Fifth Estate Collective

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Fifth Estate Collective
Tales from the Planet

For over five years, villagers in Portugal have been battling the mass planting of eucalyptus trees, a “quick money,” fast-growing, drought resistant tree which, according to its advocates, provides a good light fuel and prevents soil erosion.

In reality, the eucalyptus planting is truly life-threatening for what remains of Portugal’s small farming communities. The tree, which drives its roots deep into the ground, robs the villages of their already meager water supplies, quickly drying up the wells and small streams.


Fifth Estate Collective
1989 Anarchist Gathering in San Francisco

Plans are under way for the 1989 continental anarchist gathering tentatively scheduled for July 30-August 7 in San Francisco. Since the 1986 Haymarket centenary commemoration, there have been yearly anarchist assemblies with a 1987 meeting in Minneapolis and Toronto this year. About 1,000 people attended the 1988 gathering (FE Summer 1988); planners are expecting upwards of 3,000 participants for a variety of political and cultural events. The FE will have a full schedule as soon as it is available.


Howard Besser
Anarchists at Korean Peace Conference

The Korean Anarchist Federation hosted an international peace conference October 28–31 in Seoul. Approximately two dozen delegates from 15 countries in Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America attended, with all expenses paid for by the Korean comrades.

It was a rather formal academic conference held in a hall that resembled a City Council’s chambers. Each delegate presented a paper related to the general topic of international peace, and most of the papers reflected an anarchist perspective. Papers covered the relationship between military technology and capitalism, the necessity of world revolution to assure international peace, the de-radicalization that occurs when peace groups lobby governmental bodies, the necessity of assuring alternative sources of information regarding radical movements, and a number of other topics. [The published complete text of all the talks is available (in english and korean) from: Professor Ha Ki Rak, 706–022 Suseongku, Manchon 2-Dong 990–44, Taegu, Korea.]


Fifth Estate Collective

Although we’ve gotten an excellent response from last issue’s article, “Industrial Domestication” [FE #329, Summer, 1988] which originally appeared in the French magazine Os Cangaceiros, we were informed by the translators that we had inadvertently typeset it from a working, rather than final, version.


Ben Johnson
Report from Korea

The cars, cabs, trucks, and buses of Seoul constitute the worst traffic I’ve ever seen. I didn’t dare jay-walk during the entire week I was there. Students know how to stop traffic though: just use, or threaten to use, Molotovs.

In late October, about two dozen delegates arrived from almost as many countries in North America, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere to attend the first International Seminar for World Peace sponsored by the Federation of Anarchists in Korea (FAK). Rather than trying to recover from severe jet-lag on our first full day in Seoul, a handful of us said to ourselves: “Hey let’s go to a university and meet some student radicals!” While some might have argued this to be a needlein-a-haystack situation, given Seoul’s population of around nine million, we figured that at least it was a good opportunity to see more of the city and less of the hotel we were collectively booked into.


Fifth Estate Collective
Detroit Seen

We can tell when it’s been a long time between issues when we start getting letters from subscribers asking if they’ve missed an issue or it we’ve stopped publishing. This issue is the third we’ve published this year, which doesn’t meet our official status as a quarterly, but this should not be taken as a measure of our enthusiasm for our project. While this past year has seen both personal and other commitments interrupt our plans for publishing more issues, 1989 could be an improvement. We are simultaneously preparing a special issue along with this one which will feature a further investigation by George Bradford into the philosophy of deep ecology, the grounding of environmental ethics and concepts of wilderness. This will come out hopefully early in February.


George Bradford (David Watson)
Bill Blank

Evergreen 19 Beat Rap As Incinerator Fires Up

http://www.dev.fifthestate.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/watson-incinerator.jpgA minor victory in the midst of an ongoing major disaster, the “Evergreen 19” have walked free, but only from the stench of a courtroom. After prolonged exposure to exhausting testimony on our disorderly conduct charges and a judge who later admitted he wanted us punished with maximum fines, a sympathetic jury found us not guilty in the May 1988 sit-in demonstration at the construction site of the world’s largest trash incinerator (see FE #328, Summer 1988). But as the defendants cheered and hugged one another, the smoke and ash from test burns floated over our community and the Great Lakes region.


Agnes Stewart
The Misfit Fiction

Dedicated to the Clayoquot people of Meares Island

No one in the small rural village knew exactly how old the fir tree was. To one native old-timer, it was a survivor from the days of his ancestors. The tree had been enormous even in his youth.

It stood, tall and majestic, a solitary tree near the edge of a cliff in a small park. From the foot of the tree, its roots went deep into the earth. Surrounding the tree at its trunk was soft, thick grass where many generations of children had played. Below the cliff, on the sea, people in their small boats sought it as an infallible landmark. To the young, it symbolized romance; to the old, it gave peace.


Le Brise-Glace
Palestine The Future of a Rebellion

from Le Brise-Glace, No. 1, translated by Lorraine Perlman

However repressive it may have been from its very origins, Zionism represented a movement of emancipation for many oppressed Jews. Once Israel was established, Zionism—whether left or right—has been nothing more than a project to defend a state which, to survive, is condemned to practice a policy of apartheid internally and imperialism externally, where the constant recollection of past adversity serves as a justification for present coercion.


Lynne Clive (Marilynn Rashid)
Stopping the Incinerator, Starting the Movement A Response

From photography collection ‘Resistance to the Detroit Incinerator, 1986–1990.’ All black and white images: Millard Berry.

There were a number of inaccurate and misleading statements made in E. B. Maple’s both congratulatory and critical article on the Evergreen Alliance and its May Mobilization to Save the Great Lakes in the last issue [FE #329, Summer, 1988].


Mikal Jakubal
Live Wild Or Die The Other EF!


FE NOTE: When we first published a critique of the deep ecology movement last fall (“How Deep Is Deep Ecology? A Challenge to Radical Environmentalism,” [FE #327, Fall, 1987] available through our book service for $.75 plus postage), we did so not simply to criticize, but also to connect with people in that movement (outside the handful of “leaders” and stars) who might share or at least be open to a vision that recognizes the interrelated character of the industrial-capitalist (work-commodity) system, mass technics, statism and empire, and the destruction of nature and human societies. The articles printed here are a result of such connections (which is not to imply that the writers agree entirely with us, either). We hope to continue our dialogue and collaboration with EF! people where possible while furthering our discussion of environmental politics.


Randall Restless
The Yellowstone Fires Burn, Baby, Burn!

Outside my window a dusting of snow frosts the ground and an October moon illuminates a wintry night. It is hard to believe that, little more than a month ago, the air was acrid with woodsmoke, hot, dry winds raked the baked earth, and the town hummed with hysteria like an over-stoked furnace. Yellowstone was afire.


Maurice Spira
His-story Lesson

Maurice Spira, “His-story Lesson,” 1983, acrylic on paper

I conceived of “His-story Lesson” as being like a little lecture, demonstrating the development that can be observed as a central tendency, throughout all of human history. Our lecturer is holding his spray can, which is a symbol of hostile technology: it could be destroying the ozone layer or it could be for graffiti, or it could be poison, some toxic substance, it could be mace, whatever comes in a can, it could be hairspray or some hideous perfume out of the drugstore. He’s wrapped in a map of the world to emphasize the essential underpinning of human development and progress on this planet which has always been conquest and domination...in effect colonialism, colonial expansion. Up on the wall to the right you have the factory system, you have the pyramids which represent the ancient bureaucratic state, you have some other little motifs which have to do with the pillars of society—the judiciary, the church and so on. To the left of the lecturer is Roman time, symbolized by a clock with no hands, and below it is our lethal contemporary obsession with cybernetic time and the so-called information revolution which is nothing but an insane and obnoxious plot to fill up all us empty vessels—apparently we’re all empty vessels to be filled up with all this worthless bullshit that technocratic civilization deems purposeful, which I reject out of hand.


“The Decadence of Capital” An Alibi For “Progress”?

FE Note: The essay below explores and criticizes the theory of the “decadence of capitalism,” a view held by several ultra-left sects here and in Europe. This view contends (a la Marx) that capital once had a dynamic phase in which it created the material base for a transition to socialism, but since the advent of World War I in 1914 has entered a decadent phase marked by cycles of war, reconstruction, depression and war again.