By JR Valrey, The Minister of Information
Headlines nationwide are splattered with “Smash and Grab-gangs are Looting High-End Consumer Districts Nationwide”. The message that the media is sending is of fear, and it could not be conveyed in a more fluid way. Who should be in fear is the real question. The answer is the beneficiaries of the status quo; those who have been successful while the masses of Black people financially suffered; which ultimately resulted in entities like the Jim Crow Cannabis industry, jewelry stores, and high-end fashion stores becoming prime targets for looting.
Capitalism by design has to have a huge blue-collar workforce working for crumbs, to build up the financial empires for the elite few. What we are seeing today, is the children of the Black and Brown blue collar workers, as well as those locked out of the economy, taking an opportunity to tax the system that consistently taxes them. The white racists system wanted to free Kyle Rittenhouse, and ghetto America has been seduced into wanting free high-end inaccessible products from the very stores that benefit from the system.
The corporate bosses, the dispensary owners, the store owners, insurance companies, politicians, the police, the mass media, and the sheeple didn’t think that that was an even trade, and wanted to paint the looting as mayhem, but they don’t paint the police murders of Idriss Stelley, Terrance Mearis, Stephen Taylor, Gary King, Sahleem Tindle, Kenneth Harding, or Mario Woods by local law enforcement as mayhem. Mayhem defined by the media and politicians doesn’t include the murder of Black people by law enforcement, but it does include all the goods the stores are selling, which clearly shows us the priorities of the capitalist status quo.
Local politicians have been doing press conferences, constantly promising the law enforcement agencies more resources, while one of the biggest homeless populations in an affluent metropolis in the nation stands by, and starves to death watching other working class poor people defend the system, insured products, and windows against the looters, because of mass media brainwashing and lack of class consciousness.
The media rarely talks about and puts very little interest in how the classes, lower than the business owning class, are economically faring in the Black community. Most of the bandits come from a class, which was designed by the government’s economic planners, and consists of poverty, drugs, violence, malnutrition, unemployment, underemployment, homelessness, lack of access to social services, poor education, police terrorism, below standard housing, mass incarceration, lack of access to technology, and more.
Many of these young people involved have been reduced by capitalist consumer culture, into believing that their worth is dependent on how much the designer name brand clothing that they are sporting, is worth. They have also been violently subjected to living in and around poverty stricken neighborhoods like the Tenderloin which surrounds Union Square, which is a very affluent shopping district, in the middle of what is called Downtown San Francisco, if you are of the business class, and the Tenderloins, if you are of any class below corporate status. This dynamic creates a longing in people without access, to want to be comparable to the people with all of the access, power, and fashion sense that conveys both.
The Louis Vutton store that was ransacked in San Francisco in November, is a storefront for a high-end fashion house, where blue-collar Tenderloin dwellers, and most Black and Brown native San Francisco dwellers, would not be able to afford more than a belt out of the store, after any given paycheck, after paying their bills.
There is a certain psychological violence that exists, when you see elite people from all over the world enjoying the products from this store or dispensary, and after years your financial status has not changed enough where you can regularly gain access, while it sits in your community.
In capitalism, this major contradiction, the lack of many to be able to attain the product makes the fashion house more elite and more valuable, since it is associated with upper echelon high society, and out of the reach of the masses. So why would the products from stores like this not become one of the first targets of mass looting, by the young people in the area?
According to economic reports, the world is in the beginning stages of mass inflation and an economic depression, greater than the Great Depression. With Black people being at the bottom rung of the economic totem pole nationwide, and being historically the last ones hired and the first ones fired as well as the last businesses to receive loans, capitalism’s economic boa constrictor is getting tighter by the day in the impoverished communities, and instead of just enduring the suffering, young people are allowing the economic downturn to help them build a comradery, to tax the richer classes, who’s opulence is responsible for the inner-cities misery. The real fear is this class consciousness spreading.
As the looting spreads there is a sparkle of a hope, that if it can be sustained in sporadic bursts, and a new politik can spread where blue collar people understand the interests of their class, versus the interests of those with power over the status quo. This politik will better prepare us for the fight for a sustainable cooperative economic system which is against the status quo, and the people who currently and have historically benefited from it.
The solution does not lie in hiring more police, because police respond to crimes when they are not committing them. They do not prevent crime. The solution does not lie in congregating with the police either, no matter what neighborhood they are from, because intellectually we know that law enforcement’s job is to enforce the laws against our community specifically, and relentlessly lock us up, which is obvious when you look at the percentage of Black people locked up versus the percentage in society.
The true solution exists in investing in the young people so that they are not desperate enough to risk their lives or freedom for what’s in these stores and dispensaries. The youth should be given small youth grants to buy equipment or start small businesses like music studios, cosmetology salons, and shoe stores. The Bay Area cannabis industry, and the industry nationwide needs to facilitate helping more Black and Brown people into the cannabis industry, especially considering that these are the people who created and developed the market illegally for decades, before the white legalized cannabis businesses conspired to swoop the industry up, and run it in a Jim Crow fashion. The young people need to be given living wage jobs within the borders of their city. And local governments need to do more to entertain the youth such as setting up midnight sports leagues, creating roller skating rinks, and funding more concerts and festivals. These are just my thoughts and observations on the smash and grab gangs, policing, and investing in impoverished communities. Look out for the Ministry of Information Podcast on patreon and ig or The Ministry of 411 Podcast on youtube, for more commentary like this.