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George Bradford (David Watson)
1984: Worse Than Expected?

1. Slavery Is Freedom. How technology makes use of our own natural anxieties about it to promote its power over us.

During America’s most highly watched television spectacle, the Super Bowl, viewers in ten major television markets were shown an advertisement from Apple Computer Corporation on the theme of George Orwell’s 1984. In the ad, the face of Big Brother speaks from a giant telescreen to a hall full of automatons (young people with fashionably shaven heads recruited for the role). Suddenly, a young woman runs into the room and hurls a sledgehammer through the screen, shattering it. A message follows, declaring a new model computer the machine which will ensure that the year 1984 cannot be come the nightmare world of Orwell’s novel.

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E. B. Maple (Peter Werbe)
Turn It Off!

The call to turn off television or even to lessen viewing hours certainly should not be interpreted as an inherently radical suggestion, since it emanates constantly from educators, parents, psychologists and others professing concern for the health and morals of the nation. Laying aside the fact that these well-meaning guardians undoubtedly are as hooked into extensive TV viewing as any other American, their pleas and advice should be seen as consistent with the continuing criticism television has experienced since its emergence as a mass medium 30 years ago.

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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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Fifth Estate Collective
Masthead

Fifth Estate

The Fifth Estate is a co-operative project, published by a group of friends who are in general, but not necessarily complete agreement with the articles herein. Each segment of the paper represents the collective effort of writing, typesetting, lay-out and proofreading.

The Fifth Estate Newspaper (ISSN No. 0015–0800) is published quarterly at 5928 Second Ave., Detroit, Michigan 48202 USA; phone (313) 831–6800. Office hours vary, so please call before visiting. Subscriptions are $5.00 a year; $7.00 foreign including Canada. Second class postage paid at Detroit MI. No copyright. No paid advertisements.

Andrei Codrescu
Stalin

Nobody dies like Stalin did. He didn’t just die, he took the world with him. My world at any rate. I was 8 years old when it happened. At school all the kids had been crying and I’d been crying the most. For us, Stalin was that saintly fatherly figure that smiled from above surrounded by adoring children. For me, personally, he was father, pure and simple, because I didn’t have one of my own. On my little night stand table I had his portrait and I slept securely under the shadow of his moustache. I was devastated.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Detroit Seen

The space which the Fifth Estate shares with three other groups has been the scene of a number of events recently, mostly rock performances, but also a smattering of theatre and comedy. They have been generally well-received with an exceptionally gratifying turnout for our benefit held March 2. We raised $261 to help defray the expenses of maintaining the space shared by the Layabouts band, the Freezer Theatre Players and the Duck Club Players as well as the paper.

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Scarecrow
Reward of the Tender Flesh

The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.

—Proverbs XXI, 6

But of this he took little or no notice, continuing his odd smiles and gesticulations.

In the marketplace one convinces by gestures, but real reasons make the populace distrustful.

—Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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Fifth Estate Collective
El Salvador & Its Politicians

As El Salvador’s leftist rebel movement scores repeated victories on the battlefield and brings an increasing geographic area under its administration, the Vietnam analogy is heard everywhere. However, what the U.S. faces is not so much the prospect of another “quagmire,” but the possibility of a direct defeat of its client state.

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Penny O’Reilly
Town Without Fear Squatting in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a United States colonial possession, but most North Americans know little about the island or its people. The U.S. government does not want our ignorance disturbed because then we are less likely to protest the exploitation of the island.

The people of Puerto Rico are also victims of a different type. The island is in the middle of the Caribbean, closer to Latin America than the United States, and shares the Spanish language with most of its neighboring nations.

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Jerry Mander
Arguments for the Elimination of Television

The following are three excerpts from Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander. The book is an insightful analysis not only of the medium, but the society which produces it. See p. 12

In less than four generations out of an estimated one hundred thousand, we have fundamentally changed the nature of our interaction with the planet.

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Lynne Clive (Marilynn Rashid)
Aborigines Resist Genocide Report from Australia

It is small wonder that most Americans are not the least big cognizant of the plight of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia; the mainstream press here in the United States does not even recognize the struggles of its own indigenous population. From our perspective, the systematic statist degradation of primitive and indigenous peoples and their spirited refusal to submit to the powers of progress are central to the complex question of social domination all over the world.

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Fifth Estate Collective
The Draft is Still an Issue

The following two letters were recently received from fugitive draft resister Paul Jacob and from his support committee, the Paul Jacob Action Group. Paul was indicted in September 1982 for failure to register for the draft and has been the subject of an unsuccessful nation-wide search by the FBI for refusing to submit to arrest. We are pleased to report that at this date Paul Jacob is still “at-large.”

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Tomas MacSheoin
Rudolph Bahro on Industrial Civilization Book review

a review of

Socialism and Survival, Rudolf Bahro, Heretic Books, London, 1983

“We must pull the communications cord on the industrial system.” Who is this speaking? Some post-industrial prophet writing in the Fifth Estate, far from the social movement? Someone lost in theories with no immediate practical consequences or no political base? These are the words of Rudolf Bahro, former East German dissident and now one of the leading theorists and activists in the West German Green movement.

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George Bradford (David Watson)
Domestication of Language Ivan Illich on Verbal Abuse

a review of

Shadow Work, Ivan Illich. Marion Boyers, Boston and London, 1981

“As progress and technology transform our way of life and our physical surroundings,” Lynne Clive writes [“Newspeak and the Impoverishment of Language,” FE #315, Winter, 1984], “they eat away at our language, enfeeble our spirit...” I would like to expand on this idea by making use of Ivan Illich’s insights discussed in his book Shadow Work, on language as one of the earliest areas of previous human competence—a cultural commons and focal point of shared meaning—to come under attack from church and state, and later from advancing technology and bureaucratic institutionalization. Illich argues that by undermining the “vernacular” domain in language, technics, and other areas of human activity, these forces of authority destroy self-sufficiency and freedom, making us all wards of the state and the disabling professional institutions.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Bits of the world in brief

Big Mountain News announces the annual spring “Survival Gathering” April 19–22 to be held at Big Mountain Dine (Navajo) Nation. Native peoples and their supporters are invited to participate in the gathering which has been planned to commemorate and honor the resistance of the Navajo and Hopi Elders against the U.S. government. Governmental attempts to remove and relocate some 14,000 Dine peoples from the ancestral lands of the Hopi and Navajo have not been successful. So far only about 200 families have succumbed to relocation programs; 2,800 families still remain. The government intends to clear the land, mine it for coal and uranium, and incorporate it into agribusiness ventures. For information on the continuing struggles of the Navajo and Hopi, and on the upcoming spring gathering write: Big Mountain Support Group, 1412 Cypress Street, Berkeley, CA 94703.

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Fifth Estate Collective
FE Bookstore

The FE BOOKSERVICE is located in the same place as the Fifth Estate Newspaper, both of which are at 5928 Second, Detroit MI 48202. telephone (313) 831–6800. The hours we are open vary considerably, so it’s always best to give us a call before coming down.

HOW TO ORDER BY MAIL:

1) List the title of the book, quantity wanted, and the price of each;

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Fifth Estate Collective
News & Reviews

From Coimbra, Portugal comes Pravda, put out by Fenda Editions. Pravda, with its obviously tongue-in-cheek title, describes itself as “a magazine of evil arts” and has just published its third issue. Although it refuses categorization, it could be described as a dada-esque journal of anti-politics and anti-art. It is infused with an impassioned desire to fight against the isolation which consumes us all. It will do this, its editors tell us, “by the undiplomatic unjournalistic communication between individuals who do not recognize themselves in that which the world of practical shit happiness avows and promotes.” They are defiant against this world in which “misery is the vicious synonym of wealth, and submission the frenetic synonym of liberty.”

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Daily Barbarian
Daily Barbarian Number 2

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</em>FE Home > Issue 316, Spring, 1984 >

Barbarian & Fifth Estate

This issue of the Daily Barbarian is not only being distributed throughout the Detroit area for free, but thanks to the members of the Fifth Estate collective, it is also appearing as the center four pages of their paper. This means that along with the 3,000 copies we’re printing, an additional 3,000 will be sent all over the U.S. and different parts of the world through the subscription and bookstore sales of the FE.

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