RefAnnBib 2: Looting Against Capitalism

Part 1: Bibliographic Entry

Day, Eli. “The Focus on Looting Shows How Our Systems of Power Value Capital Over Human Lives.” In These Times, 1 June 2020, inthesetimes.com/article/george-floyd-looting-protest-police-killing-racism-capitalism. 

Part 2: Background and Credibility of Author & Source 

Eli Day: Eli Day writes about pol­i­tics, pol­i­cy, and racial and eco­nom­ic justice. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, Mother Jones, Vox, The Root, and In These Times among others. He was a part of the In These Times’ Leonard C. Good­man Insti­tute for Inves­tiga­tive Report­ing. In 1976, author and his­to­ri­an James Wein­stein found­ed In These Times with the intended mis­sion to ​“iden­ti­fy and clar­i­fy the strug­gles against cor­po­rate pow­er now mul­ti­ply­ing in Amer­i­can soci­ety.” (In These Times)

This source is intended for popular, journalistic use providing readers with investigative reporting, and socialist news and opinion, thus it may have some bias specifically with regards to liberal causes and may lean towards the political left. However, although Day may use certain words that are aimed to persuade and appeal to the audiences’ emotions, this article is credible in the fact that it provides a certain perspective in the belief that looting is against capitalism. Day provides hyperlinks to his research, and in a politically progressive attempt, uses facts and real life instances to support his beliefs. My reasons for choosing this source was mainly rooted in the fact that it concerns mostly recent events (written in June 2020) and various quotes that I myself may use in my own research. 

Part 3: Précis 

Day primarily focuses on the main event that led to the multiple protests that have engulfed the country throughout: the death of George Floyd. His intention to show that racial profiling and excessive force by police amplified the Black Lives Matter Movement, pays credence to the fact that it has subsequently caused the “chaos upon property”. In an effort to protest a system of punishment that “tyrannizes poor communities of color”, indirectly implying the capitalist and authoritarian system, this outrage resulted in property being taken from big corporations, such as Target and Sephora. However, through compiling hyperlinks and direct quotes from politicians, Day expresses that rather than indicting the racist police murder of George Floyd and other black Americans, politicians and the White House, specifically Trump who was president at the time, are prioritizing the property destruction and theft done to the companies, even calling for a death sentence to those who do it, directly quoting from one of Trump’s tweets. Day goes on to quote historians to describe how American policies set by the ruling class have the tendency to dismiss the minority even though they may claim to help and protect them, subtly maintaining order among those who have been wronged by the system to prevent silence. Day even mentions the racial subtext that the effects of COVID-19 had on black communities due to the nation’s political leaders that have given in to their capitalistic nature. 

Part 4: Reflection

I do believe that Day wrote this article in a manner that may be perceived as extremely opinionated and even leftist, however the quotes that he alluded to were very much real and factual. Trump did in fact tweet out, “When the loot­ing starts, the shoot­ing starts,” and while he may not be president anymore, this just goes to show how those in control of the nation would rather prioritize businesses, wealth, and profit, over human life, placing them into the same categorical value as the inanimate objects that were stolen in the “looting”. The police force is the first line of defense for our capitalist system, using an authoritative regime “to enforce order among those with the most rea­son to resent the sys­tem” as Day states—in this case, poor and working communities of color. Even major successful corporations, such as Target and Sephora, and others that have been most subject to the looting from protestors are an attack against capitalism and the way wealthy businesses exploit working communities of their labor and the way they acquire their wealth. This was even seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, when only those who are in economic control were able to gain more massive wealth from businesses. Although Day is opinionated, his beliefs are justified through research that calls out the hypocritical priorities of America’s capitalist system that hopefully may change in the future. 

Part 5: Quotables

“Destroyed like faulty machin­ery. Cap­i­tal­ism, and its many enforce­ment arms, can oblit­er­ate you if you are found in vio­la­tion of the ser­vice of profit.”

“Dr. Mar­tin Luther King Jr. summed up the moral hor­ror of America’s ​’nor­mal’ in his 1967 ​’Beyond Viet­nam’ speech, when he con­demned our ​’thing-ori­ent­ed soci­ety’ where ​’machines and com­put­ers, prof­it motives and prop­er­ty rights, are con­sid­ered more impor­tant than peo­ple.’”

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