Seditious Children

We will meet at the midnight hour

past the tree stump forest.

We will be sneaky slinkies and walky-

talkies. Robin Hood’s woods would be so

proud. Merry boys and girls sing

carnivalesque ballads and awaken

the tree’s breeze--our back beat.

Tonight, we escape to sing songs with the animals

songs that none of us know the words to.


Ianna Hawkins Owen
When the Getting was Good

You are like a boulder

and I was trapped under you

I am like that kid

who went climbing,

like that kid who was smashed

between you

and a hard place

who had to cut off his own arm

just to get away

from you.

There is a sea anemone

that can reverse the flow of its own heart.

Can you imagine?


Andrew William Smith
Wild Child Alexander Supertramp and the Failure of Individualist Escape

The recent release of director Sean Penn’s film Into the Wild renews the controversial debates generated by Jon Krakauer’s 1997 book of the same name. At the roots, these charged deliberations have less to do with Penn’s ambitious directing or Krakauer’s compelling prose and focus instead on our collective interpretations about the tale’s real-life protagonist Christopher “Alexander Supertramp” McCandless.


Yusuf Kataev

I look at the man sitting before me. He is a very polite man. He is in his mid-thirties. He is meticulously dressed in a plaid shirt and a pair of blue jeans. Lying on the table in front of him are piles of papers, on which he occasionally writes notes. He is cheerful, in a very good mood. Often, he strokes his scratched hand.


Vachel Lindsay
The Black Hawk War of the Artists (1914)

August 2, 2007 was the 175th anniversary of the Bad Axe massacre, when US soldiers, settler militias, and army gunboats slaughtered Sauk (Osakiwug), Fox, and Kickapoo Indians following the Battle of Wisconsin Heights. This mass killing effectively put an end to the Black Hawk Wars.

The wars, named for what the British had given the indomitable war chief Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak, began with conflict over long-simmering objections to the 1804 treaties. Black Hawk was captured, imprisoned, and put on public display all over the US. He later fell ill and died in Iowa.


Iris Waxcutc-ka (Hotcâgara)
The Lakotah Secession

In mid-December, an organization of Lakotah Sioux issued a declaration of independence claiming to unilaterally break treaties with the US government going back to 1868. “We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country [Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming] are free to join us,” activist Russell Means said at a press conference.


Romeo Hardin
Tired of Being Stepped On?

One of the challenges today is to exist in a world in which you have no real control over your destiny. Our options are limited depending on demographics of ethnicity, gender, and wealth (or lack of). In conjunction with “the System” as it stands, we also must contend with cultural trends that negate our independence and interest in freedom from the ruling class.


Gary L. Doebler
“Tony” Revealed

Anarchist Alexander Berkman was sentenced to serve twenty-two years in prison for his attempt to shoot robber-baron Henry Clay Frick during the Homestead miners’ strike. While in prison, a plot was hatched to break him out. Who was the key figure involved in Berkman’s attempted prison escape?

Western Pennsylvania Warden Wright looks on as workers uncover the tunnel intended for Alexander Berkman’s escape (graphic by Rodrigo Quast)


Amanda D.
What it Means to be a Prison Abolitionist

I started this work a few years ago when I became fascinated by what prisons were like in other countries and what prisoners in Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and China had to endure. Then I became more involved in the local anarchist scene and was turned on to Independent Media and the Anarchist Black Cross (ABC). The original purpose of the ABC was to support the anarchists who were put in prison during the Russian Revolution.


Army of None

a review of

Army of None: Strategies to Counter Military Recruitment, End War, Build a Better World by Aimee Allison and David Solnit, 2007, Seven Stories Press, 194 pp.

“War is good business, invest your son!”

-- Vietnam-era slogan

Did you enlist...and then change your mind? GI rights advocates can help recruits get out of the DEP — Delayed Enlistment Program. They help service-members apply for discharge or file grievances for harassment or discrimination. The GI rights hotline is answered by a network of non-profit, non-governmental agencies who provide information to members of the military. 1-800-FYI-95GI


Igor Talliss
6,843 Armed Services Desertions in the Last Year Can the Troops Do Better?

The ruling elite’s successful management of mass-mediated news coverage during the US invasion of Kuwait and Iraq in 1990 was a revolution in governmental social control. Of course, psychological warfare has been a vital component in all war efforts since civilization’s first forays into organized butchery thousands of years ago, but arguably it was the Gulf War campaign that taught the Pentagon and the White House what Orwell had tried to warn us all about in 1948: in times of international conflict, the State’s administration of perception is the most critical part of any war strategy.


Don LaCoss
All Power to the Forevertron!

“We have been fooled, conned into letting governments and armies get into space on our behalf. Occasionally they will dangle little tidbits in front of us like “life on Mars” or “ice on the Moon,” but nothing really changes. It must be apparent that their interests are not ours. Now is the time for everyone, for all of us here to do it for ourselves--and for each other.”

-- from a 1995 manifesto by the Association of Autonomous Astronauts


Daisy Cutter
Calamity Jayne

Ask! Tell!

We dare you to try to find the straight dope on recruiting statistics. Every month, armed forces recruiting numbers are announced, but when you read a handful of news stories about these same figures side-by-side, you find competing narratives about what these numbers mean.

But one indicator of how hard-up the military is for live, warm bodies is a startling relaxation of the silly “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. DADT prohibits any behavior that might suggest “a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts” on the grounds that it “would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion.” (And while we’re on the subject, we would like to say that we endorse any and all behaviors and acts that pose a threat to the military’s “high standards.”)


Pieter Primatus
Bowling with Bonobo Bashers

In my life I’ve met only two bonobos face to face. I stared at them and they at me through the glass of their cage in the Berlin Zoo. The experience gave me the same creepy feeling I get whenever I see gorillas or chimps in cages. Their sadness at being confined is obvious, as is their slightly accusatory attitude, which seems to say, “Why me? and why are you free?”


Fifth Estate Collective
Call for submissions ... for Issues 378 and 379

Issue Number 378: MONEY

The ultimate representation; the symbol of all that is alienated in the modern world; the driving force of pathological greed; the whip that coerces wage labor; the basis of wars. Ten million millionaires world-wide control $37.2 trillion dollars in financial assets, assuring a planet of immiseration for billions of people.


Ruby Green
Canadian Run

Jon R., a semi-retired North Dakotan farmer in his late 60s, eased his big, beat-up pickup truck off to the side of the dirt road and turned off the ignition. He turned in his seat and pointed to low wire fence running through the heavily-wooded field to the right.

“Usually, I would try to get here right before midnight. That fence is a good guide in the dark. You stay on the other side and follow that all the way to the corner of the field; straight ahead is an old fieldstone wall that you need to follow west until you find a small stream. You go upstream there for about two hours. Then you bed down for the night. I tell them ‘No fires at night. Dress warm, eat some food, fill your canteen at the stream, but no fires. Stay there until sunrise.’ Then I need to give them the compass readings...”


Dossier: Escape

The misanthropic and dystopian speculative-fiction writer J.G. Ballard once mused that the two most important inventions of the Twentieth Century were the aircraft ejection seat and the birth-control pill.

He never explained what he meant by this, but I suspect that he was pointing out how technologies of escape have profoundly shaped the direction of this civilization’s history. Both devices are used to limit the extent of the physical repercussions inherent in certain kinds of risky behavior--they’re safety nets developed in the last century that let people get away with taking big, stupid chances, whether it is piloting a fighter plane deep into enemy territory or falling into bed with someone of the opposite sex who you never want to see again.


Peter Lamborn Wilson

Swear fealty to the dark leprechaunism of revenge

Social Camouflage

Fabulous Insularity

become a lump of sensual actuality in the thin gruel of

Spectacular Electromagnetism

Set your basement afloat.

Behind the iron curtain of sheer boredom

with Civilization as we know it psychic

discoveries proliferate & angelic sensations


Fifth Estate Collective
Gaza Hoax Powerlessness and the Power of the Prank

This is part of a communique from France, “La lettre versatile de Jimmy Gladiator,” translated by FE collective members.

Being especially partial to the sort of collective punishment that was declared illegal by the Geneva Conventions governing the conduct of occupying powers during war, the Israeli state periodically cuts the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip (Israel bombed Gaza’s only electrical plant in 2006). Israeli human rights groups and the anti-colonial movement launched their usual protests, but it was some members of the extra-parliamentary far left that took an original initiative with the goal of getting people to think.


Various Authors
Letters to the Fifth Estate

The Fifth Estate encourages letters commenting on our articles, raising issues we haven’t presented, or reports from your area. Although we live in a digital age and comments in Microsoft Word are the most convenient for us, all formats are welcome, including type- and handwritten ones.

We read them all, but we can’t promise every letter will be published and some may be edited for length, grammar and punctuation.


Police Terrorize Earth First!er In Ohio

Just before midnight one night in early February Cincinnati Earth First! organizer (and longtime Fifth Estate friend) Marie Mason was terrorized by cops after her 16 year-old daughter discovered a cop fumbling with equipment underneath her automobile. Shortly thereafter, the same plainclothes cop and a uniformed henchman broke into Mason’s home; when confronted, they claimed to be searching for “prowlers” who were stealing “catalytic converters” from cars in the neighborhood and then they hastily left the scene.


Apio Ludd
Stronger Wine! Madder Music!

“Their lives are like their knitting: introspective yet mindless; fussy, exacting, repetitive and pale-tinted by the cheaper dye.”

-- Rikki Ducornet

When I first encountered godless anarchy in the late 1970s, it was its excess, its unconstrained exploration and experimentation with the furthest realms of passion and ideas, and its desire and dreams that attracted me.


Steve Izma
Cazzarola! [don’t say it in polite Italian company!] traces generations of resistance to fascism and bourgeois society in Italy

a review of

Cazzarola!: Anarchy, Romani, Love, Italy (A Novel) by Norman Nawrocki. PM Press, 2013, 300pp

Italian and Spanish anarchism have long inspired anti-authoritarian movements in the Americas.

Anarchists fleeing fascist governments in Mussolini’s Italy and Franco’s Spain during the 1920s and 30s sped up a process already underway through normal emigration to not just Spanish speaking countries in the West, but to Canada and the United States as well.


Norman Nawrocki
How and why I wrote CAZZAROLA!


As an anarchist writer, I’m no different from other scribes who try to be socially engaged in their work and lives. I drink beer, write, and do my best to live according to my anarchist principles. And I try to incorporate anarchist thought, experiences and visions in all my creative work.

It’s a daily, lifelong challenge.


Various Authors
Letters Our readers respond

Send letters to fe (at) or Fifth Estate, POB 201016, Ferndale MI 48220.

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

Confessions of a John

A long time ago, my heart was busted by a girl who had her kicks with me but wasn’t ready for a long time commitment. As these things go, I was tremendously trashed, heartbroken, and horny. Things got so bad it devolved into clinical depression. I was losing my head. So, I thought, go to a red house for some well needed relief.


Thaddeus Blanchett
On the sale of sex & bodies The view from Rio de Janeiro

You don’t have to put on the red light

Those days are over

You don’t have to sell your body to the night

-- “Roxanne” (The Police)

Sting’s lyrics neatly frame how prostitution is often popularly conceived of, no less by anarchist abolitionists than by moralists and those in between.

Living and teaching in Rio de Janeiro for the last 15 years while doing anthropological research about female heterosexual prostitution has demonstrated to me what a deeply flawed description this is of sex work.


Love & Letters of Insurgents

a review of

Letters of Insurgents by Sophia Nachalo and Yarostan Vocheck, as told by Fredy Perlman, with a new introduction by Aragorn!. Left Bank Books, 2014, 722pp., $20

In 1976, Fredy and Lorraine Perlman and other people at the Detroit Printing Co-op published Letters of Insurgents, which at more than 800 pages qualifies as a hefty novel. Although Perlman wrote the book, he didn’t include his name on the cover, instead attributing it to Sophia Nachalo and Yarostan Vochek, the two main characters whose letters make up the text.


Sylvie Kashdan
Seattle’s Left Bank Books An anchor for the anarchist community


Good news! Seattle’s Left Bank Books is republishing Letters of Insurgents, Fredy Perlman’s historical novel about love and revolution in the East bloc and Western states of the mid-20th century.

The book was written in the mid-1970s and first published by Black & Red and printed at the Detroit Printing Co-op, both projects initiated by Fredy and Lorraine Perlman. The B&R Co-op began in 1970, three years before Left Bank Books (LBB) was established.


Anu Bonobo
CrimethInc’s Overflowing Cup of Anarchist Elixir A Review/Essay

reviewed in this article:

Expect Resistance: a field manual, CrimethInc., $8,

Rolling Thunder: an anarchist journal of dangerous living; P.O. Box 494, Chapel Hill NC 27514; rollingthunder — at — CrimethInc — dot — com

Why is the CrimethInc. Ex-Workers Collective (CWC ) the crew that the workerists love to hate? The rigidly anti-lifestyle critique leveled at-these so-called “arrogant middle-class kids” has become so commonplace that it’s as much a caricature of itself as it is an unsophisticated slag at these prolific publishers of beautifully-crafted anarchist propaganda.


Obituary for Dr. Albert Hofmann LSD’s Innovator Dies at 102


When I was first asked to write an obituary in the Fifth Estate for Dr. Albert Hofmann, who passed away on April 29, I felt conflicted. I was not wrestling with how to reconcile his contributions to neurochemistry and the politics of liberation; these seemed self-evident.

Rather, the question was how to write objectively about the father of LSD without talking about my personal relationship to the worlds he opened for me and millions of others.


Fifth Estate Collective
Organizing for Anarchism in Ireland Fifth Estate Interview

The Fifth Estate sat down with Andrew Flood from the Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM), an Irish anarchist group, who was on a 43 city speaking tour of North America. Walker Lane conducted the interview April 16 at the Baile Corcaigh Irish Pub in Detroit’s Corktown district.

The talk Andrew gave later in the evening described the group’s involvement in anti-war and abortion rights organizing, opposition to a gas pipeline, and participation in community based movements. Descriptions of these struggles and more information are at their web site,


H. Read
Periodical Round-Up

Send your publication for review.

Anchorage Anarchy # 11 December 2007, $1 from BAD Press, PO Box 230332, Anchorage AK 99523 bbrigade (at) world (dot) std (dot) com

Individualist anarchist periodical from Alaska. (12 pp)

Black Flag #226, BM Hurricane London, WC1N 3XX UK black_flag (at) lycos (dot) co (dot) uk


Anu Bonobo
Remembering Hanon Reznikov (1950–2008) The Living Theatre loses a mainstay

Judith Melina and Hanon Reznikov

Because art breathes on in the legacy left with the living, death cannot defeat an artist. In this eternity of the permanent present, poems and plays and songs resist the tyranny of death. While this recognition hardly dulls the sting of mortality in the hearts of the bereaved when we lose a loved one, its message rings clearly today as we celebrate the life of the late Hanon Reznikov.


Bernard Marszalek
The ‘60s, 40 Years Later No Chicago in Denver

Forty years ago, like today, the country found itself in an unpopular war of imperial domination to vanquish, not “Islamo-Fascism,” but Communism. And, like then, the political system was thoroughly corrupt and in the hands of a cabal of stooges with nightmarish plans.

Like so many others, when an election year rolls around and party politics rules the “news” with its loathsome trivia and journalistic manipulations, I long for refuge in an idyllic retreat deep in a forest far away from all media. But that isn’t an option for me, nor, I suspect for most people.


Don LaCoss
The Car Bomb Poor Man’s F-16

reviewed in this article

Buda’s Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb, by Mike Davis, 2007, Verso, 228 pp., $22.95

Mike Davis argues forcibly that the “vehicle-borne improvised explosive device” (in Pentagon parlance) is a weapon of mass destruction. Keying in on the terrible effectiveness of this weapon (“an inconspicuous vehicle, anonymous in almost any urban setting, to transport large quantities of high explosive into precise range of a high-value target”), Davis underscores the inevitability of its proliferation as globalized capitalism industrially overdevelops every corner of the world, “like a kudzu vine of destruction taking root in the thousand fissures of ethnic and religious enmity that globalization has paradoxically revealed.”


Fifth Estate Collective
Utah Phillips (1935–2008)

Utah Phillips at IWW Centenary, 2005, Chicago. On ends, folk singers Len Wallace and Charlie King; to Utah’s right, Federico Arcos.

The IWW and the labor movement lose a troubadour Utah Phillips, a seminal figure in American folk music, who performed tirelessly on two continents for 38 years, died May 23 of congestive heart failure in Nevada City, California, a small town in the Sierra Nevada mountains where he lived for the last 21 years with his wife, Joanna Robinson, a freelance editor. Phillips died at home, in bed, in his sleep, next to his wife.


Fifth Estate Collective
Utah Phillips’s Last Interview

The following is a portion of a transcript of a May 7 interview with Utah Phillips conducted by long-time Fifth Estate contributor, Peter Werbe. It aired on his May 11 Detroit radio show in part to provide publicity for a benefit concert for Utah held in Ann Arbor. It is available as a podcast at wrif.compodcastnightcall for the show on that date. It follows the first two hours of phone-in talk.


Cara Hoffman
Victorian Proto-punk, Riot Grrls The Literary Legacy of Helen and Olivia Rossetti

In 1903, two young sisters, Helen and Olivia Rossetti, published a novel under the pseudonym Isabel Meredith, chronicling their lives as radicals, propagandists, and key figures in the European anarchist movement of that era. Prior to that, while still in their teens, they edited The Torch--An International Newspaper of Communist Anarchism, from 1891 to 1896, which scandalously called for sexual equality, the destruction of religion, and the end of state rule by violent means.


Sean Flynn
Getting Off Easy Men & Pornography!

a review of

Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity, Robert Jensen, South End Press, 2007, 197 pages

It is hard to read Robert Jensen’s Getting Off without getting drawn into an internal debate about power and desire and without feeling that there is a greater economic issue that the author, a journalism prof at the University of Texas at Austin, has left essentially untouched.


Cookie Orlando
Shoplifting and the Politics of Instant Gratification Are individual acts of transgression rebellion?

Lots of anarchists and other radicals shoplift on a regular basis. But the public discussion on the topic seems to oscillate between celebration and denunciation, with almost nothing in between.

On one side you’ve got CrimethInc and Yomango saying shoplifting is authentic resistance. As an anonymous author wrote in CrimethInc’s Days of War, Nights of Love, shoplifting is “the most effective protest” against the worst features of modern capitalism “because it is not merely theoretical--it is practical, it involves action.” Yomango is a European shoplifting community founded in Spain in 2002, whose name in Spanish translates to, “I steal.”


Jim Feast
The African Road to Anarchism? Will the collapse of government rule in countries like The Gambia lead to... The African Road to Anarchism?

My experiences on a recent trip to The Gambia on Africa’s west-central coast, brought to mind the historic leftist dream that the state will wither away once workers have overturned capitalism.

Here’s an irony of history. In the last 15 years, in the industrially undeveloped world, the state has withered away, not because of its supersession, but due to the extension of global capitalism. Talk of state collapse on capital’s periphery doesn’t mean governments have completely vanished, but that many states have diminished from being the totalized agencies of control we experience in Northern tier countries.


Jacques Camatte
We are all slaves of capital Excerpt from The Wandering of Humanity

This fragment is from Jacques Camatte’s pamphlet translated in 1975 in Detroit by Fredy Perlman. It was a key text in developing Fifth Estate concepts during the 1970s and 80s, ones which remain today. It speaks of capital and technology that has “run away” from its initiators and domesticated humans. It is available at


Fifth Estate Collective
Call for submissions for Winter 2009 FE Subtext, Subversion and Sabotage

This winter, the Fifth Estate seeks to publish good reading for winter hibernation. Work that focuses on underground political, cultural, and social activity, as well as subtextual analysis. We seek discussion on how radicals and everyday people subvert the dominant culture in a meaningful way.

We seek analysis on the unspoken meanings of current social, economic, semiotic, and political phenomena such as entertainment, gender, institutionalized violence, the environmental crisis, the Green Scare, bio-ethical decisions or anything you can fit into the theme. We seek to examine the parts we play in subjection and subjugation. This winter we seek to exhume the churchyard and provide readers with an invisible choir that will sing audibly and precisely about the true meanings of things.


Cara Hoffman
Down and Out in Athens Excerpt from Nike by Cara Hoffman

Set in the red light district of Athens, Greece in the late 1980s, Cara Hoffman’s cult classic novel, Nike, is about getting by at the periphery. It chronicles the lives of a group of young expatriates from a global culture of war.

In this scene Maya Brennan, who has been raised on military bases throughout the US, and has sold her passport to finance her travels, uses the cultural capital of her upbringing to get the document re-issued. NIKE reveals a world where freelance military contractors, small-time traffickers, and refugees from the superficial materialism of the Reagan/Bush era surf undetected on the crest of a wave that was about to break in an era of perpetual military engagement.


E.B. Maple (Peter Werbe)
Isn’t All Money Fake?

a review of

Counterfeit Currency: How To Really Make Money, M. Thomas Collins. Loompanics Unlimited, 1990 (out-of-print). Reprint from Fifth Estate, Fall, 1991.

Money is a fairly curious substance. Its official function is to represent value, but once said, you can immediately challenge all the assumptions inherent in such a formulation: Value; its representation? Since value itself is a representation of abstract worth, money operates within economies as a representation of a representation. No wonder its properties seem so inscrutable.


Fifth Estate Collective
Strike! In the spirit of Eugene V. Debs


Eugene V. Debs,

an American Beowulf, who was like both a

sacred covenant rainbow

for all the blue proletariat

and a

powerful electromagnetic storm

and struck fiercely against the

industrial money monsters who

were mute,

blind, stark and cold

to all colors of tears and as

brutal, bloodthirsty and beastly


Val Salvo (Peter Werbe
Wealth and Poverty: In the Shadow of an Exclusive Club Fifth Estate reprint, Summer 1991

Expensive new cars--Lincolns, Cadillacs, Mercedes, Jaguars--arrive at the entrance to the Detroit Athletic Club (DAC). Rich, white men dressed in $750 suits, $200 wing-tip shoes, custom tailored shirts, sporting $2,000 Rolex watches are greeted brightly but obsequiously by uniformed black attendants.


Peter Lamborn Wilson
An Army of Jacks to Fight The Power

In fairy tales, humans can possess exterior souls, things magically containing or embodying individual life force--stone, egg, ring, bird or animal, etc. If the thing is destroyed, the human dies. But while the thing persists, the human enjoys a kind of immortality or at least invulnerability.

Money could be seen as such an exteriorized soul. Humans created it, in some sense, in order to hide their souls in things that could be locked away (in tower or cave) and hidden so their bodies would acquire magical invulnerability--wealth, health, the victoriousness of enjoyment, power over enemies--even over fate.


Fifth Estate Collective
Call for submissions for next issue Get Ready to Play!

Play as a concept has always animated the anarchist/underground milieu with an infectious spirit of playful experimentation and exuberance. Riding wild and playful energy, we created seeds of an insurrectionary alternative reality that could one day replace or overthrow the dominant system. Physical, political, ideological, and imaginal spaces seemed open to us.


Don LaCoss
Counterfeiting Sovereignty Why the State jealously guards its currency

“Counterfeit coin is said to prove the existence of genuine--the terms being purely relative. But because there can be no counterfeit where there is no original, does it in any manner follow that any undemonstrated original exists? In seeing a spurious coin, we know it to be such by comparison with coins admitted to be genuine; but were no coin admitted to be genuine, how should we establish the counterfeit, and what right should we have to talk of counterfeits at all?