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S. Flynn
Dispatch from Exarchia A Summer of Unrest in Athens

On July 9, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s ruling New Democracy party pushed through an opportunistic law restricting public protest.

This is part of a larger assault on Exarchia, the Athens neighborhood that is home to autonomous anarchist projects, migrant communities, and self-managed squats.

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Various Authors
Letters

Send letters to fe AT fifthestate DOT org or Fifth Estate, P.O. Box 201016, Ferndale, MI 48220.

All formats accepted including typescript & handwritten.

Letters may be edited for length.

Naming people

Rob Blurton’s article, “Anarchy in the Midwest,” [FE #406, Spring 2020] uses the term Native American to describe the people living in the lands invaded by Europeans.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Masthead

Fifth Estate

Radical Publishing since 1965

Vol. 55, No. 2, #407, Fall 2020

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

www.FIFTHESTATE.org

Fifth Estate Collective
About This Issue

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Welcome to our Fall 2020 edition. It immediately follows our Spring number, so you haven’t missed an issue. How glorious yet challenging when reality becomes so radical that it easily outstrips anything the printed word can provide. Still, we think the articles in this issue bring a unique perspective to the crises of race and pandemic the world faces. A great reckoning is at hand around the question of racial justice, while the Covid-19 virus raises the question of whether mass civilization can meet the existential challenge it poses. This is the time to advocate and act for what we need for justice and perhaps existence. The old ways spell only disaster.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Now We All Know What Matters

The summary execution of George Floyd by a defender of white supremacy has its antecedents in the contact of Europeans with Africans in the early 17th century. Since then, black people have been killed when any resistance was offered or even suspected.

In villages in Gambia, on slave ships, in Charleston Harbor, on plantations, in small towns and on back roads of the South, on the streets of any city in America today at the hands of police, unchronicled violence was and is practiced as terror and punishment against black people for not accepting their assigned lowly status. Few ever had their names said the way George floyd’s has all over the world.

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Steven Cline
Minneapolis Athanor

Beautiful, marvelous weeks.

America is on fire, america is shining, america is a flower of joyful rage. A dead tree, bearing unexpected fruit.

A fresh batch of lynchings by repulsive pigs and pig wannabes earlier in May. Yet this time it felt different. The wound had a stronger sting to it. Patience already worn thin. It was too much, too much.

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Frank Joyce
A Right Wing Man Named Cotton from the Land of Cotton Tells the Truth About Racialized Capitalism

As the story goes, Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the bestselling and game changing Uncle Tom’s Cabin. “So,” he said, “you’re the little lady who started all the trouble.”

Historian Gerald Horne started some trouble too. His book, The Counter Revolution of 1776, published in 2014, brought into the light of day the long suppressed truth about the so called revolution. More recently, the 1619 Project featured in The New York Times expanded awareness of how much the commitment to enslavement drove the violent secession from British colonial rule.

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Rui Preti
Life in an Autonomous Zone Seattle’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest

The lynching of a black man, George Floyd, by a white Minneapolis policeman on May 25, sparked widespread and sustained protests, some escalating to uprisings, across the country and the world. They began as a cry against police killings of Black and Brown people, and many grew to include broader demands such as the abolition of the police and prisons and the widespread surveillance and control of daily life. Many also identified with demands for eliminating racial oppression, de-colonization and reparations for past wrongs.

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Cara Hoffman
Seeing Seattle An Interview with Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is an author and queer anti-assimilationist activist living in the Capitol Hill district of Seattle. She spoke with Fifth Estate on July 2, the day CHOP, the district’s autonomous zone, was demolished by police. Sycamore’s latest novel The Freezer Door is in part about the stranglehold the suburban imagination has on city life; a meditation on the trauma and possibility of searching for connection in a world that enforces bland norms of gender, sexual, and social conformity.

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Wayne Price
The Need for a Revolutionary Anarchist Movement Has Never Been Greater

Anarchism is everywhere in the media recently. Anarchists are blamed and denounced by a wide spectrum of politicians. Trump and his followers denounce anarchists and antifa as being the central figures in the Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

Democrats make a distinction between those they designate as peaceful protesters and bad, violent anarchists who, echoing the Republicans, they charge are responsible for property damage and engage in looting.

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Bryan Tucker
Pushing on What’s Falling Uprisings in a Crumbling Empire

Before the global pandemic and waves of insurrection, gaps in the empire’s dominion were already widening. The culture wars were escalating, tensions between older and younger generations mounting, the health care system showing its serious inadequacies, psychiatric problems becoming ubiquitous, and environmental devastation rapidly accelerating.

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Bruce Trigg
Liberating Public Health from the State Anarchist Solutions in the Age of COVID

Most public health concerns are ultimately local. Mutual aid projects and autonomous zones from New York City to Seattle, and from Chiapas and Rojava have shown how democratically controlled, non-hierarchical communities provide not only food and shelter but also health education, training and tools for people to care for themselves and their communities, families and comrades.

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Gabriel Rosenstock
Haiku

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is áille ná bratacha an domhain é ...

an níochán

ar an líne

.

more beautiful

than the flags of all nations ...

washing on the line

A haiku in Irish and English by Gabriel Rosenstock (Ireland) with artwork by Masood Hussain (Kashmir) whose first book together, Walk with Gandhi, commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Mahatma’s birth. More bilingual haiku posters from them are available at

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Fran Shor
Solidarity in the Time of a Virus Albert Camus’ The Plague

As a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, there is renewed interest in Albert Camus’ 1947 novel, The Plague. While providing a fictional confrontation with a life-threatening infectious disease, the novel also reflects Camus’ perspectives on solidarity. Those expressions of solidarity convey meanings that have resonance for our present situation in relation to Covid-19.

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John Zerzan
Death & the Zeitgeist

We are in mass society’s Age of Pandemics. At this stage of civilization nothing is stable or secure. The Age of Pandemics is also the Age of Extinction, as in no longer existing.

Death as an existential, ontological matter.

Nursing homes, prisons, meat packing factories—where humans and other animals are warehoused under the sign of Death. Meanwhile, life continues at the extremes of representation, the time of the virtual spectacle. Digital validation is the norm in hypermodernity. What exists is what is on the screen, displayed on the display screen and not elsewhere.

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Steve Kirk
Life & Rewilding in the Pandemic

“Sridevi and her relatives collected nine types of Dioscorea tubers; some extended deep underground. The ease and flow of the work, and the general lack of rules governing the way spouses cooperated in doing this job, struck me.”

—Nurit Bird-David, Us, Relatives: Scaling and Plural Life in a Forager World

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Panos Papadimitropoulos
George Sotiropoulos

Collective Action in the Time of Covid-19 Reflections from Greece

As the Covid-19 epidemic spread through the world at the beginning of 2020, the governments of many countries, including Greece, enacted emergency quarantine and stringent lock-down measures. There was a fear among social activists that collective action would be stifled.

Nonetheless, collective action emerged in Greece, mainly on two fronts. There was a mobilization of health workers against the government’s inadequate funding of public health care, as well as grassroots forms of mutual aid. The latter took shape mainly in Athens through two distinct networks.

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Bill Weinberg
Two Faces of Fascism COVID-19 New Normal and Trump Backlash Pose Grave Threats to Freedom

Around Lower Manhattan, storefronts have been boarded up since the looting in June. The plywood has been covered with murals and graffiti art on the theme of Black Lives Matter. Throughout June, angry protests were a daily affair, as in cities across the country.

Since the murder of George Floyd, the moment seems ripe with potential for a truly revolutionary situation. Anarchist ideas like abolishing the police are entering mainstream discourse with astonishing rapidity.

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Charlie Ebert
Questions we Have to Ask Planning Living Spaces for a Revolutionary Future

Over the past year, on the streets of Santiago, I witnessed a movement that has transformed my perspective on anarchism coming to Chile shortly after its revolt began.

Officially a response to a minor hike in the metro fare, the popular wave of rebellion was, in reality, the result of fifteen years of revolutionary ferment.

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Orin Langelle
Gary Hughes
Anne Petermann

Chile Uprising for Land & Freedom “This is a fight we should be fighting all around the world”

The sun of the austral summer rose warm on Santiago, the capital of Chile, as hundreds of thousands of women began to take to the streets on International Women’s Day. This traditional day of feminist mobilization celebrated annually on March 8 carried with it a special anti-patriarchal power in 2020 due to the fervent momentum that had been maintained on the streets of Chile since the social explosion in October of last year.

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John Clark
Living Our Lives The Communal Basis of Social Transformation

If anarchist politics, the politics of communal liberation, is to escape from its present historical impasse, it must become, above all, a practice of creating the free community, here and now.

The greatest transformative force is living life together in a community of liberation and solidarity in which the greatest possibilities for personal and communal flourishing are unleashed through mutual aid and free association. A recognition of the power of this collective force must guide our practice.

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David Rovics
The Strike That’s Coming “Who gave you the right to be a landlord?”

In so many ways, the fault lines in the U.S. and other countries are being violently exposed by the pandemic, and especially by the economic fallout in the many parts of the world where life was precarious for most people before Covid-19 struck. This includes a large and growing swath of the population of the U.S.

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Kate Ennals
The Hangover in New York After Wislawa Szymborska’s “The End and The Beginning”

Note: Hangovers are cantilevered buildings in New York City. Italics are quotes from Wislawa Szymborska’s poem.

Arise! Time to leave squalor, filth behind

the wars, carts of corpses, sludge and ashes

instead, let’s build heavens in New York’s blue skies

ignore the shards of glass, the bloody rags below

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Robert Knox
Vanzetti! That Day Fiction

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“Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco”
Chris Vanzetti
The artist’s great grandfather, Amleto Fabbri, was the Secretary of the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee.
This painting references the famous photograph of the two anarchists.

Bartolomeo Vanzetti lived in Plymouth, Mass., when he and his comrade Nicolo Sacco were charged with robbing a factory payroll and murdering two guards, a crime they did not commit, but for which they were executed in 1927.

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Francesco Dalessandro
The Forgotten Anarchist Commune in Manchuria Where World War II Began

During World War II the famous Hollywood filmmaker Frank Capra was commissioned by the U.S. Military to make a seven-part documentary film series titled “Why We Fight.” Its purpose was to counter Nazi propaganda films and justify U.S. involvement in the war to soldiers and civilians.

The first film in the series, “Prelude to War,” locates the origin of the conflict in the Japanese invasion and conquest of Manchuria in 1929 through 1932. But there were less known equally significant goings on in Manchuria that the film does not present. These have also been left out of most books and articles covering the history of the area.

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Various Authors
A Spark In Search of a Powder Keg International surrealist declaration

Rebellion is its own justification, completely independent of the chance it has to modify the state of affairs that gives rise to it. It’s a spark in the wind, but a spark in search of a powder keg.

—André Breton

If only one thing has brought me joy in the last few weeks, it began when the matriarchs at Unist’ot’en burned the Canadian flag and declared reconciliation is dead. Like wildfire, it swept through the hearts of youth across the territories. Reconciliation was a distraction, a way for them to dangle a carrot in front of us and trick us into behaving. Do we not have a right to the land stolen from our ancestors? It’s time to shut everything the fuck down!

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Mike Wold
The Economics & Politics of Gentrification Book review

a review of

Capital City: Gentrification and the Real Estate State by Samuel Stein, 2019, Verso

Newcomers: Gentrification and Its Discontents by Matthew L. Schuerman, 2019, University of Chicago Press

The city where I live, Seattle, once was affordable. Thirty years ago, it was possible to find a decent place to rent at a reasonable cost; and if you had a little money, you could get a mortgage for not much more than you were paying in rent.

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Marieke Bivar
This Is What Direct Democracy Looks Like Book review

a review of

Deciding For Ourselves: The Promise of Direct Democracy, Cindy Milstein, Editor. AK Press, 2020, akpress.org

“There are always movements, societies and communities in existence that are intimate and locally organized, where no one person owns every damn thing, and people can talk to each other and work things out among themselves; where everybody is relatively equal. Our most immediate work should be to learn how to adjust our vision so we can see these examples for what they are.”

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Olchar E. Lindsann
Artists, Anarchists & Concierges Battle in 19th Century Bohemian Paris

In the musical Rent, the archetypal hip, Lower East Side New York Bohemian protagonists call their landlord “the enemy of Avenue A” when he enters their chosen coffee shop, in the song “La Vie Bohême.” The title recalls that of the Puccini opera, La Bohême, on which Rent is based.

This in turn was based on stories published by the French writer Henry Murger in 1851, that established the archetype of the urban, artistic, liberal Bohemian that still prevails in gentrifying areas throughout today’s world.

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Bill Weinberg
World War 3 Illustrated Review

a review of

World War 3 Illustrated

Assorted Authors & Artists

AK Press akpress.org ww3.nyc

This graphic zine started by art-activists and squatters on New York’s Lower East Side back in the Reagan 1980s (hence, the apocalyptic name), has just published its 51st issue.

There’s the sense of an historical cycle completing, as this edition grapples with the actually near-apocalyptic realities of Trump’s America—and windows of possibility they open. “Pandemic as Portal,” announces a full-page image by artist Kill Joy; “The time is now—imagine another world and fight for it.”

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Fifth Estate Collective
Art in the Fifth Estate

p. 4, 14, 25 Dennis Fox writes and has taught about the intersections of anarchism, law/justice, radical/critical psychology, and interpersonal connection. dennisfox.net He explores abstract, street, ft other forms of photography dennisfoxphoto.com

p. 6 Tylonn J. Sawyer lives and works in Detroit as a multidisciplinary artist educator and curator. His work juxtaposes themes of identity, both individual and collective, with investigations of race and history in popular culture. tylonn-j-sawyer.com

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