Various Authors
Letters Our readers respond

Send letters to fe@fifthestate.org or Fifth Estate, POB 201016, Ferndale MI 48220

All formats accepted including typescript & handwritten; letters may be edited for length.

Original Trauma?

I appreciate Chellis Glendinning’s criticisms of modern, Western civilization, including modern agriculture, which has been highly detrimental to ecological and social balance in the world. (See “Linear Perspective, Fences & Nature’s Glory,” FE #396, Summer 2016.)


Fifth Estate Collective
Contents of print edition

Cover photo: Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army in Edinburgh, Scotland.

4 Insurgent Rebel Clown Army

L.M. Bogad

7 Cultural Appropriation & Shaming

Rod Dubey

9 The Myth of Che Guevara


11 Ukrainian & Russian Repression

FE Staff

12 The Legacy of Omar Aziz

Leila Al Shami

14 Left Abets Genocide in Syria


Fifth Estate Collective
Fuck Authority The Poster That Keeps on Going!


When someone on the Fifth Estate staff over 40 years ago came up with the slogan, Fuck Authority, it was printed as a 29” X 22” poster and tucked inside a 1975 issue of the publication, then a monthly tabloid.

On the reverse side was a catalog of titles offered through the paper’s bookstore which was housed in the same space as its public office.


Fifth Estate Collective
Issue intro Time to Begin!

As we send this issue to the printer, the ghastly Shit Show known as the 2016 American presidential election has not yet concluded, although it will be over when you read this.

While one of the candidates expressed definitively more openly bigoted and authoritarian ideas, neither challenged the basic equation of life within the state and capitalism. The horrors of war, racism, environmental collapse, and oppression will continue regardless of the electoral outcome.


L.M. Bogad
Playing in the Key of Clown Reflections on the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army


Related: Clown Army Recruiting Poster

At the July 2005 Carnival for Full Enjoyment in Edinburgh, Scotland, riot police mass on the streets with shields and truncheons, fireproof armor; all very imposing. They use their shields to shove protesters, who are dancing in the street without a permit.

But these are no run of the mill protesters. They are the trained cadres of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (CIRCA), which, since its 2003 founding, has been spreading across the world.


Fifth Estate Collective
Clown Army Recruiting Poster

<strong>Related: Playing in the Key of Clown


<strong>Why join the U.S. Armed Forces

when you can join the Rebel Clown Army instead?!</strong>

The U.S. army is no picnic and actually is far worse. Tons of money is poured into the recruiting campaign offering false promises. Our soldiers are being manipulated, fooled, and thrown into horrific situations. For the benefit of corporations and war-profiteers far away from the battlefield.


Rod Dubey
Cultural Appropriation and Shaming Dreads & Mohawks: To Whom Do They Belong?

On college campuses, in urban squats, at hip city venues, and at anarchist events, one often sees young white people sporting dreadlocks or Mohawk haircuts. However, there has been an increasingly aggressive push-back by those who designate this as cultural appropriation and are confronting and shaming those they deem guilty of the practice.


The Myth of Che Guevara Live Like him?

Since the 1960s, Ernesto (Che) Guevara has been celebrated in leftist circles, and even among some anarchists, as the model of a revolutionary. A wide variety of musical and theater productions, political posters, T-shirts, bumperstickers, as well as advertisements for vodka, jeans, laundry soap, and promotions for church attendance bear his iconic image and proclaim: “Che, live like him!”


Ukrainian and Russian Repression

Over the past year, ruling elites in Russia and Ukraine—often in collaboration with fascist gangs—intensified active repression of those who dare to express dissident points of view on a wide range of topics, from workers’ demands for back pay, to the rights of ethnic minorities, to antifascist activities.


Leila Al Shami
The Legacy of Omar Aziz Building autonomous, self-governing communes in Syria

“A revolution is an exceptional event that will alter the history of societies, while changing humanity itself. It is a rupture in time and space, where humans live between two periods: the period of power and the period of revolution. A revolution’s victory, however, is ultimately achieving the independence of its time in order to move into a new era.”


Bill Weinberg
How the American Left Abets Genocide in Syria

Today, many American leftists are accepting and even promoting the propaganda of the dictatorial regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. They overwhelmingly stand on the side of fascism and genocide in that ravaged country.

Democracy Now! features guests who constantly declare that the Assad regime is the only hope for stability in Syria. It took an online petition to get program host, Amy Goodman, to invite a Syrian activist to appear on the show. Pictured is Yasser Munif of Global Campaign of Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution.


Panagiotis Tsolkas
June 11th Eco-Resistance, Prisons and the Making of an International Anarchist Holiday

June 11 brought activists and revolutionaries from across the country together with former prisoners and family members of prisoners for a weekend gathering in Washington, D.C. for a “Convergence Against Toxic Prisons.”

Around two hundred people participated in two days of networking, strategizing, and listening to black liberation fighters Ramona Africa and Jihad Abdulmumit, and recently-released eco-prisoners Eric McDavid and Daniel McGowan. There was a Monday morning march against the prison system’s legacy of building their warehouses of repression on toxic sites across the country.


Marius Mason Support Group
Marius Mason update Long-Awaited Hormone Therapy Begins


Marius Mason has begun hormone treatment for medical gender transition in a Fort Worth, Texas federal prison after a long awaited decision by officials to allow it.

Mason, assigned female at birth, is an anarchist, environmental activist, and former Fifth Estate writer.

He was sentenced in 2009 to 22 years imprisonment for the 1999 sabotage of a Monsanto laboratory on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing, and is currently held in a highly restrictive unit at Carswell Federal Medical Center.


Barbara Ruth
Some Friends of Mine

I’d like you to meet some friends of mine


women I write to

women in prison.

Last year I decided corresponding with them was a good way to continue my political work

being too disabled to go to meetings or to demonstrations.

Valerie was the first

a Cherokee-Chicana femme doing long time in Nevada prison.

An artist without art supplies,

she sends me cross-hatch portraits of her sister inmates

rendered with ballpoint on lined paper so thin it tears.

She has cystic fibrosis

at 26 she’s getting old

for someone with CF.

She tries not to think about what that means.

After all, she says,

no one at the jail thinks she’s disabled.

Her job includes scrubbing the bathrooms with bleach

three times a week.

I try to figure a way

to smuggle in a charcoal mask.


Jason Rodgers
Crime as Struggle Crime as Spectacle

Law is the framework that props up the state, the matrix that nourishes authority. Law is a web of prohibition and mandate. It is one of the mechanisms that ensure that each individual fills an assigned role. It is a particularly complex and abstract system of power.

While there are attempts to use law in constructive ways, such as discourses on rights and liberties, the law is not something that can be used for liberation. It must be rejected and overcome.


MK Punky
Bank Guard How the Revolution Started (fiction)

He’s outfitted for combat.

Ankle boots; black dungarees; Sam Brown belt with cuffs and mace and other tools of the craft; bulletproof vest; sunglasses; implacable stare.

And a gun, holstered at the moment.

The nametag says whatever you want it to say.

He’s standing in the parking lot, guarding the bank, where inside there must be more money than he will earn in his lifetime.


Bill Weinberg
Bob McGlynn Dies at 60 Visionary of NYC and International Anarchist Scene


Bob McGlynn, a longtime fighter, organizer and visionary in New York City’s anarchist scene, who became known internationally for his solidarity work with activists in the East Bloc, died of a heart attack Aug. 23 at his home in Yonkers. He was 60 years old.

With his long hair, army boots, sleeveless denim jacket and prize-fighter’s build, McGlynn could be taken for a biker. But he was motivated by an intense idealism.


Bob McGlynn
The Psychiatric Industrial Complex Another Anti-Authoritarian Put Away

FE Note: Bob was working on the article below for us about his psychiatric incarceration. It is unfinished, but is 100% Bob, in its rebellious spirit and its idiosyncratic style.

Another Anti-Authoritarian Put Away

My Christmas bombing of Hanoi began March 10, 2016. No it wasn’t years in a federal pen, but 76 days in “mental” hospitals, 5 stays, and being stuck in harassment and “programs” until at a minimum the end of ’16 is enough; it’s like decades—NOBODY fucks with me.


Rafael Uzcategui
Anarchism in Latin America The challenge of abandoning our crutches

Rafael Uzcategui is a member of the editorial collective of the anarchist magazine El Libertario, published in Caracas, Venezuela. The below has been excerpted from an entry which originally appeared on his June 2016 blog in Spanish & has been translated by FE staff.

As anarchists struggling against current forms of domination in Latin America, it is important for us to understand the socio-political conditions that have developed in recent years. We also need to reflect on how anarchists have responded to them.


Barry Pateman
The Spanish Revolution 80 Years On


“History is one more battlefield among the many that exist in the class war. We must learn the lessons of the defeats of the proletariat, because they are the milestones of victory.”

—Agustin Guillamon, Ready for Revolution: The CNT Defense Committees in Barcelona, 1933–1938

In July 1936 there was a military-fascist rebellion against the Spanish bourgeois Republic. It was immediately met by anarchist-inspired armed resistance of the urban proletariat who, after defeating the military rebels in half of Spain, began the revolutionary process of establishing grassroots self-management in expropriated industry.


Victoria G. Smith
Fisherman out of Water

His sunglasses blended with his cropped, black hair, his burnished, obsidian skin toasted from hours toiling under salt-sprayed sun when he’d proudly commandeered, he said, not the rusty white cab cutting through Manila’s Gordian traffic knot, but a sleek, hand-hewn wooden banca,

its bow a knife slicing through the silvery-teal waters off of Masbate Island, taking his place in his age-old clan vocation gathering Neptune’s gifts. But no, not anymore, he said—all these, rejoinders to my polite reply to his innocuous question, how are you, ma’am, as I slid into


Edward Hasbrouck
A New Right for Women Eligible for the U.S. War Machine

No Draft, No Registration, No War

Young women may soon face the same choice at age 18 that men have faced since 1980: whether to register with the Selective Service System for possible military conscription.

Edward Hasbrouck, who wrote this article with others, along the march route of the Mobilization Against the Draft (estimated at 30,000 people), Washington, DC, March 22, 1980. (photo by Craig Glassner)


Jesús Sepúlveda
Deterritorializing the Nation Excerpt from The Garden of Peculiarities

In order to deterritorialize the state it is imperative to oppose militarism and its ideological base, the idea of the nation state. If it were possible to suppress the imaginary of the imagined community, those which exist in the diverse nation-building projects, community would become a real group of people with faces and identifiable names.


Fifth Estate Collective
Bruce Dancis

Draft Card Burning to Stop Vietnam War Q&A

Burning draft cards in NYC 1967

Bruce Dancis’ book Resister: A Story of Protest and Prison (Cornell Press, 2014) chronicles his efforts during the Vietnam War to defy the draft and cripple the U.S. war effort.

Fifth Estate: You tore up your draft card and then led a mass burning of them in 1967.

Bruce Dancis: Very few people wanted to fight in the Vietnam War, even those who supported it. There were 27 million draft age men and 25 million didn’t go into the army.


Eric Laursen
Rebel Friendships What makes a social movement?

Social movements, not establishment reformers, have nurtured and propelled the most important liberatory struggles of the last half-century, from the Civil Rights and Gay Rights struggles to the Feminist Movement to Native American nations recent uprisings against fracking and pipelines.

Social movements create collective engagement, pockets of resistance that “reframe a politics of everyday life,” as activist and academic Ben Shepard writes in his recent book, Rebel Friendships: “Outsider” Networks and Social Movements (2015, Palgrave Macmillan), even as they gather support and ignite overwhelming demands for change.


John Clark
Sam Dolgoff A Life at the center of American anarchism for seventy years

a review of

Left of the Left: My Memories of Sam Dolgoff by Anatole Dolgoff; Introduction by Andrew Cornell. AK Press, 2016, 391 pp., $22.

Anatole Dolgoff is a great story-teller. He does the kind of writing that is rare on the left. It never seems to occur to most political writers that entertaining people is not a bad thing. It occurs all the time to Anatole.


Penelope Rosemont
Why Surrealism? “Deliriously & Simply Total Liberation!”


As we explore routes out of today’s stifling, mechanized, crisis-bound world the FE staff opens the magazine’s pages to many forms of subversive research and many flavors of anarchic revolt.

The Chicago Surrealist group Penelope Rosemont discusses below was inspired by the Surrealist movement that began in Europe in the 1920s. Surrealism is a conscious project for utilizing the discoveries of Freudian psychology to subvert the ruling order by images and words, elaborating forms through which people can express and gratify their repressed desires and challenge societal oppression.


Steve Izma
Foreign Anarchists as Boogyman Monsters Under the Bed

a review of

Transnational Radicals: Italian Anarchists in Canada and the U.S., 1915–1940 by Travis Tomchuk. University of Manitoba Press, 2015, 260 pp.

An illustration early in Travis Tomchuk’s Transnational Radicals demonstrates the popular press’s view of anarchists immediately following the 1886 Haymarket Square Police Riot in Chicago: Johann Most, a radical anarchist, is presented by Harper’s Weekly as a maniacal figure waving a sword and a flag, threatening the reader with “Socialistic War,” while several other well-armed anarchists dive under beds in fear.


Howard Besser
Brazil Impeachment & Left Media

As Bill Weinberg points out (see page 14, this issue), much of the left media shamefully supports odious forces simply because they oppose the U.S. A contemporary example of a significant skewing the facts can be seen in its overwhelmingly biased coverage of the 2016 impeachment of Brazil’s president, Dilma Rouseff.


S. Laplage
Literature not Flyers Review

a review of

Small Beauty by Jia Qing Wilson-Yangas. Metonymy Press, 2016, $16.95 CAD

During a discussion hosted by Montreal’s L’Insoumise anarchist bookstore and DIRA anarchist library, the novelist Lola Lafon was asked how she includes her politics in her novels.

(A review of her 2014 We Are the Birds of the Coming Storm appears in the Summer 2015Fifth Estate.)


Fifth Estate Collective
International Days of Chalking

Activists in Brattleboro, Vt. are calling for an International Day of Chalking Against State Violence, on Saturday, June 3. Autonomous actions with no central coordination; just get your chalks, go out by yourself or with others, and chalk about war, racism, police killings, prisons, sexual assaults or other issues.