Various Authors

Send letters to fe AT fifthestate DOT org or Fifth Estate, POB 201016, Ferndale MI 48220

All formats accepted including typescript & handwritten. Letters may be edited for length.

In the [[https://www.fifthestate.org/archive/404-summer-2019/letters/][Summer 2019 Fifth Estate]], a comrade wrote that he uses pornography to satisfy his sexual desires being unable to find a female partner. I do as well—very often—and enjoy sexual stimulation in watching porn. Although I don’t share with this writer never having had a sexual relationship, I’ve experienced prolonged periods of celibacy.


Fifth Estate Collective
Contents of print edition

Letters, page 2

Issue intro, page 3

The Logic of the Telescope Against the wisdom of Hawaii’s Native People


Seattle Far-Right Shooter’s Trial Ends in Hung Jury: How can we get justice in an unjust system?

RUI PRETI page 6

Museum Chronicles Fightback & Victories Against Gentrification: The storefront housing the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space in NYC.


Fifth Estate Collective
Issue intro

About This Issue

Welcome to our Winter 2020 edition. Although there is no specific theme this issue, the totality of our articles affirms a longstanding commitment to the philosophy of anarchism that is now an existential necessity given the political and environmental crises the world faces.

Can a body of ideas, considered impractical by many, and ignored by most, rise to the point where it is powerful enough to challenge centuries old modes of hierarchal rule and ecological destruction?


Fifth Estate Collective

Fifth Estate

Radical Publishing since 1965

Vol. 55, No. 1, #405, Winter 2020 — Follows our Summer 2019 issue.

The Fifth Estate is an anti-profit, anarchist project published by a

volunteer collective of friends and comrades.

No ads. No copyright.

Kopimi — reprint freely


Steve Kirk
The Logic of the Telescope Against the wisdom of Hawaii’s Native People


Last July, the so-called United States celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing while another fascination with space was playing out badly. It was with zero irony that the supposed “giant leap for mankind” was recognized while the Kanaka Maoli people of Hawaii’s struggle to prevent a promised miracle of science from desecrating their land was ignored.


Rui Preti
Seattle Far-Right Shooter’s Trial Ends in Hung Jury How can we get justice in an unjust system?

Josh Dukes

Following the recent dismissal of charges against a right-wing woman who shot an anarchist anti-fascist activist in 2017, the question of how anarchists should or should not interact with the state’s mis-named justice system has become more relevant than ever. The victim’s own anarchist stance on state-administered justice and possible alternatives to it have added needed complexity to a perennial issue.


Bill Weinberg
Museum Chronicles Fightback & Victories Against Gentrification Squats & Community Gardens Saved by Direct Action & Solidarity

Above the front door to C-Squat, on Ave. C on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a weather-worn sign hangs from the fire escape reading “THIS LAND IS OURS, NOT FOR SALE,” with the squatter symbol of a circle bisected by a lightning bolt. It dates back to the 1980s, when the building was taken over by anarcho-punk squatters. Below, on the window of the storefront, a much newer sign reads, Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS).


Eric Laursen
Why anarchists should take up the 50-year-old project of the Gray Panthers A Vision for Intergenerational Solidarity

Demonstrator at the Waterville, Maine Global Climate Strike, Sept. 20. / photo: Peter Werbe

A friend tells me of his first job out of college. He was hired to run a senior center, not attached to a nursing home, in the Bronx.

It was his first exposure to a community of elderly, and he was saddened at what he saw: dozens of women and men, many of whom had once lived fulfilling lives according to the values of American society, now sitting in day rooms, watching television, many of them seldom talking, some nearly catatonic.


Dave Hanson
We Have Work to do Before Catastrophe Strikes Musings on My 84th Birthday

The most important tasks for those of us who would wear the anarcho-primitivist label, are to wait and watch the acceleration of the collapse of modernity and technology while we learn how to live without them.

Anarcho-primitivism should not be labeled as re-wilding, and considering all the baggage attached to the word primitive, we should probably think of a new label for cultural and ecological organization that has a possibility of survival at the depths of a rapid global, environmental collapse and mass extinction.


Fifth Estate Collective
Fifth Estate Censored by Prison Authorities All issues blocked to Pennsylvania prisoners

Incarcerated subscribers to this magazine are being subjected to increasing censorship from prison authorities.

The worst has been Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections which refused to allow delivery of the Summer 2019 issue of the Fifth Estate to subscribers in their prison system.

Pennsylvania initiated a policy last year that requires letters and periodicals to be sent to a central address rather than being delivered directly to individual prisoners in state lockups.


Rich Dana (Ricardo Feral)
Feral Technology Is going backward the only way forward?

“Everything not saved will be lost.”

—Nintendo quit screen message

Well into the 21st century, the term Feral Technology has entered the contemporary discourse, but with some exceptionally non-feral technology companies using the moniker because—well, they think it sounds really cool. The meaning of words is irrelevant in a world in search of a catchy web address.


David Rovics
After the Buses Burned Will Van Spronsen’s Final Act Against Evil

In the early hours of July 13, Will Van Spronsen was shot to death by police outside of an ICE-contracted private detention facility holding migrants in Tacoma, Wash. He was confronted by police in a parking lot full of buses; buses that were to be used to deport large numbers of migrants in a coordinated, nationwide action launched by the Trump administration. Will was trying to destroy as many buses as possible.


Ron Sakolsky
The Marvelous Dance of Anarchy & Individuality On the occasion of Emma Goldman’s 150th Birthday

“There is no individuality without liberty, and liberty is the greatest menace to authority.”

—Emma Goldman, The Individual, Society and the State (1937)

The figure of Emma Goldman still looms large on the anarchist horizon, not least because of her passion for proclaiming the liberty necessary for individuality to flourish as an essential ingredient of any social revolution worthy of the name.


Fifth Estate Collective
New Magazines Against Civilization

Backwoods, Spring 2019, offers readers a discourse on anti-civilization thought and “autochthonous anarchy.”

Comprised of several central essays, including an impassioned and scathing examination of the atheist-materialist worldview by Backwoods editor Bellamy Fitzpatrick in “What Does the World Desire?,” the 72-page journal presents both practical and theoretical considerations in a well designed format.


John Zerzan
Transhumanism? Apocalypse Soon?

Transhumanism, which rarely rates a mention in the media, suddenly had a brief moment of infamy recently due to the reported interest in it by the late, evil, child sex trafficker, Jeffry Epstein.

Transhumanism claims that by utilizing technology it can artificially enhance the human body, and, if pursued far enough, will solve everything including victory over death, as futurist Ray Kurzweil and others promise. It involves a headlong leap of faith, viewing advanced technology as a transcendent breakthrough. Bio-ethecist Amy Michelle Debaets termed transhumanism “the Rapture of the geeks.”


Edward Hasbrouck
Will there be a new military draft? Why should we care?


There’s been little public notice, but the U.S. is on the verge of its first major national debate about military conscription since the early 1980s.

A bipartisan National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service (NCMNPS) appointed in late 2016 by lame-duck President Obama and Congressional leaders has been studying whether the current requirement for all young men to register with the Selective Service System (SSS) for a possible military draft should be ended entirely, extended to young women as well as young men, or replaced with some other system of (possibly compulsory) military and/or civilian national service. (See “A New Right for Women: Eligible for the U.S. War Machine”, Fifth Estate #397, Winter 2017.)


Fifth Estate Collective
The man in the “Fuck the Draft” poster


In 1968, Kiyoshi Kuromiya designed this poster and sent orders by mail. He was arrested by the FBI and charged with sending indecent material through the Post Office. Later that year, after beating the charges, Kuromiya defied the authorities by handing out 2000 of the posters at the Chicago Democratic Convention.


Kamal Islam
IWW Takes on the Freelance Journalist Gig Economy

The role of technology in social and class struggles has long been debated among opponents of capitalism and the state.

But one of the newest branches of the Industrial Workers of the World, the Freelance Journalists’ Union, or IWWFJU, shows that digital praxis, coupled with the radical labor organization’s century-old model of organizing, offers even the most precarious workers new possibilities for resistance to their century-old enemy: the employing class.


John Clark
Raging Against the Machine ...at the Dawn of the Anthropocene

a review of

Red Round Globe Hot Burning: A Tale at the Crossroads of Commons and Closure, of Love and Terror, of Race and Class, and of Kate and Ned Despard by Peter Linebaugh. University of California Press, 2019

The title of this fascinating and inspiring work comes from visionary poet William Blake (1757–1827). In one of his most memorable passages, Blake writes that “They told me that I had five senses to enclose me up, / And they inclos’d my infinite brain into a narrow circle,/ And sunk my heart into the Abyss, a red round globe hot burning/ Till all from life I was obliterated and erased.”


Anarchist Cuba A culture of resistance against capitalism & the state

a review of

Anarchist Cuba: Countercultural Politics in the Early Twentieth Century by Kirwin Shaffer. PM Press 2019

“...these anarchist rebels took part in a long tradition of imagining Cuba as an ‘island of dreams’ where humanity could create a free, healthy, educated, and egalitarian beacon for global liberation.”


Peter Werbe
In Havana? Conference on Trotsky?

It seems improbable that a conference was held in Havana last May to examine the life and ideas of the Russian Bolshevik, Leon Trotsky. One would think the Cuban Stalinist bureaucracy would be averse to allowing a gathering sympathetic to the Soviet dictator’s arch rival within the Russian ruling clique power struggle that occurred almost 100 years ago.


Peter Linebaugh
How we can exit the era of ecological destruction & affirm life

a review of

Between Earth and Empire: From the Necrocene to the Beloved Community by John P. Clark. PM Press 2019 pmpress.org

John P. Clark is a major thinker, on a par with Wendell Berry, Thoreau, or Rebecca Solnit. He is an anarchist and an eco-socialist but label not required.

The book under review, Between Earth and Empire, expresses the hope and the fear. From the Necrocene to the Beloved Community is his subtitle. Necrocene is geological portending death as a result of statist, technocratic, patriarchal society. The beloved community is spiritual. The terms bestride the natural and the social.


Peter Werbe
Godless: 150 Years of Disbelief

a review of

Godless: 150 Years of Disbelief edited by Chaz Bufe; Introduction by Don Arel. PM Press, 2019 pmpress.org

More than a thousand years ago, a Chinese Zen master wrote: Magical power, Marvelous action! Chopping wood, Carrying water. The eleven essays assembled here by See Sharp Press publisher Chaz Bufe are effective diatribes against belief in gods that completely destroy every aspect and argument on which Christianity and other religions are based.


Lowell Boileau
Religion: Aztec Style

“The Destruction of the Fifth Sun” is an allegory of justice based on the apocalyptic Aztec vision of the same name whereby the world and humanity ends in a cataclysm.

The central Mexican empire, dominant from 1300 to 1521, believed the doom could be delayed by daily ritualist human sacrifices in which the victims’ hearts were hacked from their chests by priests and the still pounding organs held aloft to the sun thereby appeasing the gods.


Good Without God Raising Religion-Free Kids

a review of

Parenting Without God: How to Raise Moral, Ethical, and Intelligent Children, Free from Religious Dogma Second edition by Dan Arel; forward by Jessica Mills. PM Press 2019

Although this may be beating a dead horse (that would be gods), there remains the pro-religionist argument that without God, anything is permissible. However, since under the sign of God, all horrors imaginable have occurred, it makes sense to look for a secular grounding for our ethics.


Wendy Wildflower
The U.S. War On Vietnam Reflection on a Refugee Journey

a review of

Among the Boat People: A Memoir of Vietnam by Nhi Manh Chung. Autonomedia 2019 autonomedia.org

“When wars are over, people only want to know who won, what exciting battles took place, and all that military idiocy. People never know what the innocent victims have to say.”

—poet and artist Yuko Otomo


Suzanne Freeman
Let Us Now Praise Idle Men (and Women)

It’s time to celebrate

the Late-sleepers

and merry drinkers,

the loafers & slackers & slow-pokes.

The ones on permanent vacation,

unhurried and unworried,

the rose-smellers & growing-grass watchers, what harm

did they ever do?

How about a cheer

for siesta snoozers

and Lazy losers,

the long joke-tellers


Paris May-June 1968 The Joy of Revolution

a review of

Freedom in Solidarity: My Experiences in the May 1968 Uprising by Kadour Naimi; Translation and foreword by David Porter. AK Press, 2019 akpress.org

During times of social ferment like the present, there tends to be a reawakening of interest in past insurgencies, such as those of the May-June 1968 French uprising. So David Porter’s English translation of Kadour Naimi’s memoir of those transformative events is particularly timely.


Peter Werbe
A history of a little Detroit printing co-op that gave us Society of the Spectacle & a lot more

a review of

The Politics of the Joy of Printing: The Detroit Printing Co-op by Danielle Aubert. Artbook/D.A.P.

The text of this history of the Detroit Printing Co-op is engaging enough by itself, even without its colorful, graphic-filled pages of the work produced in the decade beginning in 1970 at an all-volunteer project amidst the city’s industrial ruins.


Jason Rodgers
Infomodities All the Psy-Ops that Fit the Screen

“News is the dialogue of fragmented power with itself. Notice how scientists, politicians or businessmen now complain that even they only learn about the events they manage from the news.

—“Some Fragmented Views from a Fragmented World” (Against Sleep and Nightmares)

Information bombardment from multiple media sources makes contemplation difficult. Everything is broken down into fragmented data having no relation to anything else presenting. It is superficially processed constantly. No rest, but neither exertion nor effort. Just continuous banality and superficiality.


Muriel Lucas
The work of Glauber Rocha Film as Social Critique on Cinema

a review of

Glauber Rocha, Ismail Xavier, editor; I.B. Tauris, 2019

The fiftieth anniversary of the global upheavals of 1968 has provoked a spate of books examining political cinema and its relationship to the era.

It’s an almost frenzied demand to re-examine the camera as a weapon of rhetoric, and to grapple with cinema’s apparent decline as a radical medium over the decades.


Paul Walker (Peter Werbe)
Rebellions Rock the World But, is there still a vision of revolution?

Hong Kong, 2019

In the latter half of 2019, the streets of Hong Kong, Santiago, Barcelona, Baghdad, London, Paris, and Beirut were flooded with huge demonstrations demanding reforms or the removal of politicians.

All displayed the outward exuberance of mass revolutionary upsurges, but generally raised only demands for fair governance rather than revolutionary alterations of the countries in which they are occurring.


Jessamine O’Connor
Pen Pals

Friends for fifteen years

and never met.

She sends letters across the Atlantic,

then the span of land from east to west

and into the front gates

to be rifled through,

security checked and sometimes rejected,

wheeled along corridors

and doors made of bars,

until reaching

his cell.

It’s always the same time


Tom Sykes
Call of Duterte Western Reporting on the Philippines Totalitarian Drift

“One hates to see Los Angeles go up in flames unless one’s got a camera running,” joked the British anarchist comedian Peter Cook after the 1992 LA riots. A variation on this idea applies to Western state-corporate media, which seldom covers the non-Western world unless it is gripped by disaster.

This is true of the Philippines today and its vicious president, Rodrigo Duterte, whose rule is characterized by a frenzied cocktail of leftish-style populism, state authoritarianism, cynical nationalism, toxic masculinity and, most appalling of all, the government-orchestrated mass-murder of drug abusers and traffickers.