s inflammatory appearance on Tuesday will probably fan the flames to fever pitch. People may die as a result.

    Do any of us OK Boomers or our young friends (if we have any) have any contact with any of the demonstration leadership–specifically the non-BLM organizers, since BLM, unlike their “allies,” seems to be a known quantity? Such people must exist–although not of course in the grand conspiratorial mode in which eg the FBI are perennially fixated–but who are they? Do they have discussion groups? Could Howie Hawkins reach out to them? It seems clear that only the Left could conceivably put the damper on this suicidal destructiveness–are we so divided between old and young that this is impossible? Is there any way to take a meeting that could become public if it has any results?

    My secret desire for the election has been for Howie to get his five percent and Trump to be defeated. I would rather–Richard Spencer’s flabby little prank or no–fight a neoliberal establishment that are managing basic governance (eg Postal Service) than fight whatever monster may be a-borning in these flames.

    The verdict of history seems to be that we will get neither Howie’s five percent nor a farewell to the Rump. The Left is on the hook for answers here, and it appears that “we” too–having ignited all the fuss–have none. It maybe that every generation of the Left has to go through the same mistakes–but do we have another fifty years for the current bunch to get wise to theirs or to realize that some of their elders might actually have been worth talking to?

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — August 31, 2020 @ 8:13 pm

  2. “the shadowy coalition(s) behind the mass protests is shifting more in the riot direction, rather than away from it.

    It looks as if ‘demonstrators’ and not police agents, Boogaloo Boys, or paid saboteurs, are mostly behind this–even worse news.”

    What proof do you offer to support this? Especially when, at the start of all this, there were some pretty good examples of (pig) provocateurs eg Umbrella Man, beat-up police cars getting towed and left in the streets to be set on fire, and pigs in NYC using bolt-cutters to open locks on locked stores then leaving them. And that’s not to mention the usual assortment of opportunist thieves and trouble-makers who couldn’t care less how things will be spun.

    Comment by Todd — August 31, 2020 @ 9:55 pm

  3. The looting during the Irish Easter Rising, 1916 is well known. The Irish Volunteers/Irish Citizen Army fired on looters to stop them shaming the Republic. Inside the GPO a captured British officer was placed in front of the safe to witness that no one interfered with it. Some memories here :https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/1916/rising-memories/my-granny-was-one-of-the-rising-looters-and-we-still-have-the-dishes-to-prove-it-34424736.html

    Comment by Derek Bryant — August 31, 2020 @ 11:25 pm

  4. Todd–The provocative/sabotage activity of Boogaloo Boys and others was abundantly recorded in the context of earlier BLM-supporting demonstrations. Where is the corresponding evidence now? Instead–as under similar circumstances throughout history at least as far back as the Irish Easter Rising as cited above–the level of property damage and looting associated with the manifestations is accelerating (see Louis’s piece above) while the right wing have shifted to overt murderous assault in collaboration with the authorities. While no revolutionary or tough guy, I saw a bit of police-fighting during the Vietnam era and it was obvious if you were there that those interested in smashing stuff up were a separate group than the rest of us, though at that stage we were not particularly peaceful. The activities of the Antifa associated with the Autonomist Black Bloc tactic a few years ago are one well-known example of people associating ultraleft adventurism with resistance to authoritarian government. People quite commonly attach themselves to these events and carry out their own orgiastic misconception of revolutionary activity. Who’s going to stop them?

    What needs proving is not that such activities take place in street movements but that at present they are being mostly–or even to a significant extent–caused by provocateurs and saboteurs working against the new movement. For more evidence, look at the sources Louis cites.

    In addition, self-denominated theorists are spew-tificating “in Defense of Looting” and so forth–more fuel for the infantile adventurist flames.

    Please understand that, unlike Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and Kamala Harris, I and I hope others who think as I do do not falsely equate ephemeral property damage with the policy of our current federal government to justify and promote the continually accelerating murder of people of color and dissidents by the police or by so-called militias. But IMO looting and arson to any extent–including destruction of libraries and attacks on poor-schmuck small business people who are decidedly NOT the stooges or shock troops of capitalism in the cities–are as criminal now as they would be under socialism, when it would be the people’s property that was being so wastefully and irresponsibly consumed.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — September 1, 2020 @ 5:17 am

  5. “Where is the corresponding evidence now?” ?? Are you for real? You pull some charge out of your ass, I ask for some kind of proof, and you come back with “It can’t be proven I’m wrong”??!! Try again.

    “People quite commonly attach themselves to these events and carry out their own orgiastic misconception of revolutionary activity.” Sure, plenty of proof of that, but that’s a far cry from lumping them in with protesters who don’t do that. I expect that from the Right, not so much here.

    Comment by Todd — September 1, 2020 @ 5:54 pm

  6. I have always been more concerned about/scared of the Trump base than Trump himself. As I have been saying/thinking for some time now, some sort of ‘soft’ civil war definitely looks like their agenda. They’re not just looking to the elections. They’re laying the ground for after the elections too, no matter who wins the election.

    GOP Sen. Ron Johnson Touts ‘Citizen Soldiers’ To ‘Overwhelm Rioters’

    Comment by Reza — September 2, 2020 @ 12:24 am

  7. Todd. Read the newspaper articles Louis cites–look at the videos. The evidence is abundant. What needs proof is your groundless assertion that the Boogaloo or some other foreign body are causing all the looting and arson. Or some subset of demonstrators who don’t qualify, as you wind up suggesting, as protestors because you personally don’t endorse their politics (unless you do).

    I repeat–if the Boogaloo etc., as you suggest before switching horses in the next sentence, are behind the looting and arson, where is the evidence of their participation? There was no shortage of this earlier on–now there’s nothing. How do you explain that? There should still be documentation of this. Where is it? I think those people have moved on to direct murder with all their long guns and ammo. There’s plenty of evidence of that.

    Then you switch around 180 degrees and agree that some sort of purported revolutionists may be looting and setting fires as per Osterman and Cotton and the rest of those morons, but since you don’t like them you have decided they are not “protestors.” If that’s the case, why can’t the organizers control them? Either you’re for looting and arson or you’re against it. There isn’t any middle ground.

    I put the word “demonstrators” in quotes because it isn’t clear whom that includes. In my experience, just about anybody who wants to join in is a “demonstrator” at these affairs. If I join in one of the DC manifestations after walking around with my camera “reporting” for an hour or so, I’m a demonstrator.

    Now you’re saying that the term doesn’t include “demonstrators” of whose politics you disapprove–i.e., morons under the influence of Osterman and her kind who think that looting and arson, like occupy-style encampments are actually revolutionary.

    Make up your mind.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — September 2, 2020 @ 2:13 am

  8. I can only say from personal observation that at the first large BLM demonstration there were a number of very military looking young white men in camo who broke windows in several businesses in advance along the march route in Seattle; they retreated towards the police lines and in the direction that the march was moving; they disappeared behind police lines without any challenge. The march moved along the route and the news media focused on pictures of the broken glass, as if it had been done by the main body of the BLM march.

    Comment by Phil Darrow — September 2, 2020 @ 2:30 am

  9. Reza–greetings. if Trump wins, as he very well may, it’s hard to know what will happen. I don’t see Trump as having the chops or, god help me, the “vision” as Bill Gates might say, to be an actual dictator. He likes having a swarm of zombies roiling in his wake, but he doesn’t have an actual program to follow, with everyone in a tidy little uniform marching forward as one body into the future.

    If he really does achieve one-“man” rule, I think he will be overthrown in a coup–perhaps a series of coups. At some point, I believe the military will step in and impose a junta in order to “restore the constitution,” whatever that might turn out to mean in practice. As to the militias, the motorcycle gangs, and so on, they need a prophet to unite them, and IMO Trump ain’t it. As long as he’s the linchpin, I think they will remain rudderless. Though of course, they will kill, as the American far right has done pretty consistently throughout its history.

    I think Trump represents a radically new and totally serious version of the old, sarcastic, half-serious anti-government ideology that we have somehow decided is “conservative” in this country. In this view, Trump rejects and is seeking to dismantle governance itself, if by that we mean the ensemble of functions traditionally assigned to the government that are not usually thought of as political–for example, the Postal Service and the Census Bureau. I’m not sure we’ve ever seen quite this thing before, but it isn’t IMO fascism. I think his followers agree with this and are far too anarchic to go along with real fascist regimentation.

    I get tired of all the liberals rattling on about Hitler, as that strikes me as being in many ways beside the point and writing the wrong script. Does this make sense to you?

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — September 2, 2020 @ 2:44 am

  10. Brother Farans, Salute!

    I really don’t want to get into the weeds of technical definitions of fascism, or base it on a European ‘classic’ model. I come from a place where we’ve had fascisms of different kinds and definitions for centuries. Fascism, for me, just means rule by bullies who make up laws as they go, as long as the laws fit their purpose, AND they have no check on them. It’s that basic for me.

    The issue is that the Republicans, with all their judges placed in place, all their governors and their political representatives in the legislature, and their “opposition” being the pathetically limpid Democrats, now have their reanimated and reenergized racist masses brought out on the streets, can really just pull what the mullahs in Eye-ran pulled on us: every time we organized a demo after the fall of the Shah, they sent out their goons (with literally truck loads of bricks delivered at strategic points) to stop and attack our marches, corner us, start beating the shit out of us, disperse us, follow us to our neighborhoods and homes, where the security forces would later come to haul us away.

    It doesn’t have to be a formally ‘fascist’ state like Germany or Italy, with the state providing some semblance of comfort to its docile subjects to garner a wider hegemony among the people, with good governmental social support systems for the citizens to encourage their sheepish obeisance, or at least silence.

    No, it will be a kind of an inverse ‘fascism’: no social contract promising any kind of security, and if you come out to protest, we’ll sent out our goons. It’s much cheaper to pay goons than to provide for real social security for a majority. It’s the next level of barbarism.

    Look, in this country, they’ve already got enough people hooked up socio-psychologically on the notion that they’ve got it the best, even when they don’t even have healthcare, job security, decent education or healthcare, decent jobs with any permanence, no social safety, no nothing really. And they’ve got their ‘base’ hooked so good that their base’d take up arms against those who will cyclically (and inevitably) take to the streets shouting demands and asking for rights. And their goons are like, “What, the gov’m’nt should just give ’em everythin’!! How dare they ask for “rights” when they live in the best God blessed country on earth!”

    So, yeah. It won’t be a European style, ‘classic’ fascism. It will be an all-American deal for sure. So in a way I agree with you: like you say, it will just be the good old American barbaric type of rule that we were fooled into thinking it was gone.

    Comment by Reza — September 2, 2020 @ 5:48 am

  11. Reza–understood, but the issue is organization,isn’t it? Without intensely regimented organization–and haven’t the mullahs implemented that?–you can’t have rule by goon. And there is no evidence that the Republican goons at present are anything but a heavily armed clown show and circular firing squad. Little Kyle Whatsit makes a piss-poor Horst Wessel. And a very large chunk of the military are anti-Trump–possibly enough to put on a counter-coup if he tries to pull a Cromwell. Trump operates deal by deal, scam by scam, always with a very small and constantly churning circle of operatives. I don’t think he’s capable of functioning as an Ayatollah or a Hitler–one reason for this being IMO his anti-governance ideology, shared by his supporters, which takes individualism to a preposterous and IMO unprecedented extreme.

    So the “fascist” consolidation must come after Trump and not through him–and at the cost of a bloody upheaval within the “fascist” ranks. The great fuehrer Richard B. Spencer is feeling so cornered by the Boogaloos that he’s claiming to support Biden. Someone’s going to need a long knife before that is settled.

    I do think the bad coup could happen, but all the handwringing about Trump being a Hitler (or Ayatollah) is wide of the mark. This matters because people are looking for a literal repetition of the fascist, Nazi, or Khomeini revolution to and are therefore looking at the wrong scenario and can’t accurately use history as a guide to the present. Crying “Hitler” is a liberal tic that has rendered the term “fascist” nearly useless for all practical purposes.

    Sporadic right-wing terrorism accompanied by murder is an American tradition, but to succeed as an instrument of state power, it would require a transformation that isn’t yet in evidence. Trump could have led a baying “Hail Trump” rally in Kenosha, but he didn’t.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree about my analysis, such as it is, being “in the weeds.” I keep being accused of this whenever I try to start a discussion based on inconvenient facts and not some idiotic rock anthem or the sacred texts of Bob Dylan or Joan Baez. “The answer, my friend, is farting in the wind …”

    You don’t mean that, I know, but the memory of all that saponifed cadaverous smugness rankles anyway.

    What I’d like to see in the short run–and this will get me into even more trouble–is Trump defeated and Howie Hawkins getting the five percent he needs to qualify for campaign financing next time around.

    Look at all the white and non-Black “allies” of BLM. I think a significant number of these people may be young workers who realize that they don’t “have it the best” and never in their short lives ever have. They don’t give so much of a damn about their white privilege–and they probably don’t vote. That in my opinion is why you could get a George Floyd march long enough to fill up a news segment in Bucyrus, Ohio–a damn-near lily-white “fascist” stronghold–and BTW a manufacturing town amid the soybean fields–if there ever was one.

    Comradely, Farans Kalosar

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — September 2, 2020 @ 2:07 pm

  12. Dear Farans, I agree with a lot of your points, and I always learn something new from your comments. Also I learn a lot of new vocabulary (e.g., saponifed). Thank you for that! Below, I’ve quoted your points, followed by my thoughts.

    “The “fascist” consolidation must come after Trump and not through him.”
    I agree. That’s why I say that I’m more scared of Trump’s base than Trump himself.

    “Without intensely regimented organization–and haven’t the mullahs implemented that?–you can’t have rule by goon.”
    The mullahs’ organization was actually the mosque. It’s an organic de facto organization that exists in every city, town and village. That was their organizational base. The mosque as the headquarters. Also mosque goers live in communities, obviously. They know the people in their communities. They very likely know the politics of their neighbors (hence, intelligence gathering). In the U.S., a certain fraction of churches could play that function. And there’s always the reliable local and state police and the sheriff. So, really, it is a very short hop, I think.

    I agree that half the military is against Trump. But, what about the other half? That’s quite a big problem. They’ll bring the war home, as they say.

    My basic assumption is this: the system is so broke on so many levels, and people have woken up (thank god for that). The system really doesn’t have any real answers for people’s needs. So, the choices are two. Beat people over the head as they come out (Republican choice), OR pretend that you’re addressing their needs, form ‘commissions’ to ‘study’ the problems, etc. (Democrats choice). As you have said on other occasions, Dems — if they win the white house and the Senate — will come up with some half-measures and then switch to austerity. Even if they don’t switch to total austerity, they’ll just go by half measures. They’ll become the party of ‘fiscal responsibility’, with all its intended consequences. That will piss more people off even more, so the next Trumpist, someone more competent, will have even a wider base of support.

    I will stop there. I am expressing my fears here, not providing analysis.

    “What I’d like to see in the short run … is Trump defeated and Howie Hawkins getting the five percent he needs to qualify for campaign financing next time around.” Completely agree on that. But, it’s easy for me to say. I’m in California. It’s a safe state, so I have the luxury of being able to vote for Greens (as I usually do anyway). But, believe me, if I lived in a battleground state right now, I’d vote Biden. I would have to. Defeating Trump is paramount. But, again, I don’t think his ‘base’ will just go home and sob if he loses.

    Long may you live!

    Comment by Reza — September 2, 2020 @ 3:26 pm

  13. Thanks, Reza. I agree that the base will not just “go home.” Perhaps the future really rests with the young workers I’ve fantasized and whether that demographic grows or dwindles or turns out to be yet another mirage. Long life to you too.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — September 2, 2020 @ 4:56 pm

  14. “What needs proof is your groundless assertion that the Boogaloo or some other foreign body are causing all the looting and arson.”

    >snort!< We're done. Fuck you very much.

    Comment by Todd — September 3, 2020 @ 12:53 am

  15. Todd:

    OK Junior

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — September 3, 2020 @ 1:56 pm

  16. […] out how these excesses stem from systemic failures. Second, it also challenges the notion that some socialists consider orthodoxy that, while “legitimate anger” drives the tactic, looting is antisocial […]

    Pingback by License to Loot | Rampant — January 21, 2021 @ 1:06 am

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