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Fifth Estate Collective
Nicaragua & Reagan’s Big Lie

“Nicaragua’s continued efforts to subvert its neighbors, its rapid and destabilizing military build-up, its close military and security ties to Cuba and the Soviet Union and its imposition of Communist internal rule.”

Such were Ronald Reagan’s reasons, as he left for his visit to honor the Waffen SS at Bitberg, for placing a U.S. economic and travel embargo on Nicaragua. It little mattered to President Bonzo that all of what he said was either a fabrication or a result of American interventionist policy in Central America. Nor did he seem to appreciate the irony of placing trade restrictions on a country at the same moment he was scheduled to embark on a journey which would also include a conference where the concept of free trade between nations would be affirmed.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

“Old & Sterile?”

Dear People:

I was really glad to see the extensive coverage given to the Big Mountain struggles in FE #317, Summer 1984. The graphics were great, too. More regular updates on indigenous struggles in N. America, the Amazon, Australia and elsewhere would be greatly appreciated.

The direct action anti-war movement, with its external and internal struggles, seems to be overflowing into the anarchist circles now. The War Chest tours over the summer represented, I think, a real breakthrough, along with actions like Rock Island (see FE #317, Summer, 1984).

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Fifth Estate Collective
Masthead

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 P.O. Box 02548, Detroit, Michigan 48202 USA;

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Bob Brubaker
Anarchism & The Critique of Technology

Much of contemporary anarchist thought is completely reconciled with industrial society and technological social organization. This common anarchist viewpoint is summed up by Daniel Guerin thusly: “[Anarchism] rests upon large-scale modern industry, up-to-date techniques, the modern proletariat, and internationalism on a world scale. In this regard it is of our times and belongs to the twentieth century.” (Daniel Guerin, Anarchism, p. 154) The optimism of many anarchists regarding the liberatory potential of modern technology was echoed by a student-worker action committee formed during the May, 1968 French uprising. The committee urged the formation of workers’ councils, federated with the councils of other companies on a regional, national, and international level. In the committee’s view, “worker management of business is the power to do better for everybody what the capitalists were scandalously doing for a few.” (George Katsiaficas, “The Meaning of May 1968,” Monthly Review, May 1978)

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Fifth Estate Collective
Detroit Seen

Thank you for your patience in waiting for our Spring (almost Summer) issue. Our normal problems (or excuses) were compounded in the last few weeks by a broken typesetter which remained unfixed for a week due to IBM’s reluctance to dispatch a repairman to work on our almost two decades old machine. We are faced now with the decision to forge on into the computer age (choke!) or see if we can nurse along the mechanical nightmare that has served us for so long. A part of the problem is that the new technology of photocomposition is unsuited to our sporadic typesetting needs and is damn expensive to boot.

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Mary Wildwood
Detroit’s People Mover The train to nowhere

For all those world-weary visionaries fed up with ever doleful tones and anxious to hear something concrete and uplifting—didja hear the one about the Detroit People Mover?

It’s this big snakey rail on cement poles that winds around downtown Detroit and looks sort of like MGM’s yellow brick road except it’s not yellow (except in rusty streaks down the sides) and it won’t take you to Kansas. It only trails in a series of question marks back to the Renaissance Center (a maze-like fortress of glass and poured concrete, barricading the river) to which you may have come from Kansas, or to the new “Millender Center Luxury Hotel and Apartments” across the street (which, and this is the truth, prides itself on being “the Tallest Prefab Building in the World” and during construction had signs hanging off each floor, boasting for instance, “13th floor—completed in 1-1/2 days!”). As things stand now, however, the People Mover won’t take you or anybody else anywhere and possibly, hopefully for everybody’s sake, never will.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Draft To Make A Comeback? The government is ready

[two_third padding=“0 20px 0 0”]The reinstitution of the military draft is practically a foregone conclusion according to many observers. All that is needed is the official go-ahead from Congress to set the wheels in motion.

The October 1982 government exercise dubbed “Operation Proud Saber” proved that all is in a state of readiness. Draft boards have been trained and are ready to open; rules and regulations are up to date; and military reservists are ready to serve as temporary staff at induction centers across the country. The Selective Service System (SS) awaits only Congressional approval to begin calling up young men.

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George Bradford (David Watson)
Looking back on the Vietnam War

“Without the exposure of these Vietnam policies as criminal, there is every likelihood of their repetition in subsequent conflicts.”

—Richard Falk, speaking at the Congressional Conference on War and National Responsibility, convened in Washington, D.C. in early 1970

“Historical memory was never the forte of Americans in Vietnam.”

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Tomas MacSheoin
Biotech: The Next Wave

Related: see the introductory essay “In the Image of Capital: the rise of biotechnology,” FE #320, Spring, 1985

We are entering the newest phase in the technologization of the world. As microelectronics continues to encroach everywhere, capital is preparing the next wave—that of biotechnology or genetic engineering. Just as nuclear power promised to give us electricity too cheap to meter, so biotech’s publicity promises miracles: it will heal the sick, give children to the infertile, cure cancer, deal with chemical pollution and feed the starving millions. The implications of this technology are so vast and far-reaching that its prophets now speak of the coming biosociety, just as publicists of the computer speak of the information society.

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George Bradford (David Watson)
In the Image of Capital the rise of biotechnology

Introduction to “Biotech: The Next Wave” by Tomas MacSheoin, [[https://www.fifthestate.org/archive/320-spring-1985/biotech-the-next-wave/][FE #320, Spring, 1985]]

In this terrifying explication of biotechnology, Tomas Mac Sheoin notes that to reduce the natural world to a single monolithic “logic”—in this case, it is capital’s logic of accumulation and control to which he refers—is to imperil life itself. This totalitarian logic is perceived by Jean Baudrillard as well, in his book Simulations, as “that delirious illusion of uniting the world under the aegis of a single principle;” Baudrillard points out the connection between this totalitarian social program and the “fascination of the biological “: “From a capitalist-productivist society to a neo-capitalist cybernetic order that aims now at total control. This is: the mutation for which the biological theorization of the Code prepares the ground.” (110–111)

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Tomas MacSheoin
Test-tube People

a review of

Test-Tube Women, What Future for Motherhood? Rita Arditti et. al., Pandora Press, 482 pages.

“Human beings will end their second millennium since Christ perfecting the means to tamper, for the first time, with their own nature and existence,” The Economist of London editorialized recently. And it is hard to imagine an area more important for political debate and action than this one which will determine the fate of our children and their children.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Bibliographic Notes

Some bibliographic notes on articles in this issue

Some of the books consulted for Looking back on the Vietnam War:

Richard Drinnon, Facing West The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire-Building (1980);

Frances Fitzgerald, The Fire in the Lake (1972);

War Crimes and the American Conscience (testimony from the Congressional Conference on War and National Responsibility, 1970, edited by Erwin Knoll and Judith N. McFadden);

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Fifth Estate Collective
Bits of the World in Brief

The Redfern Black Rose Anarchist Bookstore, 36 Botany Rd., Alexandria, Sydney 2015 Australia, sends us the following news from down under:

March 4: A flotilla of 60 odd boats and other watercraft (windsurfers, surfboards, rafts) attempted to hinder the entry of two U.S. destroyers capable of carrying nuclear weapons. 300 people carried out a 96-hour vigil across the Naval yard where they were docked.

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Fifth Estate Collective
U.S. Plans Death Star Star Wars = First Strike

Media commentators have grown so fond of labeling President Reagan’s mad scheme for placing laser and particle beam weapons in space “Star Wars” that it is hard to see why they have failed to extend the movie analogy logically forward and call the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) by a more appropriate name emanating from the same movie—“The Death Star.” Also, the prez certainly makes a better Darth Vader than a Luke Skywalker.

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Fifth Estate Collective
FE Bookstore

The FE Bookservice may be reached at the same address as the Fifth Estate Newspaper, P.O. Box 02548, Detroit MI 48202 USA;

telephone (313) 831–6800.

Visitors are welcome, but our hours vary so please call before dropping in.

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

The Libertarian Book Club offers anarchist books, newspapers, and magazines. 20% discount included with a $5 yearly membership. Send SASE to: Libertarian Book Club, 339 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012, Room 202.

An anarcho-communist newspaper, Libertarian Workers Bulletin, has recently released vol. 7 no. 1 which includes an extended article concerning “The Anarchist Case Against Terrorism.” The Libertarian Workers for a Self-Managed Society can be reached by writing: P.O. Box 20, Parkville 3052, Melbourne Victoria, Australia.

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Pat Flanagan
Chomsky, Freedom & Truth Review

a review of

Ecrits Politiques, 1977–1983. Noam Chomsky, Paris. Editions Acratie, 1984 189 pp.

There is Noam Chomsky the world-famous linguist, Chomsky the anarchist theorist, Chomsky the political activist against American foreign policy; last but not least, there is Chomsky the polemicist and ideology critic.

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Alice Detroit
The Opium of Authority Review

a review of

A Tomb for Boris Davidovich. Danilo Kis, New York, Harcourt Brace, 1978

Few Fifth Estate readers have illusions about the revolutionary nature of the Bolshevik state, but in case any do remain, this book effectively dispels such illusions. Strictly speaking, Kis’s book is not just one more denunciation of the Soviet Union and it does not self-righteously condemn the individuals who were caught up in the revolutionary fervor in the days when the overthrow of the Tsar seemed to promise fulfillment of long-awaited hopes.

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Various Authors
Bhopal and the Prospects for Anarchy letters

Dear Fifth Estate,

I thought that the article on Bhopal in your Winter 1985 issue [FE #319, Winter, 1985] was quite good and, since nothing on the event appeared in Strike!, I’m glad that you too are “filling some gaps quite nicely.” The only problems I have with the article come in the final section where you tack on your standard anti-technology pro-primitive spiel. In doing so you delineate a problematic that goes straight to the heart of your politics.

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Bob Brubaker
Anarchism & The Critique of Technology

Much of contemporary anarchist thought is completely reconciled with industrial society and technological social organization. This common anarchist viewpoint is summed up by Daniel Guerin thusly: “[Anarchism] rests upon large-scale modern industry, up-to-date techniques, the modern proletariat, and internationalism on a world scale. In this regard it is of our times and belongs to the twentieth century.” (Daniel Guerin, Anarchism, p. 154) The optimism of many anarchists regarding the liberatory potential of modern technology was echoed by a student-worker action committee formed during the May, 1968 French uprising. The committee urged the formation of workers’ councils, federated with the councils of other companies on a regional, national, and international level. In the committee’s view, “worker management of business is the power to do better for everybody what the capitalists were scandalously doing for a few.” (George Katsiaficas, “The Meaning of May 1968,” Monthly Review, May 1978)

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Fifth Estate Collective
Animal License (back cover graphic)

3-s-320-spring-1985-animal-license-1.png

The Bearer of this document is hereby recognized as a member in good standing of the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Community. As such, this creature is entitled to the following rights as established by the unwritten Constitution of the Universe:

  • Right to Purity of Soil, Air and Waters

  • Right to Immunity from Artificial Concepts of Time, Space and Location

  • Right to All Territory of the Universe

  • Right to Self-Defined Identity Regardless of Race, Nationality, Species or Genus

  • Right to Unlimited Ecstasy and Its Means of Acquisition

  • Right of Unlimited Choice of Behavior

  • Right to Independence from All Gods, Laws and Religions

  • Right to be Useless and Unproductive

  • Right to Disregard Prevailing Concepts of Science, Logic, Politics, History and Mathematics

  • Right to Death and Choice of Means

  • Right to Unlimited Shape or Personality

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