Fifth Estate Collective

With the defeat of the White Christian Nationalist Party in the U.S. presidential election, liberals and progressives are understandably relieved that the politics of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and the rest of the right-wing panoply were rejected by American voters, even if only by a fairly small percentage. We share that sense, but hold no illusions about the second term of Barack Obama containing any possibility for authentic hope or change, or even mild reform.


Contents of Print Edition


Woodstock Music Festival, 1969. The Fifth Estate was in its fourth year of publication and was part of the counter-culture music scene as much as the anti-war and resistance movements of the times. The festival gave the then-tabloid paper press passes and bought a full-page ad.

On the Cover

Stephen Goodfellow’s art once again graces our front page as it has in numerous previous issues. The Non Serviam ball is also his creation. See goodfelloweb.com


Various Authors
Letters Our readers respond

We welcome your opinions.

Please send us your comments and ideas about what we have published by letter (typed or handwritten), email, or social media.

Address information is at our website: www.fifthestate.org

Florida Kollective

I’m writing on behalf of our small and growing kollective in northeast Florida.


Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Anarchist Violence or State Violence? Anarchists are portrayed as the boogeyman by the media, but governments are the real source of organized violence.

The question of violence as a revolutionary tactic is neither new nor unfairly associated with anarchists, although debate has recently emerged over its use by Black Blocs during mass demonstrations, including Occupy events. [See FE, Summer 2012; John Zerzan, “The Vagaries of the Left.”]

However, many are quick to insist that breaking bank windows or torching police cars doesn’t constitute violence but rather should more precisely be described as property damage or political vandalism [Hey, the original Vandals carried out a final blow to a pretty nasty empire].


Jeff Shantz
Taking it OFF the streets! From Ritual to Resistance — A new world can’t be built in the streets. Making resistance real means creating an alternate social structure.

The Occupy mobilizations of the last year have offered to many some hope for a renewal of popular movements and alternatives to state capitalist arrangements Yet, perhaps few recurring events show the great disparity that exists between activist subcultures and broader working class and poor communities in North America than the privileging of street protests and demonstrations within activist practices.


John Zerzan
London Calling John Zerzan in London, but not for the Olympics

The first half of August 2012 found my wife Alice and I in London, but not for the Olympic Games. The nonprofit contemporary art gallery Raven Row invited me to participate in a series of talks and displays titled “The Real Truth: A World’s Fair.”

The talks took place on successive weekends at the gallery on Artillery Lane in the East End just north of Whitechapel. We arrived too late to take in the first one on the history of wor


Jonny Ball
A Changing Vietnam After decades of war and revolution, a communist country looks increasingly like the capitalist countries it fought against.

Having lived and worked in Vietnam for a year now, I have only a slightly better understanding of the country than when I first arrived. This is a country of extremely complex paradoxes and antagonisms. I remain dumbfounded by the disparities, hypocrisies and corruption that are endemic at every level of every institution.


Fifth Estate Collective
Art in Support of Political Prisoners Marie Mason and Kelly Poe Exhibit: “What keeps you sane?”

When you receive a phone call or a letter from Marie Mason, the Green Scare pri

Kelly Poe’s photo of Marie Mason’s image of sanity and chair, table, and book.

soner serving the longest sentence for eco-sabotage, one is almost startled at how buoyant she is, filled with questions about what you’re doing and wanting to give her opinion on what is happening in the world.


Goldie Silence
Inquisition 2012 Northwest federal grand jury targets anarchists. Activists jailed for their resistance to the attempt to criminalize a philosophy.

As of early November, three people were detained in the SeaTac Federal Detention Facility near Seattle because of their refusal to provide a federal grand jury with information about anarchist beliefs and associations.

Federal government prosecutors claim they are investigating violent actions at demonstrations, but the Portland-based Committee Against Political Repression says the extensive surveillance, SWAT raids, and grand jury subpoenas are not simply a response to a few broken windows, but an effort to criminalize the political philosophy of anarchism.


Kelly Pflug-Back
Life in the Body Dump How Prisons Warehouse Discarded Women

At 47, Edith Marie Price shows more than a few signs of wear. While her mannerisms generally convey a buoyant and carefree geniality, her face’s gauntness betrays the ravages of decades of intravenous drug use, poverty, and the inevitable progression of HIV. Even when she laughs, her dark eyes seem to sparkle with the disarming intensity of all that they have seen.


Fifth Estate Collective
Kelly Pflug-Back Sentenced — Issue 388 The two accounts below of the sentencing of Kelly Pflug-Back, illustrate the gulf between alternative and mainstream journalism. The writing in the latter comes from Canada’s Toronto-based, right-wing, The National Post.

Kelly Pflug-Back sentenced to 15 months for attacks in Toronto

by Fifth Estate

Fifth Estate writer and editor, Kelly Rose Pflug-Back, was sentenced by a Canadian court July 19 to 15 months in prison for militant actions carried out by a Black Bloc contingent during protests at the 2010 Toronto G20 meeting.


Valerie Morse
Operation 8: Terror Down Under New Zealand government repression against Maori people and their supporters

Ka whawhai tonu matou. Ake! Ake! Ake!--“We will fight forever and ever and ever.”

-- Rewi Maniapoto, leader of the armed resistance against colonial settlement in New Zealand, at the Battle of Orakau, 1864

It is hard to imagine the reach of the United States if you have never lived outside of it. In New Zealand, it is pervasive and simultaneously invisible: ideas, culture, and laws are imported and imposed. Following 9/11, New Zealand (NZ) jumped to ratify its own version of the US Patriot Act.


Jenny from Sacramento Prisoner Support
Three from Cleveland 4 Sentenced — Issue 388 Government provocateur invented crime claims more victims.

Three entrapped anarchists, part of the Cleveland 4, were sentenced November 21 to harsh but lighter prison terms than what the federal prosecutors requested for an alleged conspiracy to blow up a highway bridge near Cleveland on May Day.

Three of the Cleveland 4, Douglas Wright, Connor Stevens, and Brandon Baxter, received 11 years, eight years, and almost ten years respectively on federal terrorism charges, followed by lifetime probation. The fourth, Joshua Stafford, as of this writing, is in a federal facility undergoing competency testing.


Miles Pouchez
Drones Terminators guided by algorithms

A July 13, 2012 New York Times article, “That’s No Phone. That’s My Tracker,” by Peter Maass, suggests that we should consider smartphones, computers, and other connected devices as tracking machines rather than appliances of personal convenience.

The manufacturers of these now ubiquitous gadgets claim that aggregating data about individuals favors the consumer, so when you visit a web page, it might display ads relevant to your tastes and needs. But it’s widely speculated that far more sinister use is made of this information--that the government enjoys a cozy relationship with the private data gatherers, that information can and will be used against us, and/ or to the advantage of the military-industrial complex.


John Zerzan
The Sea Last remaining lair of unparalleled wildness. Too big to fail?

The whole world is being objectified, but Melville reminds us of all that remains. “There you stand, lost in the infinite series of the sea.” What could be more tangible, more of a contrast with being lost in the digital world, where we feel we can never properly come to grips with anything?

Oceans are about time more than space, “as if there were a correlation between going deep and going back,” he writes. The Deep is solemn; linking, in some way, all that has come before. Last things and first things. “Heaven,” by comparison, is thin and faintly unserious.


Fifth Estate Collective
Call for Submissions for FE #389

Deadline: April 15

Issue Theme: Sex

Your ideas for news articles, essays, and art are welcome. Submit manuscripts for short pieces and proposals for longer essays, along with graphics and photographs to: fe--AT--fifthestate.org or Fifth Estate, PO Box 201016, Ferndale, MI 48220, USA. Please put “Submission 389” on the subject line of email.

What do we learn in school that couldn’t be learned elsewhere?

Why do we send our kids to school? We’ve been told that it is in elementary school that the bases of learning to read, write, and do math are acquired, although anyone who spends any time with children can clearly see that children want to learn what we do. They want to learn to read if they see us reading, to write if they see us writing, and to count if they see us counting.


Fifth Estate Collective
Schools: Kicking the Animal Out of You Education Theme Intro

Fifth Estate staffer, playwright, and madcap prankster, the late Pat Halley, once wrote in these pages, “The purpose of education is to kick the animal out of you.” That is, to make individuals conform to a society based on constraint of one’s desires and autonomy. This is true to one degree or another of every culture although within the modern state and capitalist social order, this is carried out to the extreme by the necessities of their definitions.


A short history of schools

The word school comes from the Latin word schola meaning “free time consecrated to learning,” an institution idealized by the philosophers and ideologues and perceived as being a socially valued category, in opposition to the sphere of manual or productive labor.

In early civilizations, school was created by scribes and other government functionaries who occupied religious and administrative posts. Among the ancient Greeks, school had the purpose of training future soldiers before it was transformed to teach philosophy and rhetoric by the Sophists for the children of the rich who would never have to work.


Bruce E. Levine
Anti-Authoritarian Personalities & Standard Schools Are “Behavior Problems” More Accurately Rebellion Against Authority?

Mark Twain, one of America’s most beloved anti-authoritarians, gave young people sound advice: “Never let your schooling get in the way of your education.” Do most schools teach us:

* To be self-directed--or directed by others?

* That relationships should be respectful--or manipulated by rewards and punishments?


Maria Forti
Becca Yu

The Quebec Student Strike Red Squares, Black Flags And Casseroles

March in support of the 2012 Quebec student strike. Banner reads, “When injustice is the law; resistance is our duty.’

The 2012 Quebec student general strike lasted for six months, between February and September. Participation peaked at around 300,000 out of 420,000 university and CEGEP (junior colleges) students in the province. During the high points, demonstrations took to the streets multiple times daily with growing militancy met with rampant police violence, especially during marches taking place after dark.


Norman Nawrocki
The Orchestra

7:58 pm

in this quiet, working class

Montreal residential neighbourhood

the orchestra starts

one person

walks slowly down her stairs

sets a solitary rhythm

taps a pot with an egg beater

looks around hopefully

8 pm

half way down the block

a smiling grandfather

and his shy teen grandson

leave their apartment


Marike Reid-Gaudet
Unschooling and Free Schools So education can begin

I’m interested in unschooling because it’s an applied philosophy rather than a teaching method. This philosophy, which I strive to use daily with my son, who is now 16 years old, is also the one used in free schools. For me, this approach to life and to children’s’ development encourages independence, confidence, and pleasure in living. Experiencing unschooling with my son has permitted us to go beyond the simple accumulation of knowledge.


Kate Smash
Esther Martin

New Orleans Free School Network We are all students. We are all teachers.

“In the New Orleans Free School Network, people are there because they want to be. There are no grades, people are free to participate, but they don’t have to.”

This is how John Clark, Loyola University professor, activist, and a network founding organizer, understands the difference between traditional education and the alternative he and others established in 2010.


Ron Sakolsky
Occupying the Citadels of the Mind A Review of Two Insurgent Documents from the Frontlines of Educational Revolt (2009–2012)

a review of

After the Fall: Communiques from Occupied California by Aragorn! Edited by Little Black Cart Books, Berkeley, 2010. This free newsprint publication is presently out of print, but can be downloaded at afterthefallcommuniques.info.

One of the key essays, “We Are The Crisis,” appears in Occupy Everything: Anarchists in the Occupy Movement, 2009 2011 by Aragorn!, Little Black Cart Books, Berkeley, 2012, 258pp, $15


Robert Joe Stout
Mexico: Realities of Tourism Behind the curtain lies the real country visitors rarely see

As happens frequently in Mexico, police responded to a 2006 protest in the city of Oaxaca by
indiscriminately beating demonstrators and bystanders.

“Leave us your money and go home” isn’t published in Mexico’s tourist propaganda, but is the underlying theme behind promoting maquilado Mexico (“Mexico cosmeticized”).


Megan Kinch
Toronto’s Free School It Takes A Community

Anarchist experiments in education in the Toronto area reflect a history of brief spaces carved out from commercialism, of flowerings of liberation followed by the seeds of the next project to emerge.

Experiments in popular education or free schools have often co-existed with experiments in collective living, and have also been tied to particular waves of activism, following radical Brazilian educator Paulo Freire’s theories that liberation education only works when tied to a project of human liberation in general. Anarchist movements in urban areas, like Toronto and nearby cities, thrive in spaces at once marginal and central, and freeschools have emerged along with them.


Paul J. Comeau
William Gibson: unintended prophet of our digital future

a review of

Distrust That Particular Flavor by William Gibson. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York. Hardcover, 259 Pages, $26.95

For over thirty years William Gibson has been the unintended prophet of our digital future. The award-winning author of Neuromancer, Virtual Light, and a string of other best-selling science fiction novels, Gibson’s writings have not only presaged the future in many ways, but also serve as critiques on the present in which they were written.


Fifth Estate Collective
W W A D What Would Anarchists Do?



Anarchy 101</em>, edited by Dot Matrix, is a crowd-sourced introduction to anarchist ideas. The content comes from the website anarchy101.org, which poses and answers ongoing questions it receives. They represent the best responses from dozens of contributors to hundreds of queries about the “Beautiful Idea: this thing called anarchy,” as Ardent Press, the book’s publisher, puts it. See ardentpress.com.


Penelope Rosemont
Time & Reality

a review of

None of This Is Real by Miranda Mellis, Sidebrow Books, San Francisco, 2012, 115 pp., $18, sidebrow.net.

Leonora Carrington, the great surrealist creator of paintings and stories, is quoted as saying, “The duty of the right eye is to plunge into the telescope, whereas the left eye interrogates the microscope.”


Dave Not Bombs
Recipe for Change

a review of

Hungry for Peace: How you can help end poverty and war with Food Not Bombs by Keith McHenry. See Sharp Press, Tucson, 2012, 180 pp., $18.95

Even after three decades of Food Not Bombs (FNB) volunteers sharing meals, smiles and good times with anyone who happens to pass by, the authorities still don’t seem very inclined to give members of the direct action anti-hunger group their proper respect.