John Zerzan
Number its origin & evolution

Introduction

In his article on the idea of number, John Zerzan completes what appears to have become a trilogy on the origins and development of abstraction, and the accompanying alienation of humanity from nature and from the sources of its own being. Despite the difficult and inaccessible character of any anthropological-philosophical investigation of such cultural abstractions as time, language and number, his underlying motive is immediate and urgent—to discern in order to break out of “the wrenching and demoralizing character of the crisis we find ourselves in, above all, the growing emptiness of spirit and artificiality of matter.” He argues, “Who could deny that, in practice, quantity has been mastering us,” adding, “From knowledge, to information, to data, the mathematizing trajectory moves away from meaning...”

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Fifth Estate Collective
Bits of the World in Brief

Paul Jacob, the libertarian draft resister who went underground to escape prosecution, was convicted at a July 1 trial, sentenced and denied appeal bond. The penalty was six months imprisonment and 4-1/2 years of weekly community service.

The trial proved to be lively with Paul calling 1980 Libertarian Party candidate Ed Clark and former Congressman Ron Paul to testify on his behalf. Both explained the history of the draft and said that registration and the draft are unconstitutional. Paul also called Gen. Thomas Turnage, director of the Selective Service (SS), as a witness for the defense. Turnage testified that compliance with the registration law implied approval of the system which is one of the reasons that Paul refused to sign. Rhonda Allen, Libertarian activist and Paul’s wife, later described Turnage as a nazi.

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Fifth Estate Collective
FE Bookstore

The FE Bookservice may be reached at the same address as the Fifth Estate Newspaper, P.O. Box 02548, Detroit MI 48202 USA, telephone (313) 831–6800. Visitots are welcome, but our hours vary so please call before dropping in.

HOW TO ORDER BY MAIL:

1) List the title of the book, quantity wanted, and the price of each;

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Fifth Estate Collective
George Bradford (David Watson)

News & Reviews

Notes on errata and lacunae (G. Bradford)

An FE staff member currently traveling outside the U.S. wrote to us upon receiving his FE, that while the content and the layout were good, “there were a fair number of typos, which I’m sure you found as well.” We work hard on the paper, trying to catch every detail, to say things as best we can and to present it all in a dramatic, visually attractive format. Imagine our irritation, when we found, on the first page, that the typist had consistently put a typically gringo spelling Sandanista instead of Sandinista (staff members who speak Spanish had not gotten to proofread that page). That would make the Nicaraguan politicos disciples of Augusto Sandano rather than Sandino. Perhaps a niggling point, except that there are those of us who have always found something bothersome about foreign words and names being mangled in English language texts (though mangled English words in foreign language texts often strike us as amusing).

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Fredy Perlman
On the Machine in the Garden

See also: “The Machine against the Garden” (author’s introduction) in this issue, FE #321, Indian Summer, 1985.

Your comments as well as the urgings of other friends stimulated me to read Leo Marx’s book The Machine in the Garden. I quickly recognized the reviewer of Hawthorne’s Secret and also the author of the Foreword to my Signet Classic edition of Hawthorne’s superb novel. But I do not regret reading the book. The central themes of Leo Marx’s book have for several years been among my main concerns, and the book’s range as well as the profundity of many of its observations impressed, provoked and disturbed me.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Fredy Perlman

The Machine against the Garden 2 Essays by Fredy Perlman

Critiques of economic development, material progress, technology and industry are not a discovery of the Fifth Estate. Human beings resisted the incursions from the earliest days, and many of North America’s best-known 19th century writers, among them Melville, Hawthorn and Thoreau, were profound critics of the technological society. Since these writers became “classics of American literature,” and therefore available to all interested readers, defenders of official views have had to carry on a “cold war” against them. The most powerful weapon has been the classroom assignment; most students attacked by this weapon never again cracked a book by a “classic.” Other ways of “conquering and pacifying” the classics have been more subtle: the authors were maligned, the works were misinterpreted, the critiques were diverted and at times inverted.

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Fredy Perlman
To The New York Review of B

See also: “The Machine against the Garden” (author’s introduction) in this issue, FE #321, Indian Summer, 1985.

Web archive note: Numbers in the text are related to references at the end. They are not errors in numbering endnotes.

While skimming through a recent issue of your magazine, I came across a caricature of a man baring his chest and exposing a letter stamped or branded on it. I supposed that the mark was intended to be a scarlet letter, even though the cartoon was black and white. I learned that the branded man in the cartoon was supposed to be Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of an unforgettable exposure of bigots who branded human beings with scarlet letters.

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George Bradford (David Watson)
Fredy Perlman: An appreciation

It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of our friend and comrade, Fredy Perlman, who died while undergoing heart surgery in Detroit on July 26, 1985.

Fredy Perlman escaped Czechoslovakia as a very young child just before the nazi takeover, thus barely avoiding, in his words, that “rationally planned extermination of human beings, the central experience of so many people in an age of highly developed science and productive forces...” His life experiences and his ideas were framed within that context—the life-crushing machinery and the varieties of human response.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Fredy Perlman August 20, 1934, Brno, Czechoslovakia — July 26, 1985, Detroit, Michigan

Fredy Perlman was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia on August 20, 1934. He emigrated with his parents to Cochabamba, Bolivia in 1938 just ahead of the Nazi takeover. The Perlman family came to the United States in 1945 and lived variously in Mobile, Alabama, Brooklyn, Queens before settling in Lakeside Park, Kentucky, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio where Fredy graduated high school.

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Norman Bates
A Different Kind of Rambo

In all the-publicity and controversy over the film “Rambo: First Blood, Part II,” an interesting comparison of fictional characters named Rambo might add to our understanding of how and why such characters are created and received. While Johnny Rambo is quickly becoming enshrined in popular and political discourse as a symbol of a vengeful “Captain America” here, a much lesser known Rambo is hidden away.

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anon.
Guatemala: A Country In Chaos

Since 1954, when a U.S.-backed coup toppled the democratically elected reformist government of Jacobo Árbenz, there has been a succession of military regimes aided by the U.S. The Guatemalan people, 60% of whom are Mayan Indians, have fought through both peaceful and violent means for social change; the Guatemalan state’s response has been the brutal suppression of any and all movements of opposition or reform.

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Norman Solomon
Open Letter to the Disarmament Movement

Late 1985

Dear People:

North America’s disarmament movement has gone from momentum to defeat during the first half of the 1980s, but we have not heard much candor about the dimensions of the loss. Arms-race boosters see little reason to taunt floundering adversaries—who tend to be busy cheering for the disarmament team while steering clear of somber assessments. Increasingly, the anti-nuclear movement’s propaganda of the word is being outmatched by the nuclear establishment’s propaganda of the deed; disarmament advocates decry while thermonuclear advocates deploy.

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Lynne Clive (Marilynn Rashid)
Rigoberta Menchu Native Guatemala Defends the Earth

Discussed in this article

I...Rigoberta Menchu. An Indian Woman in Guatemala, Edited by Elisabeth Burgos-Debray, translated by Ann Wright, The Thetford Press, Thetford, Norfolk, England, 1984.

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Indian women and U.S. military attache George Maynes, observing a demonstration (1982).

Although circumstance has forced Rigoberta Menchu, a twenty-three-year-old Quiche Indian woman, to tell her story in Spanish, the language of her oppressors, she speaks it from her Quiche heart with an honesty, a directness, and a simplicity of language characteristic only of one who is close to the earth.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Vets Oppose Rambo

Despite its much publicized popularity, the film “Rambo...Part II”, has been blasted nationwide by many groups and individuals. A San Francisco Vietnam veterans group, calling themselves “Veterans’ Speakers Alliance,” picketed in July in front of a local theater showing the film.

This group of Vietnam vets, as well as others around the country, have been quoted as saying that Stallone’s film misrepresents the realities of the war, glorifies its horrors and exploits the sacrifices of the men who fought it.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Vietnam’s Untold Victim: The Land

Shortly after we published our issue with a discussion of the war in Vietnam, an article appeared in the New York Times about studies done by the Vietnamese government and the Switzerland-based International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources concerning the effects of the “ecocide” (a word coined during the Vietnam war to describe the U.S. war there) on the land since the end of the U.S. war. The study traces developments since 1945 in a 97-page document, portraying a rural and agricultural nation devastated by “deliberate destruction of the environment as a military tactic on a scale never before seen in the history of warfare.”

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Rudolf Bahro
Nuclear Freeze Strategy Stalled Freeze Nuclear Weapons? Freeze the Industrial System

The following text was originally published as a leaflet and distributed at this year’s Hiroshima Day observance sponsored by the Detroit Area Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign.

“What the powerful call utopia is now in fact the condition for human survival.”

—C. Wright Mills, The Causes of World War Three, 1958

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Richard Grow
Black Hills Get serious or hit the road

Dear Fifth Estate,

In your June, 1985 issue Lev Chernyi joined the Big Mountain discussions and described an uncomfortable experience at the 1980 Black Hills Gathering. Chernyi was also responding to previous letters to the Fifth Estate which complained about some of the messages of the article on Big Mountain which I wrote last year. In that article I had referred to the necessity for “respect for the elders” and other guidelines on how to get along, as a non-Indian, when visiting Indian lands.

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Fifth Estate Collective
George Bradford (David Watson)
Blueberry

Comments on Central America

Fifth Estate:

I want to offer some criticisms of the latest issue. The Vietnam article [Web archive note: This article first appeared in FE #320, Spring 1985. With an added Introduction by Richard Drinnon it was reprinted in FE #346, Summer, 1995.] was a bit strange: even with the understanding that the author, George Bradford, used to be a supporter of the stalinists in Vietnam, it offered no analysis of “wars of national liberation” (much less of one that lasted so long), which formed an integral aspect of the war. Space limitations aside, at least an attempt to approach that aspect of the war needed to be addressed. (It also seems that Bradford still idealizes the NLF.)

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Fifth Estate Collective
Detroit Seen

[two_third padding=“0 20px 0 0”]We have finally firmed up plans for the Fifth Estate 20th Anniversary celebration. It will be held at Alvin’s, 5756 Cass Ave., Detroit, on Dec. 7. Hopefully, the event will bring together many of those who have worked on the paper over the last two decades, as well as all those who want to help us celebrate. Music will be by the Layabouts who will have just released their album by that time. Also, there will be a dinner the same night for present and former staff members, so if you were part of the paper at any time, please write so we can plan a grand reunion.

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Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Crude Argument

Dear Fifth Estate:

Generally, the Fifth Estate is great. Articles are principled, well reasoned, sometimes poetic. But the review of Noam Chomsky’s book by Pat Flanagan (see Spring 1985 FE) ended with Flanagans advocacy of “intolerance of the intolerant,” or more specifically, intolerance of what someone judges intolerant.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Masthead

The Fifth Estate is a cooperative project, published by a group of friends who are in general, but not necessarily complete agreement with the articles herein. Each segment of the paper represents the collective effort of writing, typesetting, lay-out and proofreading.

The Fifth Estate Newspaper (ISSN No. 0015.0800) is published quarterly at P.O. Box 02548, Detroit, Michigan 48202 USA; phone (313) 831–6800.

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Fifth Estate Collective
South Africa Reform or Revolution

South Africa—the rock of colonial racism—has finally begun to crack under the repeated blows of the general and sustained uprising of its black and colored population.

Perhaps the most telling sign that the end of formal apartheid is near is the sudden conversion of South African business leaders to its abolition. Their late September newspaper ad campaign contending “There is a better way,” demanded an end to racial segregation and “peace talks” with black leaders, and breaks significantly with the intransigent Afrikaner commitment to legal and formal white domination. Only a month previously, South African President P.W. Botha pledged no compromise with the black revolt.

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Hakim Bey
P.A.Z. Permanent Autonomous Zones

FE Note: In the following article, Hakim Bey moves beyond his idea of the Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ)—those moments when normally domesticated space is liberated for a limited time for festive and subversive “moments of happiness.” He discusses what happens when those moments become fixed in time and space.

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Fifth Estate Collective
May Day Celebrate Beltane and International Workers Day

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Beltane is the high festival of Spring. Its origins are ancient Celt. In the old times, people celebrated the end of Winter and the turning of the Wheel to the greening of the land with dancing, feasting and lovemaking. They wove the Maypole, decorated themselves with garlands of flowers, looking forward to a new season of growth and abundance. In America, May 1st officially became Law Day to separate it from international May Day celebrations associated with communist nations and radical labor movements. U.S. Labor Day was established almost half a year away and is the occasion for civic, not labor, festivities.

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The Trumbull Theater Collective
Save Detroit’s Permanent Autonomous Zone (PAZ)

The Trumbull Theater Collective brings together a diverse group of people for the radical project of creating an authentic egalitarian community. We offer low-cost, self-governed, cooperatively-owned, non-profit, communal housing for community activists, students & young families in two, deteriorating, 100-year-old mansions in Detroit’s inner city. Also, there is a theater and meeting space attached to one of the houses. We strive to embody the anarchist principles of voluntary association, mutual aid, & human liberation. We see the Trumbull as an anti-authoritarian center of art & activism based on anti-racist action, feminism, queer liberation, ecology and anarchy.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Letters to the Fifth Estate

Fifth Estate Letters Policy

The Fifth Estate always welcomes letters commenting on our articles, stating opinions, or giving reports of events in local areas. We don’t guarantee we will print everything we receive, but all letters are read by our staff and considered.

Typed letters or ones on disk are appreciated, but not required.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Fifth Estate Books

Fifth Estate Books is located at 4632 Second Ave., just south of W. Forest, in Detroit, in the same space as the Fifth Estate Newspaper. Hours vary, so please call before coming by.

HOW TO ORDER BY MAIL

1) List the title of the book, quantity, and the price of each;

2) add 10% for mailing costs—not less than $1.05 U.S. or $1.60 foreign (minimum for 4th class book rate postage);

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Fifth Estate Collective
News & Reviews

England’s Green Anarchist magazine is now available as single issues or in bulk from Autonome Distribution, PO Box 79119, New Orleans LA 70179. In GA the Earth First! Journal meets Class War and puts forth an anti-civilization perspective as uncompromising as ours. Their long-range strategy is to support “Revolution on the Periphery,” Third World revolts that deprive mass society of the resources it exploits from the poorer regions. (They don’t support national liberation struggles!) They see this as creating the basis for “self-governing, self-sufficient communities” which will be “easier to establish as the State loses control of the rest of the planet.”

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About This Section
About This Section
About This Section

Neither East Nor West/NYC
On Gogol Boulevard

About This Section

On Gogol Boulevard is produced for the Fifth Estate by New York City/Neither East Nor West, which links alternative oppositions in the East and West, and prints news and documents unavailable in the corporate or left media. OGB sometimes involves Third and Fourth World activists in these efforts. A similar section also appears in Black Fist.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Guy Debord Dead at 62

Guy Debord, the French author of Society of the Spectacle and a founder of the Situationist Internationale, took his own life on November 30, 1994. He was 62. His insights are valued and utilized by rebels and social critics.

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Guy Debord (1932–1994)

In the past 20 years he lived largely in rural areas and this is where he died (at his home in Auvergne, a mountainous region in south-central France). He was born in Paris, however, and credits this city as well as other urban centers with furnishing him the elements to analyze contemporary society.

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Various Authors
Assaults on the Nuclear State Fermi, Watts Bar & Prairie Island

Fermi II

Over the weekend of Sept. 30-Oct. 2, activists from around the country descended on the town of Monroe, Michigan to protest the restart of Detroit Edison’s crippled nuclear reactor, Fermi II.

Built at the site where its predecessor, Fermi I, suffered a partial core-melt accident in 1966, Fermi II was completed 20 years behind schedule and more than 2000% over budget.

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Peter Werbe
R. Relievo

Hiroshima, First Shot of World War III

Introduction by R. Relievo

As E.B. Maple points out in the following article (which first appeared in FE #285, August 1977), the atomic bombings of civilians by the American Army Air Corps at the end of World War II was not the knockout punch that convinced an intransigent Japan to suddenly change its strategy and surrender.

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T. Nachalo (Fredy Perlman)
Progress & Nuclear Power The Destruction of the Continent and Its Peoples

The following text first appeared in a special anti-nuclear issue of the Fifth Estate (FE #297, April 18, 1979). It was written earlier in that year just after an accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in eastern Pennsylvania. As news of the accident spread, official messages insisted, “There is no need to overreact, the situation is stable, the leaders have everything under control,” but eventually people living near the plant had to be evacuated.

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Adam Baum
What’s Wrong With Nuclear Power? Cracked, Corrupt, Corroded

Nuclear power is a primary threat in the ongoing global environmental struggles at the end of the twentieth century. However, nuclear power is an issue many shy away from because of its complex and technical nature and the opaque power structures of gigantic corporations and government bureaucracy that perpetuates this dangerous, decaying technology.

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Steve Welzer
Fusion Power The Other Nuclear Illusion

On December 11, 1993 The New York Times heralded that scientists at Princeton University had “plunged across a new physics frontier...with a series of experiments that may eventually lead to an inexhaustible source of energy.” After decades of effort, Princeton’s Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL) had produced a short, controlled burst of fusion energy.

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T. Fulano (David Watson)
Six Theses on Empire, Denial & Nuclearism

1.

Nuclearism is inherently totalitarian. The apparent controversy over nuclear power is not really a matter for debate: it mirrors the underlying question of social power. Its history makes this clear.

First developed as a weapon of war under the veil of military secrecy, and then in coordinated efforts with enormous corporate interests, it was never publicly debated before the whole society was heavily committed to it. At its inception, public opposition would have brought charges of treason, and nuclear technology and materials are still considered a matter of strict state security.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Michael William

Getting Nowhere Fast

Montreal Anarchist Candidates Off & Running

by Michael William

An anarchist running for mayor; anarchist candidates for city council—what did Montreal do to deserve this? Indeed, with seven anti- authoritarian identified people running for office and more cast in supporting roles, our town would seem to be experiencing a phenomenon: the coalescing of an organized anarcho-electoral pole in the anti-statist milieu.

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E. B. Maple (Peter Werbe)
Revenge of the Nerds The Republican Victory

“Consider the intelligence of the average man, then realize 50% are even stupider.”

—Mark Twain

“I am nothing, a cloak of skin with a mouth saying, Don’t kill everything so soon.”

—Mick Vranich and Wordban’d

Wouldn’t the headline, “61% of Electorate Avoid Polls; Conservative White Men Elect Right-Wing of Political Racket to Power,” after the Nov. 8 Republican sweep of Congressional seats have been more accurate than those in the media which trumpeted, “Americans Vote for Change?” Admittedly, mine is not exactly snappy, nor would it fit well as a banner headline, but it’s closer to the truth.

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Marie Mason
Carla Glidden (Dec. 11, 1964-June 28, 1994)

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Carla Glidden (1964–1994)

It is very difficult for me to write about Carla in the past tense. When she died of a blood clot in June, I lost my best friend and the Detroit alternative community and the Fifth Estate lost an untiring participant and supporter. Carla embodied the philosophy of community and mutual aid more than anyone I’ve known. Carla spurned no task as too humble or dangerous.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Detroit Seen

Welcome to the Winter 1995 Fifth Estate. This is only the second edition we’ve published this year, so you probably have not missed any issues. This issue also marks the 29th anniversary of continuous publication of the Fifth Estate. We probably should have a giant, wild celebration for our 30th next year, but if the 25th was any indication, the date may just slip by. However, if there is anyone in the Detroit area willing to organize a gathering/celebration event, let us know; we’re up for it.

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Sunfrog
A Treatise on Electronic Anarchy & the Net Arguments for elimination of the information age

“Every year of her life...the Net had been growing more expansive and seamless. Computers did it. Computers melted other machines, fusing them together. Television-telephone-telex. Tape recorder-VCR-laser disk. Broadcast tower linked to microwave dish linked to satellite. Phone line, cable TV, fiber-optic cords hissing out words and pictures in torrents of pure light. All netted together in a web over the world, a global nervous system, an octopus of data. There’d been plenty of hype about it. It was easy to make it sound transcendentally incredible.

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David Watson
Catching Fish in Chaotic Waters Empire and Mass Society

Introduction

The following text is a speech given by Fifth Estate staff member David Watson at a conference on July 9, 1994 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, hosted by the New Jersey Greens. Entitled “A Radical Ecology Forum: Ecological and Communitarian Visions,” the gathering drew approximately one hundred people. For a report of the conference, and the introductory remarks made by Steve Welzer, see the latest edition of the Jersey Greens Journal, c/o Green World, P.O. Box 2029, Princeton NJ 08543. Please send $2 to cover costs.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Masthead

Fifth Estate

The Fifth Estate is a cooperative, non-profit project, published since 1965. The people who produce it are a group of friends who do so neither to secure wages nor as an investment in the newspaper industry, but to encourage resistance and rebellion to this society.

The Fifth Estate Newspaper (ISSN No. 0015) is published quarterly at 4632 Second Ave. Detroit, Michigan 48201 USA; Phone (313) 831–6800. Our office hours vary, so please call before visiting.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Tales from the Planet

1994 saw a new wave of activism in support of imprisoned American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier including the following events: Leonard Peltier Freedom Weekend in Washington D.C. in June, a summer cross-country Walk for Justice, a twelve day “People’s Fast for Justice” and an International Walk for Justice in Washington State and British Columbia in October.

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Daily Barbarian
Daily Barbarian Number 8

Thoughts on the Disappearance of History (David Watson)
Thoughts on the Disappearance of History
by David Watson

Daily Barbarian > Thoughts on the Disappearance of History

“so that when there is no more story that will be our story when there is no forest that will be our forest”

—W.S. Merwin, “One Story”

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Fifth Estate Collective
Detroit Cops On Shooting Spree

In America’s big cities in the 1960s, white police forces patrolled black ghettos like an occupying army. Detroit took the lead in integrating its cops, and now also has the highest percentage of female officers in any big U.S. city. Yet this “modern” department has proven to be one of the most lethal in the country for its people. (See Detroit Seen in this issue).

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Fifth Estate Collective
FE Staff Member to Speak to East Coast Greens at July ’94 Conference

The New Jersey Green Journal, published by the Raritan-Brunswick Greens, is a green publication we have particularly enjoyed since they take a strong interest in many of the questions that animate us—technology as a system of domination, the question of civilization and empire, and neo-primitivism.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Fifth Estate Announcements

Given our infrequent publishing schedule, it is often difficult to keep abreast of timely announcements for events across the world’s anti-authoritarian community, but we will try. Please understand, though, if your event does not appear, it may have come too close to our printing date. Send announcements to 4632 Second Ave., Detroit MI 48201.

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Marilynn Rashid
Spring Poem to a Bosnian Poet

I imagine you, your voice stopped

by the speed with which the lives around you crumble.

I imagine you wanting, trying to write,

not about the blood stains at your door,

not about the fragments of your family

huddled in basements, nor about the hate

rising in pandemic streams

but about the tree hidden in some

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