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Various Authors
Letters

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TAKING A RISK

As always, thank you for everything your team does. I’ve been working my way through the Winter 2019 issue of Fifth Estate after my shifts at Starbucks, and it really grounds me and makes me feel sane after working for capitalist madness.

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Fifth Estate Collective
About this Issue

There is no phrase that is more threatening to those in positions of power at any level of society than that of our theme, “I will not obey!” From the shop floor to the highest echelons of the state, the rulers depend on that short sentence not being uttered or, worse, acted upon, and in their worst nightmare, taken up by multitudes of us.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Call for Submissions

Theme Re-Enchanting The World

We seek analytical articles, news reports, essays, poetry, and fiction on ways of re-envisioning, re-creating and re-enchanting the world either individually or collectively. Also, art, graphic illustrations, and photographs.

Before submitting articles, read our writer’s guidelines at FifthEstate.org.

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John Clark
The Revolution Will be Powered by Shakti Energy Lessons from Vandana Shiva’s Navdanya Biodiversity Farm

I traveled to Dharamsala, India in 2005 to set up a one-month summer study program, in collaboration with the Louisiana Himalaya Association, and have taken groups of students there periodically since then. During last summer’s trip, we visited renowned ecofeminist theorist and activist Vandana Shiva’s Navdanya Biodiversity Farm. We toured the fields and the seed bank, heard lectures by staff members specializing in various areas of agroecology, and were extremely fortunate that Shiva herself could speak to our small group about Navdanya and the ecofeminist politics of Earth Democracy.

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John Zerzan
Techno Madness an overview

We live in a technological life-world, more so by the hour. Our ecology is now all too largely technology, which has been irreversible, directional, and cumulative. The process that now characterizes civilization is a generalized technicization. Its success is measurable by how totally it has insinuated itself into society and into our consciousness––with grave consequences.

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Bill Brown
The Movement of the Yellow Vests in France The Latest Spectre Haunting Europe?

Five months after its explosive appearance on the French scene, the mass movement of the Yellow Vests (les Gilets jaunes) stands at a crossroads. It faces many choices.

Should it remain outside of the properly political world or should it enter into it and engage in debate: and even electoral campaigns? If it does the latter doesn’t it risk recuperation by the existing parties?

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Robert Blurton
When Detroit Raised The White Flag of Surrender Tecumseh: Resistance to Empire

Last October 3 marked twenty-five years since eighteen US soldiers died in Mogadishu, Somalia during a famous firefight that most Americans know as Black Hawk Down, for the crashed US helicopters. The loss is embedded in the American consciousness through a self-pitying book and film, and was widely commemorated on the 25th anniversary.

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David Rovics
T-R-E-A-S-O-N! What’s That spell?

During my live shows, I often do a song I wrote about the San Patricios, a band of mostly Irishmen who deserted from the U.S. Army during the Mexican-American war and fought on the Mexican side.

I start by doing a call-and-response with the audience. “Give me a ‘T’,” “give me an ‘R.,’” cheerleader-style, until we spell out, “Treason,” to introduce the story of the “Saint Patrick’s Battalion.”

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Fifth Estate Collective
David Porter Remembered An Important Anti-Authoritarian Voice is Stilled

Longtime Fifth Estate friend and contributor, David Porter, died December 29; he was 79. A dedicated teacher, anarchist researcher, and grassroots community activist, Porter applied his anti-authoritarian principles to many projects.

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David Porter in his office, 1975

Growing up near Chicago, Porter graduated from Oberlin College near Cleveland in 1961. He then attended the Institute of Political Studies in Paris. His doctoral studies in politics at Columbia University included a year in Algeria learning directly about the workers’ self-management movement there.

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Phil Bailey
Carl Hughes

Applied Anarchy Organizing & Movement-Building for Liberation

Moving from ideas to action has always been central to the anarchist project. Our work has long been inspired by visions of a transformed world, one in which prevailing institutions and relationships are overturned to create more liberatory ways of living and relating to each other.

Yet powerful forces stand in our way. Not only the entrenched ruling order with its vast resources including its repressive apparatus and cultural spectacle, but perhaps even more of a bulwark against change, a deeply ingrained mass culture of submission to authority which generates a fear of living liberated lives.

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Dan Fischer
Holding Up Progress How New Haven Neighborhoods Stopped an Airport Expansion

“Stop the madness and expand Tweed. Two neighborhoods can’t hold up economic progress,” pronounced a local newspaper columnist, directing his ire at residents on the edge of New Haven and East Haven, Connecticut.There, the grassroots Stop Tweed campaign has so far halted the expansion of Tweed Airport.

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Phil Bailey
The Art of Richard Levins Morales Telling our stories and holding our ground

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The art of Ricardo Levins Morales is rooted in the soil of the struggles that shape our lives. Inspiring, empowering and validating, his images both document and embody collective visions of unity in the face of power.

As a result of working with the Northland Poster Collective in South Minneapolis for over thirty years, Levins Morales has developed core insights about how art can be a powerful part of strategy in movements.

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Carl Hughes
George Lakey

The Brighter Side of Conflict Interview with Activist George Lakey

How Conflict Encourages Growth

Most of us don’t like dealing with conflict in movement politics. There are times when our projects are rolling along smoothly and then we hit a point of contention and suddenly the room is full of tension and discord.

For many people, the reaction is to try and restore order by quelling the discontent and moving onto other matters.

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Leila Al Shami
The Syrian Quagmire Civilians are trapped between the Assad regime, foreign states & ideological war lords

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A family in Idlib Province, Syria, home to three million people, half of them displaced, or forcibly evacuated. Idlib was recently captured by hard-line Islamists. The sign reads “We are one of 760,000 families in Idlib.” / #HumansOfIdlib

If 2011 looked like the moment when people could unite, both within and across countries, to topple decades-old dictatorships with the demand for freedom and social justice, today looks like the moment of counter-revolutionary success. After eight years of increasingly brutal conflict in Syria, Bashar al-Assad still presides as president over a now destroyed, fragmented and traumatized country. The dominant narrative is that the war is nearing its end. States once vocally opposed to Assad now have other strategic concerns which take precedence over the victims of his savage efforts to hold onto power. Yet, on the ground, conditions are far from stable and civilians remain trapped and are paying the price for ongoing struggles for power and territory between the regime, foreign states and ideological war lords.

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Mars Z. Goetia
Capitalism is Awfully Nice The farther down you are on the system’s ladder, the nicer you are required to be

From childhood, most of us are taught what is supposedly an essential skill for living within industrial capitalist society: how to be nice. To be nice is to act in a way that gives others pleasure, comfort, and satisfaction in order to receive social rewards or prevent social penalties. To succeed in capitalism, it is important to be liked and likable. Nice people can get and keep jobs, make business deals, have social lives, and more.

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Jason Rodgers
How Rational is Rationality? How rational thought functions as social control

There is something faulty with the concept of humans as rational animals. It defines humanity by a limited criterion and tries to separate humans from our animal being. This sets up a hierarchy in which the true human is defined by the portion of the brain that is rational. Perhaps, even worse than the idea of the rational animal is the idea of the “rationalizing animal.” Pratkanis and Aronson in their 2001 Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion, place this as a central factor in how we are manipulated.

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Peter Werbe
Cuba’s New Constitution Bye-Bye Communism & Gay Rights; Hello Private Property & Censorship

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Groups like this performing at El Tanque at Havana’s Proyecto Cultural Muraleando will soon be subjected to official censorship.—photo: Peter Werbe

Pity the poor Marxist-Leninist militants now bereft of the police states for which they so earnestly apologized. But, not real pity as their dishonesty has caused as much damage to revolutionary possibilities as have the objects of their political ardor.

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Sean J. Mahoney
The Sins of Men Remained

The cessation of praying daily, of praying up against dry trees,

the cessation of asking and answering, pondering no more, no

more will, no take, not bound, instead only undone down to

laces; shoes upon dogs still for haste may remain yet to be made.

Not for gesticulation but emergence. Not for the writings but

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Don LaCoss
Zapping the Pyramid The history of an anti-authoritarian symbol (excerpt)

Excerpted from Fifth Estate #367–368, Spring-Summer 2005 40th anniversary issue. This is an edited version of Don’s essay.

The design shows a pyramid surmounted by an eye being blasted by a bolt of lightning. Bannered beneath the collapsing pyramid is the motto, “NON SERVIAM.”

If English, Spanish, Italian, or French is your native tongue, then you can probably guess the Latin translation: “I will not serve.” The phrase is taken from Paradise Lost (1674) by the radical poet of the English Revolution, John Milton, wherein the archangel Lucifer refuses to obey God and is cast into the frozen lake of Hell for his rebelliousness.

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Fifth Estate Collective
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Arsham Parsi
The Situation of LGBT People in Iran In the name of religion, thousands are executed

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A demonstration against Iran’s execution of gays during a Christopher Street Day gay pride parade in Berlin.

My name is Arsham Parsi, a 37-year-old gay man born and raised in Iran. Neither of these facts were my choice. Discovering my difference from other men—not being interested in women—terrified me because I could be killed for who I was.

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Jeff Shantz
Unist’ot’en People & Territory Under Attack Canadian Government, Mounties, Corporations & Courts Arrayed Against Native People’s Land

As has been the case throughout colonial conquest, the military police force of the Canadian state, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have facilitated the occupation of Indigenous lands by resource capital. Most recently, the state forced its way onto Wet’suwet’en territories in northern so-called British Columbia to secure access for a Coastal GasLink liquified natural gas pipeline (LNG).

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Various Authors
No More Fattening Frogs for Snakes! A Surrealist Manifesto in Solidarity with the Unist’ot’en People

A Joint Declaration by

Amphibians for Decolonization

Inner Island Surrealist Group (‘Kómoks/Pentlatch territory)

Ottawa Surrealist Group (Algonquin Anishnaabeg territory)

“It took me a long time to find out my mistakes But I’m not fattenin’ no more frogs for snakes.”

—Sonny Boy Williamson

The Unist’ot’en are the Big Frog clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation. They defiantly croak at the colonizer’s yoke without reservation. They are hungry for decolonization. We honor their spirited resistance to colonial authority and offer our wholehearted solidarity.

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Rich Dana (Ricardo Feral)
Grid Interactive On the longest day of the year

The solar array’s passive tracking system wakes to the first rays of the Pennsylvania summer sun. The solar panels don’t care that today is the solstice, or that the sun will rise on its arc to an angle of 72.5° at noon.

Its rusting actuators will strain to follow the sun all the way to its apex. As freon warms in the black copper tubes that run along the edges of the frame, the liquid vaporizes and moves from one side to the other. The tracker begins its daily task of following the thermal energy of the sun, keeping the photovoltaic panels facing into the sunlight as it moves along a course from east to west.

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Franklin Lopez
A Brief History of subMedia On the 15th anniversary of making anarchist films

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Stimulator, the disembodied, foul mouthed host of ITEOTWAWKIAIFF, a subMedia satirical news show.

A strange looking man walks out of a Sam’s Club superstore with a shopping cart filled with diapers, food, and chocolate, without paying. He fooled the cart checkers with a fake receipt. As his feet touch the parking lot pavement, a rent-a-cop yells, “Stop!!”

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Fifth Estate Collective
Anarchist Netflix? Tired of over-produced and vacuous Hollywood garbage doled out nightly by Netflix?

Don’t worry, the Anarchist Film Archive has got you covered. A project of anarchist publisher Christie Books, the archive has over 1000 titles ready to be streamed from the comfort of your squat.

While all the films are not anarchist, this impressive collection includes documentaries from the likes of Adam Curtis, many rare films about the Spanish Civil War and Revolution, Noam Chomsky talks, lots of mainstream films with liberatory themes, and even some subMedia videos.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Anarchist Sci-Fi Site Lists Movies & Books

AnarchySF is an online archive of the intersection between anarchy and science fiction. It’s an open-source repository of anarchist or anarchy-adjacent science fiction. Visit at anarchysf.com.

It features books, movies, and other media which are either anarchist in their politics or of interest to anarchists.

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Muriel Lucas
Rebellion in Patagonia A classic anarchist film still relevant today

“La Patagonia rebelde”

Director: Hector Olivera

110 min. (1974)

The death of Argentine anarchist author and activist Osvaldo Bayer on December 24, 2018 came at a time of renewed interest in his long career. Recent translations of two of his works, The Anarchist Expropriators and Rebellion in Patagonia, were published by AK Press in 2016.

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Marieke Bivar
Running to Find Ourselves New fiction from Cara Hoffman

a review of

Running by Cara Hoffman. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks 2018

Inspired by her own youth spent travelling and working in Greece, Cara Hoffman’s third novel, Running, is a suspenseful punk adventure tale.

It follows Bridey, Jasper and Milo, wild, hungry youths luring unwitting tourists to stay at a shabby Athens hotel in exchange for a place to crash and a commission to spend at the bar.

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Peter Werbe
Blood Lake Review

a review of

Blood Lake: A Filomena Buscarsela Mystery by Kenneth Wishnia. PM Press edition 2014; Spanish translation 2018. Originally published HB 2002

Anarchist fans of detective novels and murder mysteries who don’t like cops have to suspend a little of their social critique since it is the police, ex-cops, and private eyes who are solving the crimes. Anarchists as a rule don’t do much sleuthing.

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Peter Werbe
Lago de Sangre Reseña del libro

Una Revisión de

Lago de sangre: un libro de misterio sobre Filomena Buscarsela por Kenneth Wishnia. PM Press edición en español 2018; edición en inglés 2014; Publicado originalmente en 2002

Los anarquistas amantes de las novelas de detectives y de misteriosos asesinatos, a quienes no les gustan los polis, tendrán que suspender momentáneamente su crítica social porque son precisamente la policía, los ex polis y los detectives privados quienes resuelven los crímenes. Los anarquistas, segun la regla, no se encargan de actividades detectivescas de esa índole.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Joel Silvers Detroit artist & filmmaker dies at 72

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Friend and comrade, Joel Silvers, died unexpectedly at age 72 in Detroit on December 8, 2018.

Joel was present when the Fifth Estate was launched in 1965 and at the 2015 festivities that celebrated the 50th anniversary of this publication.

As an award-winning filmmaker, he produced a documentary of interviews with some of the early staff, a trailer of which is available on our web site, FifthEstate.org, “Enduring Voices: 50 years of the Fifth Estate.”

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Bursts
Organizing for Solidarity with Locked Down Comrades Buttons To Show Your Support for Political Prisoners

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The 2019 Fight Toxic Prisons Convergence is June 14–17 in Gainesville, Florida and will include speakers, panels, workshops, protests and cultural activities exploring the intersections of anti-prison and environmental struggles. fighttoxicprisons.wordpress.com Above: Protest march following the 2018 FTP convergence in Pittsburgh. / photo: Jordan Mazurek

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Fifth Estate Collective
Resources for Prisoners & Supporters

National Jericho Movement: PO Box 2164, Chesterfield VA 23832. thejerichomovement.com

New York City Anarchist Black Cross (NYC ABC): PO Box 110034, Brooklyn, New York 11211. nycabc.wordpress.com

Bloomington Anarchist Black Cross: Focuses on solidarity with prison rebels, anarchist prisoners, and prisoners of other liberatory social movements. A books to prisoner project and huge number of links to other prison projects. bloomingtonabc.noblogs.org

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Marius Mason
Women Doing Time

a review of

Taking the Rap: Women Doing Time For Society’s Crimes by Ann Hansen. Between the Lines, 2018

When offered the chance to review Ann Hansen’s memoir about her time in the Canadian prison system, I was enthusiastic but doubtful that I would be permitted to receive such a book.

With my Communications Management status and participation in the Rehabilitation Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) while imprisoned at Carswell Federal Medical Center in Texas, it seemed unlikely that this courageous and intensely honest account of real life in all manner of jails, holding facilities, and prisons would be allowed in.

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Rod Dubey
The Demand for Human Rights is a Revolutionary Act

a review of

A Declaration of the Rights of Human Beings: On the Sovereignty of Life as Surpassing the Rights of Man, Second Edition by Raoul Vaneigem, Translated by Liz Heron. PM Press, 2019

“The freedom to live like a human being annuls the supposed freedoms of commerce and predation.”

So begins Raoul Vaneigem’s preface to the second edition of A Declaration of the Rights of Human Beings. Originally published in 2001, this second edition is his attempt to create a foundational document asserting the primacy of humanity against the dominance of commerce and state power.

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Rui Preti
Struggles Against Capitalist Rule in Modern China

a review of

China On Strike: Narratives of Workers’ Resistance edited by Hao Ren; English edition edited by Zhong ]in Li and Eli Friedman. Haymarket Books, 2016

Striking to Survive: Workers Resistance to Factory Relocations in China by Fan Shigang, translated by Henry Moss. Haymarket Books, 2018

The modern state of China, by capitalist standards, is generally thriving. The nation’s economic growth rate, considered to be a prime indicator of prosperity, is significantly higher than that of the western industrialized countries, even with its recent slowdowns.

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Laurinda Lind
Mobilized

Let’s hope Cape Breton wasn’t kidding

when they said we could move there

from this side if things got crazy scary.

.

The ones who shout hardest hardly

ever have it right, since such small

gods surge from somewhere far

.

back in the night. Light fills space

as it can. Dark does the same,

and the space is a brain. Attackers

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Bill Weinberg
Rome Squatters Face Clampdown Immigrant Centers are the Target

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Demonstration in Rome’s Plaza San Silvestro November 23 against a law aimed at immigrants and squatters. Sign held by Kurdish refugees says, “From the mountains of Kurdistan to the heart of Rome, Ararat will not be evicted.” —photo: Bill Weinberg

It was a multicultural crowd that gathered in Rome’s Plaza San Silvestro to oppose the draconian Security Decree then pending in the Italian parliament. Popularly called the Salvini Law after Italy’s far-right Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, the Decree was aimed at two broadly overlapping groups: immigrants and squatters.

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