Letters to the Fifth Estate
I have absolute revulsion for the “Friends of Entropy,” Animals Liberation Front and others of that ilk. While they will take the most violent and desperate measures to “rescue” a dog, guinea pig, and white mice from their cages (as described in their letter, FE #304, December 31, 1980), they stand mute while state fascist agents rape, murder, and oppress people in prison all over this country. (In fact, Arkansas has the most brutal prison system in the country, yet no one has ever dynamited that slaughterhouse at Cumming Farm where the bones of 60 men were found in a mass grave in 1969.) It is a hypocrisy for “Liberationists” to fight for the rights of animals, but to passively stand by while prisoners are slaughtered at Attica, San Quentin or Leavenworth (where I am) or other such death camps. These “animal lovers” hate people, and are sick!
Lorenzo Komboa Ervin
P. O. Box 1000
Leavenworth, KS 66048
Life in Danger
The U.S.A. is at the stage Germany was during the Weimar Republic and sliding downhill fast. It just depends on which category you fall in—how much you’re suffering or being hit. Being a poor, commie, nigger-lover, anti-war, pro-ecology freak, I know being vocal has created conditions where I’m already faced with the life-threatening experiences some people are just beginning to talk about as “coming soon.” In fact, you can extend me a kindness if you see it as possible.
As some sort of anarchist and formerly high-ranking marxist-leninist I’m in the leninist shitpile and can’t get any help there and so must depend on my own commitment to resist violence against me by the most effective means applicable to the situation as it arises, and hope for a little help from my friends.
I’ve been told point-blank while surrounded in a parking lot that I would be assassinated (“A bullet between your eyes” was the remark). Cars and trucks have driven past my home hurling racial slurs and threats (I have black grandchildren), and on the 4th of July loyal Amerikkkans celebrated by placing an incendiary-type rocket 16 feet from my wood frame house. I have also found the steering column on my car disconnected, so I figure someone is serious.
I cannot pinpoint the identity of the individuals but they have identified themselves in various ways as both klan and nazis. Since I’ve known many “law enforcement” agents as KKK members and supporters in this county I have to defend myself and request you include in your next issue some brief comment that I’ve reported death threats. Perhaps that notice in a dated periodical could come in handy in a legal defense if one is possible later. Keep your powder dry and your feet dancing.
January 18, 1981
There is an idea around that the waves of violence by fascist forces are either something new or a “resurgence.” Think again. What you are witnessing was at the beginning, the middle, and now at the end of the trip down the tube. Anarcho-communal societies of the native americans decimated by those “chosen” races from the european culture/religion was begun by the first boatloads and has continued unabated against all the “other” races all over the world ever since. As an individual it may come to you as new or unique but I can assure you as a recipient of direct death threats and attempts to actually carry out such threats it’s a dirty old business. Sometimes you run, sometimes you strike out in fierce defense and when you don’t survive from time to time you catch all the hells of a Sand Creek Massacre, a butchery at Kronstadt, a cancer contracted in Vietnam or an even less dramatic agony of your living heart cut out at a Buffalo bus stop. But most of all, you are never known, not heard about and alone as all hell. I must say it would be nice if more resistance was out there on my side of the battle line. Maybe we couldn’t make it go away completely, but it should help us live longer. That is a first requirement, isn’t it?
Church Will Agree
I write this letter in response to T. Fulano’s “Science and Saturnism” (FE #304, December 31, 1980). Poor Mr. Fulano! He is being “squashed to the Earth by the giddying inertia of our century, which plummets like a flaming satellite into the nothingness.” How unpleasant!
Mr. Fulano sees scientific exploration as yet another smoke screen devised to drug the masses and keep them in line. He writes, “What is knowledge but a massive technocratic illusion?” I am sure the Catholic Church of the 17th Century would agree with Mr. Fulano’s sentiments.
In some respects Mr. Fulano’s article hits the nail on the head. Scientistic adventure has become an amusement arcade for the bored, who can be temporarily sedated by yet another “Star Wars” movie, or T.V.‘s predigested drivel which is dished out by Carl Sagan in his pseudoscientific epic called “Cosmos.”
In his article, Mr. Fulano makes no distinctions. All who endeavor to wonder at objects that aren’t nailed down to Earth’s surface stand charged of disregarding the human condition.
If Mr. Fulano has discovered a path leading away from the greed and fear that enshroud the human spirit, I would like to know about it. Until such time I shall continue to study nature’s behavior in all its manifestations in the hope that I shall see a reflection of mankind.
T. Fulano replies: You misquoted my article in your letter, which leads me to suspect that you missed the point altogether. I didn’t call knowledge a technocratic illusion, but “this knowledge,” making a clear distinction between different forms of knowledge and how they might be applied.
It is also absurd to insinuate that I harken back to pre-scientific forms of authoritarianism such as the Catholic Church just because I am uninterested in exchanging one set of illusions for another. Science, which promised to be a weapon in the struggle against misery and oppression, once transformed into the ideology of capitalist expansion and development, has turned into the linchpin of modern totalitarianism. It hasn’t “decentralized intelligence.” It has become a source of power for a small minority and peonage for the rest, a mystification which appears to explain everything but which leaves intact the mystery of domination and emotional plague. Instead of being an instrument of liberation, it has represented the revolutionizing of ever more terrifying techniques of control—from zyclon B to laser starwars and genetic engineering. Even where science could enlighten humanity it has been powerless to do so. Hence we live in the power of a man who has complex weapons of mass destruction at his fingertips and yet who believes in the literalness of the Christian creation myth!
What I was saying should be clear—not that all scientific curiosity and ideas are invalid, but that science as ideology and power, scientism, has turned into a nightmare. Not surprising, then, that when one of the nation’s most prominent space scientists, Thomas Donahue of the University of Michigan and NASA, defends the space program, at the top of his list of reasons for its importance is “national defense.” Everyone knows that for us members of the modern ant heap, such defense means obliteration.
Science never became self-conscious and never developed a negative criticality capable of maintaining doubt in the face of its great successes. It collapsed into technique. It has, like capital itself, “run away.” In Bertolt Brecht’s play Galileo, the defeated astronomer tells his former pupil, “I take it that the intent of science is to ease human existence. If you give way to coercion, science can be crippled, and your new machines may simply suggest new drudgeries. Should you, then, in time, discover all there is to be discovered, your progress must become a progress away from the bulk of humanity. The gulf might even grow so wide that the sound of your cheering at some new achievement would be echoed by a universal howl of horror”
Last Trump Played
As the saying goes, “Figures don’t lie but liars figure.” Long after all sensible people stopped believing the pollsters and pundits, John Zerzan (“The Promise of the ‘80s,” FE #302, June 1, 1980) still parrots their pronouncements after airbrushing out the inconvenient ones. If productivity and voting decline, that’s verily the Last Trump announcing the Endtime for Zerzanist eschatology. But if church attendance rises, or nationalist mobs attack Iranians, or millions vote in the death penalty, the jesuitical Zerzan changes the subject. For this good-news nihilist and happy-faced nay-sayer, “worse is better” in this, the very best of all possible worlds.
It never occurs to Zerzan that the authorities might have their own reasons for publishing these statistics. In fact their function is obvious for those with eyes to see: productivity statistics set the workers up for the rigors of “re-industrialization;” rising crime rates “justify” stepped-up repression; anecdotes about inept or unruly enlistees are the prelude to conscription. And what about the episodes of spectacular asociality with which Zerzan adorns his articles and posters? Not many are advanced enough to appreciate that being gunned down by a sniper or having your face pulped by teenage toughs has the merit of enabling some goon or psychopath to commit an unrecuperable revolutionary act. The Antithesis works in mysterious ways, its wonders to perform...the esoterics of negativity are not for the vulgar.
Wake me when it’s over,
Chuck A Calculator
I heard about your anti-civilization publication & it sounds like just my cup of tea. The system put me in jail & told my girlfriend that if she ever wrote me a letter or communicated with me in any way they would end her parole and put her back in jail, too. And they call this a “free country”! What kind of free country is it when you can’t communicate with your girlfriend? I’m sick up & fed with this two-faced societee!
Anyway, please send me information about how I can get your publication, or even better, send me a copy if you can spare one...Jail sucks, it’s a thousand times worse than prison. They don’t let us have anything here—no dentist & no dental floss & the jail commissary sells us pens that don’t work & it’s a DRAG. I’m gonna be here for a while, too, so it would be nice if you would send me something to read, especially since they just closed the jail library today because of “lack of funds.” But we know the real deal...If you think your literature is so subversive that the sheriff will steal it you can send it to my parents (they’re cool they used to be beatniks) at their post office box and they’ll bring it.
Dear Primitivo & co-conspirators,
I was delighted to receive your magazines the other day! I heartily agree with your anti-technology stand. My mother says that it is better to beat a pillow, but I have found that one of the finest pleasures available to us here in Amerika is a recreation that was introduced to me in 1978 known as “chucking the calculator.” It involves hurling a Texas Instrument (or whatever) into a stone or concrete surface as hard as you can. It provides an intense feeling of personal triumph over technology. Perhaps an even better variation would be “chucking the television,” but everybody I know that owns a television set wants it (don’t ask me why) and would be very distraught if I were to smash it. People have been institutionalized for less. A girl I went out with got put in a mental hospital for tearing up (her own) money and handing the pieces to people on the subway (who would scurry about, trying to assemble entire bills). So I stick with calculators
Keep up the good work! I’m still in jail, 92 days left...
Praise My Name
Didn’t I tell you? Yes, I will say I told you—that the Fifth Estate is given to verbal and graphic genius! I would never have seen Russell Means’ “On The Future of the Earth” [FE #304, December 31, 1980] had it not been for your paper! “The same old song.” Indeed! What a relief from the sometime bloated articles you float. His dispatch of the “marxists” is well taken.
I remember offering a group of some of the biggest self-styled marxists and libs in Detroit the chance to sign a boycott of the great Soviet Union and Japan because these two outlaws insisted on continuing the slaughter of whales. I left the boycott petition with them as they were so busy playing poker. Do you think one of those swine signed the boycott? Not on your life! What do they care for whales?! They love people! Ha! Ha!
After reading your guide on making a nuclear weapon “Come On America: Dare to Think the Unthinkable,” [FE #303, October 20, 1980] I went to my kitchen and took out all my salad and stainless steel mixing bowls. Yes, I am working on an atomic bomb! I am going to drop it on Washington before those bastards drop one on us. I am sorry it will have to be without warning with the loss of many innocent lives, but that’s war. Future generations, if any, will praise my name.
Yes, children, there is an Alexander Haig,
Rev. Noble J Nassar