For those who are self aware and want to create a better world through what they perceive to be “peaceful” methods such as silent protests, singing songs, and writing strongly worded letters to elected officials, I say what good has that done so far? I am for peace and non-violence and in my view, breaking an object is not violence. Things are just things. Some say that by breaking into stores they are ruining the lives of the store owners, but from what I see they are targeting the larger stores and are not hurting human life.
I honestly sympathize. We can go on about principles, but the fact of the matter is that smashing the windows at Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan/Chase, or shoplifting from Walmart, is a far cry from smashing the windows of the local independent bookstore or shoplifting from the family-owned corner store. Institutions like big banks and major retail stores can simply eat the loss. They have way more than enough resources to do so, and no one is going to be directly hit by the cost; this is not the case for local independent stores who are probably at the behest of bigger chains and banks for things such as supplies, loans and electronic transactions.
Really, I think that this whole opposition to smashing up the windows of giant chain stores or major banks, as though it is equal to robbing directly from the people who work there, is just a manifestation of "corporations are people too". It erases the disparity between independent businesses and corporate institutions, and indeed helps us to venerate the corporate institutions by treating them as equal to the mom-and-pop store that's been around for the past 30 years (if it hasn't gone out of business thanks to the new Walmart Supercentre).
In fact, it reminds me of how, say, rocket attacks from Gaza are treated as equal to the systematic oppression imposed on Palestinians by the Israeli government. The disparity is erased, even though it's readily visible if you just go to Google Earth and look at the Gaza Strip.
(I think there's more but I seem to have run out of words. but suffice to say there's massive erasing going on and I really think it needs to stop.)
edit: punching up / punching down. shoplifting from Walmart or smashing the windows at JPMorgan/Chase is punching up, way the fuck up.
edit 2 (hopefully my last of the night): really, I think we've fetishized non-violence, to the point where anything resembling violence -- even if it's committed against inanimate objects, in ways that will explicitly not hurt real people -- is automatically condemned. which I am beginning to not like very much. yes you can go on about how it'll be counterproductive because the media will latch onto it, but, well...that's just a part of manufacturing consent; the media isn't exactly friendly to the people who fetishize nonviolence in the first place because they're still bringing up the problems with our colonial-capitalist system and we can't have those being taken seriously. it might result in power being taken away from rich colonial-capitalists, and we can't have that.