Various Authors
Letters to the Editors 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.

Rebellion Celebration?

I moved to Detroit recently from the suburbs, but wasn’t even born when the 1967 Rebellion occurred.


Fifth Estate Collective
Solidarity & Mutual Aid Issue intro

Solidarity and Mutual Aid, two anarchist bedrock principles, are being tested in the real world with the rise of the fascist right.

Although small in numbers, they have gained social and political space as the result of the election of Donald Trump.

We, like many others, pledge they will find no home, no safe haven from which to spread their toxic message of racism and authoritarianism. We will also defend ourselves and at-risk populations from the physical and political threat they pose.


Fifth Estate Collective

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)


Rui Preti
Opposing the Rise of the Far-right Building Solidarity, Protecting Our Communities

These are anarchistic times—times in which increasing numbers of people are resisting the horrors of contemporary society by engaging in direct action without waiting for leaders to tell them what to do. So, it is no surprise that anarchists are once again at the center of fights against the capitalist system and the subjugation of the many to the will of the few.


Jeff Shantz
Defending Ourselves Self-defense based on mutual aid & solidarity


The rising tide of fascism and organized political violence of the Right, particularly the mobilization of street-level right-wing forces, such as the Proud Boys and the Oathkeepers, have returned the question of self-defense to the center of anarchist and antifascist concerns. This has become more burning following the brutal fascist mobilization and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia in August. The murder there of Heather Heyer by a neo-Nazi gives the issue of self-defense life or death importance.


Fifth Estate Collective
Antifa Under Attack from “Many Sides” & Doxxing Right-Wing Sets Agenda; Liberals Join In

Coming out of antifa smashups with fascists, in Charlottesville and Berkeley in August, condemnation of those physically fighting the alt-right has given new life to Trump’s charge that “many sides” are responsible for violence at anti-fascist actions.

And, some on the left are contributing to this.


Paul Walker (Peter Werbe)
In Defense of Self-Defense Thoughts on violence & martial arts

THWACK! My fighting stick landed exactly where I aimed it—diagonally across the face of a fascist who was trying to rip down a banner a friend and I were holding, to which the stick was attached.

The blow struck him with such velocity that it snapped his head back while a rosette of blood gushed forth from his broken nose and split lips intermingled with a piece of a tooth and broken lenses from his glasses.


Mainers Against the Klan! A Brief History of Maine’s Resistance to the KKK

It’s Late February in central Maine. A group of anarchists and other anti-racists have gathered at the Margaret Chase-Smith bridge in Skowhegan to respond to recent Ku Klux Klan activity around the state.

Anti-Racist Action says “No,” to the Klan in Skowhegan, Maine in Feb. 2017

Anti-Racist Action Maine put out the call to condemn these racist terrorists. Mainers are out on the streets to let our neighbors know we will defend each other from KKK terror. This is not a plea for the authorities to protect us. Only we can protect ourselves.


Bill Weinberg
The Anarchist Alternative in Cuba

A former community center that hosted a youth rock scene is now being occupied by activists, seemingly ignored by the authorities. A few blocks away, urban farms are bright patches of green in the landscape, producing vegetables and fruits for the community.

Oakland? Detroit? Manhattan’s Lower East Side?


Jason Rodgers
The X-Files Subversive Ideas & Recuperative Media

The X-Files, the science fiction television series that aired from 1993 to 2002, featured fictional FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully concerned with unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena and aliens. Its popularity was such that it made many young people aspire to be FBI agents of the same type. However, I never wanted to be Mulder or Scully. I wanted to be a member of the Lone Gunmen, three geeks on the program who published a conspiracy research zine which was often Mulder’s source for information related to his cases.


Fifth Estate Collective
Armed Against Fascism


With “These faggots kill fascists” emblazoned on their banner, an army of international volunteers formed the first LGBT fighting unit to “smash the ISIS caliphate. This July photo shows them raising the rainbow flag in Raqqa, Syria. According to an online statement, The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army, or TQILA, exists to “smash the gender binary...and advance the sexual revolution.”


Bernard Marszalek
The Museum of Capitalism An Oakland pop-up project exhibits the economy

The Museum of Capitalism (MOC), in Oakland, California, was a provocation not solely for being situated in the Jack London waterfront district, a gentrified marina area, but also for occupying a white elephant of a building erected just as the entire US economy collapsed.

The so-called Great Recession of 2007 could just as appropriately be called the Great Economic Coma, and the capacious future food market that the Museum reclaimed for its quarters, stands as the unintended main exhibit—a cadaver of capitalism.


Paul Dalton
Dancing on Capitalism’s Grave

We gather today not to praise capitalism, but to bury it. Rejoice, the great god greed is dead! It lived far too long, laying waste to all it touched. Its chains have been broken, its tentacles severed. The world is free to breathe again; to grow, to flourish, no longer weighed down by this voracious monster.


Fifth Estate Collective
Right Wingers Charged in Seattle Shooting

After a three month investigation, a right wing couple was charged in the January 20 shooting and wounding of an anarchist member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). The assault took place during a protest against the appearance of alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. (See “An Anarchist is Shot in Seattle,” FE #398, Summer 2017.)


Mars Z. Goetia
The Game of not Seeing the Game How do we deal with power relationships within anarchist communities?

“They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.”

—R.D. Laing, Knots

I remember sitting in a circle, making tough decisions about how to respond to a community conflict that had escalated to the point of physical violence. It was a heated discussion. None of us knew what the fuck we were doing. We were angry. We were scared. No one wanted to be wrong.


Fifth Estate Collective
Call for Submissions for Issue #400

Next issue will be our 400th since we began publishing 52 years ago. If you’d like to be part of this historic edition, please send proposals for essays, articles, and fiction to our email address or post office box.

Photographs, art, and poetry are also welcome. Please view our submission and manuscript guidelines on our web site. All submissions should be consistent with our political views.


Errekaleor Bizirik Collective
Basque Country Squat Defense of home in northern Spain

Errekaleor Bizirik is a large squat occupied by over 150 adults and children in Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital city of the Basque Autonomous Community in northern Spain.

Defenders of the Basque Squat are prepared for police assault.

The name, Errekaleor, a contraction of a basque word that means dry river, refers to the plateau on which the neighborhood is situated. Like other large squats in Spain, such as Can Vies (see Fifth Estate, Summer 2017), Errekaleor is resisting police and government efforts to evict the residents.


James C. Scott
The Golden Age of the Barbarians Excerpt from Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States

James C. Scott has written extensively on how people have transitioned from tribal societies to civilization as part of the process of state formation, and how resistance to state domination has occurred in this context.

In Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed and The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia, he explores tools for state control of subjects, such as permanent last names, standardization of Language and legal discourse, regularized weights and measures, records of numbers of people and wealth in land and other property, as well as the design of cities and transportation.


Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons
Anti Toxic Prison Conference Plans Abolition Strategies & Rocks Carswell Noise Demonstration at Prison Gate

From June 2 to 5, the second annual Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons (FTP) hosted its 2017 National Convergence in Denton, Texas, gathering over 200 activists and revolutionaries from across the country to explore the intersections of the environmental movement and the struggle to end mass incarceration.


Cindy Crabb
Victories for Green Scare prisoner Marius Mason Moved from repressive unit; given transgender status

After seven years in a highly secretive, repressive unit of a Texas federal prison for women, environmental Green Scare political prisoner, Marius Mason, has finally been moved into a less restrictive section.


He is now able to go outside, touch the trees, and see the clouds and stars, something he reports he will never take for granted again.


Pepper Kincade
Project FANG Builds Solidarity Through Prison Visits

“They’re in there for us; we’re out here for them!”

—IWW slogan

The fight for our imprisoned comrades can take many forms of solidarity. The protest at Carswell prison in Fort Worth on June 5 was a rowdy and exciting example of what support can look like.

Demonstration at Carswell Federal Prison, June 5, part of the Fight Toxic Prisons conference.—photo: Jordan E. Mazurek


J20 Protesters Answer State Repression with Resistance

People arrested during the January 20 Inauguration Day demonstrations are facing up to 75 years in prison as the Trump administration is bringing the hammer down on protests.


This is being met by an organized legal pushback on the part of the defendants, and by increased solidarity actions.

On January 20 (J20), thousands of people went to Washington D.C. to oppose the inauguration of President Donald Trump. While the day’s events were largely overshadowed in the mainstream media by the Women’s March on January 21—which drew hundreds of thousands of people to the capital—January 20 was an inspirational day of resistance.


Marieke Bivar
Of Sports & Women’s Bodies Book review

a review of

The Little Communist Who Never Smiled by Lola Lafon. Seven Stories Press, 2016, 320 pp. English translation from French by Nick Caistor

“Today, it is an older, wearier Nadia who raises her arms. She leans into a back walkover, but she falters and falls. “I am not a perfect 10 anymore,” Nadia says. “I can only try my best.”

People Magazine, 1990 (she was 28)


Steve Izma
Tramp Printers Freedom within wage work

a review of

The Tramp Printers: Forgotten Trails of the Travelling Typographers by Charles Overbeck. Eberhart Press, 2017

This handsomely and mostly hand-produced book is a tribute to the craft of printing and of historical insight, both of which verge on extinction in the modern world.

Tramp printers, like journeymen in a guild, learned skills as apprentices and then took to the road. Travel and work under different conditions and with a variety of other craftspeople enhanced their skills, but also meant the freedom to leave a workplace whenever they got tired of it.


Punk & Anarchy

a review of

Ethics, Politics, and Anarcho Punk Identifications: Punk and Anarchy in Philadelphia by Edward Anthony Avery-Natale. Lexington Books, 2016, 235 pp.

Like many anarchists who came of age in the 1990s, my first exposure to anarchism came through the punk scene. A friend gave me a cassette tape full of classic punk bands as part of an effort to satisfy my ever expanding interest in punk.


Fifth Estate Collective
Five 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 & GIs.


Fifth Estate Collective
Where Anarchism Meets Surrealism Noted briefly

Birds of a Feather: Flights of the Anarcho-Surrealist Imagination by Ron Sakolsky. Eberhardt Press, 2017 eberhardtpress.org

Anarchists of many tendencies have long fought for freedom of the individual and the realization of solidarity within communities. Surrealists, in and out of formal groupings, have had their own take on modern un-freedom and the potential for subverting it. In parallel, and sometimes together, anarchists and surrealists have fruitfully explored new avenues of revolt.


Franklin Lopez
Anarchist Filmmakers ...Video Tape Guerrillas & Digital Ninjas

a review of

Breaking the Spell: A History of Anarchist Filmmakers, Video Tape Guerrillas and Digital Ninjas by Chris Robé. PM Press, 2017, 468 pages.

Reviewer’s note: I agreed to write this review before being aware that almost an entire chapter is dedicated to an analysis of my video work and that of sub.Media. It also includes some writing about my work with the Vancouver Media Co-op. I know Chris personally, and we’ve eaten tacos and drunk beers together.


Sylvie Kashdan
CIRA at Sixty The International Center for Research on Anarchism archive is an important part of the memory of our movement

Anarchist solidarity can take many forms, including collecting books, pamphlets, and letters. Through such activity, comrades active in the world’s anarchist archives are part of anchoring an important segment of the struggle for a libertarian and egalitarian world.


They are helping to maintain a living connection between present-day anarchist activities and that of yesterday’s rebels whose values and goals continue to inspire.


William Boyer (Bill Boyer)
“Detroit” The Film More Horror Story Than History

a review of

Detroit (2017)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

143 min.

The misnamed film “Detroit” is more about a triple slaying by police than the city’s 1967 Rebellion. It first opened in the Motor City in July, and then nationwide 50 years to the day of the final riot fatality, a firefighter electrocuted trying to put out one of the last of the smoldering fires.


Jack Bratich
Reality Wars Notes on the homicidal state

It is required now to bemoan the fact that the current US President is both a producer and product of Reality TV. Indeed, “reality,” “realty,” and “royalty” are all linked etymologically.

The real-estate tycoon, then, Reality TV boss, now completes the triumvirate by taking on a state executive role by treating it as his own monarchical sovereign seat. Instead of addressing this by seeking to reestablish correspondence-based truth via facts), we would be better off seeing reality as a terrain filled with metamorphosis machines, with subjectivities made and destroyed. We can begin an account of these reality wars by assessing the menagerie of alt-right and neo-fascist street actors emboldened by his victory.


Peter Lamborn Wilson
Life is Not a Machine

I recently read an incredibly annoying article in a 2015 New York Review of Books. This liberal-policy-wonk and literary monthly is run by Secular Humanoids, i.e., people trained by universities in the humanities who worship science more than most scientists, who (having studied science) do not usually confuse it with theology


Voltairine De Cleyre
The Hurricane

Voltairine De Cleyre (1866–1912)

As we face the storms (both literal and figurative) of 2017, we offer a poem by Voltairine De Cleyre, dedicated to the memory of the May 1886 Haymarket strikes and demonstrations in Chicago, and especially to the anarchists murdered for their beliefs by the state.


De Cleyre was born in 1866 into a poor family in Leslie, Michigan. Schooling at a Catholic convent convinced her to reject all religion, and she became a free thinker, dedicated not to God, but to humanity.


John Clark
The Geography of Possibility Simon Springer on the Spaces of Liberation

a review of

The Anarchist Roots of Geography: Toward Spatial Emancipation by Simon Springer. University of Minnesota Press, 2016

Anyone who wants evidence that anarchist geography is alive and well today need only read this book. The author, Simon Springer, is one of the most active anarchist intellectuals today. In 2016, he authored two books and edited five, mostly on anarchist themes, and he has written numerous articles, some technical, but many deeply immersed in contemporary struggles.