Sat. Oct 1st, 2022

Australian university student newspaper defends publishing controversial how-to-shoplift guide

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A student newspaper at Australia’s University of Queensland is defending a controversial article that provided shoplifting tips to cash-strapped students. 

The piece, “The Subtle Art of Shoplifting,” was published in the student newspaper Semper Floreat on Saturday. 

FILE: Pedestrians walk past a Woolworths supermarket on George Street on August 24, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. 

FILE: Pedestrians walk past a Woolworths supermarket on George Street on August 24, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. 
(Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

In the piece, the anonymous writer advised readers on “frifting,” or “free shopping.” As explained by the writer, frifting is “a legitimate action for the working class to take in ongoing class war.” 

Tips included wearing a mask and covering identifiable markers like piercings and tattoos. Frifters are advised to go to whichever self-serve machine is closest to the staff monitoring them and take off the metal tags. 

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As reported by Nine News, public officials quickly condemned the article. Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace said it ought to be withdrawn. Shadow Education Minister Christian Rowan said encouraging people to commit criminal offenses would lead to anarchy. 

But the newspaper has refused to back down. Editor-in-chief  William Kugelman wrote an op-ed saying that Semper Floreat stands by its “decision to publish the hypothetical safe shoplifting guide.” 

“Increasingly, people are forced into impoverishment and homelessness, while the ruling class, governments, and corporations, enjoy the fruits of the working class’ stolen labor,” he wrote. 

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The entry included a response from the anonymous author, stating: “We’re in a housing crisis, experiencing the highest cost of living and lowest wages rates since WW2, and yet the wealthiest keep (getting) wealthier – forcing people to live in tents, consolidating their monopolies on housing, starving people on stagnant levels of centrelink support and inadequate minimum wages.” 



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