This isn’t quite the denunciation one might hope to see. As criticism of Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot crescendoes after the organized pillaging of the Magnificent Mile this weekend, Black Lives Matter Chicago added to it late Monday — but from an entirely different direction. In an official statement, BLM Chicago derided concerns over looting, claiming that “corporations have “looted” more from our communities than a few protesters ever could, yet the Mayor reserves her anger for the latter” (via Jeryl Bier):
This morning, Mayor Lightfoot held a press conference. In a predictable and unfortunate move, she did not take this time to criticize her officers for shooting yet another Black man. Lightfoot instead spent her time attacking “looters.” The mayor clearly has not learned anything since May, and she would be wise to understand that the people will keep rising up until the CPD is abolished and our Black communities are fully invested in. Contrary to Mayor Lightfoot’s position, Black lives are and always will be more important than downtown corporations who siphon Tax Increment Financing (T.I.F.) money, while avoiding taxes, and exploiting the labor of Black and Brown Chicagoans. These corporations have “looted” more from our communities than a few protesters ever could, yet the Mayor reserves her anger for the latter. We will remain in the streets until our demands are met.
In case the point hasn’t been made clearly enough, BLM suggests that the looting over the weekend was just the start of some restorative justice — or at least restorative until the city meets its demands:
Others in the media have been quick to condemn attacks on “our city” and play up racialized fears for the city’s white residents. These commentators seem to believe that the immense wealth that has been hoarded in downtown Chicago is in some way all of ours. The South and West sides have seen no benefits to this hoarding. Over the past few months, too many people — disproportionately Black and Brown — have lost their jobs, lost their income, lost their homes, and lost their lives as the city has done nothing and the Chicago elite have profited. When protesters attack high-end retail stores that are owned by the wealthy and service the wealthy, that is not “our” city and has never been meant for us.
The Mayor cannot expect people to play by her rules as she refuses to treat them with basic dignity. These protests can only end when the safety and wellbeing of our communities is finally prioritized.
This statement might suggest that BLM Chicago had something to do with the planning of the weekend pillaging. The police and the media have already noted that this didn’t resemble normal ad-hoc looting, where a breakdown in order precedes a sudden rush to cash in. When progressive activist priest Rev. Michael Pfleger notices that “this was obviously very orchestrated,” that points to a conspiracy:
CBS Chicago reports that former Bears player Patrick Mannelly witnessed the looting from his high-rise condo and saw cars driving up to a U-Haul truck and putting stolen goods into the trailer. …
Brown said after a crowd dissipated following that shooting “we are monitoring social media and we come across a post of a caravan of cars being prompted to go to our downtown and loot.”
Along the Magnificent Mile, people were seen going in and out of stores carrying shopping bags full of merchandise as well as at a bank, the Chicago Tribune reported, and as the crowd grew vehicles dropped off more people in the area. On streets throughout the downtown area, empty cash drawers from stores were strewn about and ATMs were ripped open.
Stores miles from downtown were also ransacked, with parking lots littered with glass and items from inside the stores. Clothes hangers and boxes that once contained television sets and other electronics were seen – evidence that thieves had taken racks of clothes and removed them from the hangers.
“This was obviously very orchestrated,” the Rev. Michael Pfleger, a prominent Roman Catholic priest and activist on the city’s South Side, told CBS Chicago as cameras panned the downtown area.
Obviously, but by whom? Chicago police and Lori Lightfoot pledged to get to the bottom of it, which is one of BLM Chicago’s objections to her presser on Sunday. Those going public with defenses of organized looting and veiled threats to continue it might reasonably be considered potential subjects of interest in an investigation. Even if police don’t address it from that direction, the social-media communications necessary to arrange this kind of organized assault will likely lead investigators up the chain to the real organizers, and allow for prosecution on much more serious charges than just theft and mayhem.
Or perhaps this is just another example of BLM’s Marxist-redistributionist rhetoric and nothing more significant than that. Media outlets such as Politifact try to downplay the group’s Marxist origins and beliefs (at least at the national level) by claiming that “there really is no standard” for a definition of Marxism. Politifact’s editors do sorta-kinda acknowledge the fact that at least three of its founders were avowed Marxists, and that this declaration on the meaning of the nuclear family has quite a bit in common with communist ideology:
We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.
This statement could be seen as nothing more than a militant version of redistribution. The question will be: is that all it is? Or is it a demand for surrender of control to mobs organized for a very specific purpose?