David Solnit
Seattle much more than a few broken windows

Some demonstrators wanted more than free trade.

On November 30, 1999, a citizen uprising shut down the World Trade Organization and took over downtown Seattle, transforming it into a festival of resistance. Tens of thousands of people joined the nonviolent direct action blockade which encircled the WTO conference site, keeping the most powerful and undemocratic institution on earth shut down from dawn till dusk, despite an army of federal, state and local police, using tear gas, pepper spray, rubber, plastic and wooden bullets, concussion grenades and armored tanks in an attempt to control the crowds. However, people continued to resist throughout the week despite the clampdown which included mass arrests of nearly 600 people and government suspension of any pretense of civil rights.


Fifth Estate Collective
Tales From The Planet

Silvia Baraldini, an Italian national, imprisoned in the U.S. for nearly 17 years for a series of armored car holdups in support of the Black Liberation Army (BLA), an urban guerrilla group, was released in August 1999.

She was given a hero’s welcome in Rome, after arriving on a private jet arranged for her by Italy’s leftist government. Several Italian cities offered Baraldini honorary citizenship, calling her a victim of American injustice.


Fifth Estate Collective

The Fifth Estate (ISSN No. 0015–0800) is published quarterly at 4632 Second Ave., Detroit, Michigan 48201 USA; Phone (313) 831–6800. Our office hours vary, so please call before visiting. Subscriptions are $10.00 for four issues; $12.00 foreign including Canada. Periodical Mail postage paid at Detroit, Michigan. No copyright. No paid advertisements.


Fifth Estate Collective
Death Penalty Cases Riddled with Errors

After years of overwhelming public and political support in this country for the death penalty, the tide may be turning.

Following a string of exonerations for Illinois death row inmates, Governor George Ryan declared a halt to all executions in that state. Since 1977, when Illinois reinstated the death penalty, the state has executed 12 men, but has freed 13, several in the last two years, when they were found to have been convicted in error. One can only wonder, given that the dead-to-freed ratio is less than 50 percent, how many of those killed by the state were also innocent.


Fifth Estate Collective
Cops, Press, Politicians Pulling Out All the Stops to Kill Mumia

2000 may be the decisive year in the legal and political battle for the life of Mumia Abu-Jamal. As the campaign to save the falsely imprisoned journalist and ex-Black Panther gathers momentum, the police, politicians and media are stepping up their efforts to have him strapped to the execution gurney.


Fifth Estate Collective
Detroit Seen

Welcome to our Spring 2000 issue. The last one we published was dated Summer 1999, so subscribers and libraries, please take note; you haven’t missed any intervening papers. This edition is numbered 354, the previous one, 353, so we are trudging along, even if not very quickly.


We’re grateful to have Maurice Spira’s inspiring and hilarious graphic grace our front page, and are pleased to be able to give extensive space to the discussion regarding tactics and strategies following the Seattle WTO demos. As David Solnit suggests in our page one article, we could very well be on the cusp of a new period of contestation.


Voltairine De Cleyre
Robert Helms

Voltairine de Cleyre On Woman Power: a lost article rediscovered

Introduction by Robert Helms

As interest in the history of anarchism increases with each passing year, we stumble across more lost gold mines of sources. I recently discovered one in Philadelphia which connects Voltairine de Cleyre, the celebrated anarchist speaker, poet, essayist and activist, with an anonymously published feminist article “The Political Equality of Woman.” Publishing it here for the first time in 105 years is cause for a small celebration.


David Watson
A Humble Call to Subvert the Human Empire

“A Humble Call to Subvert the Human Empire” by longtime Fifth Estate collaborator David Watson is from a recent collection of his writing, Against the Megamachine: Essays on empire & its enemies (Autonomedia, 1999); it’s one of a few in this highly recommended volume that has not previously appeared in this newspaper. See Bookstore page for ordering information.


Jens Bjorneboe
How Professor Arne Ness and I Conquered NATO The History of a Norwegian Nonviolent Action

From Norway, My Norway (1968) Translated by Esther Greenleaf Murer

Jens Bjorneboe (1920–1976) is one of Norway’s most noted post-WW authors; a poet, playwright, essayist and novelist. He was a complex personality embodying a variety of influences from anthroposophy to anarchism, who was both banned and honored in his home country. He is best known for his fiction, particularly the trilogy, The History Of Bestiality: Moment Of Freedom (1966), Powderhouse (1969), and The Silence (1973) and his novel The Sharks (1974). Philosopher Arne Ness is the founder of Deep Ecology.


How We Really Shut down the WTO In Seattle, training, and organization closed the streets and gives a guide for future actions

It’s been two weeks now since the morning when I awoke before dawn to join the blockade that shut down the opening meeting of the WTO.

Since getting out of jail, I’ve been reading the media coverage and trying to make sense out of the divergence between what I know happened and what has been reported.


Michael Albert
On Trashing & Movement Building “Trashing had no positive effects”

This is a response to a post-Seattle debate troubling many folks regarding movement tactics. As a preface, it goes without saying, I hope, that we all understand that as far as violence is concerned, the violent parties in Seattle were first and foremost the President of the U.S., his entourage, the other major heads of state, the leadership of the WTO, etc. Poverty-inducing violence imposed with a pen trumps a brick breaking a window every time—not to mention that the former is to defend and enlarge injustice, while the latter is to fight it.


Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
The Tyranny of Democracy “Consensus is a tricky issue”

Check out the December 15, 1999, San Francisco Bay Guardian (www.sfbg.com). Page 13 is devoted to a debate regarding property destruction in Seattle.

Medea Benjamin of Global Exchange, one of the organizations that formed the Direct Action Network, finally clarifies her position (along with a welcome apology for statements she made regarding calling the police on black bloc activists).


Acme Collective
Is Destruction of Private Property Violence? A communique from one section of the black bloc of N30 in Seattle

On November 30, several groups of individuals in black bloc attacked various corporate targets in downtown Seattle. Among them were (to name just a few):

Fidelity Investment (major investor in Occidental Petroleum, the bane of the U’wa tribe in Colombia), Bank of America, US Bancorp, Key Bank and Washington Mutual Bank (financial institutions key in the expansion of corporate repression), Old Navy, Banana Republic and the GAP (as Fisher family businesses, rapers of Northwest forest lands and sweatshop laborers).


Alexander Cockburn
Jeffery St. Clair

So who did win in Seattle? Liberals Re-write History

Hardly had the tear gas dispersed from the streets of downtown Seattle before an acrid struggle broke out as to who should claim the spoils. It’s still raging.

On one side the lib-lab pundits, flacks for John Sweeney and James Hoffa like the Nation’s Marc Cooper, Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower, middle-of-the road greens, Michael Moore, recycled policy wonks from the Economic Policy Institute and kindred DC think-tanks, Doug Tompkins (the former czar of sweatshop-made sports clothing who funds the International Forum on Globalization), Medea Benjamin (empress of Global Exchange).


Kerry Mogg
A Short History of Radical Puppetry The giant puppets we see at demonstrations in Washington DC, Toronto, & Seattle have a long and colorful history

A Women Strike for Peace demo in downtown Detroit, 1965. An early protest against the Vietnam War with giant puppets influenced by Bread & Puppet Threatre. —FE file photo

“Puppets are not cute, like muppets. Puppets are effigies and gods and meaningful creatures.”

—Peter Schumann, Bread and Puppet Theatre


Sunfrog (Andy “Sunfrog” Smith)
Compromising and Computing

Staff writers at the Fifth Estate collective have been vigorous critics of technology for more than two decades. Rather than isolate particular tools or situations for a contextual attack, our challenges to the totalitarian tenets of the megamachine look to the deeper motivations that propel producers and consumers to make and want more and more automobiles, nuclear power plants, computers, televisions (to mention only a few of the gadgets of modernity that have gouged biological communities).


Citizen Cane
Organic Cuba Farming & Politics

In May, two former Fifth Estaters (turned farmers) will attend an international organic agriculture conference in Havana. Joining us there will be another farmer from Olympia, Washington, and friends from a Mayan community in the Western Highlands of Guatemala.

The event is co-sponsored by the American organizations Global Exchange and Food First, and the Cuban farming organization Grupo de Agricultura Organica (GAO). These groups co-sponsored a similar gathering there in 1996.


Fifth Estate Collective
A Schedule of Seattles Coming to Your Neighborhood

April 9–17

Washington D.C. Days of Action for Global Economic Justice. Shut Down the IMF and World Bank, April 16. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are meeting to expand their power over Third World nations’ economies. Information at www. 50years.org or call 202-IMF-BANK.

May 1


Allan Antliff
Punching Holes in Russian Capitalism Seeds of the 1917 Revolution are Sprouting Again

During the 1917 Russian revolution, anarchists urged workers to take control of their lives by turning the capitalists out and seizing control of the means of production, the better to reconstruct society along anarchistic lines.

In some instances, property was communalized and a post-capitalist social order began to emerge. One such experiment was initiated by Boris Yelensky, an anarchist who returned to Russia in February 1917 after a lengthy exile in Chicago: Yelensky made his way to his home town of Novorossiysk in August where he formed an anarchist propaganda group.


Allan Antliff
Money Lures Richard Mock’s Sculptures Hang in the Halls of Capital’s Temples

I have long admired Brooklyn-based Richard Mock for his outspoken commitment to anarchism and clear-sighted attacks on contemporary injustices.

Consequently, I was delighted to learn he has been exhibiting his most recent sculptures in bank lobbies, no less. But then, Mock has a way of getting what he wants: this show has graced several banks in Canada, the United States and Germany (hesitating bank managers get a free lure, Mock tells me).


Fifth Estate Collective
Free Rob Los Ricos The State Takes Its Vengeance for Riot in Eugene

Outrage is the only word that comes to mind to describe the reaction to the sentence handed down by a vindictive judge to an Eugene, Oregon anarchist following a militant action on June 18, 1999.

On October 13, 1999 Robert Thaxton, activist and writer, better known to his friends and readers as Rob Los Ricos, received 70 months (do the math; it’s frightening) for the charges of second degree assault and rioting following his conviction by a Lane County jury.


Sunfrog (Andy “Sunfrog” Smith)
Law & Religion: An Awful Combination

Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to permit the display of the biblical Ten Commandments in schools as part of larger legislative efforts to combat youth violence.

Rather than “a first step toward reinstilling the value of human life in children influenced by violent culture,” as the politicians claim, this is yet another shallow gesture by hypocritical lawmakers to legislate ethical control in a culture that is ethically out-of-control.


Ali Moossavi
The U.S. War against the Iraqi People American sanctions are weapons of mass destruction

If you were to ask most people in this country to define the Persian Gulf War, they probably would describe it as a victorious, six-week long military conflict, in which the U.S. repelled Iraq, a hostile invader, and restored the sovereignty and dignity of a small nation, Kuwait.

Very few would include in that definition the unabated slaughter taking place in Iraq as a result of the US/UN sanctions as well as the almost daily bombings of that country.


Peter Werbe
The Toll of U.S. Sanctions A First-Hand Account

Rudy Simons, a 71-year-old social justice activist, was one of 13 people from Metro Detroiters Against Sanctions who visited Iraq in December 1999 to witness first-hand the effects of U.S. policies on the civilian population. Fifth Estate staff member Peter Werbe interviewed Simons soon after his return. A section of it follows.


Fifth Estate Collective
Fifth Estate Books

Fifth Estate Books is located at 4632 Second Avenue, just south of W. Forest, in Detroit, in the same space as the Fifth Estate newspaper. Hours vary, so please call before visiting.


1) List the title of the book, quantity, and the price of each;

2) add 10% for mailing costs—not less than $1.25 U.S. or $2.00 foreign (minimum for 4th class book rate postage);


Fifth Estate Collective
News & Reviews

Bound Together Books is presenting the fifth annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair, Saturday, April 15 at the San Francisco Hall of Flowers in the city’s Golden Gate Park.

The fair showcases anarchist publishers, distributors and activist groups with attendance at last year’s event having grown to 3,000. According to its organizers, the idea for the fair is to build an international radical community, exchange ideas and sell literature.


Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Fifth Estate Letters Policy

We welcome letters commenting on our articles, stating opinions, or giving reports of events in your area. We don’t guarantee to print everything received, but all letters are read by our staff and considered for publication.

Typed letters or ones on disk are appreciated, but not required. Length should not exceed two, double-spaced pages. If you are interested in writing longer responses, please contact us.


Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
The Unabomber’s Unending 15 Minutes of Fame

The host of TV’s “60 Minutes II” in front of a panel for a segment on Eugene’s anarchist community following WTO.

FE Note: Most of this article was written prior to the WTO demos and is not a contribution to the debate over tactics used there.

Ted Kaczynski, who pled guilty to the bombing campaign of the Unabomber, continues to pop up as a convenient mass media symbol of anarchism.


Fifth Estate Collective
Statement of Ownership, Management & Circulation

Title of publication: Fifth Estate. Publication number: 710420. Date of Filing: February 24, 2000. Frequency of Issue: quarterly. Annual subscription price: $10. Complete mailing address 4632 Second Ave., Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan 48201. Publisher: The Fifth Estate Newspaper. Editor: None. Managing Editor: None. Owner: The Fifth Estate Newspaper, 4632 Second Ave., Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan 48201. Known bondholders, mortgages, and other security holders: None. Extent and nature of circulation (a) average number of copies each issue during the preceding 12 months; (b) actual number of single issue published nearest to filing date. Total number copies (net press run). (a) 5000; (b) 5000. Paid and or requested circulation: Sales through dealers and vendors: (a) 2424; (b) 2339. Mail subscriptions:


Howard Zinn
Words for a New Millennium

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, and kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved so magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.