Anti-Capitalist Teenage Shoplifters unite on Tumblr

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Tasbeeh Herwees über den schon seit einer Weile bekannten Ladendiebstahl-Underground auf Tumblr Liftblr, die wohl in jüngerer Zeit sowas wie politisches Bewusstsein entwickelt haben, so ein bisschen im Sinne von The Smiths' „Shoplifters of the World Unite“: We R Cute Shoplifters – Inside the hidden teenage world of Tumblr’s pro-Bernie, anti-capitalist Bling Ring.

Members of Liftblr feel empowered by a sense of social justice. They reblog Bernie Sanders memes and post anti-racist screeds. When one anonymous user threatens them with “karma,” they turn the thread into a conversation on the cultural appropriation of non-Western concepts. Feminist rhetoric infuses their language. And they’re extremely anti-corporatist. “Shoplifting can be an act of civil disobedience,” writes one user. “If you do get caught, tell them: This is not petty theft. This is non-violent resistance to a violent and oppressive economic system in which we are trapped.”

Britney Summit-Gil, a Ph.D. candidate and researcher of digital media, gender representation, and consumer identities at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, says the lifting community is participating, knowingly or unknowingly, in a historical practice of theft as activism. “Shoplifting, whether you mean it to be or not, is an anti-capitalist action,” says Summit-Gil. “You’re undermining one of the basic tenets of capitalist ideology, which is that it’s a mortal sin to steal or to get anything you didn’t work for.”