All Cops Are Bastards // Slutwalk
n. the awareness of the smallness of your perspective, by which you couldn’t possibly draw any meaningful conclusions at all, about the world or the past or the complexities of culture, because although your life is an epic and unrepeatable anecdote, it still only has a sample size of one, and may end up being the control for a much wilder experiment happening in the next room.
from a filibuster where this man denounced my blog and mocked all of my posts for 76 hours straight without stopping to eat or drink anything. he later described it as “the easiest fucking thing [he’d] ever done”
All I need," said Tony, "is a desire so strong that the world, all of the world, has got to bend itself and forget itself and break out of its circles and rock itself crazy, all to do what I want, and there’s got to be a great crash when the ground under me crashes itself wide open and the fire inside is forced to crawl away from my feet and the sky too turns back so that there is nothing above me and nothing below me and nothing in all time except me and what I want.
Imagine, always pretending to run a world. Always imitating the sort of people they think they might be if the world were the sort of world it isn’t. Pretending to be words like ‘normal’ and ‘wholesome’ and ‘honest’ and ‘decent’ and ‘self-respecting’ and all the rest, when even the words aren’t real. Imagine, being people.
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.
The distinction between white and black was thus eventually forged as a way of distinguishing between who could be enslaved and who could not. The earliest working definition of blackness may well have been “those who could be property”. Someone who organized a mob to violently free slaves, then, would surely be considered a looter (had the word come into common usage by then, John Brown and Nat Turner would have been slandered with it). This is not to draw some absurd ethical equivalence between freeing a slave and grabbing a flat screen in a riot. The point, rather, is that for most of America’s history, one of the most righteous anti-white supremacist tactics available was looting. The specter of slaves freeing themselves could be seen as American history’s first image of black looters.
Autonomy – both individual and collective - is certainly not the key to everything, but it is a necessary condition of a consistent fight for human emancipation. Therefore there can be no “useful” propagandist activity. Self-empowerment is incompatible with emote control, positive heroes, role models and mapped-out conclusions. Nothing is obvious. Alienation will not be done away with by alienated means.
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