Various Authors

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.


Enjoyed your review of John Zerzan’s A People’s History of Civilization, “The Way of the Passenger Pigeon,” by Peter Werbe in FE #401, Summer 2018. In your reviewer’s analogy of civilization being a train heading towards a bridge that is out without the realization of those supping in the dining car, if I enjoy that last supper as it crosses that trestle, is that decadence?


Fifth Estate Collective
Call for Submissions Spring 2019 Fifth Estate

Theme: I Will NOT Obey!

We are seeking analytical articles, news reports, essays, poetry, and fiction on acts of refusal and resistance, either individually or collectively; also graphic illustrations and photographs. Before submitting essays or articles, please read our writer’s guidelines at www.FifthEstate.org.


Fifth Estate Collective
About This Issue

The theme for this issue, Anything Can Happen, originated as the title of a 1968 Fredy Perlman essay at a time when everything did, indeed, seem possible. The ebullience of that era, in which many believed revolution was on the horizon has faded, but the engagement of activist projects in confronting the worst abuses of the system continue apace.


D. Sands
Ice Cream, Anarchy & Forgotten Workers Detroit anti-authoritarians remember Sacco and Vanzetti with ice cream social, assist with one-of-a-kind food-sharing event

In late August, a sizable crowd gathered in a downtown Detroit park well past its glory days to eat chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream...and learn about Sacco and Vanzetti.

The event, known as the Sacco and Vanzetti Ice Cream Social, honored the memory of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two Italian-born anarchists framed for allegedly robbing and killing a paymaster and security guard in South Braintree, Massachusetts in April 1920.


Fifth Estate Collective
Fredy Perlman Anthology Just published!

The Machine and Its Discontents, a collection of writings by Fredy Perlman (1934–1985) has recently been jointly published in the U.K. by Theory and Practice and Active Distribution (theoryandpractice.org.uk and activedistribution.org). Perlman, a prolific writer of radical texts, was a ten-year participant in the Fifth Estate.


John Clark
Anything Can Happen—Or Not May 1968 & the Question of Possibility

“Sous les paves, la plage!” [Under the paving stones, the beach!]

—Revolutionary slogan; Paris 1968

1968 was an “Anything Can Happen” kind of year.

It was the year of the Prague Spring, the Tet Offensive, President LBJ’s abdication, massive student protests, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the police riots at the Chicago Democratic Convention. The most historically momentous occurrence of that year was the May June uprising and general strike by students and workers in France.


Clara Mystif
The Mystification of Voting An Anarchist Critique

Since the 19th century, anarchists have made opposition to representative democracy and electoral politics central to our critique of the state and all forms of hierarchy. As radicals who envision a world without government, we don’t want to lend legitimacy to the system of politicians and parties. The theme of this Fifth Estate issue is Anything Can Happen. This is not an empty slogan!


Paul Walker (Peter Werbe)
Elections have consequences but only direct action will get you satisfaction

“If voting could change anything, it would be illegal.”

—Anarchist anti-electoral slogan

It’s difficult to imagine that there isn’t at least some joy, even among the most ardent electoral abstentionists, about the losses Donald Trump and the Republicans suffered in the November mid-term elections.The party and the president’s final call to continue their hard right agenda based on a relentless campaign of fear and hatred of immigrants was so fascistic that one could easily substitute Jew for those attempting to enter the country at the southern border.


Nick Oltmann
Alt-Right Brain Drain Fascist goon squads remain active, but their media is crumbling

Has an unintended alliance of Silicon Valley censorship, alternative news rebuttals, mainstream journalistic scrutiny, and especially antifa street-fighters, discouraged what passes as the intellectual wing of the most reviled political movement of the last half-century?

Although fascist street attacks continue, the alt-right has been undergoing something of a brain drain in North America recently.


Fifth Estate Collective
Anti-Fascist Theme at Montreal Theatre Fest Excerpt from play about Greek struggle


Norman Nawrocki’s “No way! No way! Trees that Talk” was presented at the 2018 Montreal International Anarchist Theatre Festival, the theme of which was Anti-Fascism. The play is based on the lives of six anarchist, anti-fascist women—four from 20th century opposition in Italy, Spain, Germany and Poland, and two recent ones from Greece and Syria.


Bill Weinberg
Cuba Turns ‘Green Scare’ Fugitive Over to US Are The Black And Puerto Rican Exiles in the Country Safe?


Joseph Mahmoud Dibee, a fugitive animal-rights activist, was intercepted by Cuban authorities in early August and turned over to the FBI.

Popped by Cuban cops on an INTERPOL Red Notice, Dibee was flown to Portland, Ore., where he pleaded not guilty to taking part in a 1997 arson attack on a meatpacking plant—the first of several charges he faces.


Jack Bratich
Discordia Americana Restoration Wars and Social Maneuvers: Is political and social chaos an opportunity for revolution or for further clampdown?

Daily life has a new rhythm: routine disruptions. DPacing an accelerated news cycle and affective bursts from smart phone notifications, our subjective autonomous systems are increasingly synced up with crisis-state and techno security tempos.

We don’t know what the next surprise is going to be, but we know it’s coming.


Fifth Estate Collective
Government Green Scare Continues Free Joseph Dibee & all environmental and animal rights prisoners!

In the 1990s, environmentalists and animal rights activists engaged in campaigns to put a stop to climate change, animal exploitation, and the destruction of biodiversity. They shut down board meetings, interrupted construction projects, organized demonstrations and sit-ins, held public outreach events at punk shows and vegan potlucks, liberated animals from captivity, and occasionally utilized vandalism, sabotage, and arson against corporations involved in particularly egregious behavior.


Jeff Shantz
Not Over Till It’s Over TransMountain Pipeline Suspended, But Resistance Must Continue

Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal ruled in August against the government, effectively suspending the TransMountain expansion (TMEX) project, a proposed twining of a bitumen pipeline, parallel to the first, from the Alberta tar sands to an oil refinery in Burnaby, Metro Vancouver.

The TMEX has long been opposed by a diversity of Indigenous communities, environmentalists, and anarchist activists. Recently, the Canadian government nationalized the Trans Mountain pipeline to assure the expansion would be built, putting up 4.5 billion Canadian dollars ($3.5 billion) to purchase the project from Texas oil giant, Kinder Morgan.


Z (Anarchist Radio Berlin)
When Bad News is Good News World-Wide Anarchist Radio

Who the hell needs bad news? Well, we all do. At least if it’s bad news for the state, capital, and patriarchy.

B(A)D News is a monthly English language info show founded at the 2013 Anarchist Balkan Bookfair in Slovenia as the International Network of Anarchist and Anti-authoritarian Radio Projects, known as A-Radio Network (A-RN). Participants were Anarchist Radio Berlin, Radio Libertaire from Paris and Crna Luknja (“Black Hole”) from Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, as well as by individual radio activists from Eastern Europe.


Jason Rodgers
Dismantling the Biomechanical Leviathan If Pavlov’s dogs can decondition from obedience to authority, so can we!

In Raoul Vaneigem’s 1967 Situationist treatise, The Revolution of Everyday Life, he recounts what resulted from the flooding of the basement of Ivan Pavlov’s laboratory where the Russian physiologist kept his famous salivating dogs as experiments in classical conditioning.

It was a traumatic event for the dogs that had to struggle to live in the rising water. The ones who survived completely shed the conditioning Pavlov had worked so diligently to place in them.


Eric Thomas Chester
100 Years Later, Government Repression Has Not Stopped the IWW

In 1917, unable to break the unity of the miners, armed vigilante gangs organized by the copper corporations, rounded up 2,000 strikers at gun point in Bisbee, Az. They were forced onto crammed cattle cars and dumped in the desert.

A hundred years ago, in September 1918, more than a hundred leaders of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) were convicted of conspiracy to obstruct World War I. The trial marked a critical turning point for the union and the Left. In marking this centenary, we remember the Industrial Workers of the World as the most successful organization holding to a radical vision in U.S. history.


Muriel Lucas
Occupy ICE Portland Goes to the Movies In the midst of closing down the ICE office and fighting against eviction and the cops, gotta take a break to watch a film.

On June 17, Father’s Day, a march and vigil was planned outside of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters in Southwest Portland, Ore., to protest the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. It quickly developed into something that the organizers hadn’t planned for: a six week occupation of the building that effectively shut it down for an extended period of time and brought ICE activities into sharp public attention.


Various Authors
AK Press & Anarchist Publishing Interview: Why We Do It

AK Press is a worker-run anarchist collective that publishes and distributes radical books as well as visual and audio media. The collective was established in 1990 and is now run by seven people in five cities and two countries. They currently publish around twenty books each year.

Four collective members, who have been involved from 12 to 28 years, posed questions to themselves about anarchist publishing to take a look at their project.


Tolbert Small

Quick call the police;

The Negroes are barbecuing at the lake.

Quick call the police;

The Negroes are drumming too loud

Quick call the cops

The colored choir is singing too loud.

Quick call the cops

That pregnant Negro’s belly is swollen;

Search that shoplifter’s belly!

Quick call the cops;


Fifth Estate Collective
Philippines comrades skilling up for the long haul


Members of Feral Crust, a small DIY ecologically-minded anarchist collective in the mountains of Marilog Davao (Southern Mindanao), Philippines are developing a rural community based on balance with the surrounding environment and social solidarity. Their community is located in a forest home to wildlife and indigenous people.


John Brown’s Raid & Space Ships Dot an Alternative History Book review

a review of

Fire on the Mountain by Terry Bisson. PM Press, 2009

Forget Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Lincoln was wrong or disingenuous when he told Harriet Beecher Stowe that her novel brought on the Civil War. The Slavocracy was not frightened by mawkish sentiment.

No, it was rifle-toting abolitionist zealots willing to die that caused Southern panic.


Barbara Henning
An anarchist murder mystery Someone is trying to kill Rask Harp who is dying of AIDS

a review of

Long Day, Counting Tomorrow by Jim Feast. Autonomedia, 2017

“Outside across a swath of bay was the Statue of Liberty its torch, like a match head in night’s gutter.”

—from Long Day, Counting Tomorrow

Set in the late 1990s, Jim Feast’s Long Day, Counting Tomorrow is a sequel to an earlier novel, phobe, written by him and Ron Kohn. Both are mysteries involving the same group of anarchist writers. Long Day’s main character is Rask Harp, an ex-drug addict, son, brother, poet, friend, occasional prostitute, a young man who is dying from AIDS.


Fifth Estate Collective
Fire Ant New Anarchist Prison Support Zine Calls for Solidarity with Locked Down Comrades

This first issue of Fire Ant, an anarchist prison solidarity zine, is published by Robcat and the incredibly energetic comrades in rural Maine.

It is a long term project for and with anarchist prisoners specifically, not a general prisoner support publication.

The goals are to raise material aid for imprisoned anarchists, spread information about imprisoned anarchists and anarchy, and foster communication between imprisoned and free roaming anarchists.


Various Authors
For an Ecology of the Marvelous North American Surrealist Movement statement

“Every time I think about us women, I think about the trees, the subversive trees laden in blood but not bleeding the rebellious trees encrusted but not cracking.”

—Jayne Cortez

“Unless rooted in poetry the experience of ‘outside’ from within—even the deepest ‘deep ecology’ barely scratches the surface.”

—Franklin Rosemont


Karin L. Frank
Chiaroscuro Fiction

A lone figure stood before a door. Townsfolk had ridiculed her for years because she walked daily to this same spot.

No one else saw any reason to do so. And when they asked her what drew her, she could only shake her head. An answer reverberated deep in her brain but she could never quite grasp what it was.


Peter Werbe
Cops are the heroes in Spike Lee’s film

a review of


Director: Spike Lee

135 min.

“The cops and Klan go hand in hand!”

—frequent chant at anti-cop demonstrations

Spike Lee’s latest film “BlackKkKlansman,” the story of an African American police officer’s infiltration of the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1970s, has received generally excellent reviews in mainstream publications and from anti-racist activists.


Mbeke Waseme
Stories of education in the UK

Mbeke Waseme in Malacca, Malaysia

I’ve never worked in a school with coloured people.

I looked at her wondering why she felt the need to tell us that. The day I submitted my poem, I found out why.

That moment when you submit a piece of work and you’re standing at the teacher’s desk not quite able to read what their thoughts are.


Mbeke Waseme
The stories are where healing lies

It is where the old man who said nothing Becomes the hero of the day

Where the time I choose to leave

Becomes the time I am willing to stay

It is where the cockroaches do not fly Scaring the shit out of me and my wards Where avocados are always in season And everyone will fight for a worthy cause


Fifth Estate Collective
All J20 Charges Dropped!

In July, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington DC finally gave up on its eighteen-month effort to prosecute people protesting the inauguration of Donald Trump as President.

The 217 people indicted on felony charges of conspiracy to riot, engaging in a riot and property destruction, related to the events of January 20, 2017, came to be known as the J20 defendants.


Rui Preti
George Orwell & Alex Comfort’s World War II Debate Fighting Fascism: Is there a role for the democratic state?

a review of

The Duty to Stand Aside: Nineteen Eighty-Four and the Wartime Quarrel of George Orwell and Alex Comfort by Eric Laursen. AK Press 2018

George Orwell’s fiction and non-fiction writings are among the most relevant works for understanding our current societal plight, although he died in 1950. All we need to do is turn on the TV or radio or check the internet to be confronted with denial of truth and misinformation. And all we have to do is walk down a street or enter a store, bank or public building to be reminded of the increasing surveillance all around us.


Brad Evans
On 5 pm and being told
that a colleague
had committed suicide
earlier that day

What first greeted me

upon entering that room

were the sad, quiet faces

as we all sat around the table.


Thinking of her,

wondering why

and what happened

and some of it came out later.


But what was also on my thoughts

was finding out how management

had known about it all day long

as they readily pursued their disturbing calculation


David Watson
Federico Comes Home to Barcelona Compañeros from Detroit Bring the Ashes of a Son of the Spanish Revolution to Rest in Spain

In June and July, during a visit to Spain, my partner Marilynn Rashid and I spread some of the ashes of Federico Arcos, a companero, friend, and mentor to many of us in Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, including those on the Fifth Estate. Fede, as he was called, died in 2015 at the age of 94.

(For Federico’s memorial in Detroit in 2015, see FE issue 394, Summer 2015 and 395, Winter 2016.)


David Watson
Unabomber Cops a Plea As bombs are back in the news, so is Ted Kaczynski

FE Introduction

During the outrage expressed in the national media following the delivery of over a dozen mail bombs in Late October addressed to prominent Democrats and a cable network, several commentators invoked the name of the Unabomber. (This ignores the role many of the targeted officials played in bombing other countries, but that’s a different story.)


The Privatization of the Welfare State How NGOs Aid the State

If you or your loved ones don’t have citizenship, are Native American, aren’t white, aren’t Christian, are women, queer, or trans, live near environmental sacrifice zones, depend on the natural environment for your health or subsistence, work a non-white-collar job, or participate in a radical movement, you are at risk under the Trump presidency. Fighting back against the government is a question of self-defense.


Mike Wold
Fuck Authority & How to do it Successfully

a review of

Resisting Illegitimate Authority: A Thinking Person’s Guide to Being an Anti-Authoritarian—Strategies, Tools, and Models by Bruce E. Levine. AK Press, 2018

What makes someone anti-authoritarian? Bruce Levine, in his sometimes engaging book, Resisting Illegitimate Authority, starts by talking about his own childhood experiences testing adult authority, in this case, his teacher, and how he decided whether her authority was legitimate:


Gregg Williard
Bikes for Peace

Bikes have no power until bodily given

and given, give back at higher gear.

Being mounted, being ridden

without armor plating, they’re

light in their taking

and being taken where.

Not that bikes can’t be taken, and take

to war: the U.S. in Havana, the British

against Boers, the Japanese in Shanghai,


Anything Can Happen at the End of the World

a review of

The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions by Peter Brannen. Echo Press, 2017.

What is the best way to kill off most life on Earth? Forget those Hollywood asteroids and simply disrupt CO2 equilibrium in the atmosphere. The rest will take care of itself.