Various Authors
Letters Our readers respond

Send letters to fe — at — fifthestate — dot — org or Fifth Estate, POB 201016, Ferndale MI 48220. All formats accepted, including typescript & handwritten; letters may be edited for length.

Until we all win

I now live in London, England, but back in 1968 I lived in Walled Lake, Michigan, not far from Detroit. I was in the 10th grade and angry about Viet Nam.


Leave Your Hat On! Stylish protection against surveillance


Someday, it’s possible that surveillance technology may become sophisticated enough to read your mind as you’re walking down the street. If that dystopian future comes to pass, you’ll probably want one of these stylish thought-blocking accessories: When they detect scanning technology in action, they’ll distract you with a zap or a flashing light.


Fifth Estate Collective
What is Anarchy? Intro to Issue 391

A book published several years ago purported to define for its readers what anarchism is and what it isn’t. Probably only the writer was satisfied with his definitions since adherents to anarchy come in many varieties.

However, delete the hyphenated suffix (anarchist-communist or anarcho-syndicalist, etc.) and all perspectives agree that the political state and the capitalist economy have since their inception been destructive of human freedom.


Fifth Estate Collective
Contents of Print Edition

*Articles with Asterisk have extended versions on our web site.

4 Anarchists & Sex Work

Aaron Lakoff

6 Wholly Shit — Church Reviews


7 Grand Jury Resister Freed

*8 Education as Domestication of Inner Space

Layla AbdelRahim

11 Agriculture History Misses Mark

John Zerzan

12 Ken Kesey & the Merry Pranksters


Aaron Lakoff
Anarchists & Sex Work Solidarity or Abolition?

Responses welcome; see Questions & Guidelines in this issue.

Which is most consistent with anarchist ideals? Supporting sex workers as an act of solidarity or calls to stop men from consuming women’s bodies?

On December 20, 2013, many anarchists and radical feminists in Canada celebrated an historic ruling of the country’s Supreme Court which unanimously struck down three major laws regulating prostitution, effectively paving the way for the decriminalization of sex work. The laws prohibited the operation of a “common bawdy house” (a brothel), communication for the purposes of sex work, and living from the proceeds of prostitution. The government of Canada now has one year to rewrite the laws.


Wholly Shit Church reviews from a serious punk

Last September, I started going to church every Sunday. I go to a different one every time, often of wildly different denominations. I usually go with a friend or two and then write a church review for my blog. I’m not religious, and so extremely far from spiritual, but my goal isn’t to prove that christianity is a load of bullshit. If that’s your trip, ok, but that’s just too easy, and ultimately boring.


Grand Jury Resister Jerry Koch Freed!

On January 28, a guard woke anarchist grand jury resister Jerry Koch in his cell and told him to get ready for court. They handed him some thin prison sweats and cotton slippers, then kicked him out in downtown New York City without even a phone call. He had to run six blocks in fifteen-degree weather to his lawyers’ office.


Layla AbdelRahim
Education as the Domestication of Inner Space

Note: A shorter version of this article appears in the print edition.

We are taught since early childhood that everything in the world exists in a food chain as a “resource” to be consumed by those higher up the chain and concurrently as the consumer of “resources” that are lower in this predatory hierarchy. We are also told that life in the wild is hungry, fraught with mortal danger and that civilization has spared us a short and brutish existence. As children, we thus come to believe that life in civilization is good for us, in fact even indispensable for our very survival.


Fifth Estate Collective
Questions & Guidelines for Responses on Sex Work Article

On Page 4, Aaron Lakoff begins a discussion bearing further conversation. Letters limit: 250 words; ideas for essays should be submitted. See our contact info here.

Things to consider which will expand the discussion:

Can sex work be contained within capitalist wage work as solely another job category or does the nature of it deserve special definition and analysis?


John Zerzan
A History of Agriculture Misses the Mark

a review of

A History of Agriculture: From the Neolithic Age to the Current Crisis by Marcel Mazoyer & Laurence Roudart. Monthly Review Press, 2006, 528 pp., $50 paperback

Monthly Review was established in 1949 as a Marxist, Soviet-oriented Stalinist journal. In recent years it has changed its stripes somewhat, now pushing, for example, a green/eco Marx (!) and a reformist outlook. The latter outlook typifies Mazoyer and Roudart’s History of Agriculture which bills itself as “a path breaking and panoramic work.”


Mike Peters
Ken Kesey & the Merry Pranksters 50 Years On Weird Load

Ken Kesey in 1997, with his bus “further,” a descendant of the vehicle that carried him and the Merry Pranksters on their 1964 trip across the U.S.

Fifty years ago, July 1964, a 1939 school bus furnished with bunk beds, basic kitchen facilities, and wired-up audio equipment, sets out from Palo Alto, California to journey across America. It is painted in bright psychedelic colors with the destination sign of, “Further,” on the front and, “Caution: Weird Load,” on the rear. It carries on board ten or so 60s drop-outs from various walks of life, as the bus makes its erratic way towards Route 60 and the road to New York.


Fifth Estate Collective
Gary Grimshaw 1946–2014


The passing of graphic artist, Gary Grimshaw, is mourned by his family and all those who knew him, as well as the rock and art community.

Gary was internationally known for his rock posters that began with those he created for Detroit’s Grande Ballroom in the late 1960s and early 70s. A friend of Detroit’s influential MC5 band and the Fifth Estate, he designed logos for both including the one for our then tabloid newspaper on the opposite page.


Jim Feast
Making the Impossible Community Possible How do we create new eco-communitarian anarchist structures? What current models exist?

a review of

The Impossible Community: Realizing Communitarian Anarchism by John P. Clark. Bloomsbury, 2013, 272 pp., $30 paper; $120 hardback; bloomsbury.com

John Clark’s The Impossible Community is something of a mixed bag or should I say a treasure trove? Clark describes himself as an eco-communitarian anarchist theorist and activist. He lives and works in New Orleans where his family has been for twelve generations.


Jonny Ball
Hypocrisies of the Left In their search for leaders to revere, socialist sects defend the worst dictators, but they’ve done this since the days of Stalin & Mao

The hypocrisies of hierarchical political organizations know no bounds. Of this we can be certain. However, we shouldn’t be cajoled into thinking that the political right have a monopoly on contradiction and duplicity.

As far as it plays the game of modern power politics, the inconsistencies and follies of The Left (comprised of communists and socialists) rival those of any rightist grouping. The modern-day disciples of the dead men with beards are by no means immune to the worst effects of dogmatism and myopia.


Peter Dudink
Our Revolution Religion as impediment

Today we live in a psychopathic civilization. It’s not a pleasant conclusion to arrive at, but perhaps it can spur us to build an alternative a thousand times better than the current planetary disaster. Why not? It’s within our reach. All we need is a concerted effort to revolutionize every aspect of life.


Fifth Estate Collective
Mutual Aid Saves Fifth Estate

We came close to a disaster during preparation of this edition, but due to the incredible mutual aid offered by readers and supporters, we have come out stronger than ever. We were very close to our publication deadline when our computer crashed! We could have lost all of our work, plus, we needed to spend almost a thousand dollars on a new machine.


D. Sands
Fifth Estate interview with Chilean anarchists

Despite years of dictatorship and no-holds-barred neoliberal economics, Chile has proved to be fertile ground for anarchism in recent years. What has emerged is a socially-engaged class-conscious movement, active in both student and worker struggles that is determined to remake society from below.

Two members of this movement recently visited Detroit to talk about the current situation in their home country. Gabriel Ascuai is a biology student involved with the Libertarian Student Front (FEL in Spanish). Pablo Abufom is a translator and philosophy researcher who works with the bookstore Librería Proyección and the newspaper, Solidaridad in Santiago.


Bob McGlynn
Neither East Nor West How a small group of anarchists took on the Soviet Union and won!

During the Cold War period, there was a sector of anarchists/left-libertarians in the West who took special interest in developments and repression in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries.

Their interest was in part due to the ultra-closed nature of Soviet Bloc societies and the lack of information about activism within them that wasn’t Western oriented.


scott crow
Anarchy: A letter for insurgent dreamers

“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

-- Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

What is anarchy? That question and its impacts have reverberated before and since the elusive idea was named in the 1800s Europe. The concepts of freedom and liberation from authority, whether individual, community or state have existed probably since before humans could speak.


Jesse D. Palmer
Autonomous Zones Space for Anarchist Organizing

Since 1995, I’ve helped compile the radical contact list that Berkeley’s Slingshot collective publishes each year in its Organizer calendar date book. The 2014 list runs 21 pages and features autonomous spaces and projects in 45 states and dozens of foreign countries.

The Organizer pocket version classic is a 176 page pocket planner with radical dates for every day of the year, the contact list, a menstrual calendar, information on police repression, plus other features. There is also a large-size version with a spiral wire binding and is twice the size of the smaller classic.


Alex Knight
The Paradox of Capitalism & Magnetic Anarchist Strategy How do we live within capitalism, immersed in its institutions, and still fight against it?

1. There is a paradox at the heart of the global capitalist power structure we live in. It is the result of two contradictory truths.

2a. The first truth is that capitalism is destroying our planet. Through global warming, extinction, impoverishment, racism, sexism, homophobia, propaganda, war, the burgeoning security state, computerized isolation, and more, it is literally killing us.


Fifth Estate Collective
With Conviction: Art and Letters from Behind Prison Walls


“With Conviction: Art and Letters from Behind Prison Walls,” was displayed in January at Sacramento’s Exhibit S Gallery featuring prisoner art, letters, and zines. Chicago-based Anthony Rayson and Michael Ploski, amassed hundreds of pieces of original artwork rarely before exhibited beyond prison walls including four acrylics from Marie Mason seen above.


Marie Mason
Prison Visit

Prison is

Hushed and heavy

Like water near the Ocean’s floor,

Then loud and bitter,

Like fractious storms lashing the sky

Everything cement and nerves

And too many years gone by...

The heart requires a place to rest

From all its maddened wanderings

The raft of the Medusa tossed

And trembling in the sea.


Ron Sakolsky
“Y” Is A Crooked Letter

What kind

of anarch

am I

on my

best days?

The kind

that eludes

the prisons of

“ists” and “isms”

for the


of the



That is

the question.


my childhood


my mother


my incessant


of her


(my why-ning

as she called it)

with her favorite




is a

crooked letter.”


Jason Rodgers
Insurrections of Imagination A Speculative Review

a review of

The Collected Writings of Renzo Novatore. Translated by Wolfi Landstreicher. Ardent Press, 2012, $13, 300 pp., ardentpress.org

The Italian insurrectionary and individualist anarchist, Renzo Novatore (the pen name of Abele Rizieri Ferrar, 1890–1922), died at the brink of a great confrontation with Fascism. His comrade Enzo Martucci claimed that at his death, Novatore “was preparing to strike at society and tear from it that which it denies the individual.” Unfortunately, he died in a gun battle with carabinieri in 1922 who had ambushed him.


David Finkel
Anarchists Against the Wall Anarchism Confronting Apartheid In Israel

a review of

Anarchists Against the Wall: Direct Action and Solidarity with the Palestinian Popular Struggle, Edited by Uri Gordon and Ohal Grietzer, AK Press, 2013 139 pages, $12. akpress.org

“Two States for Two Peoples--Two States Too Many,” has to be one of my favorite slogans coming from the against-all-odds struggle for a human future in Palestine and Israel.


Mark Leier
What today’s activists can learn from “the father of anarchism” The Continuing Relevance of Michael Bakunin

Bakunin is often credited with being the “father of anarchism.” While he rejected the title, he was the first to write extensively, systematically, and explicitly on anarchist principles. These ranged from organization from the bottom up, the rejection of the state and the vanguard party, the nature of the social, as opposed to the political, revolution, the nature of authority, and communism.


Gyorgy Furiosa
Interlude: Riot! Only pent-up rage or potential for creating autonomous urban space?

In August 2011, thousands of people rioted in several London boroughs and cities and towns across England after a protest in Tottenham following the death of an area youth who was shot to death by police. The resulting looting, arson, and mass deployment of police were called “BlackBerry riots” because people used mobile devices and social media to organize.


Peter Lamborn Wilson
Mallarmé: Anarchist Poetry & Anarchy in Belle Epoque France

“...all poets are outlaws.”

--Stephane Mallarmé, The Evolution of Literature (1891)

Art historians, literary historians and theorists seldom bother to learn anything about their subjects outside their own little bailiwicks, especially when it comes to anarchism.

A painter or poet might have been an anarchist, but entire biographies and studies of him or her can be (and are) written without mentioning the fact. If any academic bothers to notice the matter, it will be done perfunctorily and with embarrassment.


David Porter
In Revolutionary Spain, Workers Made the Anarchist Vision Real Book review

a review of

Anarchism and Workers’ Self-Management in Revolutionary Spain by Frank Mintz. AK Press, 2013, 326pp., $19, akpress.org

Following his brief synopsis about the Spanish anarchist movement before 1936, the central concern of French anarchist Frank Mintz is the very core of the 1930s Spanish revolution--the grassroots movement of urban and rural collectivization throughout republican Spain.


Margaret Killjoy
Portrait of a Snitch Documentary examines the mind of FBI informant, Brandon Darby

a review of

Informant: A documentary directed and written by Jamie Meltzer. Information at informantdoc.com; also Netflix.

In Jamie Meltzer’s 2012 documentary, “Informant,” we’re taken into the home and mind of the FBI informant of the title, Brandon Darby, infamous within U.S. anarchist circles for responsibility for the arrests and conviction of activists during the 2008 Republican National Convention.


Fifth Estate Collective
Books and Publications received

Cazzaarola!: Anarchy, Romani, Love, Italy by Norman Nawrocki, PM Press, 2013, 300 pp, $18, pmpress.org. Anarchy and the anti-fascist struggle in 20th century Italy and the oppression of the Roma and other immigrants in contemporary Italy are intertwined in this excellent novel.

Anarchy! An Anthology of Emma Goldman’s Mother Earth, edited with commentary by Peter Glassgold, Counterpoint Press, 2012, 458 pp, $22.95, counterpointpress.com, is a new and expanded edition of this collection of work drawn from the pages of Goldman’s wildly anarchic magazine, which she and others published between 1906 and 1917, until it was suppressed by the government. These century old articles remain relevant and exciting today.


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Five Ways to Help 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.

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Quincy B. Thorn
Fifth Estate on the Web A guide to the Web presence of Fifth Estate staff, writers, and friends

Longtime contributor Penelope Rosemont has given the Fifth Estate a great many articles and graphics, all of them insightful and inciting to revolt (See her Fall 2013, “The Poisonous Cobra of Surrealism” essay). Her achievements go beyond writing and graphic arts. In 1966, along with her late comrade and partner, Franklin Rosemont, she was instrumental in founding the Chicago Surrealist Group.


Fifth Estate Collective
Call for Submissions Fifth Estate Fall 2014

Deadline: July 1

Publication date: August 1

Issue Theme: Art & Anarchy. The creative spirit of anarchy often acts as muse in all aspects of the arts, historically and today. We welcome your help in celebrating this in essays and graphics. Also, general articles in keeping with the ideas of this publication are sought.