NPR’s racial grievance site promotes hardcore Marxism
While NPR relies on public funding, no one would claim that it is non-partisan. Worse, while the main site is pro-Democrat in its approach, it turns out that Code Sw!tch, its minority-focused site, is pro-Marxist. There’s no other way to explain its friendly interview with Vicky Osterweil about her recently published book, In Defense of Looting.
It’s unclear how much federal money flows to NPR. NPR maintains it gets 3% of its budget from the public, while others say it gets up to 25%. Whatever it gets, that’s more than taxpayers should be paying.
In 2013, NPR launched Code Sw!tch, a race-based site that publishes articles from a racial victim-centric perspective. That’s how NPR ended up publishing “One Author’s Argument ‘In Defense of Looting,’” as part of its “America Reckons with Racial Injustice” series.
NPR’s Natalie Escobar respectfully, and without offering any challenge or asking hard questions, interviewed Osterweil, who describes herself as
a writer, editor, and agitator and a regular contributor to The New Inquiry. Her writing has also appeared in The Baffler, The Nation, The Rumpus, Real Life, and Al Jazeera America. She lives in Philadelphia.
In the interview, Osterweil explicitly defends “the mass expropriation of property, mass shoplifting during a moment of upheaval or riot,” which she distinguishes both from “property [being] stolen by force” and from “a home invasion.” She also challenges the term “looting,” claiming that it’s a “highly racialized word” because the British took it from the Hindi word for “spoils.” (No, I don’t understand her point either.)
To Osterweil, rioting is a space in which “the general laws that govern society no longer function.” In this space, “looting appears as a tactic” that people in the underclass use to attack specific businesses, commerce generally, or the government – “taking those things that would otherwise be commodified and controlled and sharing them for free.”
Looting is a good thing, Osterweil argues, because people can help themselves during times of scarcity. But looting is good at any time because it destroys the heart of our American system, which relies on private ownership, paid labor, entrepreneurship, and exchanges of goods through the marketplace:
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. It points to the way in which that's unjust. And the reason that the world is organized that way, obviously, is for the profit of the people who own the stores and the factories. So you get to the heart of that property relation, and demonstrate that without police and without state oppression, we can have things for free.
Shamefully, Escobar, the interviewer, doesn’t ask Osterweil where goods are to come from if there are only takers and no makers.
Osterweil also plays the race card:
Importantly, I think especially when it’s in the context of a Black uprising like the one we’re living through now, it also attacks the history of whiteness and white supremacy.
Taxpayer-funded Code Sw!tch helps promote Osterweil’s Marxism by providing a useful hyperlink for Osterweil’s next sentence: “The very basis of property in the U.S. is derived through whiteness and through Black oppression, through the history of slavery and settler domination of the country.” The NPR-provided link goes to a 1993 Harvard Law Review article by Cheryl Harris entitled “Whiteness as Property.”
To her credit, because at least she’s consistent, Osterweil hates everyone. She says both Trump and the Democrats are lying when they blame “outsiders” for looting. Looting, she says, is a beneficial, organically-grown rebellion against an oppressive capitalist system. Osterweil also doesn’t distinguish between large corporations and Mom-and-Pop stores:
When it comes to small business, family owned business or locally owned business, they are no more likely to provide worker protections. They are no more likely to have to provide good stuff for the community than big businesses. It's actually a Republican myth that has, over the last 20 years, really crawled into even leftist discourse: that the small business owner must be respected, that the small business owner creates jobs and is part of the community. But that's actually a right-wing myth.
Again, it’s NPR that provides the links in the article, which go to leftist economic theorizing. Code Sw!tch isn’t informing its readers. It is, instead, indoctrinating them with hardcore Marxist propaganda – and it’s doing so on your dime.
Image: Looting in a Minneapolis Target; screengrab from shareable video.