David Watson
Richard Drinnon

Looking Back on the Vietnam War History and forgetting

This article first appeared in FE #320, Spring 1985 under the pen-name George Bradford. It is reprinted on the 20th anniversary of the defeat of the U.S. empire in Vietnam.

Introduction: “Hell No, That Won’t Go”

by Richard Drinnon

Another decade has passed and it is Spring 1995, twenty years since the “fall of Saigon to the Vietnamese,” in David Watson’s mordant words, and the man who gave his name to that war has just published In Retrospect, a memoir from which he broadcasts what everyone by now has heard: “we were wrong, terribly wrong.” Now the ur-Whiz Kid tells us that he had become a covert convert to the antiwar movement even by 1967, the year twenty thousand resisters tried to shut down his Department of Defense. If only the erstwhile carpet bomber had then come outside to join the fair number of us who had slipped by the soldiers and the marshals to piss on the Pentagon, what a triumphant relief that would have been, what an epiphany! Yet after twenty-eight years we can still say that Robert S. McNamara’s tardy outing is better late than never, no?


Fifth Estate Collective
Tales From The Planet

A demo in London: photo / Alec Smart

Proving our contentions a few issues ago that, “all money is fake,” a ring of Iranian and Syrian high tech counterfeiters have been printing $100 bills at a clip faster than the government. The quality of these bills is so good that for a while they were honored by the Federal Reserve when submitted for collection.


Fifth Estate Collective
Waldheim Cemetery Bankrupt, Haymarket Monument Defaced

Chicago’s famed Waldheim Cemetery, final resting place for anarchists such as Emma Goldman, Lucy Parsons, and Voltarine DeCleyre, has been plundered of its liquid assets and is now in bankruptcy. Waldheim is also the site of the crypt and monument to the Haymarket martyrs, four labor activists and anarchists murdered by the state of Illinois in 1887. The Martyrs Monument, which has often been vandalized by political graffiti, now has suffered the outrage of metal thieves.


Execution Date Set for Mumia Abu-Jamal Pennsylvania Governor Acts To Condemn Activist As His Appeal Is Filed & His Book Is Released

On June 12, Pennsylvania Gov. Thomas Ridge signed a death warrant for Mumia Abu-Jamal—meaning that unless a judicial stay is granted, he’ll be executed in the state’s electric chair at 10 p.m. on Aug. 17.

[News came as we were going to press that San Francisco police attacked a peaceful Free Mumia demonstration June 26 in San Francisco’s UN Plaza. Police charged 270 people with felony arson, riot and jaywalking. Several demonstrators were beaten including journalists.]


E.B. Maple (Peter Werbe)
Mad Bombers & Anarchy? Oklahoma City and the Unabomber

Michigan militiamen at a gun rights rally, Lansing, Mich., Sept. 25, 1994. Photo/Bruce Giffin

We live in a world where television announces what is important and solemnly pronounces how loyal citizens are to respond—patriotism: the Gulf War; mourning: the death of the war criminal Nixon; joy: the Olympics; or indignation: the Oklahoma City bombing. The public is inundated with carefully selected images, which are dropped as soon as they fulfill their function of affirming the ruling scheme of things.


Andrei Codrescu
Armageddon to Some Disarming Dead Gods

The people eagerly awaiting Armageddon, from religious fundamentalists to paranoid Nazis, have no choice but to wish a fiery end. They’ve been such failures in this world, only the end of it can justify their miserable, creepy existence.

The fact is that their world has already ended, a long time ago, despite their protophilosophy’s occasional spurts of life. The apparent strength of fanatics from Iran to Michigan is no more than the jerky motions of a corpse animated by electric shocks. The God buried by Nietzsche in the last century found scores of other gods in that grave: one of humanity’s best tricks is the invention and disposal of gods.


Pablo Routledge
The UK Struggle Against Roads Ecopolitics & the Free State: The Conflict Over the M77 Motorway in Scotland

Opposition to M77 Motorway: still from “Given to the People” (film documentary) http://www.giventothepeople.org/

Just to the south of Glasgow, amid the woodlands and park lands of Pollok estate, a site of extraordinary resistance has emerged.

From the roadside, a huge red banner with bright yellow letters proclaims “Pollok Free State,” and where the road gives way to a dirt track, amid tall beech trees, one enters a place transformed.


Alec Smart
Police Break London Anti-Road Blockade

LONDON (Special to the Fifth Estate)—The last remaining group of 25 houses in the path of a contested road construction in London were cleared and bulldozed late last year.

The “No M11 Link Campaign” created Operation Roadblock to stop work on Claremont road in Leytonstone, an East London working class district situated on the southern end of a seven kilometer construction project linking the M 11 motorway from Wanstead to the Blackwall Tunnel.


Fifth Estate Collective
Paul Avrich

Attilio Bortolotti, 1903–1995 He Lived for the Ideal

Attilio Bortolotti (Toronto, 1993) photo / CIRA-Lausanne

Attilio Bortolotti died of pneumonia on February 10, 1995, in a nursing home near Toronto. He was born on September 19, 1903, in Codroipo, Friuli, Italy, the fifteenth of eighteen children of Luigi Bortolotti, a builder, and Maria Pittana.

Tilio emigrated to Canada in 1920 and became active in the anarchist and antifascist movements in Windsor and Detroit during the agitation for Sacco and Vanzetti. Arrested in Detroit in 1929 for distributing a leaflet announcing a Sacco-Vanzetti meeting, he was held for deportation to Italy, but jumped bail and fled to Toronto. There he worked as a tool-and-die maker and resumed his anarchist activities, editing Il Libertario from 1933 to 1935 and The Libertarian in 1968 and 1969.


Fifth Estate Collective
Detroit Seen

Welcome to the long time coming Summer edition of the Fifth Estate. It is our first since the Winter 1995 issue which was published Dec. 31, 1994. Subscribers (and particularly libraries) frequently think they have missed issues when six months go by between our papers. For instance, they’ll understandably inquire, “Where’s the Spring 1995 edition?” although there wasn’t one.


Alon K. Raab
The Centralia Massacre Following World War I a Wobbly is lynched by the American Legion

As we travel north on Oregon’s Highway Five, from Portland towards Seattle, places and names go by: Castle Rock, Cougar, Mt. St. Helens, Onalaska. A November rain is falling, light rain, blessed rain. We cross the Chehalis river and then approach Centralia, Washington.

There are places whose names remain connected with the past, with a specific event that will forever remind strangers of their existence. Bhopal, Selma, Auschwitz, Soweto and Chernobyl are such places. People begin lives anew on those sites, building houses, giving birth, loving, but the associations persist. Centralia also has its beast of memory.


Neither East Nor West/NYC
On Gogol Boulevard

About This Section

On Gogol Boulevard is produced for the Fifth Estate by New York City/Neither East Nor West, which links alternative oppositions in the East and West, and prints news and documents unavailable in the corporate or left media. OGB sometimes involves Third and Fourth World activists in these efforts. A similar section also appears in Black Fist.


Rob Blurton
Mutiny at the Outposts of Empire GI Resistance in the Vietnam Era

Thirty years ago, the most powerful military colossus ever assembled, its triumphant legions spread throughout the world, committed an expeditionary force of its best troops to the Asian mainland. “The American Army of 1965,” wrote an admiring historian, “was headstrong with confidence, sharply honed to a lethal fighting edge ... [and] eager to test its newly acquired wings of airmobility.” [1] In other words, it felt invincible. Battalions dispatched to Indochina were told that the local communist guerrilla-bandits were politically isolated and would quickly succumb to their superior might, but instead they found themselves locked in desperate battle with a determined adversary enjoying massive popular support. This expeditionary force gradually became a gigantic field army of over half a million men, and the lightning war turned into a meat-grinder.


John Zerzan
PBS, Power & Postmodernism

The Public Broadcasting System produces “programming” toward a more manageable society. In fact, it is the network rather expressly for managers, and what it airs can best be understood by keeping in mind this service to the managing class. The exact ration of corporate to government funding of PBS is inconsequential to its basic nature and function.


Ellen Carryout
TAZ, the Album Subversive Act or Active Sell-out?

a review of

TAZ: The Album, Hakim Bey, Axiom Records, 1994

When I first discovered that anarchist author Hakim Bey had released an album of readings on the Axiom label, a subsidiary of the corporate monolith Island Records, I was both eagerly fascinated and smugly repelled. It would be easy to scoff at what, on the surface, seems like a calculated sell-out.


John Filiss
Bey Pamphlet Let-down from TAZ

a review of

Radio Sermonettes, Hakim Bey, The Libertarian Book Club, (339 Lafayette St., Room 202, New York NY 10012), 40 pp., $3.50.

Hakim Bey’s earlier work, along with his more recent Radio Sermonettes, reflects the outlook of one who has centered himself in two often disparate schools of thought—Eastern mysticism and anarchism. And, while the (sometimes) richness of these two fields should promote an interesting cross-fertilization, Bey’s oft inability to pare down to the vital essence of the ideas he works with has seriously hindered his accomplishments.


John Zerzan
A Gorilla Takes On Civilization--Sort Of Book review

a review of

Ishmael, Daniel Quinn, 1993, Bantam/Turner, New York, 262 pp., $6.00.

Ishmael is a gorilla who places classified ads in search of those who would learn “how to save the world.” The narrator of Daniel Quinn’s critique of civilization is the (human) applicant to Ishmael’s one-gorilla school on what went wrong with humanity. In Socratic dialogue-type style, the nameless student learns the story of how Homo lived as a “Leaver” for two or three million years, only to become a planet-destroying “Taker” in the last 10,000 years.


Fifth Estate Collective
Fifth Estate Books

Back In Stock!

Bolo Bolo, Anarchy Comix & other FE Favorites


Can there be a society that is not divided into oppressors and oppressed, or that refuses coercive state apparatuses? In this beautifully written book Pierre Clastres offers examples of South American Indian groups that, without hierarchical leadership, were both affluent and complex. In so doing, he refuses the usual negative definition of tribal society and poses its order as a critique of Western society.


Fifth Estate Collective
News & Reviews

Both of the best selling issues of this newspaper, our 1970 Special Women’s Issue, which had to be reprinted three times to meet the demand for it, and our recent Queer Anarchy edition met with high acclaim for their coverage of gender issues. However, each was met with criticism for being “sectoralist” or even “pornography” in the case of the later edition.


Fifth Estate Collective
FE Announcements

Los Angeles’ (De)Center is an autonomous, non-profit, collectively organized space providing access to anarchist ideas and culture, open daily 3-7pm. It offers hard to find anarchist and radical books, periodicals, zines, CDs and tapes and t-shirts. There are regular political events, a film series, and a Tuesday night coffeehouse. (De)Center is at 6122-1/2 N. Figueroa, Los Angeles CA 90042; phone (213) 344–7017.


McLibel Trial Continues Demos Mark Junk Food King’s 40th Birthday

Anti McDonald’s campaigners, Helen Steel and Dave Morris protest against McDonald’s 50th anniversary celebrations outside the fastfood chain headquarters in East Finchley, April 15, 2005.

April 15 marked the 40th anniversary of the opening, in Des Plaines, Illinois of the first McDonald’s Hamburger Corporation restaurant. Helen Steel and Dave Morris, defendants in the United Kingdom McDonald’s libel trial, flew to the U.S. to join an alternative, anti-birthday celebration in the Chicago suburb.


R. Relievo (Rob Blurton)
R. Yamada

Bombing Civilians A moral surrender to the Nazis? (Letter exchange)

Dear FE:
A scene from “The Good War”: American marines boil the flesh off of a Japanese soldier’s skull, Guadalcanal, South Pacific, 1942.

After reading your articles in FE #345, Winter 1995 on the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of historical and moral context was needed to balance the distortion contained therein.


Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Network Forming

Dear Friends:

The Primitivist Network aims to promote networking of broadly defined anarcho-primitivists. The network is not an organization and has no fixed ideological line. It is designed to act merely as a means of fostering contact between like-minded people with the aim of generating projects that are broadly anarcho-primitivist in nature.


Fifth Estate Collective
Have a Wild Summer! 1995 Summer Gatherings & Actions

National Nomadic Festival

Through September 2

A traveling RV-gypsy gathering that will join with local people in 14 cities across North America to create temporary autonomous zones, make art, cook food, establish squats, play music, celebrate, & protest. For a complete list of cities, call Arrow at 212/ 614–0393 or write: 209 E. 7th St., NY, NY: