Various Authors
Letters Our readers respond

The Fifth Estate welcomes letters at PO Box 201016, Ferndale MI 48220, or fe-AT-fifthestate-DOT-org


I am no fan of the United States Government, nor of any of its agencies, including the FCC. As far as I can tell, we have government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich, and only a revolution in the human psyche will change that. Nevertheless, I found much to disagree with in Ron Sakolsky’s article “No More Safety Valves” (#372, Spring, 2006).


Fifth Estate Collective
Introduction to Fifth Estate Issue 374

Welcome to the New York City issue of Fifth Estate. The editorship of the magazine now rotates, and two of us in NYC have stepped in to give the peops in Detroit and Tennessee a rest (making this the first issue in 41 years that has been produced in the northeast!). The people that put out this publication have a variety of views and backgrounds (we range in age from our 20s to 70s, and live across North America); this issue reflects our reality and issues here in NYC.


David Meesters
Letter From Appalachia On Primitivism, Participation, and Tactical Retreat

Tonight I am alone, which is rare, and the air is cold and clear, so I blow out the oil lamp and make my way down to the clearing to take in the new moon, the milky way, and the unsilent forest. It’s autumn, the season when we harvest the last of it from our gardens and the rest becomes compost to build on next year. It’s a natural time to look around, evaluate what we’ve been doing, and think about where we might go from here.


Cara Hoffman
The Food Court at Guantanamo Philosophers Discover Thousands of Miles of Intellectual Dead Zones Caused by American Cultural Practices

The release of several reports this fall concerning environmental collapse has introduced us to a new and powerful way to discuss nature, one that we may have overlooked in our concern for life.

The destruction of the natural world, as it turns out, is going to be expensive. No, silly, not like you’re thinking--loss of human and animal lives, loss of culture, loss of pleasure, loss of hope. Not those expenses. I’m talking about money.


Will Weikart
All Gods, All Masters Immanence and Anarchy/Ontology

Almost all contemporary radical thought is marked by dialectics. Classical anarchism, Marxism (in all its variants), and the Situationists owe a huge debt to the thought of German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel, and hence, to dialectics. For example, the political thought of anarchist and anti-authoritarian theorists such as Mikhail Bakunin, Guy Debord, Murray Bookchin and Fredy Perlman all rely on dialectical thinking. Poststructuralist social theorist Michel Foucault even characterized Hegel’s theories as the ghost that prowls through the 20th century. In fact, dialectics are so hegemonic in radical circles that a common objection to a perspective is that it is “insufficiently dialectical.”


Mitzi Waltz
Making Room for Difference An Anarchist Response to Disability

I won’t name the city or the group--it isn’t necessary. Similar situations have occurred in every anarchist community. A middle-aged man with obvious mental health difficulties attached himself to an anarchist activist project in a major city. He had time and energy to spare. He also had difficulties managing his behavior sometimes. A group of young women thought his occasionally aggressive words and actions were threatening, and they were lobbying for his expulsion from the collective. Others grumbled that his personal hygiene was lacking, and that his presence drove away potential members.


Stevphen Shukaitis
Whose Precarity Is It Anyway?

“The condition today described as that of the precarious worker is perhaps the fundamental reality of the proletariat. And the modes of existence of workers in 1830 are quite close to those of our temporary workers.”

-- Jacques Ranciere, The Nights of Labor: The Workers’ Dream in Nineteenth Century France


Jack Bratich
Becoming Seattle The State of Activism and (Re)Activity of the State

One characteristic that seems pervasive recently among many political actors (including anarchists) is a fixation with the State’s incessant “failures.” From the vulnerability that the State experienced on 9/11/01 to the breakdown of the State during Hurricane Katrina, there is a palpable sense that we are witnessing a “crisis” that is strategically exploitable. But who finds this account compelling? It is no revelation to say that State “failure” is often a way of developing a more powerful State. This narrative fuels Leninists and other shadow-dwellers waiting to seize opportunities for a revolutionary moment. Failure can happen within capitalist states (e.g. “failure of communication” among intelligence agencies leading to more integration via the Department of Homeland Security) or within a Marxist critique (“your State and its service-providing function has failed you, we will enter and fill the lack with our bigger State provider”).


Jean Leason
Music on the March How Protest Learned to Dance

Another Saturday afternoon rally. Signs wave above the Crowd. Someone has been speaking semi-audibly through a borrowed PA system.”\What do we want” they shout. “Fill in the blank!” cries the crowd, a little bored. A bass drum becomes audible a block away, and people begin to tap their toes. As it comes closer, people begin to shift their balance in time with the tune. Why not wave that banner like a flag? Why not dance instead of shuffle? As a festive mood rises, the band leads the rally down the street.


H. Read
Remaining ELF Defendants Plead Guilty But Refuse to Snitch

A surprise plea bargain was announced at a November pre-trial hearing for four environmental activists charged with a variety of Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF) actions which had been carried out since the late 1990s. The defendants were arrested between December 2005 and February 2006, as part of the FBI’s “Operation Backfire,” which sought to cripple major ELF and ALF cells.


Sureyyya Evren
Twenty Years of the Black Flag in Turkey

The first anarchists on the land which is today Turkey were probably Armenians. Active during the fin-de-siecle of the great Ottoman Empire, they included prominent figures such as Alexander Atabekian, who published pamphlets, participated in Armenian revolutionary organizations and most likely traveled to Istanbul and Izmir to promote anarchism in Armenian circles. The Armenian anarchists mixed anarchism and nationalism, although this exact relationship — and their broader relations with various nationalist and modernist activities — still needs to be looked at more closely. (Although there may be more detailed sources about Atabekian’s anarchist activities, a general picture can be found at http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=3771)


Spencer Sunshine
Brad Will, 1970–2006

I found out that Brad Will had been shot to death from a message that went out over New York City email lists on October 27. It simply said, “Fuck, ya’ll, fuck,” followed by a link to an Indymedia story describing the events of that day. Soon, it was confirmed that Will, an IMC journalist and ever-present figure in the New York anarchist scene, had been gunned down in Oaxaca in southern Mexico where he had been chronicling the revolutionary upsurge building there since April 2006.


Solidarity, Immigration and Border Regimes

“If it’s a war the anarchists want, then damn it, it will start here.”

-- Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minutemen Project, quoted in the Sacramento Bee, 10/30/05, in reference to the anti-minutemen demo at the capitol building.

The Fire

There’s a fire going on. It’s destroying your home, your land. You want to stay and fight it, but you’re suffocating, you need fresh air. You try to leave, but the doors are locked, bolted shut. There’s a long line of other people waiting to get out too. You start waiting, but realize you’ll never get there. Some people are breaking windows, jumping through; some make it, others die on the way out. There are men with guns waiting outside the windows, another obstacle. You make it out, past the gunmen, falling into another house, through another window. You are welcome here, as long as you don’t talk, just cook and clean. Some people want you to leave, to jump back into the fire. Others want to help you, but they don’t know how. They try talking to the landlords. They try fighting the people who want to kick you out. They try building another house within the house. You appreciate the help, but you’re not sure who to trust, not sure what you want. Do you want to stay here, or go back home? The ground is familiar, but the house is different. The fires here are different, much slower then at home. But they are starting up again. In this house? Even here, you start smelling gasoline again. This time you see it coming, joining with others like you to call “FIRE” before it hits. Some people notice. The gasoline covers too much and splashes on some others; they’re angry as well. People are saying that you started the fire, that we need more doors and locks, fewer windows, in order to stop more firebrands like you from entering. You know this is a lie. Now you’re caught between fires, between doors, desiring the one thing that no-one is willing to do: to stop these fucking fires. But you can’t seem to find who started them. Everyone has a different answer.


No Border Camp Calexico/Mexicali, Fall, 2007

As long as the US/Mexico border has existed, people have been struggling against it. It is a highly militarized, violent boundary marking an internal space of strict migration controls while allowing for unrestricted movement of capital and wealth. This border exists in a global context of apartheid borders and restriction of movement. For years around the world people have been tearing down fences, freeing detainees and fighting for the rights of migrant people. A global movement against borders and migration controls is rising. One of many tactics in this movement is the no border camp--a space for direct action and building community. Join us for a transnational no border camp on the Mexico/US border.


Voting No, in Venezuela; Yes, in U.S.?

On December 3, a month after the Republican Party was swept from control of the U.S. Congress, Hugo Chavez was overwhelmingly re-elected president of Venezuela for a third four-year term. On the night of his victory, in a speech to thousands, Chavez said Venezuelans should expect an “expansion of the revolution” aimed at redistributing the country’s oil wealth among the poor.


El Libertario (Venezuela)
Venezuela, Elections 2006 Anarchists Say No to Chavez

The Fifth Estate received this communication prior to the December 3 presidential election from the Venezuelan Commission of Anarchist Relations (Comision de Relaciones Anarquistas) and its organ, El Libertario. Hugo Chavez won handily against his opponent. Venezuelan government officials announced that 70 percent of eligible voters had cast ballots.


Rafael Uzcategui
Depolarization and Autonomy Challenges to Venezuela’s social movements after Chavez’s election

Chavez’s original movement...becomes the face of the people’s malcontent, achieving legitimacy at the polls in 1999 by capitalizing on the prevailing wish for change that ran through the country, but also revitalizing the populist, statist and caudillista ethos so much a part of Venezuela’s historical make-up.


Jim Feast
Mass Media and the Crests of Human Destruction

Cultural theorist Raymond Williams has suggested that the technology for television was available years before it was utilized. It was held back because the conditions for it were not ripe yet.

Those conditions were urbanization (which masses an audience in one place), the regularization of employment, the homogenization of culture and the concurrent erosion of communities, the need for communication to customers of large concerns (such as department stores) and the need for insipid entertainment for drones whose jobs leave them physically unimpaired but mentally drained.


Cookie Orlando
Unlocking the Girl Lock Gender Trouble at Burning Man


For two weeks after Burning Man, I felt like I was glowing, radiating spirals of energy that warbled just below the visible range. The constant brutality of the state, the frantic pace of life, the social isolation--none of these things could get me down. For years, I had heard about this experimental arts and cultural festival held annually on the playa on the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. I went for the first time this year and look forward to going again.


Fifth Estate Collective
Bits & Pieces from the World


November 11th was the 120th anniversary of the hangings of the anarchist Haymarket martyrs in Chicago, Illinois. Albert Parsons, August Spies, Adolph Fischer and George Engel were hung (and Louis Lingg committed suicide) after a bomb killed police at a labor rally. There was no evidence against them and all were convicted solely on the basis of their anarchist ideas.


Anu Bonobo
Endgame Book review

a review of

Endgame, Volume I: The Problem of Civilization, Volume 2: Resistance by Derrick Jensen. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2006

“Do not listen to me.”

--Derrick Jensen, Endgame

Derek Jensen, author of A Language Older Than Words and The Culture of Make Believe, has become a best-selling author and a popular lecturer at conferences and campuses. If mainstream environmentalists would reform industrial civilization through sustainable practices, Derrick Jensen wants to destroy it by any means necessary. No pacifist with illusions about transforming civilization into a wild, primal culture through love and nonviolence, he fantasizes about blowing up dams. He’s sticking it to the man to save the salmon. Jensen wants a wild world, and he demands doing “whatever it takes to get there.”


Sunfrog (Andy “Sunfrog” Smith)
Bindlestiff Family Cirkus The First Ten Years (DVD review)

“A little duct-tape, a little cardboard, and it’s a show.”

--Stephanie Monseu aka Philomena Bindlestiff, co-founder of the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus

Around the same time I learned that revolution shouldn’t sell selfless sacrifice if it wanted to gain any self-interested revolutionaries, I also discovered dangerous devotees of dissent inside the proliferating avant-garde arts. A fire-breathing follow-up to the performance scene, a traveling anarchist circus was an obvious offshoot from the standard stock of shock that shot us with performance artist Karen Finley and crushed us with the neotribal music of Crash Wosrhip. Founded by Kinko and Philomena Bindlestiff (aka Keith Nelson and Stepahnie Monseu), these veterans of visionary weirdness admit, “Cirkus is hard.” The first decade of Keith and Stephanie’s death-defying adventures are captured in a new DVD documentary.


Julie Herrada
Sacco and Vanzetti DVD Review

A review of

SACCO AND VANZETTI, Directed by Peter Miller, Willow Pond Films, www.willowpondfilms.com

To many anarchists, there are few more sympathetic characters in our movement’s history than Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti.

The Martyrs’ Farewell
That we lost and have to die, does not diminish our appreciation and gratitude for your great solidarity with us and our families. Friends and Comrades, now that the tragedy of this trial is at an end, be all as of one heart. Only two of us will die. Our ideal, you our comrades, will live by millions. We have won. We are not vanquished. Just treasure our suffering, our sorrow, our mistakes, our defeats, our passion for future battles and for the great emancipation.
Be all as of one heart in this blackest hour of our tragedy. And we have heart. Salute for us all the Friends and Comrades on the earth.
We embrace you all and bid you our extreme good-bye with our hearts filled with love and affection.
Now and ever, long life to you all, long life to liberty.
Yours for life and death.
--Nicola Sacco, Bartolomeo Vanzetti (Death House, August 21, 1927)


Fifth Estate Collective
Books available from Black & Red

Momentos, Compendio Poetico by Federico Arcos

The Story of Tatiana by Jacques Baynac

The Wandering of Humanity by Jacques Camatte

Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship by N. Chomsky

Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord

Worker-Student Action Committees: France, May ’68 by R.Gregoire & F. Perlman

Love & Politics by Judith Malina


Fifth Estate Collective
Selected books from Factory School

Vision Quest Guidebook

“The New Freedom”: Corporate Capitalism by Fredy Perlman

The Big Melt, President of the United Hearts

We Know You Are Watching by Surveillance Camera Players

The Modern School of Stelton: A Sketch by Joseph J. Cohen and Alexis C. Ferm

Facing Reality, Correspondence Publishing Committee


Fifth Estate Collective
Call for Submissions for Fith Estate Issue 375, Spring, 2007


The word apocalypse, counter to centuries of disinformation, does not refer to the end of the world. The word’s actual meaning is “uncovering” — a revelation of truths that are concealed from the majority of the human population. This spring we suggest a rebirth of understanding about the world around us-through revelation.


Fifth Estate Collective
To Our Readers

Without you reading what we struggle to write and creatively present, there obviously would be no point in our effort. And, without the generous financial support many of you give, we wouldn’t be able to publish at all!

We’re at a critical period for print publications. All daily papers are reporting declines in their readership (of course, in their case, it’s probably desirable), and many radical and anarchist papers are either cutting back on their publication schedule because of financial difficulties, or note no increase in their circulation at a time when the empire is functioning at a particularly vicious level.