Julie Gagnon
A Mirror in Hand I would like to make one thing clear: this article is dedicated to women as an appeal for the appropriation of our bodies, our fantasies, and our sexuality. It is not meant to be moralizing or therapeutic.

Taboo, smelly, hidden, shameful, unsightly. Women’s sex has been described historically in these terms without explaining precisely why it qualifies as such. At the beginning of the 1960s, mores became less rigid and what was then labeled the Sexual Revolution commenced. But as many women authors have noted, this progress didn’t reduce the gap between the pleasure that men and women experience sexually.


Jeff Shantz
An Anarchist View of the Marriage Debate

For anarchists, marriage is defined not by the sexuality or gender of spouses, but by the presence of the Church and State. However, marriage, the legal and religious sanctioning of interpersonal relationships, rarely receives much attention in anarchist feminist circles. Major collections of anarchist writings cover many areas of social life but usually have no essays dealing with marriage. Those chapters in which important institutions and social relations are dealt with do not even include marriage as part of the discussion.


Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
A Response on Polyamory “Monogamy doesn’t work; non-monogamy doesn’t either.”

No comment can be made about the writings and ideas of Andy Smith without first recognizing the enormous contributions he made to the Fifth Estate for almost twenty years. During the first years of the century he and his comrades in Tennessee were the mainstay of this publication, and it is easy to say, that without his stewardship during that era, this magazine probably wouldn’t exist today. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was our 40th anniversary edition which at 102 pages, tracing our intense history beginning in 1965, was the largest and most colorful issue we’ve published. Long thought to be out of print, we recently discovered a cache of them and now have it available again.


Kelly Rose Pflug-Back
Black Culture Behind Bars: An interview with Nikicia G. White supremacy, censorship, and resistance in an Ontario women’s jail.

Jail is an environment that has been engineered to starve the senses. While creativity and culture at times seem to flourish among prisoners, these manifestations of the human drive for self-expression truly exist against all odds, and are often short lived due to institutional suppression.

For racialized communities in particular, this suppression of culture is a heavy reminder of the white supremacist nature of colonial state power. However, while the punitive measures of the prison system aim to demoralize and break the spirit, they can also have the contradictory effect of galvanizing prisoners by giving us no choice but resistance or spiritual death.


Andrew William Smith
Polyamory and Power A Confession and Critique

It’s not news that much of modernity is all messed up about sex. Contemporary culture fluctuates between moralistic repression and hypersexual expression. Prudes use religion to promote abstinence for unmarried heterosexuals and celibacy for LGBT folks, and the more extreme libertines turn everything erotic and beautiful into a casual commodity.


Marie Mason
Sex & Revolution

my flesh is rippling music dancing

as I move my hands my lips across your supple

body blending everything becomes bewildered unpretended

in these moments of ecstatic rhythm

reggae sweat your breath so still

lingering upon my lips

your body mine the last of the wine

spilled between us in a kiss


Patrick Dunn
To Abolish Rape, Overthrow Male Desire Patriarchal sexuality as the cornerstone of authoritarian society

In at least some of its aspects, human culture functions as an elaborate system of sexual rituals--not substitutive satisfactions, in the Freudian sense, but social performances that organize sexual energies, and that bring sexual forces into a living, symbolic order of seduction, pleasure, power, and reproduction.


Richard Coreno
What is it?

Sex is Sweet

Sex is Defeat

Sex is Stars

Sex is Bars

Sex is Money

Sex is Honey

Sex is Euphoric

Sex is Demonic

Sex is Safe

Sex is Pace

Sex is Scintillating

Sex is Liberating

Sex is Singular

Sex is Plural

Sex is Derision

Sex is Religion

Sex is Heaven

Sex is Hell

Sex is War

Sex is Peace


A. Shady Character
FE Beats Bell Jury Deadlocks in Criminal Rap

Almost a year to the day after Bell Telephone first instigated charges against the Fifth Estate for publication of plans for an illegal “mute” box (a device for receiving free long-distance telephone calls), the Wayne County prosecutor’s office decided on August 20, that their case was still worth pursuing and hauled the current staff into court.


How to Cheat Ma Bell

Reprinted here are the instructions as they originally appeared in the FE for both the use of bogus credit card numbers (for free long-distance calls) and the subversion of computer-card billing (for reduced telephone bills). Also included is a description of the method whereby long-distance phone calls can be made by tapping into Bell’s own nation-wide test loop circuits, the bill for which goes directly to old Ma herself.


Norman Nawrocki
Lessons from a 7-foot Penis (or, how I performed anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, sex positive and queer-friendly, sex comedy cabarets across North America)

I came home one night many years ago to find my then girlfriend crying on the couch. “What happened?” I asked. “Nothing. Just some guy in the street.” “What did he do to you?”

“He wouldn’t let me cross the street unless I told him my name and agreed to go out with him. He kept blocking my way.”

She told me that this total stranger kept harassing her for blocks and wouldn’t give up. No one intervened.


Various Authors
Letters to the Editor Our readers respond

War criminal Nixon orders invasion of Cambodia. graphic—Liberation News Service, 1970. Fifth Estate files.

Send letters via email to fe — AT — fifthestate.org or Fifth Estate, P.O. Box 201016, Ferndale MI 48220. All formats accepted including typescript & handwritten. Letters may be edited for length.


Jamie Heckert
Sex & Anarchy Because real social change includes a sexual revolution

One of the things most appealing about the anarchist tradition is its scope and subtlety. Not only do anarchists have big ideas and great plans for transforming the large-scale cultural, economic, and political structures of our societies, we also address the everyday questions of how we live our lives.


Fifth Estate Collective
The birds, the bees, and anarchy Issue Introduction

The theme of this issue is Sex. The very word can elicit emotions from delight to anxiety. However, those reactions aside, the central function of sex, from mega fauna to microbes, is the reproduction of the species. It is only human sexuality which is over laden with social scripts that translate into pleasure or pain, often on a large cultural scale.


Fifth Estate Collective
Back Cover


“Underground presses cannot survive within capitalist society. They are created only in order to destroy capitalist relations.”

--Fredy Perlman

FREDY PERLMAN was a radical activist, college professor, writer and publisher whose philosophy has had a significant influence on modern anarchist thought. His most well-known book, Against His-Story, Against Leviathan!, uses Thomas Hobbes’ metaphor of the Leviathan (a huge, monstrous beast that represented the power of a strong government authority) to criticize the rise of modern statist, capitalist civilization. He also helped found the Detroit Printing Co-Op and the anarchist publishing company Black and Red Books. He died in 1985.


Fifth Estate Collective
Call For Submissions SEX, Fifth Estate, Winter 2012–2013 Theme

“Full sexual consciousness and a natural regulation of sexual life mean the end of mystical feelings of any kind. In other words, natural sexuality is the deadly enemy of mystical religion.”

--Wilhelm Reich, Listen, Little Man

Deadline: November 1, 2012 Publication date: December, 2012

Sex. It is perhaps the most loaded word in the English language, with numerous connotations and denotations. In this issue of Fifth Estate, we want to explore sex and sexuality in all its forms, exposing the naked truths, and teasing out the possibilities. No topic is too risqué.


Fifth Estate Collective
Dancing in Protest on the Grave of Capitalism


A few hundred people carrying a coffin and accompanied by a brass band marched through Oakland, Calif. on Leap Day, Feb. 29, at a funeral for capitalism. It was a welcome break from protesting-as-usual as well as a demonstration of how the Occupy scene is moving beyond single issue politics and rejecting the whole rotten system. The procession was short on mourning and long on celebration.


Fifth Estate Collective
More Briefs

New magazine published

Modern Slavery: The Libertarian Critique of Civilization, is a new magazine from CAL Press, publishers of Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, that is printing material they identify as critical and creative material that has too often fallen in between the cracks of other periodicals from a left libertarian perspective.


Agent Automatic
Targeting Who? The DEA’s Vision of Terrorism

“And what could be more natural nowadays than to suspect someone of a fondness for drugs?”

-- Stanislaw Lem

“Target America: Eyes Open to the Damage Drugs Cause” is the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) traveling educational exhibit which attempts to illustrate a connection between the drug war and the war on terror. The operating assumption behind the exhibit is that terrorists need narcotic sales to fund their campaigns, and by extension, buying or selling drugs promotes terrorism.


Fifth Estate Collective
Toronto Cops Find Themselves Guilty!

When the cops themselves say they acted illegally, you know it’s got to have been bad. It is also rare when the police (smiley-faced when helping kids across the street; brutal, out-of-control mercenaries when unleashed) make their misdeeds public.

So, it was a shock of some proportion to read parts of a 287-page report issued in May by Toronto’s Office of the Independent Police Review on the excessive force, illegal arrests, and attacks on peaceful demonstrators during the June 2010 G-8 meeting in that city.


Fifth Estate Collective
Anarchist reading list from the Fifth Estate staff

Paul J. Comeau

The Dispossessed

Author: Ursula, K. LeGuin

The best fictional account of an anarchist society in practice, from the perspective of a brilliant scientist from that society who leaves it to try and bridge the cultural gap between his society and that of their nearest neighbors.

Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice


Fifth Estate Collective
Anarchist Writers Bloc publishes new anthology of anarchist short stories With Prefaces by Raoul Vaneigem and Marge Piercy


The Montreal-based Anarchist Writers Bloc (AWB) has published Subversions Vol II, their second anthology of new anarchist fiction. The 260 page, trilingual (English, French & Italian) text is a powerful collection of 28 original short stories from 28 established and emerging anarchist writers from around the world.


Fifth Estate Collective

3rd Annual Twin Cities Anarchist Book Fair

The 3rd Annual Twin Cities Anarchist Book Fair (TCABF) is the weekend of Sept. 15–16 at the Powderhorn Park building in Minneapolis.

The organizers say while the primary purpose of the Book Fair is to promote and debate the ideas of anarchism, it is also open to organizations and individuals who seek a radical restructuring of our current society to be more democratic, less oppressive, and just for all people.


Paul J. Comeau
Everything you thought you knew about human history is wrong, and here’s why Book Review

A review of Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber. Melville House Publishing, 534 pages, hardcover, $32.00

It takes a particularly special kind of writer to tackle a subject as nebulous as the history of debt. However, none seems better suited to the task than David Graeber.

Debt, perhaps Graeber’s most powerful and deeply subversive work to date, grapples with one of the oldest economic and moral conundrums in human history, that of money’s unique capacity to “turn morality into a matter of impersonal arithmetic--and by doing so, to justify things that would otherwise seem outrageous or obscene.”


Paul Buhle
Is syndicalism outdated? Book Review

a review of

Ours to Master and to Own: Workers’ Control from the Commune to the Present Edited by Immanuel Ness and Dario Azzellini. Chicago, Haymarket Books, 2011, 417pp, $19

Syndicalism, the love child of socialism (or Marxism) and anarchism, seems to be badly outdated, or is it?

The idea that the working class could overthrow capitalism and the state through a general strike, and administer a new society through workers councils reached a peak popularity shortly before the outbreak of the First World War, but sunk rapidly thereafter. It was sometimes criticized as the propensity of highly skilled workers, but actually it was the faith of the lower levels (especially in the Industrial Workers of the World, if rarely called syndicalism by them).


Paul J. Comeau
Johnny Spanish “Dissent” Music Review

The past few years have seen an explosion in politically conscious hip-hop, with many artists like Rebel Diaz and Final Outlaw gaining widespread recognition for their affiliation with Occupy Wall Street and other social justice causes.


Add to this list another up and coming emcee, Johnny Spanish, whose free mix tape Dissent can be found online. Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, but currently living in Brooklyn, Spanish says Dissent “[was] heavily influenced by my anarchist beliefs and was my first real foray into explaining my philosophy.”


Fifth Estate Collective
Revolution as Spectacle Book Review

A review of

Venezuela: Revolution as Spectacle by Rafael Uzcategui, Introduction by Octavio Alberola, Translated by Chaz Bufe, Tucson, See Sharp Press, 2011, 232 pages; seesharppress.com

FE Note: What follows isn’t strictly speaking a review. The one we had intended didn’t materialize, so we are reprinting this from the Venezuelan anarchist publication, El Libertario, where much of Rafael Uzcatequi’s writings appear, and whose themes are echoed in this book.


Francis Shor
Rise and Fall Global Competition, Conflict, and Realignment in an Era of Declining U. S. Hegemony and China’s Rising Power

A defining historical feature of the decline of specific empires in the world capitalist system has been the conflict surrounding the emergence of a successor. The United States and Germany engaged in a protracted struggle in the first half of the twentieth century to determine which country would replace Great Britain as the dominant power.


Peter Werbe
Voices of the Underground Book Review

A review of Insider Histories of the Vietnam Era Underground Press, Part 2 edited by Ken Wachsberger, Michigan State University Press, 2012, 442 pp, $40

As you can see by the type on our cover, the Fifth Estate is approaching its 50th anniversary of radical publishing. This makes us either the longest or one of the longest running English language anarchist publications in U.S. history. The “either or” is due to from what date you count our appearance as an explicitly anarchist paper.


Fifth Estate Collective
Anarchist Summer Reading Read a book this summer. Then pass it on.

In a by-gone era, summers were when people took two week vacations and sat on the beach with an escapist novel to forget the world of work and obligations.

The books reviewed here contain the opposite of an escape: they ask the reader to become engaged with a world facing collapse on a multitude of levels, and with the critical task of knowing what we want and how to get it.


Bernard Marszalek
Anarchy for Kids A Review of Colin Ward’s Essays

A review of Autonomy, Solidarity, Possibility: The Colin Ward Reader

Damian White (Editor), Chris Wilbert (Editor), and Colin Ward, Paperback, 375pages, AK Press (Edinburgh, Oakland, Baltimore), 2011, $21.95

This large collection of essays by Colin Ward, his last publishing effort before he died last year at the age of 84, affords those who know him only as the author of the ever-popular Anarchy in Action (now in print for almost 40 years!) with an in-depth view of his many interests.


Peter Werbe
Cara Hoffman Interview


Cara Hoffman published her first major novel, So Much Pretty, in 2011. It is a tale of family, community, and storytelling, but also about the ongoing acceptance of violence against women. Cara’s writing has appeared frequently in these pages. The Spring 2012 Fifth Estate featured a review of her book which was nominated for the National Book Award.


Marieke Bivar
Creating a Community Against Abuse

A review of The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities, Edited by Ching-In Chen, Jai DuLani, and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Preface by Andrea Smith. South End Press, 2011, 325 pp, $16

The Revolution Starts at Home is a series of articles, accounts, and discussions aimed at not only dealing with the aftermath of abuse, but also challenging the underlying institutions and values that perpetuate abuse and violence. The aim of the anti-violence movement, as Rebecca Farr of Communities Against Rape and Abuse (CARA) writes, is to “create a world where so many people are walking around with the skills and knowledge to support one another that there is no longer the need for anonymous hotlines.”


Peter Werbe
Danger: Inflammatory Literature

A review of Scratching the Tiger’s Belly by Ron Sakolsky, 2012, Eberhardt Press, Portland, Oregon, 160pp., price listed as, “Until we achieve a world free of currency, this book is $9.95,” eberhardtpress.org.

Even the mailing envelope containing Ron Sakolsky’s latest collection of essays and poems announces a subversion of the expected. The publisher’s return address label has a traditional red “DANGER” oval above the words “INFLAMMATORY LITERATURE.”


Fifth Estate Collective
Donations to Support Marie Mason Important Change

All donations for Marie Mason should be sent to

Support Marie Mason,

c/o Fifth Estate,

POB 201016,

Ferndale MI 48220.

Checks should be made out to Support Marie Mason.

Funds are used for her prison expenditures, plus support material such as t-shirts, leaflets and brochures to publicize the injustice of Marie’s sentence, provide travel stipends, and expenses for her pro bono lawyers.


Paul J. Comeau
Paul Goodman’s Last Testament

A review of New Reformation: Notes of a Neolithic Conservative by Paul Goodman, PM Press, 194 pages, trade paperback, $20.00

Although Paul Goodman established himself as one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century, by the end of his life the anarchist philosopher felt dissatisfied with the direction of the political movements his writings had inspired.


David Widgington
The Power of Art Should Never be Underestimated

A review of The Listener: Memory, Lies, Art, Power, A Graphic Novel by David Lester, Arbeiter Ring Publishing, 2011, 310 pp, $19.95; distributed by AK Press, akpress.org.

All works of art, regardless of their form, offer a message to their audience. Some may be conceived as more deliberate acts of communication, while others allow room for nuanced interpretation. As a political tool, art can even inspire an audience to risk their own lives or take the lives of others in the name of social change.


Yasmin Nair
Ryan Conrad
Karma R. Chavez

Against Equality: Don’t Ask to Fight Their Wars! Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell means gays can now fight openly in the Empire’s wars

The iconic scene of a Navy sailor kissing a nurse following the Japanese surrender in 1945 is depicted in this statue, tellingly entitled, “Unconditional Surrender.” The three-ton sculpture is on loan to New York City from the Santa Monica Midway Museum since 2007, and sits in Times Square. It will soon be replaced by a permanent bronze version in December. Donations will cover the $1 million price tag. Rather than a surrender, the act today would be considered a sexual assault.


Fifth Estate Collective
Call For Submissions: Education

For: Fifth Estate, Fall 2012

Deadline: August 1

Publication date: September 5

Fall is the traditional time when students resume their studies. At present, there are tuition strikes, austerity strikes, student loan debt crises, and other dilemmas regarding education playing out in the public arena. For much of mainstream society, even the very value and meaning of education is now in question.


Bjorn Gay
Corvid College: Public Fire Anarchy goes to college and no debt when you leave.

Is this a class? It is at Corvid College.

Forty-two years ago, philosopher Ivan Illich wrote, “I also believe that the end of the ‘age of schooling’ could usher in the epoch of a global schoolhouse that would be distinguishable only in name from a global madhouse or a global prison in which education, correction, and adjustment became synonymous.”


Kelly Pflug-Back
G20 Gender Violence Police Attacks at the 2010 Toronto Demonstrations Targeted Women

Under the Canadian Criminal code, violence is not defined as a gendered issue. When a girl or woman is physically or sexually attacked, the act is subsumed under sections 244–246, which define assault, assault with a weapon, aggravated assault, sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault.

Removed from their social and historical context, acts of violence against women appear to be a spontaneous phenomenon whose perpetrators lack any definite motivation besides anger or lack of self control. This lack of context also removes political accountability from the social norms and legislature that enable gender-motivated violence.


John Clark
Occupy New Orleans Fights Off the authoritarian Left to defend Horizontalism

Anarchists lead the way in a May Day march. Authoritarian leftists tried to intervene in Occupy New Orleans but were rebuffed. --photo: N. Krebill

It was encouraging to see large numbers of anarchists and anti-authoritarians at a late March Occupy New Orleans General Assembly (OccupyNOLA). As one of the participants mentioned, Occupy is in many ways the most significant grassroots uprising since the Vietnam Era.


Fifth Estate Collective
Occupy the Future It’s us or them. For almost all of state society, except for a few precious moments, it’s been them.

They’ve wrecked the earth, destroyed her treasures, and inflicted misery on the many, all so they can golf or set up their lawn chairs on some clear cut forest. It’s over whether we do anything or not, but if we fail to act, the future will metastasize into the wreckage colonization always leaves in its collapse.


Benjamin Shepard
Return to Liberty Square Occupy Wall Street, the COOLS, and the Cultural Resistance of Story Telling

Demonstrator at a May Day demonstration in Tunis, Tunisia holding an English language sign. The Fifth Estate first publicized the slogan but stole it from Terry Southern’s The Magic Christian. Photo: Fedele Spadafora

Early this year, people involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City started talking about the COOLS, the Cultural Occupation of Liberty Square. The point was to get as many people possible back into Zuccotti Park, dubbed Liberty Square, where the movement began. The police carried out a mass eviction from the lower Manhattan park in November.


John F. Royal
Snitch Gets a Reduced Term Another Prison Sentence in Marie Mason Case



The Never Alone national tour hit 30 cities in April, speaking to hundreds about long-term anarchist prisoner support. It focused on the cases of Eric McDavid and Marie Mason, using multimedia presentations and included strategizing about how to effectively encourage a culture of resistance and support. Above, from the left, Jason, Jenny, Ian, and released political prisoner, Jeff “Free” Luers at a tour stop at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore., April 26. Photo from becausewemust.org. The tour raised nearly $7,000 after expenses which will be split between McDavid and Mason support groups. To offer support, donate, or get information about the cases, go to</em> supporteric.org and supportmariemason.org. Info on the tour at http://neveralonetour.wordpress.com.


John Zerzan
Vagaries of the Left John Zerzan answers liberal columnist Chris Hedges, who charges the Black Bloc has “hi-jacked” the Occupy Movement.

On February 6, progressive columnist Chris Hedges wrote a fairly predictable attack on Black Bloc militancy, “The Cancer in Occupy,” in Truthdig, the on-line news site.

It voiced, in general, the perspective of the liberal-moderate-reformist folks who have been mostly predominant in Occupy. Hedges’ screed against anarchists and others who “go too far” shows just what anti-authoritarians have been up against and why so few of them, in my experience, have been interested in Occupy.


Jim Feast
Anarchism and the Anti-Authoritarian Personality Is there a distinct anarchist personality type? Is there a discernible one among the marginally employed?

All generalizations founder on the rock of their exceptions, but can it be said that certain definable character structures emanate from one’s political philosophy or position within capital’s work apparatus?

It is instructive that literary praise for the recently deceased, internationally acclaimed, Chilean author, Roberto Bolano, concentrate exclusively on his depiction of mysterious authors and texts, overlooking an equally prominent, political component of his work.


John Hardin
Financial Advice for the Working Class: Unemployment Don’t have a job? Most people think this is a disaster. Could it be the context for a post-capitalist society?

You can’t turn on the news these days without hearing about unemployment. The national unemployment rate hovers at about 8.3 percent, although experts agree that the number of people outof-work far exceeds that figure.

The 8.3 percent figure only reflects the number of people actually looking for work. It does not count the growing number of people who have stopped looking for work.


Kelly Pflug-Back
Survival of the Fittest? Tribal people took care of their own better than modern society.

The concept of history is far from neutral. Under the monopoly of elites, narratives of the past can be erased, rewritten and taken out of their original context according to their needs.

Dominant concepts of history are often used to justify social inequalities by portraying them as natural rather than constructed. We are led to believe that groups who lack power in today’s cultures have always lacked power, that inferiority is their natural state, and that there is no alternative social structure where freedom and equality could be achieved by all.


Jonny Ball
The Quadrennial Electoral Fraud There’s an alternative between Obama and Romney, but it’s not at the polls

Occasionally, the liberal-democratic system nobly affords us the chance to select our representatives from a shallow gene-pool of political management professionals.

Save for this transient moment in the ballot booth, we’re separated from the exclusive franchise of governance altogether. Voting is our only momentary and tenuous connection to the establishment. Best to leave power and responsibility up to the professionals; the experts, the think-tanks, policy-wonks, lobbyists and journalists.