Various Authors
Letters

NOTE: The following Letter to the Editor of the Detroit News was written by Alvin Harrison, NSM [Northern Student Movement] field secretary in Detroit, in response to a number of letters published regarding his participation in a Teach-in on Viet Nam at Wayne University. Mr. Harrison was quoted as saying “That’s your flag, baby, not mine.”

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Various Authors
Letter

from Detroit Free Press, April 5, 1966

Gentlemen:

Regarding the issue of negotiation vs. withdrawal, it would be most unfortunate to allow the question to take up the working time of the peace movement. We are not Johnson’s special advisors, and our precise policy statements need not be unified, or even entirely compatible. What would appear to count most is visibility and persistence. There are, however, many who disagree with that statement. Some contend that the more extreme positions are too easily accommodated by the administration. The key question then is the difference in the operating code of ethics between these factions. I suggest the following. Once a group decides and plans an activity, all those who can in good conscience assist with its execution should do so in accord with the ground rules set by the originally responsible group. I see no contradiction in restraining my sign to “urge negotiations” even if I were personally to favor immediate withdrawal...

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Various Authors
Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

A reply to Mr. Wilbert McClendon; not because he will listen (he won’t) but because someone has to maintain the balance:

Mr. McClendon: You said one right thing in your article and that was that some of the white people who protest the war in Vietnam are phony. Actually, you didn’t even say that right because you said they were ALL phony and that, Mr. McClendon, is ridiculous. There are a great many white protesters who are not phony. They have rallied in support of the Negro cause and that cause is much more honest and meaningful because of them. But even the phony white protesters are not harmful.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:

Since you are one of the few progressive newspapers around, we have a special request for you. A group of citizens of Mill Valley, California are handling a National Stamp Drive to help equip our garage.

Over the past couple of years, we have been able to exchange stamps for a great deal of the equipment which keeps our cars operational for our field workers. Among the things which we have acquired are: electrical tire-changing apparatus, several battery chargers, analyzing machine, an air meter, voltage regulator machine, a wheel balancer, and three ’65 Falcon Econoline buses. This has been of invaluable service to us and our work.

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Various Authors
Letters To The Editors

To the Editor:

The first meaning in The American College Dictionary defines “reform” as “...the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, etc.; social reform.”

But how does Governor Romney define the term? One can only assume from the public position he has taken that reform is the furthest thing from his mind. Ever since Con-Con, Romney’s gubernatorial launching pad, his opposition to a state graduated income tax has been patently clear. But now when the state supposedly needs money, he doesn’t fight the addition of this new tax to the polyglot of provincial personal state taxes already in existence.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

The U.S. Congress is a disreputable club. It’s easy to find fault with anybody who’s a member. But if you are going to pan a congressman, why pick on the best one in sight?

The question occurred to me as I read Plafkin’s silly, self-important, time-serving attack on John Conyers. Let me explain my adjectives. It’s silly to yell “Opportunist!” at one of the handful of congressmen with guts enough to oppose Johnson’s requests for money for the dirty war, to oppose the jingo flag-burning bill, and to oppose using government money on projects in lily-white towns like Weston, Illinois.

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Various Authors
Letters

To the Editor:

May I say one thing, I hope that the Fifth Estate is not losing it’s awareness, love, peace and spiritual splendor.

From reading the August 1–15 issue, exploiting the Detroit Riot scene, and all—that excess-baggage that was written along with it was just too much for me to bare.

I’ve been very loyal to the Fifth Estate and I hope to continue, but please for heaven’s sake don’t drop your fine paper into the acid of terror, etc.

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Various Authors
Letters

Dearest Hippie Editor:

I think you guys at the Fifth Estate are the biggest clot of hypocrites I have ever had witness to. Some people wrote some letters to the Editor in your Aug. 15–31 issue. They called you hypocrites. They were right. So give them this idiot reply “Go back to your bar-b-ques and rock gardens and go soak your head in gravy, and hang yourself on a telephone wire,” and other kindergarten sayings.

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Various Authors
Letters

Editors:

I thought that “yellow journalism” had a reputation as bad as Lobsinger. I thought it had gone out with the Hearst newspapers, that its only remains were in such rags as the Inquirer. I was wrong.The Fifth Estate has become, in recent issues, the worst piece of journalism that I have ever seen. The early editions seemed promising as spokesmen for Detroit’s youth.

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Various Authors
Letters

To the Editor,

As the yearly retreat to the diploma mills nears I thought your readers would like to know of the continued existence of some essentially less repressive alternatives.

Especially since 1960, there have existed an increasing number of very small, essentially student run, institutions that would now most aptly be considered “counter-community” colleges. The first was Mark Golden’s experimental personalist college, Emerson, in Pacific Groves, California, which is mentioned in Saul Landeau’s anthology on the New Left.

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Various Authors
Letters

To the Editors:

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee has asked support for a nationwide trading stamps drive through which it hopes to equip its Atlanta, Ga., garage. SNCC has recently been able to obtain, through redeeming such stamps, three mini-buses as well as several battery chargers, and tire-changing, wheel-balancing and other equipment which enables it to keep its cars operational.

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Various Authors
Underground Incorporated

BERKELEY, Cal. (LNS)—Dick Gregory was a special visitor to the California Peace And Freedom Party headquarters in Berkeley recently: Gregory visited Huey Newton of the Black Panther Party twice while he was here. Gregory’s visit culminated in the opening of a state office for Gregory for President, and the announcement of a boycott against Olympia Beer of Washington State, in support of the Indians’ attempt to control the water that was stolen from them many years ago in Washington.

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Various Authors
Letters

To the Editors:

The Fifth Estate has always looked beautiful to me, from the very beginning, typos and all. But even more so lately. It’s always saying something provocative visually, too. There is such a wonderful vitality about it. And obviously the only way to keep it alive and assure longevity is to print the Fifth Estate “at home”—with a printer who is sent to school by the Fifth Estate and Inner City Voice jointly.

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Various Authors
Letters

Dear Editor and Staff:

Is it wrong to hope? Is it wrong to have a dream and to keep searching for the realization of that dream? I’ve been told that anything worth obtaining is invariably very difficult to obtain. To some people this means working overtime to get the resources for a long awaited vacation; to others it is the sacrifice of social position in return for personal integrity; and to still others (and these are few, unfortunately) it is the complete denial of oneself in order that someone else’s dreams be fulfilled. Of course, there are very few of us who are willing to go beyond the first mentioned sacrifice.

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Various Authors
Letters

Dear Peter,

I am more than happy to state my opinion of the Army and the war in Viet Nam. I’ve been in the service nearly a year now and I have had several unpleasant experiences with the foolish and incompetent leaders of this organization.

I have been very fortunate and I have not had to kill to save my life, but many of my friends here have not been so fortunate. Three weeks ago we had 10 men killed and approximately 40 others who were wounded in an ambush just North of this city.

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Various Authors
Letters

To the Editors:

In the July 18 edition of the Detroit American, Anthony J. Wierzbicki, the paper’s president and publisher, wrote an editorial in response to the barrage of criticism directed at the paper’s use of uncomplimentary terminology when referring to law-breakers, precisely black law-breakers.

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Various Authors
Letters

Editor’s Note: The following letter was written by an American serviceman in Vietnam. It was sent to one of our readers, who in turn forwarded it to us with permission to print it in our letters column. The writer’s name has been omitted for his own protection.

Dear Bob,

This is a place of horror, and I am frankly unequipped for it. I can perform my duty; cleaning the jungle mud from gaping wounds, folding a man’s near-severed lower leg up against the intact part and binding them together, or swathing a head in bandages to keep the brain from falling out, as much as any other purpose. I can carry a shapeless bundle from a helicopter and assist in opening it to find inside little more than a jumble of severed limbs, intestines, and chunks of charred muscle. I can even fish a blood-soaked envelope from the bundle and fill out a tag for the body from its address, noticing that the same name, plus, “mrs.” is repeated in the return address.

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Various Authors
Letters

Dear Sirs,

I have been a subscriber to your paper for a long time and hope to be a subscriber for a long time to come, but that’s not why I wrote.

I wish to congratulate you on your last issue (vol. 3, no. 7), it was great!

I also wish to criticize you on your letting John Sinclair ruin your fine newspaper by printing all of his bullshit on the MC5.

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Various Authors
Letters

Editors:

In regard to the events of Chicago during the convention week, I would like to submit the following information:

On August 26, 10:30pm, a friend and I went to Lincoln Park. At this time a large group of people, mostly young, was gathered in the park listening to different speakers, chanting and sitting near fires talking. Soon some of the people began “antagonizing” the present police with name calling.

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Various Authors
Letters

Dear Beautiful People,

As I was sitting in Grant Park in Chicago August 28 what to my tear-gassed eyes should appear but a beautiful young girl with a free copy of the Fifth Estate.

She handed me a copy with a smile on her face so I immediately began to read every page, through the tears in my eyes. It was beautiful to say the least.

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Various Authors
Letters

To the Editor:

The strike of the Third World peoples and white supporters at San Francisco State College was a part of expanding the movement in this country toward liberation. It was a strike, an action with a direction toward a revolutionary level because it was based upon principles drawn from the foundation of oppressed Third World people’s needs.

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Various Authors
Letters

To the Editor:

In March of this year, citizens of the Republic of New Africa suffered physical attacks by the Detroit Police Dept., were deprived of their legal rights by the police and the Wayne County Prosecutor, and were the victims of racist hysteria whipped up by the mass media, notably the Detroit News.

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Various Authors
Letters

Dig it brothers,

I have dug the newspaper for almost 8 months and I’m really for the People having the power, because the Establishment has fucked this country completely up. I feel that your paper really gets down to the natural nitty thang in every printed page!

I especially dug your hip reply to the brainwashed men of the 3rd Plt., B Co., 1/6 Inf., 5th Div.

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Various Authors
Letters

Dear People,

Listen and dig the “fair” deal the troops get in good old Vietnam by the military-pig-racist-establishment.

Currently I am being framed on a phony marijuana bust. I have an eyewitness to testify in my favor but it will be the word of two enlisted men against the word of two 1st Lts. who can do no wrong as far as the military is concerned.

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Various Authors
Letters

Dearest Friends,

I am a dumb old GI and I hate this MF Army. I want to subscribe to your underground paper. It’s not a very pleasant thing being here where I really don’t want to be.

The only thing that I want is to be back home (Detroit) and to be with my girl. I don’t want the war in Vietnam, or the Army or all of this unnecessary harassment. I’m not really proud of being in the Army although my parents seem to think so.

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Various Authors
Letters

8-a-85-august-7-20-1969-letters-1.png

To the Editor:

Your paper has done so much for our heads simply because it is so meaningful.

We would like to add just one thing for your other readers: “Respect the Revolution and you shall inherit the earth.”

The Iron Butterfly Conspiracy

Danang

Friends,

I was in your town the past week and got caught up in the action there. I’m from Pittsburgh where there is absolutely nothing happening. And I mean nothing!

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Various Authors
Letters

Dear Editors:

The letter in your August 7 issue [FE #85, August 7–20, 1969] from the corpsman in Da Nang harbor has prompted me to relate a similar experience to you.

I was a corpsman at the hospital at Fort Ord, Cal., for almost two years, where I was appalled by the condition and treatment of over 1000 patients who were packed into a hospital staffed for 250 beds. Most of these patients were Vietnam returnees, and seeing them (and in fact the whole experience) turned me on to the resistance and the revolution.

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Various Authors
Letters

Dear FE Readers:

Well, here we are with issue no. 2 from the new staff and only two letters--one a form letter that went out to all the left press. We can only conclude one of several things from the lack of reader response: a) all of you agree with everything we say and there is nothing to comment on; b) you don’t agree with anything we say, but are too disgusted to bother with a response; or c) you just don’t give a shit about anything we say and are doing something else. In any event, we would like your comments and criticisms of what is being said in the paper and welcome your letters.

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Various Authors
Letters

Letters to Fifth Estate

Congratulations

Greetings:

You are to be commended for surviving despite the premature reports of your publication’s demise coupled with the other difficulties the Fifth Estate has faced recently.

I was greatly pleased to find your September issue on the newsstands. What a great issue. Your politics are a breath of fresh, fresh air--especially when compared to the drivel in The Sun and the so-called Michigan Free Press.

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Various Authors
Letters

Nature of Work

Dear Friends:

Barbara and I were glad to receive the most recent issue of the Fifth Estate. The critique of the Boggs pamphlet was especially good. I think Durruti and I part company, however, in his assertion after the Marx quotation that “that was work under capitalism in 1844, that was wage work under capitalism in the 1930’s and that remains the nature of work today.”.

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Various Authors
Letters

2-f-269-february-1976-letters-1.png

Dreary Marx

Dear FE:

Our high at your printing of our article on the decomposition of capitalist society waned appreciably when we noted that about 30% of the original had been deleted. We had, of course, performed our own editing job before submitting, on the wealth of available data.

Neither were we heartened to see so much space devoted to A.R.‘s dreary Marxist determinism entitled “The Big Picture.” “Never before in the history of human society,” we are informed, “has the whole social order been confronted with the possibility and necessity for consciously evolving into a whole new social form...”

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Various Authors
Letters

2-m-270-march-1976-2-letters-1.png

Welfare Hit

Dear Fifth Estate:

I would like twelve copies of your FUCK AUTHORITY poster. The day after I received it I put it up on a wall in my office in the Welfare Dept. here in San Francisco. Great responses of approval from the welfare applicants whose intake papers I process--“I’d like one,” and from fellow employees. Even more than from the “Fight Celibacy” bumper sticker I’ve put up.

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Various Authors
Letters

Us Normals

To The Fifth Estate:

We had a dim premonition the shallow-minded comedians would one day use what they thought to be DADA as a way of deadening men’s minds.

“Propagandada Discovered in Detroit” (Fifth Estate, March 1976) confirms this. YOU NORMALS are too weak to be good, too good to be really bad....only weak and in consequence, pathetic.

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Various Authors
Letters

NOW What?

To Sonny Tufts, Wonder Woman, the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, and all the imbeciles who revere the article “Propagandada Discovered in Detroit,” (F.E. March 1976):

Besides applauding your own impotence and illusory liveliness, propagandada, etc., a kind of mechanical senility, only demonstrates the seemingly unlimited powers of the spectacle--the continuing vanguard of the banal.

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Various Authors
Letters

More News

Dear FE,

I generally enjoy your paper, but have two criticisms: 1) I think it should contain more reporting on working class and community struggles—nation-wide and especially in your own backyard. Of course, most of these are led by reformist or Leninist groups...all the more reason to get in there and tell what’s going on. I think it could also win many more working people to your readership.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

The Brain Police

To the Fifth Estate:

The feature on the “Crisis in Health Care” (June FE) is O.K. However, I think it should include some coverage of the so-called mental health system. (The Brain Police wear white uniforms!)

Another facet of the medical end of things deserves mention, too. During the revolution, members of the peoples’ militia will not be covered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Every hospital will probably have special security Pigs whose job will be apprehending wounded revolutionaries. Think about this.

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Various Authors
Mr. Venom

Bicentennial Salute 200 Years Ago Today

Bicentennial

A Living History

200 Years Ago Today

Two hundred years ago today nothing happened. Literally nothing happened. Philadelphia was sweltering: the garbage men were threatening to strike, and had already enforced a slowdown. They knew that a goodly amount of refuse and filth was going to collect in the city for the July 4th Continental Congress. Flies swarmed over the heaps of trash bags lying in the streets next to the piles of bodies of plague victims.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

FEer Kidnapped?

[In response to Rich Take Non-Aspirin Over FE Ad, #274, July 1976]

Dear Sirs (sic):

We have kidnapped your staff member, E.B. Maple. If you do not deliver $300,000 in one dollar bills or the Chairman of the Board of General Motors, whichever weighs more, to a site known only to us, we will be forced to release him.

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Various Authors
Letters

Prison Food

Greetings!

Me, and some good comrades are being held prisoner in this pigsty called prison, and we came upon a copy of the April Fifth Estate. Needless to say, we are always trying to Fuck Authority, but there are no RICH around here to EAT, so we ate your newspaper, and that fucker sure was good food for thought.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Anarchism Flops

To the Fifth Estate:

If it is wrong for a woman to be put on trial when she is raped, isn’t it equally wrong for a society to be put on trial when it is raped?

Prejudice predates capitalism and is found in all societies. The same can be said of crime. Smash the State! Let the workers control the factories they work in. Do all of this and you will have a small residue who will want to do harm to their fellow man.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

What About Gangs?

To the Fifth Estate:

The FE is usually a delight to read. Only a couple of small things have detracted from that: Using “man” to mean “people”(in the article on a Michigan landfill) is sexist and a turnoff to me.

In the cover article of your gang issue [#276, September 1976] I was never certain what you felt about the gang attacks. Seems when you sound more situationist—like you become less clear and less subjective. The other articles on gangs were fine—the open letter to the columnists, a delight.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Solitary for T-Shirt

Greetings Comrades:

I thought I’d forward some news about authority inside prison....

I did 30 days in solitary for wearing a “Fuck Authority” tee shirt! They went nutty behind it. I’ve found out that one can fuck ANYTHING of theirs, but if one fucks with their authority they put you in the BOX! What ever happened to the First Amendment???????

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Sticks & Stones

Dear Fifth Estate,

In response to E.B. Maple (“On Organization: Two Reviews of The Camatte/Collu Pamphlet,” FE #279, December 1976), I can only say that calling me a “Leninist” does not make it so.

I have not suggested that we should “organize the workers”; I have only argued-that we should organize ourselves to begin the struggle for what we want. On the other hand, I am convinced that only a libertarian organization composed of tens of millions of working people can possibly overthrow class society. Scribbling slogans on walls won’t do it (another lesson from SDS).

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Various Authors
Camatte, Collu & On Organization Letter responses

To the Fifth Estate:

Realizing that he who jumps into the middle of a fight gets shot at from both sides, I must say that both sides in the debate over “On Organization” are wrong: Ed Clark with his impersonal formal organization, and Camatte/Collu, and their defender Maple, with their unorganized formal persons. [See “On Organization: Two Reviews of The Camatte/Collu Pamphlet,” FE# 279, December, 1976.] Here are two positions badly in need of dialectic. (I’m more sympathetic to Clark, mostly because I worked with him for a number of years, but also because he’s less pretentious and dogmatic than Camatte/Collu.)

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Various Authors
Letters

CIA Supports FE

Dear Fifth Estate:

I refuse to renew my subscription to your radical rag for the simple reason I have some absurdist evidence you’ve been running a bogus journalistic revolution in the Motor City. That’s right! I talked to Mr. Green jeans yesterday and he said you guys are being FUNDED BY THE CIA! It does make sense, you know. After all, how can you freaks continue to run a radical rag with NO advertising, continually asking your subscribers to put up bucks here and there and go to benefit parties. Come on. I’ve got a degree from Wayne State and I’ve been out of work since November 1975 (actually I’m bragging but the point is where the hell are you guys getting your money?) I actually don’t give a shit since I don’t give a shit about money any more than you guys do. The thing is, if you guys are being funded by the CIA that means you can continue perpetually with your anarchist ideals and absurdist philosophies. Something fishy in Detroit, and it ain’t Mother Waddles.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Obscene Competition

To the FE:

Let me make some observations regarding the recent debates in the FE on organization, worker’s councils, and so on. I hope you take what I say as friendly criticism rather than as the beginning of a polemic.

First of all, many of the statements in the paper, both by correspondents and by FE staff, display considerable pomposity, as well as a desire to dismiss as idiotic or reactionary the views of opponents. This kind of revolutionary one-upmanship not only fails to clarify the issues; it also risks discouraging the participation of people who doubt their own glibness or literary skill.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Note to Writers

Due to space considerations, we ask that letter writers make their remarks as concise as possible and when typing please double-space. It’s not our desire to trim ideas to fit the space available, but practical limitations do confront us and we would appreciate this being taken into account. In general, two pages is ideal—anything longer would better be considered as an article.

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Various Authors
Letters

Dear Friends:

Learned recently that funds for the arts have been cut drastically in Detroit or Michigan, and that a “state representative” Wierzbicki defended the policy by saying that music, art, and dance have nothing to do with people’s lives. Of course, Wizbugger, or whatever his name is, is correct. As dadaist Richard Holsenbeck once said, “Art regarded from a serious point of view is a large scale swindle.”

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Various Authors
L’affaire Black Rose Books Letter exchange

To the Reader:

In the last issue of the Fifth Estate [#283, June 1977], a letter appeared signed by a Joe Doaks criticizing Black Rose Books of Montreal. Doaks charged that a recent BRB publication, Durruti: The People Armed, by Abel Paz and translated by Nancy MacDonald, omitted a key section without informing the reader, failed to give the book’s printing history (thus making it appear as though it were a BRB original), that it was overpriced, poorly produced (typesetting and proofreading) and that BRB had a history of appropriating titles from other publishers and putting BRB covers on them. Doaks further said that he and others planned to put out another edition at a third the BRB cost and ended by stating that “Durruti would have shot those (BRB) fuckers.”

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Various Authors
Letters

Related: See Comment from the Fifth Estate regarding Black Rose Books, Ltd. in this issue.

Fresh Air

Dear FE:

The economist-minded, techno-fascist remains of the situationists, the socialist corpses who whine about the need for federations in their “libertarian” mouthpiece, Synthesis, and the worshipers and arbiters of commodity relations (i.e. Black Rose Books and their business-is-business cohorts) ought to rumble with SRAFers assembling their conference on Wildcat Mountain this summer. It would make for a better ecology; I know I’d enjoy the breath of fresh air.

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Various Authors
Letters

SRAF Report

To Whomever Is Interested:

Well, it seems it was a pretty tame bunch of tabbies up at Wildcat Mountain late in July. Once again, nothing was accomplished at a Social Revolutionary Anarchist Federation (SRAF) conference, but the determination of a time and place for next year’s rerun. Some people were disappointed that nothing of substance was produced, while others, such as myself, wondered why the temporary assemblage of such a heterogeneous group had to “accomplish” something anyway.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Mutual Aid

To The Fifth Estate:

I have been delegated by the Anarchist Fund Raising Picnic held Sept. 11 at Santa Teresa Park, San Jose, California, to disburse the following funds to support the anarchist propaganda projects in the English language including Black Flag, Black Star, Freedom and Open Road.

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Various Authors
Comments on Revolutionary Violence 1. Responses to “New York, New York”; 2. On Terrorism & Authoritarianism

1. Responses to “New York, New York”

Dear F.E.:

It would be very interesting to know more about the character of the N.Y. looting but it is not clear to me that we can tell anything from the figures which the Zerzans passed on to us from the San Francisco Chronicle in your August issue [see “New York, New York: The blackout of 1977” by John Zerzan, Paula Zerzan, Fifth Estate # 285, August, 1977].

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Lire Needed

To The Fifth Estate:

The latest issue of Invariance (in French) is at the printers in Milan, but to pay for the printing we need one million Italian lire (FE note: about $1,350). So we’re wondering if among people interested in Invariance in the U.S. there might be some who could help us financially. Please excuse this request, but we are really at an impasse.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Leftist Puritanism

Dear FE,

Puritanism is pernicious & petty. It goes against the grain of libertarianism. In the sexual sphere are two Puritan-isms, of the right and of the left.

The Puritanism of the right we’re quite familiar with—the old Victorianism, sex as dirty, sex for procreation only, no sex before marriage, etc. The Puritanism of the left, however, is more subtle, less easy to explain. This is because it often wears libertarian clothes.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Help Wanted

Dear FE & Readers:

Some clarification of myself is needed here before too many people waste time making statements about me that are completely out of whack with who I am. (See Letters, FE #290, March 2, 1978).

First off, I’m not afraid of bruises, nor am I afraid of putting my life on the line. I’ve put my life on the line many times in the 25 years of it. I’ll do so again right here:

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Various Authors
More Debate on Pornography, Sexism & Fascism

The following series of letters have joined the debate regarding the connection between pornography and violence against women that began in our January 24, 1978 issue [#289] with an article by Michael Betzold and was answered the following issue [#290, March 2, 1978] by Sonny Tufts. The two authors respond again to one another and several readers also offer their opinions. We invite further comment from readers.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

FE A HOBBY?

To F.E.:

Anarchism can provide the perfect defense mechanism for dilettantes. In your “reply” to John and Paula Zerzan [“FE Criticized & Our Response,” FE #291, April 30, 1978] you come perilously close to demonstrating this when you excuse your conceptions of the. FE by reference to the nexus of capital within which, not surprisingly, you find yourselves.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

At the Picnic

Dear Comrades,

At a picnic held July 9 at Los Gatos we received an income of $841 in which we distributed as follows:

Freedom $75; Black Flag $75; Open Road $75; Fifth Estate $75; Rivista A $200; L’Internazionale $150; Volonta $121; Interogation $70.

Some of the contributors were not present—those being: John Vattuone $20; T. Martocchia $20; Peter Puccio $20; Fred Francescutti $20; Dal Fondo Nicola $100; San Vitulli $10; Armando $10; Romeo $10.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

$pliterates’ Reality

To The Fifth Estate:

There you go again: the $pliterates attacking TV! (See FE #292, June 19, 1978).

1. Literacy produced modern technology, including capitalism and industrialism. 1, 2, 3 = a, b, c; that’s why men invented it.

2. What about the “dehumanized aspects of the centralized $pliteracy source: left brained publishers—depressed, repressed presses?

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Funds Cut

Staff note: For at least two years this newspaper has received a portion of money raised at dinners (cenas) held regularly in California by a group of Italian anarchists. The purpose of the fund raising was specifically to support and encourage libertarian propaganda work. After the appearance of our last issue we received the following letter from Jim Bumpas of the Social Revolutionary Anarchist Federation (SRAF) who had taken over the role of disperser of the funds raised at the dinners.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Note: Last issue’s article on “State-Fetishism” has again given rise to the much debated question of revolutionary violence. We invite further reader response in this matter.

Not Futile

Dear Fifth Estate,

This is an answer to the article “State Fetishism” [FE #296, January 19, 1979].

The article points out many mistakes in the conception and carrying out of revolutionary violence in recent years.

...

Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Jim & Sid

Bon Jours Cinque Etate:

Allors!—as France’s leading Anarchist & Public Enemy Number One, I wish to offer my congratulations on your fine paper. As a revenue generating device, may I suggest an idea for a t-shirt: on the front a picture of padre Jim Jones w/logo, “He died for your sins” & on the back the picture of Sid Vicious with logo, “I died for mine.”

...

Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Bad In Stone Age

Dear Fifth Estate,

After reading the June 19th issue of the FE I would like to make some comments regarding your attack on “civilization” and your glorification of hunter/ gatherer life.

First, I agree with the point that increased technology does not increase leisure time and in fact has the opposite result. However this is not a new “revolutionary” theory. Marvin Harris has made the same point in Culture, People, Nature several years ago, and has drawn similar conclusions about the “virtues” of technological progress.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Mutual Aid

Dear People,

The cena at Negri’s on Saturday, January 12, 1980 raised money for anarchist propaganda, as well as $75 for the defense of Kamalla Miller.

Those present at the dinner choose to send you $50.00 to help with your valuable work.

Yours for the works,

Jim Bumpas

FE Note: Fund raising picnics and dinners have a long tradition in the anarchist movement as means of supporting libertarian groups and publications. A group has met in Florida twice since the appearance of our last issue and sent us $30 and $25 from each of the picnics. Below is listed the other recipients of the contributions as sent to us by a participant:

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

A Pre-Frontal

Dear Fifth Estate,

I believe Harvey Ovshinsky (talkshow host of WRIF) is doing the FE a lot of harm by claiming he has “founded that paper.” If indeed he did, someone must have done a frontal lobotomy on him since.

Have you listened to him on WRIF ever? Treat yourself! He’s an establishment sell-out, a mealy-mouthed corporate echo.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Pessimism Optimistic

Dear FE:

“Carter’s Phony War Crisis” (FE #301, Feb. 26, 1980) was excellent. I’d only fault it in one respect—I feel that ‘you’re unduly optimistic in stating that, “Third World countries such as Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia...(will become) the super consumers of tomorrow.” My reasons are:

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Mutual Aid

Comrades:

At the recent cena (dinner) held by the Italian comrades $1,061 was raised. It was decided to divide it among the following publications: Black Flag, Fifth Estate, Freedom, Internationale, Open Road, Revista A, SRAF, North American Anarchist, Work and Pay, and Voluntà.

Best Wishes

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Fifth Estate Collective
Various Authors

FE Readers Debate Technology

The letters on this page are responses to John Zerzan’s “The Refusal of Technology” which appeared in the October 20, 1980 edition [#303] of the Fifth Estate; below are our comments on the question. In the article, Zerzan accuses those whose vision of revolution contains a dependence upon “‘advanced’ technology” as not significantly breaking with the world as it is. We have edited each of the contributions for purposes of space and we can only hope that we have left intact the authors’ intent.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Entropy Revulsion

Dear FE,

I have absolute revulsion for the “Friends of Entropy,” Animals Liberation Front and others of that ilk. While they will take the most violent and desperate measures to “rescue” a dog, guinea pig, and white mice from their cages (as described in their letter, FE #304, December 31, 1980), they stand mute while state fascist agents rape, murder, and oppress people in prison all over this country. (In fact, Arkansas has the most brutal prison system in the country, yet no one has ever dynamited that slaughterhouse at Cumming Farm where the bones of 60 men were found in a mass grave in 1969.) It is a hypocrisy for “Liberationists” to fight for the rights of animals, but to passively stand by while prisoners are slaughtered at Attica, San Quentin or Leavenworth (where I am) or other such death camps. These “animal lovers” hate people, and are sick!

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Various Authors
Technology Debate Continues

FE—A Safe Niche?

To the Fifth Estate:

Over the past couple of years that I have been reading your paper, I have been alternately intrigued, provoked, or irritated by some of the things you folks have written. And that’s as it should be. What has continued to hold my interest has been your refreshing tendency to re-examine issues that too many people in the so-called libertarian left have taken for granted. You have never hesitated to ask disturbing but necessary questions—without wishing to “resolve” them all at once.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

FE Note: The letters which appear on these two pages are mostly responses to our July 1981 edition which was devoted mainly to a discussion and critique of technology and the modern world it has spawned. Single copies of that issue are still available from our office for 50 cents a copy. (See our index of available back issues on page 19 of this issue.) T. Fulano, author of last issue’s “Against the Mega-machine,” responds to supporters of technology elsewhere in this issue.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Multi- vs. Universe

Dear T. Fulano (and the FE)

I read your response to the defenders of technology with great trepidation [“Uncovering a Corpse: A Reply to the Defenders of Technology,” FE #307, November 19, 1981]. At every turn I expected you to say: “This is what we need to do: let’s dismantle everything and turn the clocks back to 700 A.D. or 500 B.C.” I thought you might announce a program that would alienate the people who oppose only parts of technology and oppose it for a variety of reasons; e.g., because they love old, vanishing crafts, because they are Christians, because they are nostalgists, or simply because they are technological incompetents.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

FASCIST DISSENSION

Dear Friends:

I am resubscribing to the Fifth Estate plus $1.00 extra for a prisoner’s subscription. I support the work of the FE and believe that it is of critical value to all revolutionaries. However, I strongly disagree with your printing of the “Challenge to the Prison Movement” (See FE #307, Nov. 19, 1981) piece of fascist dissension.

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Various Authors
More debate on Technology Does FE View mean “War on Technology?”

Dear Fifth Estate:

The cover graphic of the mushroom cloud with the word WAR! in seven centimeter lettering across the front struck me as highly appropriate for the Fifth Estate (See FE #307, Nov. 19, 1981). It would seem to me that a worldwide nuclear war would surely be a progressive step towards “Paleolithic Liberation.” In all your polemics against technology and in your point by point rebuttals to pro-tech arguments you never seem to deal with the sort of question I am inclined to raise. Namely, how do you expect 4 billion people to sustain themselves on this planet in a hunter gatherer mode of production?

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Being Definite

Dear FE:

With only 12 shopping days left ‘til nuclear war, I thought I’d better get some bucks off to you to renew the old sub. Thanks a million, or should I say thanks $4 bucks? Whatever, the FE is always welcome on my doorstep.

I like the new big format. Makes me feel like I’m really reading something and it holds more kitty litter. No, seriously, the paper is greatly appreciated for its sane thoughts in a world long gone mad. Keep up the excellent work.

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Various Authors
Readers dispute FE on Nuclear Freeze issue

Dear Fifth Estate,

Thank you for your criticisms of the Freeze campaign [FE #309, June 19, 1982]. I agree wholeheartedly that the Freeze is not enough. The Freeze is just a first step, it is a talking point. Whatever its limitations, it has engaged the interest of millions of people in the subject of nuclear terror, and it has helped people start to think about the issue.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

CHRISTIAN ANARCHY?

Fifth Estate:

People can call themselves anything they like but I would think the differences between Christianity and anarchism are so massive as to preclude anyone calling themselves Christian anarchists (see FE June19, 1982 Letters column). There are similarities between the two doctrines which would lead someone to adopt such a label; they both speak of a love for humanity.

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Various Authors
Readers Comment on Recent Bombings

The following two letters were received prior to the arrest of the Vancouver 5 (see story on next page) and raise again the question of revolutionary violence and terrorism debated so many times previously in these pages. The debate has engaged the anarchist and libertarian movement since its inception and we welcome further comments on the subject.

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Various Authors
Letters

Correcting Yippies!

The following is in response to an item which appeared in the Fall 1983 Fifth Estate which listed the Columbia (Mo.) Anarchist League as one of the sponsors of a Yippie! coordinated demonstration to be held at the 1984 Republican convention.

Fifth Estate:

For the record, the Columbia Anarchist League has nothing to do with “Freeze Reagan/Bush.” I told the NYC Yippies that we did not want to endorse it because it was a move in a reformist direction away from the nobody for president idea. However, I told him it would be okay with us if they put the Columbia Nobody for President Committee as an endorsee (since we could make our point this way).

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Various Authors
Letters

Language I

Dear FE,

Neither the simple abuse by Ratticus nor the extended commentary by George Bradford seemed to me to engage the two most basic points or arguments of “Language: Origin and Meaning” (FE #315, Winter 1984), namely that language is the model of ideology and that it derives from earliest division of labor. Thus they rejected the piece while failing to deal with the essentials referred to by its title, an odd tack possibly reflecting on my craftsmanship as its author.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

White Rule

Dear Fifth Estate,

Without wanting to get involved in your mag too much, there is one criticism that I feel more important than whatever else I might want to say about it. It’s where you say “South Africa is bound to fall in the next few years.” (See FE Indian Summer, 1985, “South Africa: Reform or Revolution.”)

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Various Authors
Goldman Papers Seized

The following is excerpted from a longer critique of the Emma Goldman Papers Project and its director, Candace Falk. For a copy of the complete article, write: c/o the Last Blast, Box 410151, San Francisco, CA 94141. [Authorship in the print edition is attributed to “Marie Berneri & Francois Ravachol.”]

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Lions 1

Comrades:

You have won a place in my heart forever. The lions’ response to the letter, “Pretty Bad Taste” (FE Vol. 21 No. 1) was right on!

When I started reading the letter, I kind of slunk back, kind of anxiously awaiting the FE’s response. Then, when I read the lions’ response, a roar of laughter came out of me that took the roof off, strung my intestines out of my split gut, and kept me laughing my ass off two blocks down the street!

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Various Authors
Letters on Deep Ecology

Dear Fifth Estate:

I was heartened to read your issue concerning Earth First!. I’ve had a gut feeling about that group for a while, felt uncomfortable with the male-dominated norm of most all environmental groups, even the so-called radical, anarchist ones. Then I heard about the AIDS comment by Foreman and got upset even further. But I thought, maybe that’s west coast innocence; I just came from New York City where AIDS is the #1 killer of women between the ages of 25 and 29. Still, it bugged me, and I began debating with people about Earth First!, about the nature of an anarchist ecology group which refuses to recognize human social relationships and problems as the cause of environmental disaster To make a long story short, thank you. I thought I was alone in an uncomfortable feeling about Earth First!. Now I’m not alone.

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Various Authors
E. B. Maple (Peter Werbe)

Even More Minneapolis Anarchy In response to “More Minneapolis Anarchy”

FE Note: This is a response to “More Minneapolis Anarchy,” the letters beginning on page 15 of this issue.

Well, even more Minneapolis Anarchy has come our way since our introduction and page layout was begun.

First, a letter from “Some Chicago Anarchists,” the conveners of the 1986 Haymarket Centennial, who question the necessity of multiple national meetings for the anarchist movement and in particular the January 16 planning meeting in Atlanta for the July Toronto Gathering. This is an abridged version of a much longer letter; the complete text is available from the above folks at: Box 163, 1340 W. Irving Pk. Rd., Chicago IL 60613.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Dear E.B. Maple:

As a writer who is often criticized for being too difficult, academic or stylistic, I was immensely heartened by your response to London Greenpeace’s letter (see FE #326, Summer 1987) taking you all to task for those sins. I’d like to add a few points.

In England, “style” has certain class connotations; style is withheld from the underclass deliberately, & reserved for the literati who are almost without exception middle-to-upper-class. Therefore, among radicals (from the “plain”-speaking Quakers on) a distrust has arisen, a disgust for elegance (whether in the science-sense of “accurate & inspired” or in the aesthetic sense of “useless” beauty).

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Various Authors
Bob Brubaker
Sunfrog

Anarchy in San Francisco The 1989 gathering: 3 views

Introduction

“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.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

3-w-333-winter-1990-letters-to-the-fifth-estate-1.png
A rising new cause of severe brain dammage: Narcotics officers.

Readers may note that the Ron Cobb cartoons we publish each issue often have copyright (ugh!) dates on them of up to twenty years ago. Beyond being a testimony to the wit and creativeness of the cartoonist, the drawings aptly illustrate that neither the hypocrisy nor the oppressiveness of the State has changed much in the intervening twenty years. The cartoon below appeared in the Fifth Estate in 1969.

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Various Authors
Poetry

TAKING IT ALL BACK AGAIN

walls smeared with

burnt campaign posters

cracks papered over

with yellowed collection

notices

.

we pass smokes

swap zip codes

wait for toxic

clouds to dissipate

.

eyes lay in darkness

and wait

.

wait to take it

all back and start

again.

—Jay Marvin

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Cuban Alternative

To the FE:

Cuban Greens/anti-authoritarians need our aid. Orlando Polo and Mercedes Paez of Cuba’s anti-authoritarian/ecological/ anti-Militarist Green Path group have been touring the U.S. recently.

Arrested many times in Cuba, they are being repressed again as Cuban authorities are refusing to allow them re-admission to the country.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Money, Money, Money

Hi:

In his review of Counterfeit Currency, E.B. Maple asserted that gold has served as money because of arbitrary human assignation, an analysis which treats money in general as a mere sign. (See Winter 1992 Fifth Estate.)

In actuality, processed gold assured its role because, like other commodities, it is (even in its rawest form, sifted flakes) the product of human labor. But unlike other commodities, it is chemically stable, compact, and generally useless except as a medium of exchange.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Network Forming

Dear Friends:

The Primitivist Network aims to promote networking of broadly defined anarcho-primitivists. The network is not an organization and has no fixed ideological line. It is designed to act merely as a means of fostering contact between like-minded people with the aim of generating projects that are broadly anarcho-primitivist in nature.

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Various Authors
Letters to the FE

Fifth Estate Letters Policy

The Fifth Estate always welcomes letters commenting on our articles, stating opinions, or giving reports of events in local areas. We don’t guarantee we will print everything we receive, but all letters are read by our staff and considered.

Typed letters or ones on disk are appreciated, but not required. Length should not exceed two double-spaced pages. If you are interested in Writing a longer response, please contact us.

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Various Authors
Our Fallen Anarchist Comrades Remembering Albert Meltzer, Valerio Isca, Alfredo Monrós, Richard “Tet” Tetenbaum, Earnest Mann, and Jim Gustafson

Albert Meltzer

Born London, Jan. 7, 1920; died, Weston-Super-Mare, N. Somerset, May 7, 1996.

Albert Meltzer was one of the most enduring and respected torchbearers of the international anarchist movement in the second half of the twentieth century. His sixty-year commitment to the vision and practice of anarchism survived both the collapse of the revolution and civil war in Spain and World War II. He helped fuel the libertarian impetus of the 1960s and 1970s and steer it through the reactionary challenges of the Thatcherite 1980s and post-Cold War 1990s.

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Various Authors
Letters to the FE

Fifth Estate Letters Policy

The Fifth Estate always welcomes letters commenting on our articles, stating opinions„ or giving reports of events in local areas. We don’t guarantee we will print everything we receive, but all letters are read by our staff and considered.

Typed letters or ones on disk are appreciated, but not required. Length should not exceed two double-spaced pages. If you are interested in writing a longer response, please contact us.

...

Various Authors
Poetry for Peltier

For 22 years the doors of justice have been closed to Leonard Peltier. Now, the door may be opening a crack. A few months ago AIM activist Dennis Banks announced that Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs, had agreed to hold oversight hearings into the events leading to Peltier’s arrest and conviction. Wounded Knee, the COINTELPRO programs against AIM, Peltier’s illegal extradition from Canada, and the many irregularities in his trial will be among the issues brought to light.

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Various Authors
Letters to The Fifth Estate

Not terror

To FE:

In the last issue of FE in the Letters section, FE made a comment that I really didn’t understand, and as a P.O.W., I was somewhat disappointed with: “This paper has a long history of supporting political prisoners. Some of them committed acts of terror against the state.” (emphasis added) Why was the word terror used to describe our armed campaign? This would imply that we are terrorist. It is this type of language that gives credence to the KKKovernment’s effort to criminalize the legitimacy of our armed struggle in order to justify our illegal imprisonment and their refusal to acknowledge our P.O.W. status. From the late 60s to the early 80s, the death or injury of a civilian has never occurred as a result of the Black Liberation Army. All targets were legitimate.

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Various Authors
Building A Movement Coming Events

Chicago—May 3

Honoring the Haymarket Martyrs

The U.S. National Park Service has declared Chicago’s Haymarket Martyrs’ monument a National Historic Landmark and the Illinois Labor History Society (ILHS) is sponsoring a celebration, Sunday afternoon, May 3. The ceremony will take place at the former Waldheim cemetery, now called Forest Home, at 863 Desplaines Ave. in Forest Park, Ill., outside of Chicago.

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Various Authors
News & Reviews

Reviewed by Allan Antliff unless otherwise noted

The Uncontrollables vs the Grotesque Frame-Up Against Anarchists in Italy: Dossier, 1997 documents the Italian government’s efforts to target Italy’s anarchist movement using the confession of an activist’s former lover. The government is using her testimony to pin numerous unsolved kidnappings, bank robberies, and direct actions (attacks on energy pylons, etc.) on over 50 anarchists.

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