Fifth Estate Collective
News & Reviews
Boa No. 2 (June 1988), a publication of the Bevy of Anarchist-Feminists from Vancouver and Montreal, is a wild, provocative, angry, often depressing but also humorous collection of poems, graphics, short essays and stories (some in French) covering a wide range of topics: Voltarine De Cleyre, women’s prison, AIDS, prostitution, poverty, consumerism, institutionalized medicine, work, lesbianism, romantic love, heterosexual love, repression, militarism, the stereotyping of women in literature, women and theory and more. There are personal accounts of rape, child abuse, abortion and a number of bitingly satiric and sardonic graphics.
The Boa project is growing. The first issue, put together primarily by three women, two in Vancouver and one in Montreal, was published in the spring of 1987. It was followed by a poster calling for submissions for Boa No. 2. This packed second issue is tangible proof of the crucial need women have to communicate with other women, to find their own voices, and to write about their deepest and darkest thoughts in ways that don’t conform to the prescribed expectations and strictures of others and in ways that traditional (and even some alternative) publications may consider unacceptable. Many of the submissions in this issue were typed up, laid out and illustrated by their authors.
The desire of the original Boa collective is that the third issue result from the efforts of more women, that it be less coordinated by the small core group and more integrated into the lives of its contributors. For that reason they announce that there will be no more Boa collective per se. They will not have any more separate meetings. “We don’t want other wimmin to look to us as experts.” They want to help others with production, fundraising and the gathering of submissions. In this spirit they ask that women in other communities create their own affinity groups, discuss Boa, write, lay out and submit their own articles, poems and graphics, and also send money (sorely needed) for production costs. Send donations and submissions to: Boa, c/o Librairie Alternative, 2035 Boul. St. Laurent, Montreal, Quebec H2X-2T3 Canada.
(A) Distribution, 396 7th St., No. 2, Jersey City NJ 07302, is now aligned with the Libertarian Book Club (no connection with the Libertarian Party) and will now handle only wholesale book orders. For retail orders contact the LBC, 339 Lafayette St., No. 202 NY NY 10012; send 8.50 in stamps for catalog. Bookstores: continue to order from (A) Distribution.
Encyclopedie des Nuisances, B.P. 188, 75665 Paris Cedex 14, France has an essay entitled “Abondance” in issue number 11 which looks at contemporary consumption. One result of mass production is that luxury no longer exists, even for the wealthy. With every increase in sophistication, the commodities that surround us have lost one part of their contents. The substitute product costs a lot more and overall quality has deteriorated to such an extent that just to call for products that are non-harmful becomes a revolutionary demand.
“In this topsy-turvy world the most absurd excesses are the rule wherever measuring and exact knowledge can insert themselves [in the appropriation of nature]...Where...human freedom might manifest itself, the most sordid stinginess reigns: passivity, repetition.” Automobiles and alcohol assist the individual to continue the practice of sordid stinginess.
Refusing the solutions offered by social critics who look to institutional reform or to amelioration through another saleable product, the authors ask: “How can a society capable of organizing on a large scale nothing but the devastation of material and human resources, a society requiring every person to subscribe to this madness as if it were a necessity, really evaluate the devastation which so many despairing people make of their lives?”
One or more of the Encyclopedists have prepared a pamphlet-length manifesto, “Platform of the Committee ‘Irradiated of the World, Unite!’” (Address is B.P. 3, 93301 Aubervilliers Cedex, France.) “The purpose of this association is to contribute to the elimination of nuclear power.” The 15-page text is a convincing justification of this goal, if any should still be needed.
We are considering running a short piece of fiction in a future issue entitled “The Business,” but have lost the name of the author. Could he/she please contact us so that proper credit can be given.
Baby Fish Lost Its Momma: The color jumps from the black and white, with 152 pages of poetry and prose, of action and art from this unique Cass Corridor community. Sun Frog pastes pictures of our uncommon willingness to keep fighting and loving in spite of “plasticland filled with incinerators, drug raids and hyper-alienation.”
This overdue but very ambitious second edition is a much-needed street companion to projects like the Fifth Estate. With the extended vacation of the Daily Barbarian, we need Baby Fish to feed our driving hunger in this (attempted) community of rebellion. There’ll probably never be an issue this thick so there’s much to swim through while we await the next compilation.
Personal highlights include a rare Layabouts interview, “Underground Fuck: Sex & Sabotage” by Womyn Fish, an annual Daily In the Alley stream of consciousness report (acid flavored), and adventures out of the neighborhood to the Toronto gathering and the Atlanta convention. Price: a modest $3., available from FE books.
Left Bank Distribution, 5241 University Way NE, Seattle WA 98105, has a catalog of 350 titles from over 50 publishers available as well as an out-of-print book service. They also have a “Books-to-Prisoner” project which handles over 100 requests a month. They need contribution of books with libertarian political content to offset the tremendous amount of extreme right-wing and racist materials circulating in prisons. Send all donations to the above address clearly marked for the prison project.
Mind manoeuvres: Thoughts of Hope-Struggle is a collection of poetry by Brent Taylor and Bill (no last name given). These are poems written in prison but dealing with issues, feelings, experiences common to us all. For a copy send $1 to Mind Manouevres, c/o Box 435, Station P, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2S9.
Interrogations, c/o I.S., B.P. 243, 75564 Paris Cedex 12, France, is a 20-page booklet put out by the Insecurite Sociale group. The first of the three principal essays deals with ecology and was stimulated by the FE critique of deep ecology. The second considers artificial insemination as a further ominous subjection of humans to the medical industry. The final one lambastes Progress and is the author’s angry denunciation of humiliations and restraints.
The publication’s introductory paragraphs begin, “Human beings die as much from their mental obsession with money as from the lack of money in their pockets. Misery is not simply the lack of money for a daily steak, a VCR, an automobile or house. The real misery is to be compelled to spend our life running after money in order to feed, house and clothe ourselves, to just move around, to sit in the sun; to be compelled to organize every moment of one’s life around money, thereby abandoning our human qualities. in a world where not only time is equated with money, but where affection, imagination and all human activities are reduced to commodity exchange, this is the fundamental misery from which all the others stem.”
This issue of the FE contains a critique of the theory of the decadence of capital written by the Interrogations group.