Anarchy in San Francisco
The 1989 gathering: 3 views
“Without Borders,” this year’s Anarchist Conference and Festival was held in San Francisco from July 20th to 25th. Taking place at the Horace Mann Middle School in the city’s Mission District, the gathering drew somewhere between 1,000 and 3,000 people from North America and around the world. The exact number will never be known since only the lower number “officially” registered as participants, but thousands more took part in the six-day conference and other events which provided opportunities for learning and discussion, direct action, performance, play and celebration.
Jan 23, 2018
Operation Gender Blur
a review of
Bisexuality: A Reader and Sourcebook edited by Thomas Geller (available for $10.95 from Times Change Press c/o Publishers Services, Box 2510, Novato, CA 94948 or the FE Bookstore)
We are sometimes afraid of the risks which must be taken when we integrate discussions of sexuality and gender into the life of our activist community. It’s rather dangerous to try to define a “politically correct” sexuality for anti-authoritarians. The gay vs. straight or monogamy vs. non-monogamy discussions (and a huge list of other related discussions) should be most familiar to those of us whose lives, identified with communities of resistance, transcend (or defy) a purely political involvement. Discussions of gender and sexuality do have serious implications for our politics (or anti-politics).
Nov 20, 2019
404 Willis: Detroit’s Autonomous Zone
Anarchy In Action
In May 1992, 404 Willis will celebrate its first anniversary as a collectively-run community center and autonomous zone in Detroit’s Cass Corridor. The evolution of 404 has been the combined effort of many individuals united in their desire to create a gathering place that is an alternative to the bars and spectacular culture as a whole—an all ages, Do-It-Yourself, volunteer-run, inclusive yet anti-authoritarian atmosphere for people to come to and create, share ideas or simply hang out.
Jan 16, 2016
Pornography & Pleasure
Beyond capital, beyond patriarchy
After years of reading essays in the seemingly endless debate over pornography in the feminist and anarchist milieu, one of many questions reverberates with the most resonance for me: will pornography exist in utopia?
Ellen Willis, in her essay “Feminism, Morality and Pornography,” states: “I imagine that in utopia, porn would wither away along with the state, heroin, and Coca-Cola.” But even in utopia, won’t some of us still write and make pictures that express our deepest erotic secrets and desires?
Feb 3, 2020
Can a computer virus create anarchy?
Mondo 2000 & Anarcho-Futurism
“You could say that cyberpunk is intrinsically anarchistic. It’s endlessly anti-authoritarian, and it can be employed like a weapon, like a computer virus, injecting new information by means of the existing mechanisms. The pop image of anarchism has always been a bomb—yeah, well, this is an ideological bomb that has been planted in the culture.”
Apr 19, 2020
404 Is Dead!
Long Live 404!
After 3 years of action, an anarchist center closes its doors, but a more ambitious project opens down the street.
“The TAZ is like an uprising which does not engage directly with the State, a guerilla operation which liberates an area (of land, of time, of imagination) and then dissolves itself to re-form elsewhere/elsewhen, before the State can crush it. Because the State is concerned primarily with Simulation rather than substance, the TAZ can “occupy” these areas clandestinely and carry on its festal purposes for quite a while in relative peace.”
May 5, 2020
A Treatise on Electronic Anarchy & the Net
Arguments for elimination of the information age
“Every year of her life...the Net had been growing more expansive and seamless. Computers did it. Computers melted other machines, fusing them together. Television-telephone-telex. Tape recorder-VCR-laser disk. Broadcast tower linked to microwave dish linked to satellite. Phone line, cable TV, fiber-optic cords hissing out words and pictures in torrents of pure light. All netted together in a web over the world, a global nervous system, an octopus of data. There’d been plenty of hype about it. It was easy to make it sound transcendentally incredible.
May 23, 2020
Piercing the Membrane of the Mundane
Every day for a week I peruse the crumpled quarter-page announcement I’ve been carrying around in my wallet. “MUDPEOPLE: 10th Anniversary...We supply mud. Wear as little as possible. Bring drinks, food, towels, friends, wildness. Finally, the day is here.
Jan 17, 2018
Love Note for Allen Ginsberg
Are you really dead? I don’t believe it. My hands are black with ink & my eyes are wet with the sting of The New York Times front page. You are embalmed in the headlines as “Countercultural Guru” & “Master of the Outrageous,” by journalists who try to synthesize & summarize the volumes of your subversive words. I’m at work in a drab warehouse in Nashville where most of the folk don’t even know I’m a faery, where even gentle graffiti evokes the talisman of fear. The closet you helped me explode has its door shut & locked tightly here.
Feb 15, 2016
Letter from Pumpkin Hollow
The long road home
Pumpkin Hollow, Tenn.—I’m trying to pick this narrative up off the gravel road, gyrating back into the woods. This odyssey of drift must stop somewhere; that somewhere is here. Perhaps my nomadic motion can continue in psychic space as my body plants itself firmly on the ground, my ground, our ground. I previously chose to be homeless, a vagabond, a hobo, roaming, raving and misbehaving.
Feb 17, 2016
Compromising and Computing
Staff writers at the Fifth Estate collective have been vigorous critics of technology for more than two decades. Rather than isolate particular tools or situations for a contextual attack, our challenges to the totalitarian tenets of the megamachine look to the deeper motivations that propel producers and consumers to make and want more and more automobiles, nuclear power plants, computers, televisions (to mention only a few of the gadgets of modernity that have gouged biological communities).
Nov 24, 2019
Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to permit the display of the biblical Ten Commandments in schools as part of larger legislative efforts to combat youth violence.
Rather than “a first step toward reinstilling the value of human life in children influenced by violent culture,” as the politicians claim, this is yet another shallow gesture by hypocritical lawmakers to legislate ethical control in a culture that is ethically out-of-control.
Nov 24, 2019
This is what Anarchy Looks Like
Defending our politics and defining our vision against bashing, baiting, and backlash
The forces of capital have once again called upon their storm troopers and talking heads to physically and symbolically crush the growing, global anti-capitalist movement. In the United States, building from the tragic embarrassment of September 11 and overreacting to political defeats like Cancun and the Battle of Seattle, the State has intensified its sustained 150-year-old campaign to defile the public reputation of anarchists.
Dec 12, 2016
“If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. As if a town had no interest in its forests but to cut them down! Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now.”
—Henry David Thoreau
Jul 3, 2016
Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Everybody but Bush
The election is already over and we have lost. The name of the president for the next four years won’t be announced until November 3, but I know right now that the guy who won is a white male millionaire from Yale who is drunk on arrogant feelings of self entitlement and privilege.
The asshole who has already won this election is a statist insider who has conspired with his colleagues to kill and rob more people around the world in the name of American exceptionalism. He’s pro-war (even worse, pro-“War on Terrorism” & pro-Iraqi invasion), pro-PATRIOT act, pro-No Child Left Behind, and pro-Israeli free-for-all militarism.
May 26, 2016
De-schooling the de-schoolers
and Unschooling my Illusions
Schooling in an authoritarian society is often demeaning and determined to inculcate ignorance and obedience. When schooling fails, we deem it a social disaster. But without a viable alternative, the subversion that sneaks inside the doors and out from under the rugs—thanks largely to autonomous students, radical parents, and anti-authoritarian teachers—might partially redeem public schooling for now.
Jun 12, 2016
On Class & Solidarity
An introduction to economy & community
“I don’t believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is so vertical. It goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other person and learns from the other. I have a lot to learn from other people.”
— Eduardo Galeano
The following economy and community section deals at least as much with our visions for different and possibly better realities as it does with our critique of the current and devastating situations within capitalist economic relations. However, we can and should note that the statistics concerning global wealth and poverty are staggering. The elite classes experience unprecedented luxuries while the rest of the world struggles. The working class slips into disastrous debt and the under-class teeters toward catastrophic hunger, disease, and poverty.
Oct 21, 2015
Still From Detroit: Fifth Estate reflection
Cass Corridor to Pumpkin Hollow
Gritty and grimy to the core, inner-city Detroit was a daily regimen of gravel and glass.
Detroit defines the impossibility and the necessity of Fifth Estate. To advocate a complete break from autocratic technotopia yet tolerate the harsh topography required by the automobile; to desire a primitive, communal, eclectic new world while daily enduring the insults of the old world; to publish an intelligent and irreverent response to the inadequacies and inanities of modern life, even as a desperate plea pitched to a small audience--to do all these things despite the distractions of driving and wage work amid the vast exurban expanses of a postmodern megatropolis requires a testy combination of courage, vision, and recklessness.
Mar 7, 2014
On Having Something to Do
We tried dropping out, and we tried working in the factory. We tried teaching, and we tried going back to school. We tried organizing the workers, and we tried permitted protest marches. We tried passing leaflets to every passerby, and we tried wheatpasting every wall with provocative posters. We even tried nighttime guerrilla graffiti squads.
Mar 14, 2014
Bindlestiff Family Cirkus
The First Ten Years (DVD review)
“A little duct-tape, a little cardboard, and it’s a show.”
--Stephanie Monseu aka Philomena Bindlestiff, co-founder of the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus
Around the same time I learned that revolution shouldn’t sell selfless sacrifice if it wanted to gain any self-interested revolutionaries, I also discovered dangerous devotees of dissent inside the proliferating avant-garde arts. A fire-breathing follow-up to the performance scene, a traveling anarchist circus was an obvious offshoot from the standard stock of shock that shot us with performance artist Karen Finley and crushed us with the neotribal music of Crash Wosrhip. Founded by Kinko and Philomena Bindlestiff (aka Keith Nelson and Stepahnie Monseu), these veterans of visionary weirdness admit, “Cirkus is hard.” The first decade of Keith and Stephanie’s death-defying adventures are captured in a new DVD documentary.
Mar 3, 2015