Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Death by Internet?

In two years, this newspaper will celebrate its 40th anniversary and carries the distinction of being the longest running, English language, anti-authoritarian publication in American history. Yet, the substantial upsurge in computer use in recent years as a major source for ideas and information may be putting our existence in jeopardy.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Let Them Eat GMOs Capitalism’s Counter-revolution

MIAMI—The vicious and unprovoked police assault on demonstrators during the recent Miami Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) talks produced waves of indignation and anger among both participants and observers. Witnessing Kevlar-armored, weapon-laden RoboCops kick the crap out of teenagers (and some middle-aged people, as well), it’s easy to focus solely on these despicable acts of brutality rather than what generated them.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Our Enemy the State The Pyramid Against the Circle

A quick glance at the evening news should be enough to convince even the most disengaged citizen that we live in “grim times.” This recognition, although accurate, is a cliché, since the same could be said about almost every era for the last thousand years in the West.

That’s not to say there’s not joy to he had, moments in which the human spirit erupts with creativity or transcendence, or even years when things seem to work just right, for some people, that is, and usually only for a while. Simultaneously, though, even in the best of periods, often no less than a few miles away, some horror is being perpetrated, or the harmony of an entire era or locale is suddenly exploded by some monstrous event.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Don LaCoss
Sunfrog

Everybody but Bush

Don LaCoss

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.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
First Iraq Mutiny As War Drags on, Will There Be More?

Mutiny. This word, fearsome to the brass of any army (but joyful to anti-war activists), was left out of October media accounts about a US Army Reserve unit whose soldiers refused to deliver fuel along a route in Iraq they considered too dangerous to travel.

Eighteen soldiers, including the commander of the 343rd Quarter-master Company, refused to under-take a fuel delivery north of Baghdad in what they characterized as a “suicide mission,” given the frequency of attacks and the lack of armor for their unit. The commander was relieved of duty with the hope that the entire incident could be swept under a rug already showing great bulges from previous sweepings.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
How to Support Anti-War GIs

As Bush’s Iraq quagmire begins to take on the same qualities as the war in Vietnam—fighting an insurgent population, mounting US casualties, increased slaughter of civilians, destruction of the country to “save it,” no exit strategy—so, too, does military opposition.

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Ex-Sgt. Camilo Mejia holding an anti-war sign in Iraq. After refusing to report for duty, he was sentenced to a year in jail.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
A Short History of our Offices as Autonomous Zones

Hakim Bey, whose writings frequently appear in these pages, is perhaps best known for his book the TAZ--temporary autonomous zone--that describes when normally domesticated space is liberated, if only for a moment, for festive and subversive moments of happiness.

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In 1969, Leni Sinclair took this photo during a meeting at the Fifth Estate office at 1107 West Warren. Included are members of the White Panthers and the FE, yet we’re not sure what the meeting was about. Seated on the chair to the right is Diana Oughton of Motor City SDS, and later, the Weather Underground. Oughton died (with her comrades Terry Robbins and Ted Gold) on March 6, 1970 in a Greenwich Village townhouse, from an explosion likely caused by a bomb she was making.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Billy Bragg

Drinking Joe Hill’s Ashes Interview with Billy Bragg

Note: FE staffer Walker Lane interviewed Billy Bragg, the English singer/songwriter, when he played a 1998 Labor Day benefit for striking Detroit newspaper workers.

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Lane: Rumor has it you once drank a glass of beer containing the ashes of the famous Wobbly songwriter, Joe Hill.

Bragg: It’s true, actually. Joe Hill was executed by the state of Utah in 1915 after a frame-up trial. When he died, he was cremated, and they had asked him where he wanted to be buried. He answered, “Anywhere but in Utah,” where he had been executed by a firing squad. So, what the Wobblies decided to do was to send his ashes to every union branch in the United States. They put them in little packets and mailed them out.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Venezuela—An Anarchist at the World Social Forum 100,000 gather in Caracas to celebrate Chavismo. But, is it another world, or, just a different version of this one?

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Barrel-assing around hair-pin turns at 6am in a crowded bus on a road with no barriers between us and a two thousand foot drop was not the manner in which I anticipated arriving in Venezuela for the Sixth World Social Forum (WSF).

This anus-clenching adventure was made necessary by the fact that a key viaduct on the highway from the airport into Caracas was recently determined to be on the verge of collapse. All traffic was forced to take an old mountain road, so what was normally a 40 minute ride had turned into a gridlocked six-hour nightmare journey.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
All Wars are Lies! Iraq War Based on Lies: Liberals are Shocked!

War! Uh!

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing!

--Edwin Starr, “War”

The Motown great Edwin Starr asked and answered this question in his 1970 song that became a best-selling record and the anthem of another in a series of long, hot summers.

By then, tens of millions of people around the world had come to a similar conclusion about the U.S. empire’s brutal war in Vietnam that already had taken the lives of at least two million Indochinese and tens of thousands of those of the invaders. There was wide-spread realization that not only did America’s Asian war have nothing to do with “freedom,” but was about imperial domination of a region far from its shores.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
The State and Longing for Arcadia Review

reviewed here:

The State, Harold Barclay, Freedom Press, London, 2003, 109 pp.

Longing for Arcadia: Memoirs of an AnarchoCynicalist Anthropologist, Harold B. Barclay, Trafford, 2005, Victoria, BC, 362 pp.

Harold Barclay’s thin volume on the political state packs into its pages everything we need to know to realize that there is nothing eternal about this inherently oppressive institution. A relatively recent phenomenon in human affairs, Barclay traces its origins to a few thousand years ago based on the desire of a few men to control others by establishing hierarchical societies in place of the egalitarian ones that preceded them.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Anne R. Key

Reviews The Wedding and Other Stories and Oystercatcher #3

1.

The Wedding and Other Stories, Cara Hoffman, Factory School Southpaw Culture, 2006, 114 pp., factoryschool.org. Available from the Barn

Cara Hoffman’s seven tautly written, alternately ominous and humorous short stories are driven by her elegant use of language. She’s a writer in the now unfashionable old school where words and the images they create shape story and characters rather than breathless action scenarios waiting to be transferred from page to film. There’s great craft here where one can almost feel the work put into each sinuous sentence; sometimes each word.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Has Bush Doomed Christianity? 2,000 Year Run May Be Coming to an End

Perhaps the only positive result of the reign of the murderous moron in the White House as chieftain of the American empire is to what depths he has sunk the popular perception of Christianity.

The Bush mob’s initial political approval following the 9/11 catastrophe he allowed to occur, utilized both the flag and bible as its key iconography to fool the rubes. Although this is standard fare for craven politicians, the Republicans raised this cultural imaging to levels not seen in a hundred years. But, the unraveling of the reigning racket’s lies, the exposure of their greed, corruption, and their hypocrisy and that of their most pious spokesmen, both in the Congress and the pulpit, have created an opening for atheism that would have seemed impossible even a short time ago.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
In Chavez’s Venezuela Continued repression of popular protest

Just the headline above alone probably condemns us to the gulag by uncritical leftist supporters of Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian socialist revolution. But like most issues that vex the left, a look beneath the surface always provides more than what initially presents itself, and almost always, something worse.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Escaping from Europe Why Our (White) Ancestors Came Here in the First Place

“[The Arawaks]...brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned ...They were well built, with good bodies and handsome features....They do not bear arms and do not know them...They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane...They would make fine servants.”

--Christopher Columbus, ship’s log, October 12, 1492

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
An Anarchist in Cuba Socialism or Cell Phones

On February 2, I stepped off a plane that had left a frigid Toronto three and a half hours earlier and landed in the balmy sunshine of Holguin, Cuba. It was impossible to know then that I had arrived two weeks before the end of the island’s Revolution as we know it.

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Santiago de Cuba, the southern city hailed as the home of the Revolution, the Moncada Barracks, where Castro and 125 men attacked on July 26, 1953. A guide explained the battle, Castro’s strategy, and showed where the fighting occurred, some of it in the foreground. Castro was captured, as were many of his men, some of whom were tortured and summarily executed. The building is now a school.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Nope to Hope False capital & the spectacle triumphant

ANNOUNCER: The leader’s coming. He approaches. He’s bending. He’s unbending. He’s jumping. He’s crossed the river. ‘They’re shaking his hand. He sticks out his thumb.

Can you hear? They’re laughing... Ah ... ! he’s signing autographs. The leader is stroking a hedgehog, a superb hedgehog! The crowd applauds. He’s dancing with the hedgehog in his hand. He’s embracing his dancer. Hurrah! Hurrah! He’s being photographed, with his dancer on one hand and the hedgehog on the other... He greets the crowd ... He spits a tremendous distance.

--from The Leader, Eugene Ionesco (1953)

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Wilhelm Reich The Emotional Plague & the Authoritarian Family

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INTRODUCTION (2010)

In 1976, much of what had constituted the New Left of the previous years was in a state of terminal collapse.

As an example, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the quintessential white radical youth organization, whose numbers at its height were in the hundreds of thousands, was reduced to several dozen activists in the Weather Underground.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Cuba: From State to Private Capitalism Adios Socialismo

HAVANA — We entered the elevator on the ground floor of Havana’s renowned FOCSA building in the city’s Vedado district and were quickly whisked, non-stop, to the 33rd floor. When the doors opened, tuxedoed waiters welcomed us to La Torre, an elegant, candle-lit restaurant with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the city and harbor twinkling in the night below us.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
State Violence & Cuba’s Ladies in White

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Civilian Cuban women aid state security agents by dragging Ladies in White to an awaiting bus following a Havana anti-government march.

In March, Cuban police broke up a protest by the Ladies in White, women with family members sentenced to prison for opposing the government. The images of the women being dragged to a bus, their white clothes smeared with mud, were broadcast world-wide as proof of the repressive nature of the Castro government.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
How Once Dangerous Signs and Slogans Become Appropriated to Mean Their Opposite or Nothing

The dominant culture’s appropriation and enfeeblement of language that was once angrily thrust against it is nothing new.

Even the word “revolution,” which once sent shivers down the spines of a fragile bourgeoisie until their rule was assured, has been recuperated. After its brief resurrection in the 1960s, the phrase was quickly adopted by the advertising industry to mean anything new and exciting, as in “Breck’s revolutionary new hair coloring.”

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
The Vegetarian Myth

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a review of

The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice and Sustainability by Lierre Keith, 320 pp, PM Press, 2009, $20

Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World. Revised edition, expanded & updated by Bob Torres and Jenna Torres, 222 pp, PM Press, 2010, $14.95

Once, at a Tai Chi workshop I attended, an elderly Chinese master of the discipline suddenly stopped in the middle of the demonstration and asked, completely out of the blue, “Why do so many of you not eat meat?”

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Copyright or Wrong? Should anarchists, who oppose private property and the state, want copyright protection for their work? What if they get it whether they want it or not?

Most everyone knows that the small encircled, lower case letter “c” indicates that a piece of work is copyrighted, and that it designates legal protection of creative work and intellectual property. Perhaps the key word for this discussion is the last one in the sentence--property.

How copyrights are applied and the protection they provide for work that is intended as property within the commercial market place, on the face of it, wouldn’t seem to need much elaboration, but actually its definitions and applications are quite complex, but fortunately aren’t what will be under discussion here. This article will center on how anti-statists can or should relate to state protection.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
The Empire Exits Iraq

When President Barack Obama announced on October 21 that the nine year U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq was ending, it didn’t even make first spot on many news reports. Another imperial slaughter had ground to an end, with many liberal publications, such as The Nation, declaring it an “ignominious end to a shameful debacle.”

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Occupy Confronts the Power of Money The encampments as anarchy in action

A specter is haunting [the world]--the specter of [the Occupy movement]. All the powers of [the world] have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this specter.

-- The Communist Manifesto--1848, Karl Marx & Fredrick Engels [altered to reflect current reality]

One hundred and sixty-three years after the original words were written, the specter the rulers of Europe so feared (communism, the word altered in the above quote) appeared to have been successfully vanquished. But suddenly the Occupy movement went from 0 to a 100 mph in a few weeks placing the question of the rule of money on the political agenda across the world, and, in the U.S. for the first time in a hundred years. Inspired by the Arab Spring, the Greek, Spanish, and English opposition to shifting the cost of repairing capitalism from bankers to the people, almost overnight, Occupy sites sprouted up in over a thousand U.S. cities.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Anarchist Violence or State Violence? Anarchists are portrayed as the boogeyman by the media, but governments are the real source of organized violence.

The question of violence as a revolutionary tactic is neither new nor unfairly associated with anarchists, although debate has recently emerged over its use by Black Blocs during mass demonstrations, including Occupy events. [See FE, Summer 2012; John Zerzan, “The Vagaries of the Left.”]

However, many are quick to insist that breaking bank windows or torching police cars doesn’t constitute violence but rather should more precisely be described as property damage or political vandalism [Hey, the original Vandals carried out a final blow to a pretty nasty empire].

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
A Response on Polyamory “Monogamy doesn’t work; non-monogamy doesn’t either.”

No comment can be made about the writings and ideas of Andy Smith without first recognizing the enormous contributions he made to the Fifth Estate for almost twenty years. During the first years of the century he and his comrades in Tennessee were the mainstay of this publication, and it is easy to say, that without his stewardship during that era, this magazine probably wouldn’t exist today. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was our 40th anniversary edition which at 102 pages, tracing our intense history beginning in 1965, was the largest and most colorful issue we’ve published. Long thought to be out of print, we recently discovered a cache of them and now have it available again.

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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
First Iraq Mutiny As War Drags on, Will There Be More?

Fifth Estate history

Mutiny. This word, fearsome to the brass of any army (but joyful to anti-war activists), was left out of October 2004 media accounts about a US Army Reserve unit whose soldiers refused to deliver fuel along a route in Iraq they considered too dangerous to travel.

Eighteen soldiers, including the commander of the 343rd Quarter-master Company, refused to under-take a fuel delivery north of Baghdad in what they characterized as a “suicide mission,” given the frequency of attacks and the lack of armor for their unit. The commander was relieved of duty with the hope that the entire incident could be swept under a rug already showing great bulges from previous sweepings.

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