Various Authors

Send letters to fe — at — fifthestate — dot — org or Fifth Estate, POB 201016, Ferndale MI 48220

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Seattle @ Book Fair

Seattle’s first ever anarchist book fair will be held October 17–18.

So, let’s say education is the lifeblood of social change and the written word--books, zines, texts, blogs--the circulatory system spreading that lifeblood around. A little to the hands to keep building, a little to the brain to keep thinking, a little to the digestive tract to keep energy levels up.


Fifth Estate Collective
Contents of print edition

Fifth Estate #381, Summer-Fall 2009, Vol. 44, No. 2




6 THE SHIT HITS THE FAN by Ron Sakolsky


10 THE FUTURE OF LEARNING by Christopher J. Schneider

12 MURDER IN OAXACA by John Gibler



Fifth Estate Collective
Pirates! Issue Introduction

It’s a paradox and an irony that in a nation so filled with timid, quiescent conformists, that pirates hold such romantic appeal for so many.

Perhaps, due to the dominant mass psychology of submission, it’s the repressed fantasy of transgression and rebellion that drives so many web sites, festivals, games, movies, histories, and re-enactments devoted to the buccaneers.


Fifth Estate Collective
Marie Mason Update Marie Mason Moved to Federal Prison to Begin Sentence


Marie Mason, a long-time Fifth Estate contributor, sentenced in February to almost 22-years in prison following a guilty plea for two acts of property destruction on behalf of the environment, is now an inmate at the Waseca federal prison, 75 miles south of Minneapolis. (See Fifth Estate #380, Spring 2009).


Fifth Estate Collective
RNC Update Two Charges Dropped in Frame-up of Republican Convention Protest Organizers

In a sign of the power of post-Republican National Convention court solidarity, Ramsey County, Minnesota prosecuting attorney, Susan Gaertner, dropped two of the four unfounded charges against the RNC 8, in April.

The RNC 8 are organizers against the 2008 Twin Cities Republican National Convention who have been falsely charged in response to their political organizing: Luce Guillen-Givins, Max Specktor, Nathanael Secor, Eryn Trimmer, Monica Bicking, Erik Oseland, Robert Czernik and Garrett Fitzgerald.


Ron Sakolsky
As The Shit Hits The Fan The Economy is in the toilet. Flush it down!

The State is understood as pure and inviolable, as capable of purifying the most repulsive things--even money--through the touch of its divine hand. Money, therefore, is pure insofar as it belongs to the State; so are, by association, those experts who are summoned to serve it. Even today power reenacts that ceremony where the despot shits in honor of his subjects, summoned to laud him for the gift of his royal turd.

-- Dominique Laporte, History of Shit


Fifth Estate Collective
Own a Richard Mock original linocut print and support the Fifth Estate

The late Richard Mock’s linocut art has been featured in the Fifth Estate and other anarchist publications for many years including after his death in 2006 at age 61. His work also appeared on the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times and was the featured art cover for a United Nations magazine with world-wide circulation. Several museums hold his paintings and prints as well. Mock was named the official portrait painter of the 1980 Olympics. Richard left us with the originals of the art that has appeared in these pages since 2002. We’re pleased to offer the 17” by 14.5” original linocut on the previous page for the price of $250 unframed. Richard’s Prints have sold for as much as $2000, but although a signed edition, this is an unnumbered Test Print and marked T.P. as is the custom in such work.


Fifth Estate Collective
Six Ways To Help the Fifth Estate

  1. Subscribe. Subscribers are a publication’s life blood. If you bought this at a news stand, consider subscribing and buying one for a friend or a library.

  2. Donate. Postal and printing costs continue to rise making financial stability an increasing Challenge to publications which refuse commercial advertising. Donations also allow us to continue sending free subscriptions to prisoners and GIs.

  3. Distribute the FE. Sell or give away current or back issues. Get stores in your area to sell the magazine. Use them for tabling. Take them to events and demos. Most back issues available for the cost of postage. Write us at fe@fifthestate.org for info.

  4. Hold a fundraiser for the FE. A house party or an event not only provides revenue for the magazine, but gets people together that share similar ideas.

  5. Become an FE Sustainer. Sustainers pledge a certain amount each issue or yearly above the subscription fee to assure our continuing publishing, and receive each issue by First Class mail.

  6. Buy FE Books. Support our authors and independent publishers and revenue for the magazine.

Fifth Estate Collective
The Fifth Estate Celebrates Ursula K. LeGuin “True Voyage is Return”

To honor Ursula K. LeGuin’s 80th year on the planet, the FE’s next edition will explore the intersection of utopian, feminist, ecological, Taoist, and anti-authoritarian ideas in her prolific catalog of novels, poems, and essays.

The centerpiece of this issue will be a reprint of LeGuin’s 1989 essay “A Non-Euclidean View Of California As A Cold Place To Be” featuring a new introduction by John Clark. Clark writes: “LeGuin poses the question of whether our voyage to the elsewheres of the past or the nowheres of fiction can lead us to regain certain lost qualities of mind and abandoned sensibilities, so that we may be once again able to experience reality more intensely, and care about it more passionately, as it manifests itself precisely where we are.”


Tom MacGowan
Killer Ape Theory Disproved Man Was Prey; Mutual Aid Prevailed

a review of

Man the Hunted: Primates, Predators, and Human Evolution, Donna Hart and Robert W. Sussman, New York, Westview Press, 2005

Stanley Kubrick’s 1969 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey opens with a primal scene: to the stirring music of Richard Strauss’s Thus Spake Zarathustra. With the rising sun in the background, one ape-man lifts a weapon and murders another.


Christopher J. Schneider
The Corporate University and the Future of Critical Learning A college professor gives all of his students an A+ and incurs the wrath of the Corporate University. How about no grades?

On February 6, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported on the unsuccessful attempt by University of Ottawa Professor Denis Rancourt to eliminate the need for a grading system in his courses by awarding all of his students an A+.

The physics professor wasn’t the first to do this in academia, and like similar attempts, some dating back to the 1960s, was an effort to shift the focus and aim of the university back toward learning.


John Gibler
Murder in Oaxaca The killers of Indymedia’s Brad Will are free while the Mexican government is framing an innocent man for the 2006 crime


MEXICO CITY-Brad Will filmed his own murder. Holding a professional, high-definition digital camera neck-high in his two hands, he faced down Juarez Avenue, the camera rolling.

He stood amidst the protesters from the Oaxaca Peoples’ Popular Assembly, or APPO, as they attempted, with rocks and bottles, to repel the armed attack of police and local officials trying to dislodge the thousands of people assembled in a months-long occupation of Oaxaca City in 2006.


Ron Sakolsky
Tuning in to the illegalist continuum Bank Robbers on Land, Buccaneers at Sea, Pirate Radio

Bank robbers

The Bonnot Gang were notorious anarchist bank robbers whose daring exploits in pre World War One France were legendary examples of illegalism. In contrast to the stalwart proletarian solidarity prized by the anarcho-syndicalists of that time, the illegalists saw no need to wait for the Great General Strike to reappropriate the fruits of their labours. Instead they were determined to act on their immediate desire for a direct expropriation of wealth. And what better place to find it than at a bank.


Peter Lamborn Wilson
Somali Pirates

“The past is not only not dead, it’s not even past.”

-- W. Faulkner

The second ship ever built was probably a pirate ship. When Sumerians and Harappans and Egyptians sailed to “the Land of Punt” 5,000 years ago seeking apes and ivory, gold and copper, no doubt some proto-Blackbeard on a reed raft was already dogging their wake.


A Modern Day Pirate’s Tale

from the Guardian (London)

I am 42 years old and have nine children. I am a boss with boats operating in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

I finished high school and wanted to go to university but there was no money. So, I became a fisherman in Eyl in Puntland like my father, even though I still dreamed of working for a company. That never happened as the Somali government was destroyed [in 1991] and the country became unstable.


Cara Hoffman
All Lookouts Clamped on Paradise

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote this fine bit of gangster rap in 1883:

Fifteen men of the whole ship’s list

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

Dead and bedamned and the rest gone whist!

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

The skipper lay with his nob in gore

Where the scullion’s axe his cheek had shore

And the scullion he was stabbed four times four


Cyber Pirates Clash with Empire On the Internet’s Digital High Seas

The week of April 12 was a very bad one for pirates. It began that Sunday when Navy SEALs executed three pirates off the coast of Somalia who had captured an American ship’s captain. For days, the “daring” rescue dominated headlines in the U.S., without any mention of the socio-economic circumstances that have led to a resurgence of piracy in the region--or of the role the West has played in contributing to those circumstances. Rather, countless stories focused on the Hollywood-style operation: how three snipers parachuted under cover of darkness into the sea, swam to a nearby ship and took out the pirates with three bullets fired nearly simultaneously.


Fifth Estate Collective
Fifth Estate contributors

This issue was edited and produced in Detroit with extensive assistance from our friends and comrades of the FE collective around the country. Also, thanks is due to our contributing artists and photographers.

Jim Feast has contributed essays for the last three issues. He is one of the Unbearables who co-edited The Worst Book I Ever Read (Autonomedia 2009).


Jim Feast
The Occupation of Public Space: New York, Beijing, Oaxaca Do squatting and occupations suggest the future for revolutionary tactics?

Robert Neuwirth, in his important book, Shadow Cities, says squatters in countries such as Turkey, Brazil, and India, are the poor, usually excluded from the adequate wage work, who do not have the wherewithal to enter the capitalist real estate market either as owners or renters.

They are “simply people who came to the city, needed a place to live that they and their families could afford, and, not being able to find it on the private market, built it for themselves on land that wasn’t theirs.” Of special note here are the numbers. “Estimates are that there are about a billion squatters in the world today [2005]--one of every six humans on the planet.” The best guesses see this group as swelling to about one in four by 2030.


Norman Nawrocki
Hong Kong Where Anarchists & Blackbirds Sing About Freedom

Hong Kong, a steamy, enchanting, green pearl of an island with an amazingly efficient public transit system is also the ultimate temple to last gasp, fast buck, crass consumerism.

Mega-towering, teetering, multi-national corporate headquarters ablaze with over-sized neon logos that are sometimes lost in the clouds, dominate the skyline, but can’t quite obliterate the dreamy and defiant mountains behind them.


Richard Gilman-Opalsky
Freejazz & Other Insurrections Reflections on Radical Listening

“Freejazz reaches back to what jazz was originally, rebelling against the ultra-sophisticated art form it has become.”

--Archie Shepp

I. From Regressive to Radical Listening

Freejazz, according to the great tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp, is a rebellion against the bourgeois world of “high art.” It is a music that self-consciously identifies as a kind of sonic insurrection, both within and against music itself. It makes good sense to begin this article with a quote from Shepp.


René Riesel
Jaime Semprun

Catastrophism Disaster Management & Long-lasting Servitude

In these excerpts from their book, Catastrophisme, administration du desastre et soumission durable, René Riesel and Jaime Semprun warn against State-administered management of the global ecological and social crisis.

Riesel is an activist who destroyed GMO seeds at Monsanto’s facility as well as author of Du progres dans la domestication. Semprun, a major contributor to the influential French journal Encyclopedie des Nuisances, first pointed out many of the sinister aspects of planet-saving when it is carried out under the joint venture of Capital and the State.


Andy Sunfrog (Andy “Sunfrog” Smith)
Ron Sakolsky’s Swift Winds

A review of:

Swift Winds, Ron Sakolsky, artwork by Anais LaRue, Eberhardt Press, 2009, 128 pp., $8

The prolific anarchist Ron Sakolsky--formerly of Fool’s Paradise, Illinois and now a resident of Inner Island, British Columbia--has published another book.

Billed as a “backpocket compendium,” the volume borrows its shape and size from the legendary City Lights pocket poetry series and professes the insurrectionary properties of poetic desire in such a fashion as to make it a worthy descendant of such legendary and incendiary texts as Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Diane DiPrima’s Revolutionary Letters.


Don LaCoss
Franklin Rosemont, 1944–2009 “A stranger to neither love nor laughter”

Federico Arcos, Franklin Rosemont, Paul Avrich, Waldheim Cemetary, May 3, 1998 at the dedication of the Haymarket Monument as a National Historic Landmark. — photo Julie Herrada

Writer, painter, and publisher Franklin Rosemont died on April 12 in Chicago. He was buried in a private ceremony some forty feet from the Haymarket Monument in Waldheim Cemetery amid the graves and scattered ashes of Fred W. Thompson, Emma Goldman, Ben Reitman, Lucy Parsons, Nina Van Zandt Spies, Slim Brundage, Voltairine de Cleyre, and a number of other subversives and Wobblies.


Haduhi Szukis
I derived I saw myself last night

“History,” Stephen said, “is a nightmare from which I’m trying to awake.”

To resist, that is to create, is this waking--in the sense of waking up from the nightmare of history: of the accumulation of capital, state power, the vast concentration of hierarchies and fields of power embodied through society--extended through colonization.


Geoff Hall
Reading Nikolay Vavilov A Soviet agronomist travels the world to help end famine and ironically dies of starvation in Stalin’s prison

Nikolay Vavilov (1887–1943)

“It seemed that We had finally passed this very difficult trail so that we could mount the horses and continue on. But suddenly from the Cliff above the trail, two gigantic eagles flew out from a nest, circling on enormous wings. My Horse shied and bolted, galloping along the trail and the ovring. The rein was unexpectedly torn out of my hand and I had to hang on to the mane.


Andy Sunfrog (Andy “Sunfrog” Smith)
Firebrand Infoshop Interview Can an anarchist infoshop make a difference in Nashville?

While the idea for Nashville’s Firebrand Community Center and Infoshop was born in 2003, the collective finally found its current home in 2008 as part of the shared Little Hamilton Collective space on Little Hamilton Road near the city’s downtown.

A member of the original organizing group, Ryan Kaldari explains the roots of the project: “The idea for the Firebrand was conceived immediately after the 2003 Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) protests in Miami. The idea that emerged was to set up an infoshop so that political radicals in Nashville could have a public space to use for events, education, and organizing.”


Spencer Sunshine
John Zerzan’s Twilight of the Machines

a review of Twilight of the Machines, John Zerzan, Feral House, 2009; 140 pages, $12, www.feralhouse.com

John Zerzan has infuriated and fascinated readers for decades. His sweeping critique of the modern world condemns not just capitalism, the state, technology and even “civilization,” but he openly calls for the abolition of all forms of symbolic representation and a return to a hunting and gathering existence.


Henry Read
Green Scare Update

Chalking Sidewalks = Terrorism

The ludicrous charges against the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act Four (AETA4) show the absolute depths to which the Green Scare has plummeted. According to the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC), the four animal liberation activists are charged with “terrorism” under the AETA for (and, we kid you not, because I could not make up something so ridiculous if I wanted to) “protesting, chalking the sidewalk, chanting and leafleting--and the alleged use of ‘the Internet to find information on bio-medical researchers.’”


Andy Sunfrog (Andy “Sunfrog” Smith)
Fifth Estate Tennessee headquarters closes ...but future is bright

The Barn, located on the 120-acres of the Pumpkin Hollow Community near Liberty, Tennessee, housed the Fifth Estate office and archive, radical book and zine library, bookstore and distro. It opened with a huge party and radical variety show on Friday the 13th in September 2002.

As of late June, after days of sorting and discarding, hauling and recycling, packing and stacking, sifting and gifting, The Barn has permanently closed as a physical hub of radical activity in rural DeKalb County, 50 miles east of Nashville. Although the apartment, built into an aging structure by George, our neighbor and former resident, is closed, the barn building itself remains.