Various Authors
Letters Our readers respond

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Confessions of a John

A long time ago, my heart was busted by a girl who had her kicks with me but wasn’t ready for a long time commitment. As these things go, I was tremendously trashed, heartbroken, and horny. Things got so bad it devolved into clinical depression. I was losing my head. So, I thought, go to a red house for some well needed relief.


Fifth Estate Collective
What to know... What to know when going to a demo, how to end NSA targeting, & a shocking way to stop rapists.

MILITARIZED POLICE AROUND THE WORLD routinely use what they designate as “riot control agents” against their rebellious civilian populations. Because the substances travel with the whims of the wind and are often used in large quantities, a person does not even have to attend a demonstration to become exposed.


Fifth Estate Collective
Contents of print edition

FIFTH ESTATE #392, Fall/Winter, 2014, Vol. 49, No. 2

Cover: D. Sands

4 Welcome to the Idiocene

Max Cafard

5 Logistical Anarchism

Jeff Shantz

7 VR Troopers:

Jason Rodgers

8 Seattle’s Left Bank Books

Sylvie Kashdan

9 Anarchist Golf?

Joseph Winogrond

11 Free Marius Jacob Mason

12 Dirty Yeti: DIY House


Max Cafard
Welcome to the Idiocene

It has been proposed that the present era of life on earth should be called the Anthropocene to reflect the human domination of our planet.

However, an elegant, scientific-sounding term like anthropocene seems like a cop-out, a handy euphemism to hide exactly what kind of domination this is and what it’s doing to the planet.


Jeff Shantz
Logistical Anarchism Organizing against the Idiocene

Social resistance has reached a certain impasse, a conundrum as nation states impose austerity as an extended regime of governance throughout social life.

In North America, movements still race from crisis (response) to crisis (response), while organizing often occurs around rather narrow issues.

The alternative globalization politics of the last two decades, Occupy and the street protests against the IMF, World Bank, and G20, are posed as having emerged spontaneously as resistance to the state and capital.


Jason Rodgers
VR Troopers The Virtuality of Reality


Way back in the 1990s, the bleeding edge of the cyberpunk counterculture was in conflict over what the next stage of technological transformation was to be. On one side were the psychedelic, techno-shamans of virtual reality (VR). On the other, the data pirates of the web. The advocates of virtual reality argued that cheap VR units would soon appear in every home, providing an endless array of sensory stimulation for all participants, a world of unheard of experience.


Sylvie Kashdan
Seattle’s Left Bank Books An anchor for the anarchist community


Good news! Seattle’s Left Bank Books is republishing Letters of Insurgents, Fredy Perlman’s historical novel about love and revolution in the East bloc and Western states of the mid-20th century.

The book was written in the mid-1970s and first published by Black & Red and printed at the Detroit Printing Co-op, both projects initiated by Fredy and Lorraine Perlman. The B&R Co-op began in 1970, three years before Left Bank Books (LBB) was established.


Joseph Winogrond
Anarchist Golf? Does the club house sport have hidden ancient origins?

On the Anarchist Origins of Golf (Expanded version--MS Word, 110 KB)

Although golf’s popularity has waned in recent years, losing millions of players, its abuse of land, water-use and chemicals continues on a mass world-wide scale according to the World Anti-Golf Movement.

The multi-billion dollar industry has introduced an insignificant number of organic courses to address the criticism of golf’s horrid impact on the environment, and one can note a degree of panic when larger pizza-sized holes on the greens are being considered to increase its appeal.


Moira Meltzer-Cohen
Free Marius Jacob Mason Anarchist Political Prisoner begins Gender Transition


As part of a gender transitioning process, environmental and anarchist prisoner, Marius Jacob Mason, announced recently that he will no longer use the name, Marie, and will utilize male pronouns as self-descriptions for himself. Mason was arrested in 2008 by federal authorities under his previous name after being snitched out by her then ex-husband for two acts of property destruction that occurred in 1999 and 2000. No one was injured in either action. He accepted a plea bargain and was sentenced to almost 22 years in prison, the longest given any Green Scare prisoner.


Taylor Weech
Dirty Yeti Spokane’s DIY House


Neither the fire marshal nor the police have ever paid a visit to the Dirty Yeti. It’s a small house in Spokane, Wash. which has hosted shows for local bands and a variety of musicians and artists on tour, travelers from around the world, has been a kitchen and pantry for the local Food Not Bombs, and a zine publishing and workshop space alongside its rotating cast of permanent residents.


Pierre Garine
Burning Man Comes to China

The first Burning Man festival in China, with several hundred in attendance

Burning Man began with a wooden effigy and a single match on a beach in San Francisco in the late 1980s. When the police came and closed down the beach burning of the Man it was John Law and Michael Michael, two members of the Cacophony Society, a group of legendary urban pranksters, who told local artist Larry Harvey of a place they knew of in the desert “where you could burn things.”


Bryan Tucker
Death & Deadening Even in our final moments, the machine and the market reign

Modern modes of handling concerns in the death and dying spheres seem emblematic of disturbing trends found throughout mass culture.

Due to regrettable circumstances, I have had recent exposures to a body kept fresh on a mechanical ventilation machine in an intensive care unit; some aspects of the evaluation of the worth of a life lost in an accident; and services offered to the terminally ill and their families.


John Zerzan
A Word on Civilization & Collapse “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!” Has the human race’s grandest achievement--civilization--assured its collapse? It doesn’t look good!

Civilizations have come and gone over the past 6,000 years or so. Now, there’s just one----various cultures, but a single, global civilization.

Collapse is in the air. We’ve already seen the failure, if not the collapse, of culture in the West. The Holocaust alone, in the most cultured country (philosophy, music, etc.), revealed culture’s impotence.


Thaddeus Blanchett
On the sale of sex & bodies The view from Rio de Janeiro

You don’t have to put on the red light

Those days are over

You don’t have to sell your body to the night

-- “Roxanne” (The Police)

Sting’s lyrics neatly frame how prostitution is often popularly conceived of, no less by anarchist abolitionists than by moralists and those in between.

Living and teaching in Rio de Janeiro for the last 15 years while doing anthropological research about female heterosexual prostitution has demonstrated to me what a deeply flawed description this is of sex work.


Josefine W.W. Parker (Voyager)
Tune, Occasion, and Memory of Mnísota Identity & Remembrances of the 2008 RNC Protests


I don’t dwell often on the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC) protests, yet an acquaintance jarred my memory. En route to summer solstice ritual, she tells me she moved from Minneapolis.

“My only impression of Minneapolis was the RNC,” I sigh.

“I was on the welcoming committee,” she recalls with a knowing rearview mirror glance.


David Solnit
25 Years of Giant Puppets, Mass Action & Public Spectacle

Chicago 1996 Democratic Convention

“Puppet theater...[is] an anarchic art, subversive and untamable by nature, an art which is easier researched in police records than in theater chronicles.”

--Peter Schuman, founder of Bread and Puppet, the great grandparents of political giant puppetry in North America


Ron Sakolsky
Surrealism is (Still) Elsewhere Like anarchy, surrealism boldly demands the impossible

It seems that the more art school training one receives at the academy, the more one is likely to be confused about surrealism or overtly hostile to it. Much of the malaise around surrealism in art circles stems from the insularity of the art world itself.

While surrealist ideas and practices can be expressed artistically, surrealism cannot be reduced to a style or school of art, even one aimed at inspiring radical political action. Nevertheless, surrealism is typically portrayed by academics as merely one historical moment in the grand cavalcade of failed avant-garde art movements of the 20th century.


Tom Nys
Anarchist Art in the Gallery Does it become chic ornamentation, a spectacularization of resistance, or a way to spread the ideas of anarchy?

There is a common notion of the art world, a shared idea of what it is and what it is about. However, that also comes with a popular misconception: the perception of the art world as one, univocal concept when in fact there is a multitude of art worlds. Some intersect and overlap while others function isolated from the others, often informed by a number of opposing principles.


Jim Feast
H. Leivick, Anarchism & Yiddish Theatre The Golem & other plays electrified New York audiences in the early 20th century

There is a staple of the Yiddish theater written in 1921 entitled, The Golem (sort of a Jewish Frankenstein).

It still remains quite popular in translation including a 2002 Off-Broadway run. I saw it performed in 1984 at a free outdoor staging starring Randy Quaid as the monster.

However, the play has two striking peculiarities. First, no one seems to remember the author’s name. Second, it was written as a “dramatic poem in eight scenes,” and originally thought to be unstageable because of technical demands. Although adapted into its current form, many theatergoers still find parts of the play dreadfully obscure.


Love & Letters of Insurgents

a review of

Letters of Insurgents by Sophia Nachalo and Yarostan Vocheck, as told by Fredy Perlman, with a new introduction by Aragorn!. Left Bank Books, 2014, 722pp., $20 leftbankbooks.bigcartel.com

In 1976, Fredy and Lorraine Perlman and other people at the Detroit Printing Co-op published Letters of Insurgents, which at more than 800 pages qualifies as a hefty novel. Although Perlman wrote the book, he didn’t include his name on the cover, instead attributing it to Sophia Nachalo and Yarostan Vochek, the two main characters whose letters make up the text.


Steve Izma
Cazzarola! [don’t say it in polite Italian company!] traces generations of resistance to fascism and bourgeois society in Italy

a review of

Cazzarola!: Anarchy, Romani, Love, Italy (A Novel) by Norman Nawrocki. PM Press, 2013, 300pp pmpress.org

Italian and Spanish anarchism have long inspired anti-authoritarian movements in the Americas.

Anarchists fleeing fascist governments in Mussolini’s Italy and Franco’s Spain during the 1920s and 30s sped up a process already underway through normal emigration to not just Spanish speaking countries in the West, but to Canada and the United States as well.


Norma D. Kotomy
The Failure of Non-violence Book review

a review of

The Failure of Non-violence: from the Arab Spring to Occupy by Peter Gelderloos, Left Bank Books, Seattle, 2013, 306pp. leftbankbooks.bigcartel.com

Peter Gelderloos’s The Failure of Nonviolence is a thought-provoking invitation to authentic debate.

This kind of discussion is especially relevant for those of us who welcome the recent worldwide social insurgencies, and are not committed to pacifism as an ideology. The book focuses on tactics and strategies used by social movements, and encourages critical debate about defining success and evaluating which struggles have been successful and which ones have not.


Kristi Phillips
Political Music is Mysterious

I played the guitar once when I was seventeen in front of a crowd of college students. The building had a sign outside that read, Built During World War II. There was a spiked fence that ran a mile around Orange St. and the workers sold cheap beer in the back. I sang a song that was written by yours truly; it was about war and conformity in America.


Quincy B. Thorn
Tales From the Cybersphere Fifth Estate on the Web: A guide to the Web presence of Fifth Estate staff, writers, and friends

Longtime Fifth Estate friend and supporter Julie Herrada has contributed many articles and photos to the magazine over the last 15 years. These can be found by searching the growing archives on our site at FifthEstate.org. Use the Search box or the FE Authors drop-down list on our home page to find what we currently have online.


Ian Erik Smith
Domesticated Animals & Us How the early North American colonists used animals to subdue the Native people

a review of

Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America by Virginia Delohn Anderson. Oxford University Press, 2006, 336 pp., $19.95

Civilization is a lie. Its images mask violence and its logic is that of genocide. Even the most banal scene of grazing cattle, while seemingly serene, portrays a weapon of war.


Peter Werbe
No Dance; No Revo What did Emma Goldman really say?

So famous is the quote (rendered in a variety of ways), “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution,” that it is even emblazoned on a souvenir coffee cup peddled by the Berkeley, Calif.-based Emma Goldman Papers project, and attributed to the turn of the last century anarchist and free love advocate.


Norman Nawrocki
How and why I wrote CAZZAROLA!


As an anarchist writer, I’m no different from other scribes who try to be socially engaged in their work and lives. I drink beer, write, and do my best to live according to my anarchist principles. And I try to incorporate anarchist thought, experiences and visions in all my creative work.

It’s a daily, lifelong challenge.


Former ELF/Green Scare Prisoner Now a Fascist

It’s been an open secret for months that Nathan Block (better known as “Exile”), a former Green Scare prisoner who served a number of years in prison for several Earth Liberation Front actions, has become a fascist. This has been known not just through numerous personal accounts from Olympia, Wash., but from copious postings on Block’s tumblr blog, Loyalty Is Mightier Than Fire.


Fifth Estate Collective
Margot Adler, Wiccan Priestess, Passes A Fifth Estate Connection

Margot Adler, 1946–2014, at an NPR mic.

Margot Adler, if known to Fifth Estate readers at all, is probably known as a longtime correspondent for NPR radio since 1979. She died on July 28 of cancer at the age of 68.

However, those who do know of her may also be aware that she considered herself a Wiccan high priestess who adhered to the tradition for more than 40 years. Also, there is a specific Fifth Estate connection quite distant from Nationalistic Pentagon Radio (more fitting for its acronym than its actual name).