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John Clark
On Living in the World Revisiting Ursula Le Guin’s Always Coming Home

Recently, the Anarchist Political Ecology Group (the APE Group) read and discussed Ursula Le Guin’s book Always Coming Home. Though it’s a work I often go back to, this was the first time I had read it cover to cover in about thirty-five years.

I first discovered Le Guin’s work when I read The Dispossessed in the mid-1970s. The book had a huge effect on the members of the anarchist group I was in at the time, the Black Pearl Mutual Aid and Pleasure Club in New Orleans.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Why An Anarchist Review of Books?

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

This famous quote from Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities probably can be applied to any era, but which it is depends upon where you are situated at a given time.

Most of us, though, might find it difficult to locate the best at this moment as we face a pandemic, an increasing climate crisis, and a rising fascist movement among other contemporary disasters.

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Byron López Ellington
Ode to Anarres After The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

To break off from the homeworld,

Separate and start anew,

Takes courage nigh unknowable.

Make a new language, speak it;

Choose a harsher planet, keep it;

Dispossess yourself of things

And your only home alike;

Leave the old lush rainforests

For frigid deserts, dry, starving,

Where through hardship you are free.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Masthead

Fifth Estate

Radical Publishing since 1965

Vol. 56, No. 3, #410, Fall 2021

The Fifth Estate is an anti-profit, anarchist project published by a volunteer collective of friends and comrades.

www.FifthEstate.org

No ads. No copyright. Kopimi — reprint freely

Jess Flarity
Meg Ellison’s Pinhole Camera

a review of

Big Girl by Meg Elison. PM Press 2020

While there are several excellent reprints in the newest volume on Meg Elison in the PM Press Outspoken Authors series, let’s focus on the two originals. An all-too-real dystopian short story titled “Such People in It,” and the Nebula-nominated novelette, “The Pill.”

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Marieke Bivar
Cherishing the Secret Knowledge of Fulvia Ferrari

a review of

Secolo Nuovo or The Times of Promise by Fulvia Ferrari. Detritus Books 2021

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“There are people in this world committed to spreading rebellion as far as possible. They appear amid the disaster and guide people away from the [wreckage]. They carry a secret flame that can infect entire cities with its brightness. Fulvia carried this flame along with many others, living and dead, and they passed the sacred flame to us. It’s possible Fulvia never had children. Maybe those children are us.”

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Bill Brown
When Punk Was A Threat

a review of

We’re Not Here to Entertain: Punk Rock, Ronald Reagan, and The Real Culture War of 1980s America by Kevin Mattson. Oxford University Press 2020

This book reminds us that the 1980s—in addition to being a period of reactionary politics (Reagan’s efforts to “make America great again”) and reactionary music (synthesizer-dominated pop and MTV videos)—was also the decade of hardcore punk.

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Martha Ackelsberg
Christianity Comes to Amazonia

a review of

Five Wives: A Novel by Joan Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers, Ltd. 2019

Five Wives is a compelling novel about Operation Auca, a missionary project undertaken by evangelical Protestants in Ecuador in the mid-1950s. It seamlessly mixes the story of those events with the imagined thoughts and responses of both the original participants and their children and grandchildren.

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Steven Cline
Jason Abdelhadi

Communicating Vessels Surrealism & Anarchism

a review of

Dreams of Anarchy and the Anarchy of Dreams by Ron Sakolsky; Illustrations by Rikki Ducornet. Autonomedia 2021

In Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland, the Mad-Hatter poses the famous riddle, “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?” It is not a question that has a predefined answer, but which projects itself, through a lightning-bolt of poetic analogy, into some future resolution—one that we feel pulsing like magic just outside our current field of perception.

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Fran Shor
Radical Dissent Squashed During War

a review of

Free Speech & the Suppression of Dissent During World War I by Eric T. Chester. Monthly Review Press 2021

The focus of Eric Chester’s incisive study is the clash between the state and its dissenting citizens during the time of war. While based on a fundamental belief in the absolute right of free speech, Chester’s book navigates the ways that the government of President Woodrow Wilson imperiled and suppressed free speech during World War I.

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Hazel C. Cline
Is Your Nature Revolting?

Is your nature revolting? You certainly look the type. Yes? Then you will be interested in a very special inscription found scrawled on the wall of a public toilette by some good fairy to offer us salvation in transformation: “you must get smaller.” No simple task you might say. Maybe Alice left us a crumb, you might quip. Or perhaps we can reverse time, you add incredulously. No, my cynical friend, there is another way. And I found it on a sunny Sunday walk in the park. It is simple. Just walk out on the path with a stone in one hand and a leaf in the other and think of a vine sprouting through asphalt. When that pale green light inside your aorta expands around you and the or olfactories are filled with the scent of rich earth, you are ready, and your feet will guide you to the deeply trodden path of the deer. Crouch low to pass under boughs and thick bramble till you can feel your hooves firmly beneath you. Sniff out the rabbit trails among the moss and dry leaves, straining to follow them until you can hear clearly with your long, soft ears. Search out the long line of ants and walk with them until you can taste with your antennae down in the detritus. Crawl down into the earth, ever smaller and deeper. Until you are so small you can fit inside the smallest unit of life. And there, of course, you will find and become that which...well, I can’t tell you what. Perhaps you’ll know soon enough. In any case, I must be going. I have some graffiti to write.

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Robert Knox
The Anarchist Poet of Exarcheia What We’re Gonna Do Is Read Her Poems

a review of

Now Let’s See What You’re Gonna Do: Poems 1978–2002 by Katerina Gogou; translation by A.S., forward by Jack Hirschman. fmsbw press 2021

A biographer of Katerina Gogou terms her “the anarchist poetess of Exarcheia,” the so-called “edgy alternative” Athenian neighborhood with its political murals and anarchist bookshops. I have been to Athens, once, but the tour guides never pointed us that way. So, I will take on faith a biographer’s description of Gogou, who died in 1993 by her own hand, as “Greece’s greatest anarchist poetess.”

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Bill Weinberg
Underground Asia

a review of

Underground Asia: Global Revolutionaries and the Assault on Empire by Tim Harper. Harvard University Press 2021

This dauntingly detailed book on the roots of Asia’s anti-colonial movements documents the early influence of anarchism, and how it was ultimately displaced by nationalisms of different stripes.

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Bruce Trigg
Solidarity in Plague Time Mutual Aid Against the Pandemic

a review of

Pandemic Solidarity: Mutual Aid during the Covid-19 Crisis Edited by Marina Sitrin and the Colectiva Sembrar. Pluto Press, London, 2020

Every nation state has failed miserably in preventing, controlling and managing the still raging COVID 19 pandemic. While military, police, and prison systems continue unabated in their coercive functions, hospitals, public health and social welfare systems in many parts of the world are overwhelmed and in disarray.

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Kathy E. Ferguson
A Wild and Radical Life Cut Short by Fascists

a review of

The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams (with the original text of “Lesbian Love”) by Jonathan Ned Katz. Chicago Review Press 2021

Eve Adams died in Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp, because the U.S. government could not countenance the writer of a lesbian love story (among her other transgressions) to reside in the U.S.

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Noah Johnson
Battlefields, Slaughterhouses & the Opposition to Both

a review of

Constructing Ecoterrorism: Capitalism, Speciesism & Animal Rights by John Sorensen. Fernwood Publishing 2016

Anarchist and vegetarian Leo Tolstoy stated in his essay, “What I believe,” that “as long as there are slaughterhouses, there will always be battlefields.”

The quote, though often simply taken as a condemnation of violence against both humans and non-human animals, also ties the state, capitalism, and the rights of animals together in the way many animal rights activists do today.

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Marius Mason
How Not To Defeat Ourselves

a review of

Holding Change: The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and Mediation by adrienne maree brown. AK Press 2021

Holding Change is the kind of wise resource book I wish so very badly that I had when I was free and organizing. Way too often, I witnessed the depressing cycle of a hopeful and energetic coming together of a grassroots group break down into sad, burned-out individual activists.

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Fissiparous Michalski
Architecture and Anarchism Seeing like an anarchist

a review of

Architecture and Anarchism: Building Without Authority by Paul Dobraszczyk. Paul Holberton Publishing 2021

To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. To a state, every human activity looks like it needs to be pounded into the correct, pre-planned shape. State authorities always claim their social engineering schemes will raise living standards and promote the general happiness. No surprise, their plans do not always work.

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Rich Dana (Ricardo Feral)
In the World of Digital, Print Raises A Challenge

a review of

Urgent Publishing after the Artist’s Book: Making Public Movements Toward Liberation by Paul Soulellis (Book Design: Be Oakley). GenderFail 2021

Urgent Publishing After the Artist’s Book operates as a document, a record, an archival object and a piece of art, while the book’s commentary on the arts, publishing, and social justice is expressed both through text and graphic design. It challenges the reader’s role as viewer and consumer, potential ally and an unwitting antagonist.

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Sean Alan Cleary
No Justice, No Peace Against Slavery Then; Against Racism Today

a review of

Prophet Against Slavery: Benjamin Lay, A Graphic Novel by David Lester, author and artist, with editors, Paul Buhle and Marcus Rediker. Beacon Press 2021

Sean-Michel Basquiat’s 1984 painting Created Equal might be the first time the phrase “NO JUSTICE NO PEACE” was documented in that exact language, though its sentiment was a familiar one. A decade before, Pope Paul VI declared at a World Peace Day in 1972 that for a world dealing with colonial exploitation, “If you want peace, work for justice.”

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Mike Wold
America: Not So Great

a review of

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder. Norton, 2017

Nomadland—Film 2021; Director: Chloe Zhao

In case you weren’t paying attention, the Academy Awards for best picture, best director, and best actress this year all went to Nomadland, a drama centered around Fern (Frances McDormand), a woman near retirement age, after losing her husband and her home, starts living in a van.

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Eric Laursen
No More Mushrooms

a review of

No More Mushrooms: Thoughts About Life Without Government by Kirkpatrick Sale. Autonomedia 2021

Kirkpatrick Sale has been an activist, author, and promoter of decentralism and bioregionalism for more than 50 years. No More Mushrooms stitches together material from two of his best-known books, Human Scale (1980) and Human Scale Revisited (2017), to give a quick summary of his thinking about government and the potential for creating new societies based on community, interdependence, and mutual obligation.

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Peter Werbe
The Mob, Racism & Mayhem They Call a Sport

a review of

The Bittersweet Science; Racism, Racketeering, and the Political Economy of Boxing by Gerald Horne. International Publishers 2021

Watching two men beat the crap out of each other either in the ring or in the alley has always seemed a little boring. However, not so for followers of the brutal sport, particularly in an era gone by when fans knew the names of every champion and challenger in the different divisions down to welterweights

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Thomas Martin
Catastrophic Thinking

a review of

Catastrophic Thinking: Extinction and the Value of Diversity from Darwin to the Anthropocene by David Sepkoski. University of Chicago Press 2020

Catastrophic Thinking is not an optimistic book. However, it is relentlessly realistic.

Sepkoski is a professor at the University of Illinois specializing in transnational history of biological, environmental, and information sciences in cultural context.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Farewell Elka Schumann Co-Founder of Bread & Puppet Theater

Bread and Puppet Theater’s Elka Schumann died this past August, at the age of 85. She and her partner, Peter Schumann, co-founded the Bread and Puppet Theater, the innovative and radical theater group, in New York City in 1963.

[caption id=“attachment_23753” align=“alignright” width=“256”] The Bread and Puppet Theater’s use of giant puppets with social justice themes has inspired similar use around the world[/caption]

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Olchar E. Lindsann
Petrus Borel The 19th Century Anti-Authoritarian Lycanthrope

a review of

Champavert: Immoral Tales by Petrus Borel, trans. Brian Stableford. Borga Press, 2013 WildsidePess.com

The long-forgotten radical novel, Champavert, is the only full-length book available in English by Petrus Borel. The anti-authoritarian poet was known in 19th century French underground circles as “The Lycanthrope” (Wolfman), and was central to the creation of the cultural avant-garde as both an idea and a functioning community in that era.

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Gareth Henry
Ten Years As An Undercover Nazi

a review of

Codename Arthur: The true story of the anti-fascist spy who identified the London nailbomber by Nick Lowles. Partisan Books 2021

Codename Arthur is both a tribute to “Arthur,” an anti-fascist spy who spent a staggering 10 years undercover in the nascent far-right British National Party (BNP) during the 1990s and 2000s, facing the constant threat of exposure.

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Chris Clancy
Class War in Chicago

a review of

The Haymarket Affair, Chicago, 1886: The “Great Anarchist” Riot and Trial by Corrine J. Naden. Moffa Press 1968

On a rainy Tuesday night in May of 1886, a rally in Chicago’s Haymarket Square calling for an eight-hour workday turned suddenly violent when someone threw a bomb into the crowd of 200 policemen sent to break things up. The blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and four civilians. News of the incident, known as the Haymarket Bombing, sent shockwaves around the world.

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MHB
Class War World-Wide

a review of

Workers’ Inquiry and Global Class Struggle: Strategies, Tactics, Objectives, Robert Ovetz, Editor. Pluto Press 2020

“There’s not a Hand in this town, Sir, man, woman, or child, but has one ultimate object in life. That object is, to be fed on turtle soup and venison with a gold spoon. Now, they’re not a-going—none of ‘em—ever to be fed on turtle soup and venison with a gold spoon.”

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Robert Ovetz
Fighting Racism & the Bosses

a review of

Ben Fletcher: The Life and Times of a Black Wobbly by Peter Cole. PM Press, 2021

One of the hardest tasks for an historian of the working class is telling the story of the organizer whose greatest talent is organizing their fellow workers while remaining anonymous. If not for historian Peter Cole’s book, Ben Fletcher: The Life and Times of a Black Wobbly, Fletcher might still be unknown to us today.

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Michael Beykirch
Native Liberation as a Path Toward Planetary Freedom

a review of

Red Nation Rising: From Bordertown Violence to Native Liberation by Nick Estes, Melanie K. Yazzie, Jennifer Nez Denetdale, and David Correia. PM Press 2021

“I can’t fucking breathe,” Zachary Bearheels (Rosebud Sioux) said before he died in Omaha, Nebraska, in 2017, where cops tased, then mounted him on the pavement, and punched his head 13 times. Murdered. In a bordertown.

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Marieke Bivar
Breaking up Families How Medical Colonialism in Canada is Retraumatizing Indigenous People

a review of

Fighting for A Hand to Hold: Confronting Medical Colonialism against Indigenous Children in Canada by Samir Shaheen-Hussain, Foreword by Cindy Blackstock, Afterword by Katsi’tsakwas Ellen Gabriel. Mcgill-Queen’s University Press 2020

On May 30, 2021, the land surrounding a former residential school in Canada was found to contain the unidentified remains of over 200 children. Since then, nearly a thousand other children’s graves have been uncovered. A horrified hush fell over those of us willing to accept this reality. Then rage.

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Kim A. Broadie
Mutual Aid Can Save the Planet New Edition of Kropotkin’s Classic

a review of

Mutual Aid: An Illuminated Factor of Evolution by Peter Kropotkin, Illustrated by N.O. Bonzo, Introduction by David Graeber & Andrej Grubacic, Foreword by Ruth Kinna, Preface by GATS, Afterword by Allan Antliff. PM Press/Kairos 2021

This new edition of anthropological essays by Russian naturalist and anarchist philosopher Peter Kropotkin’s 1902 Mutual Aid provides us with key insights necessary to prevent our headlong plunge into planetary suicide.

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David Sands
The Yippie lineage continues into the 21st Century

a review of

In The Time Of Job When Mischa Was a Zippie by Michele Dawn Saint Thomas (check facebook.com/msaintthomas for ordering info)

I didn’t know the Yippies were still around. As it turns out, they are still alive and well in 2021.

For those unfamiliar with the Yippies (formally the Youth International Party), they are a radical group that emerged during the 1960s that was notorious for its wild street theater, revolutionary anti-authoritarian politics, and humorous stunts like running a pig named Pigasus for president in 1968. The Zippie of the title were a Yippie faction.

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Jason Rodgers
This World We Must Leave

a review of

When We Are Human by John Zerzan. Feral House 2021

John Zerzan is a longtime advocate of anarcho-primitivism, the form of anarchism that draws inspiration from hunter-gatherer band society and expands the anarchist evaluation to a more total critique of civilization. Many of his original essays laying out this perspective first appeared in these pages in the 1970s.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Anarchist & Radical Bookstores

Annares Infoshop

422 NW 13th Ave #147

Portland OR 97209

Blackbird Bookstore/Infoshop

1431 Park Avenue

Chico CA 95928

blackbirdchico.com

Bluestockings

172 Allen Street

New York NY 10002

bluestockings.com

Bound Together Bookstore

1369 Haight St.

San Francisco CA 94117

boundtogetherbookssf.github.io

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Ben Olson
Anarchy and Obscurity

a review of

The Brickeaters by The Residents. Feral House 2018

In The Brickeaters, the recent novel by surrealist art and music collective The Residents, a freelance reporter—named Frank Blodgett leaves Los Angeles for Clinton, Missouri to investigate the mysterious death of an elderly man, Wilmer Graves, found on the side of a road with an oxygen tank. Compelled by the potential story, Frank tries to obtain information at the local police department and meets the secretary, Patty.

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Peter Werbe
The Coldest of All Cold Monsters

a review of

The Operating System: An Anarchist Theory of the Modern State by Eric Laursen, Foreword by Maia Ramath. AK Press 2021

Politics in the U.S. are so skewed to the right that tepid reformers such as Congressional Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC) and Senator Bernie Sanders are characterized as the radical left for advocating universal health care and free college tuition.

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vincent a. cellucci
grounded by your country (poetry)

not since I was seventeen

have I been in a similar state of lockdown

.

back then it was

beaming home with the early light

with complete disregard for any promises

of minding a curfew or sobriety

jeep a degenerate comet

reeking of beer and weed

and I an alien approaching a staircase

where I cross paths with my captors

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Bob Stern
Earth First! Journal 40th Anniversary Edition

Wow! I thought, look at all that color! Can it really be the Earth First! Journal? They pulled out all the stops creating this collage of Earth First! art, poetry, history and personal reminiscences of radical eco-warriors over the past 40 years!

It’s been a long while since there’s been an issue of the Journal chronicling the actions and campaigns of what the powers-that-be love to label eco-terrorism, but so many others see simply as a fight to save life on Earth!

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Karin L. Frank
Vigilante Birth Control (a logical addendum to the Texas Heartbeat Act)

Women,

step up to your place

as bounty hunters,

claim your $10,000 reward.

Grab your knitting needles,

pinking shears and nail files.

Maim, castrate or, if need be, kill,

at your discretion, each man

who approaches you in a

manner indicating he intends to engage

any of your body parts.

Remember,

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Sylvie Kashdan
Cuba through the eyes of Che’s grandson

a review of

33 Revolutions by Canek Sánchez Guevara, Translated by Howard Curtis. Europa Editions 2015

Les Héritiers du Che (The Heirs Of Che) by Canek Sánchez Guevara and Jorge Masetti. Presses de la Cite 2007

“The persecution of homosexuals, hippies, free thinkers, syndicalists, poets (dissidents of a sort) certainly seems in excess of what was being combated. The criminalization of being different has nothing to do with freedom. Neither does the concentration of power in the hands of a few form part of anarchist ideas, and even less so the perpetual surveillance of individuals or the prohibition of any associations that may be formed on the margins of the State.”

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Fifth Estate Collective
Art in the Fifth Estate

We welcome submissions of art and photography. Send high resolution images to fe@fifthestate.org. The Fifth Estate is an all-volunteer project. Images that appear in our pages are separate statements on subjects addressed in articles.

P. 5 Paul Signac, “Portrait of M. Felix Feneon” 1890.

Feneon was a French art critic and anarchist who coined the term Neo-Impressionism. Signac also was an anarchist.

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Andrei Codrescu
The best human gift is perspective

it’s also the worst

when used in circumstances calling for a closeup

or in circumstances that call for detachment

it is only a gift when it employs the appropriate distance

that minimizes pain

between the observer and the observed

.

we have a school for teaching appropriate distance

it’s called a slum a favella

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Katerina Gogou
I Stand for Anarchy

Don’t stop me. I’m dreaming.

We’ve been through centuries of injustice.

Centuries of loneliness.

Not now—don’t stop me.

Now here forever and everywhere.

I’m dreaming of freedom.

Gorgeous unique anyone,

let’s restore harmony to the universe.

Let’s play. Knowledge is joy.

It’s not mandatory schoolwork—

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