Fifth Estate Collective
Issue Intro


Welcome to another issue of the Fifth Estate Anarchist Review of Books. We haven’t changed our title permanently; just letting readers know what to expect inside this edition. We also haven’t changed our belief that it is direct action in the streets and in the woods, and creating communities of resistance and rebellion that are needed so critically as conditions worsen on almost every level. We read and learn to increase our commitment in our struggles.


Fifth Estate Collective


Fifth Estate

Radical Publishing since 1965

Vol. 57, No. 1, #411, Spring 2022

The Fifth Estate is an anti-profit, anarchist project published by a volunteer collective of friends and comrades.


No ads. No copyright.

Kopimi — reprint freely

Fifth Estate Collective
Ukraine Another war, another victory for the state

As we write at the end of March, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is at full fury with deaths and destruction increasing daily. By the time you read this, the conflict will hopefully have ended. If not, any number of terrible scenarios may have taken place or are still continuing.

The best outcome will be the thwarting of Vladimir Putin’s plans by Ukrainian resistance, but also by the overthrow of the Russian president by popular forces within Russia. The consequences of a victory for the invaders would be a disaster and only come at a horrendous price.


Eric Laursen
A Carnival Parade of Political Forms Exploring the possibilities of reinventing ourselves

a review of

The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2021

“In one sense,” David Graeber and David Wengrow write, “this book is simply trying to lay down foundations for a new world history” Simply?

As the title indicates, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity is an extremely ambitious, 692-page book. It’s also a bit of an anomaly in contemporary anarchist writing, which tends to shy away from Big History, with its overtones of imperial sweep and Smart White Guys explaining to everyone else How It Went Down.


Rich Dana (Ricardo Feral)
Impact of New Wave Science Fiction a radical re-evaluation

a review of

Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950–1985 Edited by Andrew Nette and Ian McIntyre. PM Press, 2021

In the last several years, Science Fiction, or SF as it is known among fans of the literary genre, has been the subject of several excellent critiques.

In 2018, Alec Nevalla-Lee’s Astounding: John W Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction presented an in-depth analysis of the cultural impact of pulp magazines and the purveyors of the genre’s myth of “the competent man.”


Simoun Magsalin
Against Revolutionary Cynicism for Anarchist Consciousness

If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him with absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Tsar.

—Mikhail Bakunin

Modern fiction is replete with stories of revolt and failure. The setting might be a brutal dictatorship, maybe it is a medieval fantasy or a cyberpunk dystopia, but the ending is similar. The usual tropes are presented: violence of policing, spy agencies and brutal military forces, all of whom perpetrate torture, disappearances and murders.


Megan Douglass
Drawing New Maps to the Future Parallels exist between the movement of bodies globally in the search for freedom and belonging, and the migratory nature of Black life within the borders of the U.S.

a review of

The Nation on No Map: Black Anarchism and Abolition by William C. Anderson, Saidiya Hartman (Foreword), Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin (Afterword). AK Press 2021

As a Black diasporic female academic and activist, it isn’t so easy to encounter the intersectionality of the struggles I encounter reflected in many academic or anarchist discussions.


Marieke Bivar
Stories and Stories and Stories of Womanhood Pandora is out of the box

a review of

All of Me: Stories of Love, Anger, and the Female Body Ed. Dani Burlison. PM Press, 2019

In this collection, women’s bodies are discussed as sites of healing, burnout, grief, joy, transformation, and growth. The essays, interviews, and other writing vary immensely in tone and style, and there is a sense that this is a place where women’s anger is being expressed freely, however the contributors choose to do so.


Jason Rodgers
Stashing the Tacky Little Pamphlets As more of our daily geography is occupied by a coercive media ecology, a tool to regain some ground

You might assume that a Tacky Little Pamphlet (TLP) is just another name for a mini-zine. In a way, you are correct. It usually refers to a format of a single sheet folded into eight sections, cut up the middle, and folded up like origami to form a miniature zine. However, the term includes additional meaning that expands far beyond into a form of tactical media or strategic prank.


Sylvie Kashdan
Disability and Creativity Revolt against the categories and stereotypes that kill the spirit

a review of

There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness by M. Leona Godin. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2021

More Than Meets the Eye: What Blindness Brings to Art by Georgina Kleege. Oxford University Press 2018

“I want freedom, the right to self expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things.”


Michael Desnivic
Work and the Dreamers Against It The Surrealist movement’s view on what came to be known as work in the 20th Century

a review of

Surrealist Sabotage and the War on Work by Abigail Susik. Manchester University Press, 2021

Surrealism emerged from the brutality of the trenches of the first world war that devastated Europe as an attempt to come to terms with the ruins and a rapidly changing world of new technologies and systems.


Michael Dunn
The Modern School Movement Anarchist educational ideas and practices offer many lessons

In the wake of the punitive No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top legislation of the Bush and Obama years, education reform has turned one hundred and eighty degrees. Today, many schools are implementing much more non-coercive practices, like restorative justice and culturally sensitive teaching.


Hubert Gendron-Blais
Seeing social struggles through individual characters historical research, well-crafted dramatic intensity and moments of poetry and humour

a review of

3 online plays by Norman Nawrocki, 2020–2022: “EVICTION? Dog’s Blood!!;” “Ukrainians, Pelicans & the Secret of Patterson Lake,” and “Run Nawrocki Run! Escape from Banff Prison”

Norman Nawrocki in “Run Nawrocki Run! Escape from Banff Prison”

Norman Nawrocki is a veteran artiste and activist in the Montreal anarchist and radical communities. He has produced more than 20 theater plays, 14 books, and over 30 music albums as a solo artist or with many bands and collectives since the 1980s such as Rhythm Activism, Bakunin’s Bum, Anarchist Writers Bloc, and DaZoque.


Robert Knox
1916: A Fictional War before the War San Francisco labor struggles form the background

a review of

The Blast by Joseph Matthews. PM Press, 2022

The Blast, a new novel by Joseph Matthews, takes place in San Francisco in 1916, just as the United States edges its way into the general European slaughter known as World War I.

We learn that three years before the current moment, labor radicals and anarchists of various denominations agitated mightily for workers’ rights and union recognition in that thriving waterfront shipping town, but failed to make lasting progress.


Nick DePascal

Three sisters

Sit in judgment-

Darkly, mutely on the mesa,

Apportioned their appointed part

In the cosmic monotony.


A man is shot dead

On ancestral lands (now

“Ran” by the national park

service) praying to

The four directions, hand

On his chest & over

The heart. Belligerent

At the command to leave,


Ron Sakolsky
Precarious Dreams Defending our Imagination from hi-tech Takeover

Just as obtaining job-related income is being made more precarious every day by automation, our sleeping hours are now increasingly under siege by the forces of techno-capitalism. In order to more fully understand the growing vulnerability of our dreams to corporate manipulation, the recent phenomenon of “dream incubation”, which involves the implantation of marketable dreams in our heads, is worthy of further investigation.


Norman Nawrocki
An anarchist operetta set in Taiwan Peter & Emma’s Bookcafe

a review of


Peter & Emma’s Bookcafe (operetta) by Lenny Kwok, 2021

During the worldwide youth revolt in 1968, Lenny Kwok was a 13-year old Hong Kong high school student handing out radical pamphlets with his friends. He got busted, but it didn’t stop him from continuing to agitate for anarchism.

Flash forward 53 years, and Lenny is still at it. He has spent a life-time as a Hong Kong anarchist/artist/musician/singer/author, but now lives in Taiwan following repression from the Chinese government.


Frank H. Joyce
Another cosmic hoax Perpetrated upon us by Colonialism We live under a social contract

a review of

The Racial Contract by Charles W. Mills. Cornell University Press 1993

No, we don’t. We live under a racial contract. Calling it something else, such as a social contract is part of the racial contract’s system of concealing itself.

The late Charles Mills clarified this matter quite definitively in The Racial Contract, a 133-page book published in 1993.


Jess Flarity
Space is Not the Place ...and Lea’s fictional spaceship society is, essentially, totalitarian

a review of
Hermetica by Alan Lea. Detritus Books 2021

The journey of a generation ship is a classic of the science fiction genre. One that tells the story of what happens when a bunch of humans decide to leave Earth in a sub-lightspeed rocket that will take generations to reach its destination.

The lack of unlimited resources and tight living conditions enables an author to experiment with alternative organizations of society, what critic Brian Attebery refers to as a science fiction parabola. The parabola is intriguing because it is boundless despite having an origin point, as J.D. Bernal’s long essay, The World, the Flesh, and the Devil, published in 1929, is the progenitor of the generation ship as a concept. In contrast, Alan Lea’s novella Hermetica is the latest data point along the parabola’s edge.


Bryan Tucker
Subverting Establishment Suppression ACT UP & Explosions from the Margins: Against gentrification of the mind

The AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power—known by its acronym ACT UP—coalesced in the late 1980s with a simple motivation: the desire to live.

This group is a striking example of the influence marginalized people using radical approaches can have. The ambitious and judicious group, founded in New York City on March 12, 1987, set their initial sights on exposing neglect and falsifications about the AIDS epidemic. They demanded attention and significant action from politicians, Wall Street, and the Catholic church.


Steve Izma
Geography, Progress, and Its Discontents Reflections on Turner’s Beyond Geography

a review of
Beyond Geography: The Western Spirit against the Wilderness by Frederick Turner. Viking, 1980

Beyond Geography first came to my attention in the early 1980s when Fredy Perlman began his arguments in Against His-story, Against Leviathan! with an appraisal of Turner’s book. Both of these texts attracted attention from the anarchist milieu around the Fifth Estate at the time, especially for those of us trying to build an historical picture of where human society went wrong.


Olchar E. Lindsann
Ontological anarchy and punk-inspired zine culture Jason Rodgers’ rich discourse and presentation

a review of

Invisible Generation: Rants, Polemics, and Critical Theory Against the Planetary Work Machine by Jason Rodgers. Autonomedia, 2021

For many years, Jason Rodgers has been a motivating presence in a startlingly large number of anarchist zine projects and communities, including frequently in this magazine. Her work has been published in a great many collective contexts, but always singly and hard to find. In Invisible Generation, her diverse body of critical writing has finally been brought together.


Christopher Clancy
Step by Step, Ferociously Space is not the place

a review of

Space Forces: A Critical History of Life in Outer Space by Fred Scharmen. Verso, 2021

The late stand-up comedian, Bill Hicks, used to close his routines with an idea. Take all the money allocated to the U.S. military each year, he would say, and instead use it to feed and clothe and educate the poor of the world, not one person left behind, then take whatever’s left over “to explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”


Sunfrog (Andy “Sunfrog” Smith)
Laughter of the Sinners This anti-novel points a middle finger at any and every preconception regarding reality

a review of

Lives of the Saints by Alan Franklin. Black and Red, Detroit, 2022

Alan Franklin dropped his book, Lives of the Saints, into a world where the final years of the last century seem like a distant dream. Where our then dramatically dire descriptions of accumulated misery were actually more understated prophecies than the mere screeching wheels of an overblown cerebral car-crash on the freeway of our shared consciousness. That is to say, Chicken Little was right, and so were the angry writers at publications like Fifth Estate. As bad as we told you it was then, it is worse now


Sean Alan Cleary
White racist violence and Black responses Detroit, June 1943

a review of

Run Home if You Don’t Want to be Killed: The Detroit Uprising of 1943 by Rachel Marie-Crane Williams. UNC Press 2021

Rachel Marie-Crane Williams’s new graphic history examines the violence that erupted in Detroit during the summer of 1943 in 230 evocative and beautifully rendered black and white images and text. But erupted might be the wrong word to describe what has been called variously a race riot, a pogrom, or, as Williams says in her title, an uprising.


William Boyer (Bill Boyer)
Don’t Look Sideways As a comet approaches, the masses make light of their impending demise

a review of

Don’t Look Up, Dir: Adam McKay, 2021

Planet of the Humans Dir: Jeff Gibbs 2019

“You guys. The truth is way more depressing. They are not even smart enough to be as evil as you’re giving them credit for.”

—Kate Dibiasky (fictional astronomer in Don’t Look Up)

So, what to make of an unusual film about a streaking, earth-bound comet colliding with present-day distractions? Does it shake up the entertainment cycle only to disappear like a fairly close asteroid missing our orbital self-importance?


Peter Werbe
How to print zines, posters, flyers, and stickers The Old Fashion Way...A reminder that printed matter was often the key to social change in earlier years

a review of

Cheap Copies! Cheap Copies! The OBSOLETE! Press Guide to DIY Hectography, Mimeography, & Spirit Duplication by Rich Dana. Obsolete Press, 2022

The first question many people have when looking at a how-to manual like this one is, why bother? What’s the motivation for doing something the hard way with antiquated techniques and materials? Scouring junk shops and the Internet for the equipment and supplies, that, in printing, have been made obsolete by the machines that produce what you’re holding in your hands—computers.


David Annarelli
Clancy’s novel starts with everyday work-consume terror ...then Things Take a Strange Turn

a review of

We Take Care of Our Own by Christopher Clancy. Montag Press 2021

Imagine Amazon, Walmart, Exxon, Mobil, Pepsi, Coke, Fox News, Blackwater, the AMA, and Haliburton all rolled into one messy Play Dough ball of a supraconglomerate. The only corporation.

Add the military, and you have USoFA Worldwide with its finger in every pie, in bed with everyone and everything. And, it’s leading the War on Terror around the world the way a rock band goes on tour.


Jason Abdelhadi
Just another rusty seismographkid Steven Cline wants to re-invent Play

a review of

AMOK by Steven Cline. Trapart Books, 2022

Alone hitchhiker sticks out his thumb on a dusty Georgia back-road. He is wearing an all-white paint suit, clutching an ambiguous briefcase. His bearded face is ornamented in haphazard colors, ghastly reds and yellows. Disturbingly, he is not wearing any shoes. Does he not know where he is headed? Maybe he just wants to go, to go out there, to go with you, to show you...What? Do you pick him up?


John Thackary
Like a Hitchcock thriller with smart devices Even an agoraphobe can’t be alone

a review of

Kimi, Dir: Steven Soderbergh, 2022

Director Steven Soderbergh is well-known for both prolific output (an astounding 47 films and counting) and speed of production (roughly a movie a year over the past decade). Yet his work’s quality seems not to suffer from such a pace.

On the contrary, something about its fleetness belies a fascinating realism of the outlandish. Fittingly, in Soderbergh’s latest, his third collaboration with the streaming arm of HBO, a film simply titled Kimi, a villain’s posture bumbles unceremoniously. A tech millionaire conducts a Zoom interview in his garage before a pitiable, fake bookshelf background. The manner in which these characters are painted, all through edits and camera framings, bleeds with an obscure intentionality. Form as function.


David Annarelli
Twenty-four and Counting Stemming the tide of Christian religious fervor

a review of

24 Reasons to Abandon Christianity: Why Christianity’s Perverted Morality Leads to Misery and Death by Charles Bufe. See Sharp Press, 2022

Charles Bufe’s jeremiad is a scathing rebuke of Christianity filled with lurid details that support the charge made in the subtitle of 24 Reasons. It traces religion’s fearmongering and fire and brimstone manipulation by faithful zealots in service to the powerful, but also chronicles its inherent dishonesty, authoritarianism, sexual morbidity, hypocrisy...,well it’s a long list.


Marius Mason
How a Forest Really Grows

a review of

Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard. Alfred A. Knopf, 2021

I was hanging out in the dayroom of the Federal Correctional Institution at Danbury, Conn. late last year. It was noisy with the sound of the guys playing cards and Scrabble, when a friend brought a book with an intriguing cover to the table. It was Suzanne Simard’s Finding the Mother Tree, and it jolted me back to another place and time in my life, when so much of my world was about saving the trees from destruction. Her book is full of the wisdom gleaned from decades of careful and loving observation.


Fifth Estate Collective
Harriet and Harry T. Moore


Marius Mason was struck by the story of these early civil rights activists and their assassination by the Ku Klux Klan. He painted this portrait (“Harriet and Harry T Moore”, 2022) using prison coffee as the main medium.

The Moores incurred the wrath of the Klan for their advocacy of voting rights in segregated Florida in the 1940s. They were both killed on Christmas night 1951 by a bomb set at their home in Mims, Florida. This followed their both being fired from teaching because of their activism.