Fifth Estate Collective
Contents of Print Edition

FIFTH ESTATE #376, Halloween 2007, Vol. 42, #2

Issue Theme: End of the Worldism

Cover, centerfold, & back page art

Tammy Wetzel


End of the Worldism (but not for us), Editorial

“Great Dismal Mercenaries” Blackwater & Iraq

Don LaCoss

“Elves Sentenced” ALF/ELF Activists Sentenced


Tasers Not torture but public safety

Hear what satisfied customers are saying about the x26:

“Don’t tase me, bro! I didn’t do anything”


“It was like touching an electric fence they use, to keep cattle in, but instead of just where the initial shock goes in, the electricity goes through your entire body. It feels like every nerve cell is on fire.”


Fifth Estate Collective
Editorial: End of the Worldism [but not the end for us]

This issue arrives late, but we think you’ll find it worth the wait. We published 1 last in March 2007, but our plans for timely Summer and Fall issues faltered due to a lack in finances and in our issue-editor’s free time. But unlike some publications that have recently ceased operations, we’re as motivated as ever, which should be self-evident from the articles and art in our “End of the Worldism” edition.


Don LaCoss
Great Dismal Mercenaries Blackwater & Iraq

Three years ago, Fifth Estate ran an article on the activities of the two dozen or so privatized armies in Occupied Iraq. The essay claimed that the name of one rent-a-gun company--Blackwater USA--was derived from the term used by the US Navy to describe stealthy, night-time Swift Boat assaults (like the one that former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey went on in 1969 when he single-handedly cut the throats of at least twenty women, children, and old men in the small Vietnamese hamlet of Thanh Phong).


H. Read
Ten ELF/ALF Activists Sentenced Eight Given ‘Terrorism Enhancements’

In late May and early June 2007, sentences were handed down for ten activists who pled guilty to a series of Earth Liberation Front/Animal Liberation Front (ELF/ALF) actions.

In addition to jail time, eight of the activists also received a federal “terrorism enhancement,” which allows for increased penalties of up to 20 additional years. The Civil Liberties Defense Center said this was the “first time in US history that the federal government” had sought “such a sentence enhancement for property crimes that neither intended nor resulted in injury or death to humans.”


Anu Bonobo
Apocalypse How?

We catch ourselves reading the Book of Revelation because we cannot face the failure of the revolution. We consult the Mayan calendar and post-modern prophecies about the year 2012 because we can no longer realize mutual aid as an interpersonal policy that suffuses all of daily life.

The prevailing critique of all forms of “collapsism”--the notion that the end is both inevitable and imminent coupled with the subsequent idea that all radical acts for present transformation are thus futile--correctly chides its proponents. The latter half of the formulation finds collapsist rhetoric contributing to the contagion of apathy; this apathy then acts as a mental pesticide, drowning and choking the roots of resistance deep inside the collective consciousness of our culture. But if we are so brash as to suggest we break apart the collapsist formula, decoupling our acceptance of the inevitable from our subsequent sense of defeat, then all things are possible. It really is a go-for-broke moment, then, when we realize that tomorrow is in fact today. But why don’t our actions reflect this?


Fifth Estate Collective
Calls for Contributions FE wants YOU!

Issue #377

Publication date: Early 2008

Issue theme: ESCAPE!

Prisoners. Deserters. Divorcees. Vacationers. Junkies. Exile, exodus, emigration, and escape velocity. Shelters, sanctuaries, and safe-houses. Escaping consequences, escaping responsibility, and escaping attention. Escape to or escape from? Is escapism helpful or harmful? Is it useless to try to escape? We seek original, critical, and analytical assessments of theory and practice of escape, as well as essays, articles, and artwork on general themes.


Dave Meesters
Katrina & the Apocalypse What the crisis of one American city has to say about the Coming Collapse

Part One: The Collapse

What if the lights went out? What if you couldn’t get clean water to drink? What if there were no police, no schools, and no place to go if you were sick or hurt? If the shelves, in the grocery store were never re-stocked, and no one came to pick up the trash?

What if most everything we take for granted about the rhythms of life ceased to be? If the relentless motion--the motion that pushes us on to the next paycheck, the next month’s rent, the next deadline, social event, vacation, the next goal in our imagined future--came to a halt, and these landmarks in our lives were suddenly irrelevant?


Sheila Nopper
The Night the Lights Went Out

Lately, I’ve been immersed in thoughts of surviving “after the crash.” It all started three years ago when our theatre group, unable to find a suitable published play for us to perform, decided to collectively write a play of our own about “the end of the world as we know it.” In The Wobble, as it soon came to be known, five actors on tour get stranded on an island (similar to the one on which we all live in the Georgia Strait between the southwestern coast of British Columbia and Vancouver Island) when they experience ‘a wobble’ that appears to be the cause of the permanent collapse of all power and communication systems.


Vermillion Sands
After the Fall

I’m not entirely sure when the world ended. I mean, I’ve got some ideas, but I really don’t think that it’s important. That’s why I don’t have much patience for this end-of-the-world baloney.

My anarcho-primitivist comrades rhapsodize about the decline and fall of civilization, but it looks to me like that happened a very, very long time ago. The history of world civilizations has been one astonishing full-scale catastrophe after another for the last six thousand or so years and that makes it hard to choose any single, defining climax of human existence before the degeneration began.


Anu Bonobo
“We need a spiritual revolution” A conversation with Daniel Pinchbeck


This conversation between writers Anu Bonobo & Daniel Pinchbeck--author of 2012: The Return of Quetzacoatl (2006) and Breaking Open the Head (2002) (and co-founder of RealitySandwich.com)--transpired over email in February 2007. Pinchbeck’s latest book 2012 is just out in paperback: a critical assessment of Pinchbeck’s work by Cookie Orlando follows this interview.


Cookie Orlando
The Naked Self Unseen Daniel Pinchbeck and the Politics of Psychic Evolution

For the godless anti-authoritarian, the hope that the current order of reality will come to an end during our lifetimes may be the last possible form of big, world-encompassing faith. For those who are faithful in this sense--whether that faith is based in scholarly readings or is purely intuitive--Daniel Pinchbeck’s recent book 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl wants to be the next Bible--or at least a book of psalms.


Claire P. Curtis
Violence at the End of the World ...and I feel fine.

What do we find so compelling about the end of the world? While some people are unconvinced or uninterested, others find fictional accounts of nuclear war, plague, or environmental disaster to be mesmerizing. In an unscientific survey recently conducted in a utopia/dystopia class, a majority of the students--who read fiction, watched movies, or thought about the end of the world--also imagined themselves surviving such events.


Clyde Cass
At War with the Mystics The Death of Jerry Falwell

No discussion of end-of-the-world imaginings would be complete without some reference to wacky conservative Christian dispensationalism. Dispensationalism is a school of Protestant theology that favors a millennial interpretation of history--all roads lead to God cracking open a cataclysmic can of whup-ass on humans.


Jesse Cohn
The End of Communication? The End of Representation? *

As long as we’re on the subject of endings--or rather, the rhetoric of “the end”--I’d like to intervene in the ongoing conversation about what Roger Farr recently referred to in these pages as “the end of an era,” i.e., the era of anarchism as a “communicative” project (“Anarchist Poetics,” Fifth Estate #373, Fall 2006).


Roger Farr
The Intimacies of Noise A reply to Jesse Cohn*

“One never really contests an organization of existence without contesting all of that organization’s forms of language.”

--Debord, On the Passage of a Few Persons...

If capital must continually decompose and then restructure standardized communication in order to maintain just enough cooperation as is needed to ensure efficient production, then the defection from this campaign in favor of creating autonomous and “unreadable” modes of communication and dissent emerges as a viable, if limited, tactic. Language and communication become critical sites of anarchist critique and experimentation.


Peter Werbe
T. Fulano (David Watson)

Riots Revisited Two reprints from 1967 and 1987 FE on the Detroit riots

“July1967” by T. Fulano, from FE 326, Summer 1987

It was a full scale beggar’s banquet, the return of the repressed, a surprise party. The city people, young and old, black and white, went through the pawnshop windows like meteorites. Nervous exorcists, trembling before a mortal turned evil and massive and enigmatic, the politicians asked, “Who are you?” And like demons unleashed from an inferno, they answered, “Many.”


Peter Lamborn Wilson
Diane Di Prima’s “Revolutionary Letters” Review

a review of

Diane di Prima, Revolutionary Letters

San Francisco: Last Gasp, 2007.

160 pages, available for $15 from the Barn

Diane Di Prima, 1960s

Diane di Prima, America’s (and probably the world’s) leading anarcho-Hermetic poet, has issued a new edition (the fifth) of her famous Revolutionary Letters, containing all of the poems from the City Lights versions from 1971 through 1980, plus 23 new and more recent pieces. This new edition emanates--rather oddly but not inappropriately-- from Last Gasp, a publisher mostly known for underground comics.


Various Authors

Picking on Chavez

To the Fifth Estate:

I disagree with Fifth Estate picking on Hugo Chavez (See Spring 2007 FE, “In Chavez’s Venezuela: Continued Repression of Popular Protest”).

Most of the charges made are correct; his regime is dictatorial. But there’s also the tremendous work done in the barrios (or misiones as they call them), where clinics staffed by Cuban doctors are now almost in all of them, and public housing has been built. I visited one in Caracas on opening day: 218 units rented to poor families at 10 percent of their salary, or free if unemployed.


An Unconventional Report Strategies for shutting down the Democratic & Republican conventions


Note. One sunny day in late August we found ourselves standing on a midwestern highway. Delirious and drenched in sweat, we did our best to keep our consciousness for just one more ride. Fifteen hundred miles later, we arrived in minneapolis/St. Paul for the Pre-NC, a gathering hosted by the RNC welcoming committee with the purpose of developing a large-scale direct action strategy to shut down next year’s Republican national convention. This gathering was the culmination of six months of networking, propagandizing, and strategizing in our own region.


Ron Sakolsky
A Call for Tunnel Visionaries

Reality is a tunnel constructed between the realm of the possible and all that is deemed impossible. Under the aegis of reality, the conceptual limitations of tunnel vision are normalized. By breaking down the tunnel walls, we fully reveal what is ignored, dismissed, or hidden from view by the fetters of reality. Even though we are born in the tunnel, we can imagine life beyond its walls--we can be tunnel visionaries!