Fifth Estate Collective
South Africa Reform or Revolution

South Africa—the rock of colonial racism—has finally begun to crack under the repeated blows of the general and sustained uprising of its black and colored population.

Perhaps the most telling sign that the end of formal apartheid is near is the sudden conversion of South African business leaders to its abolition. Their late September newspaper ad campaign contending “There is a better way,” demanded an end to racial segregation and “peace talks” with black leaders, and breaks significantly with the intransigent Afrikaner commitment to legal and formal white domination. Only a month previously, South African President P.W. Botha pledged no compromise with the black revolt.

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Masthead

The Fifth Estate is a cooperative 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; phone (313) 831–6800.

...

Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Crude Argument

Dear Fifth Estate:

Generally, the Fifth Estate is great. Articles are principled, well reasoned, sometimes poetic. But the review of Noam Chomsky’s book by Pat Flanagan (see Spring 1985 FE) ended with Flanagans advocacy of “intolerance of the intolerant,” or more specifically, intolerance of what someone judges intolerant.

...

Richard Grow
Black Hills Get serious or hit the road

Dear Fifth Estate,

In your June, 1985 issue Lev Chernyi joined the Big Mountain discussions and described an uncomfortable experience at the 1980 Black Hills Gathering. Chernyi was also responding to previous letters to the Fifth Estate which complained about some of the messages of the article on Big Mountain which I wrote last year. In that article I had referred to the necessity for “respect for the elders” and other guidelines on how to get along, as a non-Indian, when visiting Indian lands.

...

Fifth Estate Collective
George Bradford (David Watson)
Blueberry

Comments on Central America

Fifth Estate:

I want to offer some criticisms of the latest issue. The Vietnam article [Web archive note: This article first appeared in FE #320, Spring 1985. With an added Introduction by Richard Drinnon it was reprinted in FE #346, Summer, 1995.] was a bit strange: even with the understanding that the author, George Bradford, used to be a supporter of the stalinists in Vietnam, it offered no analysis of “wars of national liberation” (much less of one that lasted so long), which formed an integral aspect of the war. Space limitations aside, at least an attempt to approach that aspect of the war needed to be addressed. (It also seems that Bradford still idealizes the NLF.)

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Detroit Seen

[two_third padding=“0 20px 0 0”]We have finally firmed up plans for the Fifth Estate 20th Anniversary celebration. It will be held at Alvin’s, 5756 Cass Ave., Detroit, on Dec. 7. Hopefully, the event will bring together many of those who have worked on the paper over the last two decades, as well as all those who want to help us celebrate. Music will be by the Layabouts who will have just released their album by that time. Also, there will be a dinner the same night for present and former staff members, so if you were part of the paper at any time, please write so we can plan a grand reunion.

...

Rudolf Bahro
Nuclear Freeze Strategy Stalled Freeze Nuclear Weapons? Freeze the Industrial System

The following text was originally published as a leaflet and distributed at this year’s Hiroshima Day observance sponsored by the Detroit Area Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign.

“What the powerful call utopia is now in fact the condition for human survival.”

—C. Wright Mills, The Causes of World War Three, 1958

...

Norman Solomon
Open Letter to the Disarmament Movement

Late 1985

Dear People:

North America’s disarmament movement has gone from momentum to defeat during the first half of the 1980s, but we have not heard much candor about the dimensions of the loss. Arms-race boosters see little reason to taunt floundering adversaries—who tend to be busy cheering for the disarmament team while steering clear of somber assessments. Increasingly, the anti-nuclear movement’s propaganda of the word is being outmatched by the nuclear establishment’s propaganda of the deed; disarmament advocates decry while thermonuclear advocates deploy.

...

Lynne Clive (Marilynn Rashid)
Rigoberta Menchu Native Guatemala Defends the Earth

Discussed in this article

I...Rigoberta Menchu. An Indian Woman in Guatemala, Edited by Elisabeth Burgos-Debray, translated by Ann Wright, The Thetford Press, Thetford, Norfolk, England, 1984.

3-i-321-indian-summer-1985-rigoberta-menchu-1.png
Indian women and U.S. military attache George Maynes, observing a demonstration (1982).

Although circumstance has forced Rigoberta Menchu, a twenty-three-year-old Quiche Indian woman, to tell her story in Spanish, the language of her oppressors, she speaks it from her Quiche heart with an honesty, a directness, and a simplicity of language characteristic only of one who is close to the earth.

...

anon.
Guatemala: A Country In Chaos

Since 1954, when a U.S.-backed coup toppled the democratically elected reformist government of Jacobo Árbenz, there has been a succession of military regimes aided by the U.S. The Guatemalan people, 60% of whom are Mayan Indians, have fought through both peaceful and violent means for social change; the Guatemalan state’s response has been the brutal suppression of any and all movements of opposition or reform.

...

Norman Bates
A Different Kind of Rambo

In all the-publicity and controversy over the film “Rambo: First Blood, Part II,” an interesting comparison of fictional characters named Rambo might add to our understanding of how and why such characters are created and received. While Johnny Rambo is quickly becoming enshrined in popular and political discourse as a symbol of a vengeful “Captain America” here, a much lesser known Rambo is hidden away.

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Vets Oppose Rambo

Despite its much publicized popularity, the film “Rambo...Part II”, has been blasted nationwide by many groups and individuals. A San Francisco Vietnam veterans group, calling themselves “Veterans’ Speakers Alliance,” picketed in July in front of a local theater showing the film.

This group of Vietnam vets, as well as others around the country, have been quoted as saying that Stallone’s film misrepresents the realities of the war, glorifies its horrors and exploits the sacrifices of the men who fought it.

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Vietnam’s Untold Victim: The Land

Shortly after we published our issue with a discussion of the war in Vietnam, an article appeared in the New York Times about studies done by the Vietnamese government and the Switzerland-based International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources concerning the effects of the “ecocide” (a word coined during the Vietnam war to describe the U.S. war there) on the land since the end of the U.S. war. The study traces developments since 1945 in a 97-page document, portraying a rural and agricultural nation devastated by “deliberate destruction of the environment as a military tactic on a scale never before seen in the history of warfare.”

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Fredy Perlman August 20, 1934, Brno, Czechoslovakia — July 26, 1985, Detroit, Michigan

Fredy Perlman was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia on August 20, 1934. He emigrated with his parents to Cochabamba, Bolivia in 1938 just ahead of the Nazi takeover. The Perlman family came to the United States in 1945 and lived variously in Mobile, Alabama, Brooklyn, Queens before settling in Lakeside Park, Kentucky, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio where Fredy graduated high school.

...

George Bradford (David Watson)
Fredy Perlman: An appreciation

It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of our friend and comrade, Fredy Perlman, who died while undergoing heart surgery in Detroit on July 26, 1985.

Fredy Perlman escaped Czechoslovakia as a very young child just before the nazi takeover, thus barely avoiding, in his words, that “rationally planned extermination of human beings, the central experience of so many people in an age of highly developed science and productive forces...” His life experiences and his ideas were framed within that context—the life-crushing machinery and the varieties of human response.

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Fredy Perlman

The Machine against the Garden 2 Essays by Fredy Perlman

Critiques of economic development, material progress, technology and industry are not a discovery of the Fifth Estate. Human beings resisted the incursions from the earliest days, and many of North America’s best-known 19th century writers, among them Melville, Hawthorn and Thoreau, were profound critics of the technological society. Since these writers became “classics of American literature,” and therefore available to all interested readers, defenders of official views have had to carry on a “cold war” against them. The most powerful weapon has been the classroom assignment; most students attacked by this weapon never again cracked a book by a “classic.” Other ways of “conquering and pacifying” the classics have been more subtle: the authors were maligned, the works were misinterpreted, the critiques were diverted and at times inverted.

...

Fredy Perlman
To The New York Review of B

See also: “The Machine against the Garden” (author’s introduction) in this issue, FE #321, Indian Summer, 1985.

Web archive note: Numbers in the text are related to references at the end. They are not errors in numbering endnotes.

While skimming through a recent issue of your magazine, I came across a caricature of a man baring his chest and exposing a letter stamped or branded on it. I supposed that the mark was intended to be a scarlet letter, even though the cartoon was black and white. I learned that the branded man in the cartoon was supposed to be Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of an unforgettable exposure of bigots who branded human beings with scarlet letters.

...

Fredy Perlman
On the Machine in the Garden

See also: “The Machine against the Garden” (author’s introduction) in this issue, FE #321, Indian Summer, 1985.

Your comments as well as the urgings of other friends stimulated me to read Leo Marx’s book The Machine in the Garden. I quickly recognized the reviewer of Hawthorne’s Secret and also the author of the Foreword to my Signet Classic edition of Hawthorne’s superb novel. But I do not regret reading the book. The central themes of Leo Marx’s book have for several years been among my main concerns, and the book’s range as well as the profundity of many of its observations impressed, provoked and disturbed me.

...

Fifth Estate Collective
George Bradford (David Watson)

News & Reviews

Notes on errata and lacunae (G. Bradford)

An FE staff member currently traveling outside the U.S. wrote to us upon receiving his FE, that while the content and the layout were good, “there were a fair number of typos, which I’m sure you found as well.” We work hard on the paper, trying to catch every detail, to say things as best we can and to present it all in a dramatic, visually attractive format. Imagine our irritation, when we found, on the first page, that the typist had consistently put a typically gringo spelling Sandanista instead of Sandinista (staff members who speak Spanish had not gotten to proofread that page). That would make the Nicaraguan politicos disciples of Augusto Sandano rather than Sandino. Perhaps a niggling point, except that there are those of us who have always found something bothersome about foreign words and names being mangled in English language texts (though mangled English words in foreign language texts often strike us as amusing).

...

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. Visitots 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;

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Bits of the World in Brief

Paul Jacob, the libertarian draft resister who went underground to escape prosecution, was convicted at a July 1 trial, sentenced and denied appeal bond. The penalty was six months imprisonment and 4-1/2 years of weekly community service.

The trial proved to be lively with Paul calling 1980 Libertarian Party candidate Ed Clark and former Congressman Ron Paul to testify on his behalf. Both explained the history of the draft and said that registration and the draft are unconstitutional. Paul also called Gen. Thomas Turnage, director of the Selective Service (SS), as a witness for the defense. Turnage testified that compliance with the registration law implied approval of the system which is one of the reasons that Paul refused to sign. Rhonda Allen, Libertarian activist and Paul’s wife, later described Turnage as a nazi.

...

John Zerzan
Number its origin & evolution

Introduction

In his article on the idea of number, John Zerzan completes what appears to have become a trilogy on the origins and development of abstraction, and the accompanying alienation of humanity from nature and from the sources of its own being. Despite the difficult and inaccessible character of any anthropological-philosophical investigation of such cultural abstractions as time, language and number, his underlying motive is immediate and urgent—to discern in order to break out of “the wrenching and demoralizing character of the crisis we find ourselves in, above all, the growing emptiness of spirit and artificiality of matter.” He argues, “Who could deny that, in practice, quantity has been mastering us,” adding, “From knowledge, to information, to data, the mathematizing trajectory moves away from meaning...”

...