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Hooliganism or sophisticated image attack?


Perhaps the greatest attack on the image of consumerism happens in these frenzied moments when a tsunami of euphoric looting bursts through the windows of megacorporate stores. In a blitz, property is communized – and all take freely what each desires. Local, independent and mom-and-pop stores are conspicuously spared in these times of calculated plundering because what is happening here is an intentional strategy of expropriating the expropriators, of overthrowing the law of scarcity with the creed of surplus and, as Sotirios Bahtsetzis observes, of “rendering visible the emptiness and random replaceability of consumerist goods.” It is on this last point, that acts of looting become like sophisticated image attacks. Elated pillagers present the megacorporations with a lose-lose conundrum: either stand by while pictures of their ransacked stores show the world how they are despised; or renovate their premises, restock their shelves, pretend as if nothing happened and admit to the farce of consumerism by demonstrating that consumer goods are worthless because they are not unique, because they may be identically replaced with ease.

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