i-s-issues-131.png

Various Authors
Letters Our readers respond

Cuba’s Future

I, too, have fears about the Americanization of Cuba and that it will end up “just like other Caribbean resorts” and that IMF-driven and other economic decisions will lead to the end of the many services provided to everyone and a change in the life and culture and well-being of its citizens. [See “Adios, Socialismo,” by Walker Lane, Summer FE 2010.]

...

Fifth Estate Collective
D.I.Y. — We Can Make It Happen: OURSELVES!

FIFTH ESTATE #384 Spring, 2011, Vol. 46, #1

Maybe the most persistent of all forms of external authority in our lives are the day-to-day tyrannies of specialists and experts. The Fifth Estate’s next issue investigates strategies of resistance to and liberation from this insidious system of technocratic mystification and domination with a look at the culture, ethics, and aesthetics of do-it-yourselfism.

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Don LaCoss

This issue is dated Spring 2011 and follows our Summer 2010 number. It was intended for publication on November 1, but the tragic death of our friend and comrade, Don LaCoss, who was editing the issue, is the reason for our interruption in publishing.

Death’s scythe slices always cruelly, often unexpectedly, sweeping away those we cherish and need without regard for those left in grief. So it was with Don LaCoss, who succumbed on January 31 to complications from a respiratory illness he had been fighting for months.

...

Various Authors
Surrealist, Comrade, Dear Friend, Colleague... A Surrealist Statement on Don (1964–2011)

When our friend Myrna Rochester, an expert on the surrealist Rene Crevel, told us it was necessary for us to meet someone interested in surrealism who was finishing his doctorate at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, we were skeptical, even perhaps somewhat hostile. There are, after all, lots of people interested in surrealism, but most only in a superficial way. But when we met Don LaCoss, we were impressed; not only did he know as much about surrealism as we did, but he loved it just as much.

...

Ron Sakolsky
On Don LaCoss’s Passing a tribute

3-s-384-spring-2011-don-lacosss-passing-1.png

One of Don’s last research projects was on the history of Egyptian surrealism, so it is fitting that his death was poetically heralded by a popular insurrection in the streets of Cairo.

As the founding manifesto of the 1973 Arab Surrealist Movement in Exile exclaimed as if in anticipation of the possibilities opened up by recent events in Tunisia and Egypt: “We call upon individuals and the masses to unleash their instincts against all forms of repression, including the repressive ‘reason’ of the bourgeois order. We poison the intellectual atmosphere with the elixir of the imagination, so that the poet will realize himself in realizing the historical transformation of poetry. We liberate language from the prisons and stock markets of capitalist confusion.”

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Green Scares and Marie Mason Despite supporters world wide--Mason loses appeal

Marie Mason, who is serving the longest prison term of any Green Scare prisoner, lost her appeal as the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on December 16 upheld her almost 22-year sentence for two acts of eco-sabotage. Following oral arguments in front of the court in October, Mason’s attorney, Anastatse Markou, said he was encouraged by the questions the judges asked about the harshness of the sentence which is the basis of the appeal, but it came to naught. As usual, American justice, not impartially blindfolded to her supplicants, but with one eye open, winked obscenely at the power she serves so dutifully. Green Scare is the name given to recent prosecutions of radical environmental and animal liberation activists who are labeled terrorists by the government and given exceptionally long sentences. No one has been killed or injured as a result of their actions. Mason accepted a plea agreement that called for a sentence of 15–20 years, although the judge tacked on even more time to the maximum agreed upon with the prosecution. It’s not clear whether any further avenues within the legal system are worth pursuing. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, given its right-wing composition, and the cost involved, makes it probably prohibitive. In early July, Mason was remanded to solitary confinement for a month before being transferred to a facility in Fort Worth, Texas. She was told by prison officials at Federal Correction Institution (FCI) Waseca (Minnesota) that her confinement and transfer, during which she was not allowed to retain many of her personal belongings including books and photos, was “administrative” and not punitive. Mason had been a model prisoner and was teaching guitar to other prisoners. She was known for her peacekeeping efforts inside the prison. Mason’s plea agreement included the crime of arson at the Michigan State University Biotechnology Support Project in East Lansing, Michigan, a genetically modified organism (GMO) research site. In 1999, she and her husband at the time, Frank Ambrose, set fire to research records at the lab causing considerable damage to the building. Ambrose became a snitch for the federal government almost ten years later, taping incriminating conversations with Mason, and later with dozens of other activists around the country at the behest of the FBI. Ambrose is serving a nine-year term in spite of all his work as a government informant. He was sentenced by US District Judge Paul Maloney who also presided in Mason’s case. Ambrose and Mason had been divorced prior to their arrests. There were initial fears that Mason had been transferred to a newly established Communications Management Unit (CMU) at the Federal Medical Center (FMC) Carswell in Fort Worth. In CMUs, prisoners are subjected to a heavily repressive regimen that allows only severely reduced contact with friends and family. Lawyers with the New York City-based Center for Constitutional Rights say the feds have consistently denied that Carswell is a CMU. However, the wing Mason is in is clearly a special control unit, and has restrictive conditions. Carswell’s web site states that it “provides specialized medical and mental health services to female offenders,” but the facility is notorious for its bad services for ill or disturbed prisoners and has been the subject of past law suits. Although Mason says she preferred the prison in Minnesota with its larger population, she is reconstructing her life at Carswell and reports that she has improved access to fresh foods to accommodate her vegan diet. Mason receives support from environmentalists and animal rights activists world-wide, many who do not approve of her tactics, but are appalled at her harsh sentence. She says she wants to assure them that, contrary to rumors, she steadfastly maintains her vegan diet even though so doing was beginning to erode her health given the lack of proper food at the Minnesota facility. Supporters help provide Mason with money for food of her choice from the prison commissary, stamps, clothing, supplies, phone calls and internet communication. Mason’s son and daughter receive stipends from the Rosenberg Fund for Children that makes grants to the offspring of persecuted activists. The fund is administered in part by Robert Meerpol, one of the two children of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg who were executed as atomic spies in 1953 following a frame-up trial. In other developments, Mason urgently asks that her supporters not send money directly to her commissary account, since when it reaches a certain level the government confiscates the overage to pay toward her $4 million restitution she has been ordered to repay. All donations should be sent to her mother, Karin Mason, at PO Box 352, Stanwood MI 49346. Money sent to her is put into Mason’s commissary account as needed. Please circulate this information. Benefits continue to support Mason including recent ones in Cincinnati, and another in October in Detroit’s Trumbullplex featuring singer/songwriter David Rovics which raised over $700. Mason welcomes mail, but please contact her before sending her anything other than a letter to insure she can receive a particular item. Her address is: Marie Mason #04672–061 FMC Carswell P.O. Box 27137 Fort Worth, TX 76127

...

anon.
Remaining RNC 8 Defendants Accept Misdemeanor Plea Agreement Community service sentence but no jail time

ST. PAUL, MN--The case against eight Twin Cities anarchists known as the RNC 8 came to a conclusion October 19, when the remaining four defendants pled guilty to misdemeanors resolving their legal and political battle stemming from arrests at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Last September, county prosecutors dropped all charges against RNC 8 defendants Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, and Luce Guillen-Givins. In June, RNC 8 defendant Erik Oseland entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal damage, a gross misdemeanor

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Next issue: Fifth Estate #385 Summer 2011 Theme: fiction issue--Visions of Anarchy

In a 1905 letter from prison, Alexander Berkman wrote: “None of us are ready for anarchy, though many are for anarchism.” In this letter, Berkman defined anarchism as a philosophy, and anarchy as a social state, the end goal of anarchism.

The next issue of Fifth Estate will explore visions of anarchism and anarchy through fiction. From fictional struggles of anarchists in the past and present to stories of an anarchist future, we will explore the many facets of anarchism as a philosophy, anarchy as a social state, and anything and everything else in between. We will be open to any style of fiction that carries this theme. Be creative. Tell us a good story, but don’t just entertain, inspire us! Challenge us to see anarchism from a new perspective, or in a different light.

...

Timothy Messer-Kruse
The Haymarket Martyrs Guilty...So What?

In Chicago’s Haymarket Square on the night of May 4, 1886, a dynamite bomb was thrown at a squadron of police during a rally of striking workers. The bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of police officers and workers. Eight anarchists were tried for murder and found guilty although the prosecution conceded none of the defendants had thrown the bomb. Four of the men were executed.

...

Ryan Alexander Neily
Making Anarchist Multimedia

Film can be a powerful social and political tool. As anarchists, socialists, DIYs, and every other type of fellow traveler, we need to make videos to motivate and inform us. What does an anarchist world look like? What does an anarchist do in a political suspense movie? I challenge storytellers to make movies that answer these questions. What do we want to have them say? Do we have any idea what we want to have happen as a result of people watching our videos?

...

Betty Dodson
Masturbation as DIY Sex A Tribute to Onan

Why does the acceptance of masturbation seem to threaten the very foundation of our social structure? Could it be that independent orgasms might lead to independent thoughts? An effective way to keep a population docile and easy to manipulate is by prohibiting childhood masturbation, insisting on the procreative model of sex, upholding marriage and monogamy, withholding sex information, making birth control difficult, trying to end abortion, criminalizing prostitution, condemning homosexuality, censoring sexual entertainment and denying the existence of sexual diversity. That makes everyone a sexual sinner.

...

Don LaCoss
A Q&A about DIY with Kathleen Hanna

Kathleen Hanna is a musician, zine writer, and feminist activist who was at the heart of the riot grrrl movement of the 1990s. This conversation between Ms. Hanna and Don LaCoss unfolded over a couple weeks in June 2010.

Fifth Estate: Is it an exaggeration to say that DIY culture helped to launch and sustain the riot grrrl movement?

...

Jhon Clark
Trumbullplex DIY anarchist living in the heart of Detroit

In a not-so-typical area of Detroit, close to Wayne State University, slowly redefined and made more attractive for investment and middle-class living, the Trumbullplex and some of its immediate neighbors stand out. Trumbull (for short) is a 17 year-old shabby DIY anarchist living arrangement more concerned with how to be supportive of one another and less how it’s seen by the broader community.

...

Nicholas Jon Crane
Supporting the Scene in Association with Others: Do-It-Yourselfers and Difference Does DIY stand inside or outside capital’s economy?

I attended a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) event three years ago that was promoted as a “zine release show.” Ostensibly devoted to the distribution of recently published zines, the event provided zine writers with an audience of people with shared dispositions, but this essay considers a less obvious way it drew people together across difference and precipitated a politics.

...

Sarah Coffey
New World From Below Anarchists & Antiauthoritarians at the USSF

Detroit--Some see a battered, blighted city here. Others see fertile ground for alternatives to capitalism and state structures by building our/their own infrastructures and networks as natural responses to a broken system.

Against this backdrop came the 2010 U.S. Social Forum (USSF), a self-described “movement building process,” that brought 15,000 non-party leftists and people from community projects to Detroit between June 22 through 26. But, among the throng that held a huge march on Woodward Ave., the city’s main street, attended workshops in the downtown convention center, and presented numerous cultural events, the North American anarchist movement also had a strong presence.

...

anon.
12th Annual Montreal Anarchist Bookfair May 21 and 22, 2011

The 12th annual Montreal Anarchist Bookfair, which takes place during Montreal’s month long Festival of Anarchy, will be held on May 21 and 22, 10am-5pm at the CEDA, 2515 rue Delisle, (a short walk from Lionel-Groulx metro).

The bookfair is one of North America’s largest, and features publishers, distributors, and book sellers from across the continent and Europe. There is a zine room, films, art exhibits, and introductory as well as in-depth workshops, some in French and others in English. The Fifth Estate will be present with its latest edition.

...

Patrick Dunn
Return to Self-Reliance

In “Self-Reliance” Emerson tells us that our alienation consists of living in a world that does not manifest our genius. We trust only in society and do not trust in fate. Society is built on a secondary selfhood that has its limits in the order of calculation. Its founding principles are conformity and consistency. Its relations are governed by envy, property, and debt. In society we are “ashamed before the blade of grass and the blowing rose.” We practice a false morality, as if in apology for our existence. Our original powers are sacrificed at the altar of a ghostly civilization.

...

David Tighe
Revolution and Other Writings

a review of

Revolution and Other Writings: A Political Reader by Gustav Landauer, edited and translated by Gabriel Kuhn, PM Press, 2010.

Gustav Landauer is perhaps the most important German speaking anarchist of the late 19th and early 20th century, but he is not well known in the English speaking world. Despite four book length studies of Landauer and a few translations, there has never been a major collection of his work in English. Gabriel Kuhn and PM Press have changed that.

...

Ron Sakolsky
How Art and Music Can Change the World

a review of

How Art and Music Can Change the World: Mecca Normal

3-s-384-spring-2011-art-music-can-change-world-1.png
Mecca Normal is Jean Smith and David Lester--making music and art together since 1984.

Over the last 25 years, Mecca Normal has consistently turned up the heat on the theoretical relationship between music and social change by furiously stirring them together in the fiery cauldron of artistic practice. In the process, they have boldly created a unique body of work that has challenged the downpressing gravity of the authoritarian life with a yeasty combination of outrage and subversive laughter. In essence, they have defied gravity, and, in doing so, have urged us all to refuse to be held down when we could be soaring to the outer reaches of possibility, or, better yet, demanding the impossible. Their music is not designed to present us with a dry polemic on the “one-best-way” to be politically active or offer a pat answer on how to live our lives according to anybody’s party line. Instead, it is a direct call to see through the bullshit and make our own choices.

...

Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
The Vegetarian Myth

3-s-384-spring-2011-vegetarian-myth-1.png

a review of

The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice and Sustainability by Lierre Keith, 320 pp, PM Press, 2009, $20

Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World. Revised edition, expanded & updated by Bob Torres and Jenna Torres, 222 pp, PM Press, 2010, $14.95

Once, at a Tai Chi workshop I attended, an elderly Chinese master of the discipline suddenly stopped in the middle of the demonstration and asked, completely out of the blue, “Why do so many of you not eat meat?”

...

David Widgington
Islands of Resistance

a review of

Islands of Resistance: Pirate Radio in Canada by Andrea Langlois, Ron Sakolsky and Marian van der Zon. New Star Books, 2010

3-s-384-spring-2011-islands-resistance-1.png

After reading Islands of Resistance: Pirate Radio in Canada, all I wanted to do was become a pirate. Not the kind that steals in a capitalist bent to become rich at the expense of others. I want to appropriate what is already mine: the public airways and broadcast what corporate media despise most--defiant free-form radio that encourages audio creativity and promotes social justice.

...

Ron Sakolsky
Music review: d’bi young

a review of

d’bi young. Wombanifesto.

www.dbiyoung.net

Invoking Elegua to open the musical floodgates, d’bi young wastes no time in unleashing bold soul sonic vibrations that ripple through the body and mind, swiftly but surely navigating the resulting rapids to carry us along on the raging (as in outrageous and outraged) river of her creativity.

...

Earth First!
From Saguaros to Sawgrass: Thirty Years of Ecological Resistance Announcement from the Earth First! Journal Collective

The Earth First! Journal is celebrating its 30th anniversary of independent media with a 120+ page edition featuring contributions from a slew of radical environmentalists, surrealists, voices from indigenous resistance movements, the Greek insurrection, as well as artists and writers from CrimethInc., the IWW, the Beehive Collective, the Just Seeds cooperative and more. Included are articles on mountaintop removal in Appalachia, resistance to Shell in Nigeria, BP in the Gulf and free-states in Cascadia.

...

anon.
Outlaw Midwifery SQUAT: An Anarchist Birth Journal put out its first issue this past June...

And two months later, its first annual birth conference, “SQUAT Camp,” which took place in Washington state from August 10-13th. Usually, midwifery/birthwork conferences are outrageously inaccessible, from their location (high-end hotels) to the cost (upwards of $100 per day). SQUAT organized a conference in the woods, camping style, for $30 for the four-day event (plus meals included). Workshops were a little different than what you’d usually find at a mainstream birth conference, too: “Prison as a Form of Violence Against Women,” “She’s, He’s, and They’s Giving Birth,” “Abortion Doulas and the History of Abortion in Midwifery,” and “Racism and Classism in the Midwifery Movement” were just a few of the fifteen different workshops organized.

...