Leila Al Shami
The Syrian Quagmire Civilians are trapped between the Assad regime, foreign states & ideological war lords

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A family in Idlib Province, Syria, home to three million people, half of them displaced, or forcibly evacuated. Idlib was recently captured by hard-line Islamists. The sign reads “We are one of 760,000 families in Idlib.” / #HumansOfIdlib

If 2011 looked like the moment when people could unite, both within and across countries, to topple decades-old dictatorships with the demand for freedom and social justice, today looks like the moment of counter-revolutionary success. After eight years of increasingly brutal conflict in Syria, Bashar al-Assad still presides as president over a now destroyed, fragmented and traumatized country. The dominant narrative is that the war is nearing its end. States once vocally opposed to Assad now have other strategic concerns which take precedence over the victims of his savage efforts to hold onto power. Yet, on the ground, conditions are far from stable and civilians remain trapped and are paying the price for ongoing struggles for power and territory between the regime, foreign states and ideological war lords.

...

Mars Z. Goetia
Capitalism is Awfully Nice The farther down you are on the system’s ladder, the nicer you are required to be

From childhood, most of us are taught what is supposedly an essential skill for living within industrial capitalist society: how to be nice. To be nice is to act in a way that gives others pleasure, comfort, and satisfaction in order to receive social rewards or prevent social penalties. To succeed in capitalism, it is important to be liked and likable. Nice people can get and keep jobs, make business deals, have social lives, and more.

...

Jason Rodgers
How Rational is Rationality? How rational thought functions as social control

There is something faulty with the concept of humans as rational animals. It defines humanity by a limited criterion and tries to separate humans from our animal being. This sets up a hierarchy in which the true human is defined by the portion of the brain that is rational. Perhaps, even worse than the idea of the rational animal is the idea of the “rationalizing animal.” Pratkanis and Aronson in their 2001 Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion, place this as a central factor in how we are manipulated.

...

Peter Werbe
Cuba’s New Constitution Bye-Bye Communism & Gay Rights; Hello Private Property & Censorship

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Groups like this performing at El Tanque at Havana’s Proyecto Cultural Muraleando will soon be subjected to official censorship.—photo: Peter Werbe

Pity the poor Marxist-Leninist militants now bereft of the police states for which they so earnestly apologized. But, not real pity as their dishonesty has caused as much damage to revolutionary possibilities as have the objects of their political ardor.

...

Sean J. Mahoney
The Sins of Men Remained

The cessation of praying daily, of praying up against dry trees,

the cessation of asking and answering, pondering no more, no

more will, no take, not bound, instead only undone down to

laces; shoes upon dogs still for haste may remain yet to be made.

Not for gesticulation but emergence. Not for the writings but

...

Don LaCoss
Zapping the Pyramid The history of an anti-authoritarian symbol (excerpt)

Excerpted from Fifth Estate #367–368, Spring-Summer 2005 40th anniversary issue. This is an edited version of Don’s essay.

The design shows a pyramid surmounted by an eye being blasted by a bolt of lightning. Bannered beneath the collapsing pyramid is the motto, “NON SERVIAM.”

If English, Spanish, Italian, or French is your native tongue, then you can probably guess the Latin translation: “I will not serve.” The phrase is taken from Paradise Lost (1674) by the radical poet of the English Revolution, John Milton, wherein the archangel Lucifer refuses to obey God and is cast into the frozen lake of Hell for his rebelliousness.

...

Fifth Estate Collective
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Arsham Parsi
The Situation of LGBT People in Iran In the name of religion, thousands are executed

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A demonstration against Iran’s execution of gays during a Christopher Street Day gay pride parade in Berlin.

My name is Arsham Parsi, a 37-year-old gay man born and raised in Iran. Neither of these facts were my choice. Discovering my difference from other men—not being interested in women—terrified me because I could be killed for who I was.

...

Jeff Shantz
Unist’ot’en People & Territory Under Attack Canadian Government, Mounties, Corporations & Courts Arrayed Against Native People’s Land

As has been the case throughout colonial conquest, the military police force of the Canadian state, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have facilitated the occupation of Indigenous lands by resource capital. Most recently, the state forced its way onto Wet’suwet’en territories in northern so-called British Columbia to secure access for a Coastal GasLink liquified natural gas pipeline (LNG).

...

Various Authors
No More Fattening Frogs for Snakes! A Surrealist Manifesto in Solidarity with the Unist’ot’en People

A Joint Declaration by

Amphibians for Decolonization

Inner Island Surrealist Group (‘Kómoks/Pentlatch territory)

Ottawa Surrealist Group (Algonquin Anishnaabeg territory)

“It took me a long time to find out my mistakes But I’m not fattenin’ no more frogs for snakes.”

—Sonny Boy Williamson

The Unist’ot’en are the Big Frog clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation. They defiantly croak at the colonizer’s yoke without reservation. They are hungry for decolonization. We honor their spirited resistance to colonial authority and offer our wholehearted solidarity.

...

Rich Dana (Ricardo Feral)
Grid Interactive On the longest day of the year

The solar array’s passive tracking system wakes to the first rays of the Pennsylvania summer sun. The solar panels don’t care that today is the solstice, or that the sun will rise on its arc to an angle of 72.5° at noon.

Its rusting actuators will strain to follow the sun all the way to its apex. As freon warms in the black copper tubes that run along the edges of the frame, the liquid vaporizes and moves from one side to the other. The tracker begins its daily task of following the thermal energy of the sun, keeping the photovoltaic panels facing into the sunlight as it moves along a course from east to west.

...

Franklin Lopez
A Brief History of subMedia On the 15th anniversary of making anarchist films

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Stimulator, the disembodied, foul mouthed host of ITEOTWAWKIAIFF, a subMedia satirical news show.

A strange looking man walks out of a Sam’s Club superstore with a shopping cart filled with diapers, food, and chocolate, without paying. He fooled the cart checkers with a fake receipt. As his feet touch the parking lot pavement, a rent-a-cop yells, “Stop!!”

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Fifth Estate Collective
Anarchist Netflix? Tired of over-produced and vacuous Hollywood garbage doled out nightly by Netflix?

Don’t worry, the Anarchist Film Archive has got you covered. A project of anarchist publisher Christie Books, the archive has over 1000 titles ready to be streamed from the comfort of your squat.

While all the films are not anarchist, this impressive collection includes documentaries from the likes of Adam Curtis, many rare films about the Spanish Civil War and Revolution, Noam Chomsky talks, lots of mainstream films with liberatory themes, and even some subMedia videos.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Anarchist Sci-Fi Site Lists Movies & Books

AnarchySF is an online archive of the intersection between anarchy and science fiction. It’s an open-source repository of anarchist or anarchy-adjacent science fiction. Visit at anarchysf.com.

It features books, movies, and other media which are either anarchist in their politics or of interest to anarchists.

...

Muriel Lucas
Rebellion in Patagonia A classic anarchist film still relevant today

“La Patagonia rebelde”

Director: Hector Olivera

110 min. (1974)

The death of Argentine anarchist author and activist Osvaldo Bayer on December 24, 2018 came at a time of renewed interest in his long career. Recent translations of two of his works, The Anarchist Expropriators and Rebellion in Patagonia, were published by AK Press in 2016.

...

Marieke Bivar
Running to Find Ourselves New fiction from Cara Hoffman

a review of

Running by Cara Hoffman. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks 2018

Inspired by her own youth spent travelling and working in Greece, Cara Hoffman’s third novel, Running, is a suspenseful punk adventure tale.

It follows Bridey, Jasper and Milo, wild, hungry youths luring unwitting tourists to stay at a shabby Athens hotel in exchange for a place to crash and a commission to spend at the bar.

...

Peter Werbe
Blood Lake Review

a review of

Blood Lake: A Filomena Buscarsela Mystery by Kenneth Wishnia. PM Press edition 2014; Spanish translation 2018. Originally published HB 2002

Anarchist fans of detective novels and murder mysteries who don’t like cops have to suspend a little of their social critique since it is the police, ex-cops, and private eyes who are solving the crimes. Anarchists as a rule don’t do much sleuthing.

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Peter Werbe
Lago de Sangre Reseña del libro

Una Revisión de

Lago de sangre: un libro de misterio sobre Filomena Buscarsela por Kenneth Wishnia. PM Press edición en español 2018; edición en inglés 2014; Publicado originalmente en 2002

Los anarquistas amantes de las novelas de detectives y de misteriosos asesinatos, a quienes no les gustan los polis, tendrán que suspender momentáneamente su crítica social porque son precisamente la policía, los ex polis y los detectives privados quienes resuelven los crímenes. Los anarquistas, segun la regla, no se encargan de actividades detectivescas de esa índole.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Joel Silvers Detroit artist & filmmaker dies at 72

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Friend and comrade, Joel Silvers, died unexpectedly at age 72 in Detroit on December 8, 2018.

Joel was present when the Fifth Estate was launched in 1965 and at the 2015 festivities that celebrated the 50th anniversary of this publication.

As an award-winning filmmaker, he produced a documentary of interviews with some of the early staff, a trailer of which is available on our web site, FifthEstate.org, “Enduring Voices: 50 years of the Fifth Estate.”

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Bursts
Organizing for Solidarity with Locked Down Comrades Buttons To Show Your Support for Political Prisoners

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The 2019 Fight Toxic Prisons Convergence is June 14–17 in Gainesville, Florida and will include speakers, panels, workshops, protests and cultural activities exploring the intersections of anti-prison and environmental struggles. fighttoxicprisons.wordpress.com Above: Protest march following the 2018 FTP convergence in Pittsburgh. / photo: Jordan Mazurek

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Fifth Estate Collective
Resources for Prisoners & Supporters

National Jericho Movement: PO Box 2164, Chesterfield VA 23832. thejerichomovement.com

New York City Anarchist Black Cross (NYC ABC): PO Box 110034, Brooklyn, New York 11211. nycabc.wordpress.com

Bloomington Anarchist Black Cross: Focuses on solidarity with prison rebels, anarchist prisoners, and prisoners of other liberatory social movements. A books to prisoner project and huge number of links to other prison projects. bloomingtonabc.noblogs.org

...

Marius Mason
Women Doing Time

a review of

Taking the Rap: Women Doing Time For Society’s Crimes by Ann Hansen. Between the Lines, 2018

When offered the chance to review Ann Hansen’s memoir about her time in the Canadian prison system, I was enthusiastic but doubtful that I would be permitted to receive such a book.

With my Communications Management status and participation in the Rehabilitation Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) while imprisoned at Carswell Federal Medical Center in Texas, it seemed unlikely that this courageous and intensely honest account of real life in all manner of jails, holding facilities, and prisons would be allowed in.

...

Rod Dubey
The Demand for Human Rights is a Revolutionary Act

a review of

A Declaration of the Rights of Human Beings: On the Sovereignty of Life as Surpassing the Rights of Man, Second Edition by Raoul Vaneigem, Translated by Liz Heron. PM Press, 2019

“The freedom to live like a human being annuls the supposed freedoms of commerce and predation.”

So begins Raoul Vaneigem’s preface to the second edition of A Declaration of the Rights of Human Beings. Originally published in 2001, this second edition is his attempt to create a foundational document asserting the primacy of humanity against the dominance of commerce and state power.

...

Rui Preti
Struggles Against Capitalist Rule in Modern China

a review of

China On Strike: Narratives of Workers’ Resistance edited by Hao Ren; English edition edited by Zhong ]in Li and Eli Friedman. Haymarket Books, 2016

Striking to Survive: Workers Resistance to Factory Relocations in China by Fan Shigang, translated by Henry Moss. Haymarket Books, 2018

The modern state of China, by capitalist standards, is generally thriving. The nation’s economic growth rate, considered to be a prime indicator of prosperity, is significantly higher than that of the western industrialized countries, even with its recent slowdowns.

...

Laurinda Lind
Mobilized

Let’s hope Cape Breton wasn’t kidding

when they said we could move there

from this side if things got crazy scary.

.

The ones who shout hardest hardly

ever have it right, since such small

gods surge from somewhere far

.

back in the night. Light fills space

as it can. Dark does the same,

and the space is a brain. Attackers

...

Bill Weinberg
Rome Squatters Face Clampdown Immigrant Centers are the Target

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Demonstration in Rome’s Plaza San Silvestro November 23 against a law aimed at immigrants and squatters. Sign held by Kurdish refugees says, “From the mountains of Kurdistan to the heart of Rome, Ararat will not be evicted.” —photo: Bill Weinberg

It was a multicultural crowd that gathered in Rome’s Plaza San Silvestro to oppose the draconian Security Decree then pending in the Italian parliament. Popularly called the Salvini Law after Italy’s far-right Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, the Decree was aimed at two broadly overlapping groups: immigrants and squatters.

...

Various Authors
Letters

Send letters to fe [@] fifthestate [dot] org or Fifth Estate, POB 201016, Ferndale MI 48220

All formats accepted including typescript & handwritten.

Letters may be edited for length.

Fifth Estate note: We usually don’t print letters of this length, but thought this encapsulated the sexual immiseration suffered by many. We don’t offer advice in this matter, but invite others to suggest how best to navigate sex and partnering.

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Fifth Estate Collective
About this Issue

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As opposed to the mechanistic, cold, pseudo-scientific dogma of Marxists and others, we know that the urge for revolution has to come from a deeper place in our lives. The Spanish anarchists said they had “a new world in their hearts,” which provided a vision for their struggles. The idea of re-enchantment of the world mirrors that longing as a prefiguring of what we want. We dedicate this issue to those in the past who have fought for a new world and to those today who continue in their footsteps.

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Dana Williams
Hope Springs Forth From Fire Mutual Aid & Disaster Response to California’s Deadliest Wild Fire

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The Camp Fire was also a health and environmental disaster. Smoke from the deadly fire resulted in widespread air pollution throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Central Valley.

On November 8, 2018, a deadly wildfire—called the Camp Fire because it began on Camp Creek Road—swept the western Sierra Nevada foothills in northern California. The fire’s spark originated with Pacific Gas & Electric power transmission lines that ignited dry vegetation on a particularly windy day.

...

Frank Joyce
1492, 1513, 1619, 2019 It’s all connected: On the Origins of the So-called United States of America

Many are marking 2019 as the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first captured Africans in Jamestown. So, even more than usual, we will hear chattel slavery referred to as the nation’s original sin.

It isn’t.

That framing is itself a window into the white way of thinking. It’s meant to perpetuate the mythologies of Christianity That doctrine incorporates the belief that humans are flawed, weak and often badly behaved. And, since that’s God given, it will always be true.

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Barbara Henning
We Wait

—and wait—for the wild power of nature—Om nama Shivaya—anything—could happen—to turn around—scream our lungs out—protesters in Gaza—under the burning—midday sun—Om Nama Shivaya—gun shots into the crowd—turn it off—turn it on—social programs slashed—corporate greed—protections for the environment—eliminated—the EPA rolls back—and David Buckel—self-immolates—in the meadow—in the park—Om Nama Shivaya—this winter—the coldest—since 1961—everyday when I hit—the sidewalk—I think—it will never end—and yet—slowly and surely—the temperature will rise—and the might and mystery—of the cold wind—will surely spread—Shiva—Brahma—Narayana—their seeds everywhere—Shiva—Brahma—Om nama Narayanaya—

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Finn Black
Berkeley Free Clinic at 50 Mutual Aid Meets Health Care

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Volunteers and trainees in front of the Berkeley Free Clinic.

The Berkeley Free Clinic (BFC) is an all-volunteer, worker-owned collective that provides free medical and dental care, peer counseling, and information in Berkeley, Calif. We were founded in May 1969 on the ideas that healthcare is a human right, that professional licensing is not required to provide good medical care, and that medicine should not alienate people from their bodies. [See “Berkeley USA, 1969,” FE 81, June 12–25, 1969]

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Fifth Estate Collective
Fifth Estate Archive Thousands of articles & graphics are accessible dating back to 1965 on the Web

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Some readers have wondered why a print publication with such a strong, longtime criticism of modern technology would bother with a website.

We are certainly not counting on it for building the social cooperation and solidarity we so desperately need to go beyond the current doomsday destination of modern societies. For this it will be necessary to create and nurture the direct bonds between living beings so vital for re-enchanting the world.

...

Rich Dana (Ricardo Feral)
The Politics of Fandom Science Fiction’s Historic Struggle over the Future

A dedicated band of idealistic working-class teenagers crash a meeting of techno-fascists at a New York hotel, confronting the group’s dictatorial leaders.

It sounds like an Antifa adventure plucked from today’s headlines—but in fact, this plot unfolded at the first ever World Science Fiction Convention in 1939. Despite its reputation for campy story-telling and escapist plots, science fiction (SF) has always been highly political at its core, and this story began when Dave Kyle, a member of a fan club known as The Futurians, attempted to distribute a pamphlet criticizing the convention organizers.

...

Bernard Marszalek
Fifty Years Ago The Origins of Berkeley’s Ohlone Park

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Working on what was called, People’s Park Annex, 1969.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), in the late 1960s, demolished 200 Berkeley homes to trench and submerge their rail system. BART then filled in tons of dirt on top of the tube it built and in this way “reclaimed” the land that it bulldozed.

It strip-mined Berkeley to submerge the trains and above left four blocks along Hearst Avenue a barren, ugly field of dust in summer and mud in winter. An eyesore. BART officials said that they didn’t have funds (or mental bandwidth?) to develop it, that is, monetize it.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Re-Enchantment of the World Theme intro

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“La Jeunesse de Bacchus” William Bouguereau 1884

Our call for the re-enchantment of the world isn’t a collapse into New Age dreaming, but rather a different, or perhaps more accurate description of what this publication has always stood for—revolution against capitalism, the state, patriarchy, and the forms of misery they generate.

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Dave Hanson
Sing Your Song

Allowed freedom, we are enchanted beings. The enchantment begins with our human, personal song, which discovered, cracks open a window into the cosmos, enabling us to experience reality with fewer boundaries.

The song, first personally and then communally, is the primary tool that unlocks our apprehension of deeper reality, and allows us to act from that vision. This process is deeply connected, integrated and anarchistic.

...

Ron Sakolsky
Toward A Surrealist Re-Enchantment of the World

Anarchy and surrealism have had many enchanting encounters over the years, and the convivial nature of their ongoing interplay is easy to understand. Much like anarchists, surrealists are dissatisfied with the impoverished version of reality that governs our relationship to the world and to one another.

...

John Clark
The Dialectic of Enchantment What Enchantment do we Seek?

According to a certain conventional wisdom, there has been an unfortunate disenchantment of the world, and what is desperately needed is that we rediscover and recreate an enchanted world. This is, however, at best a half truth, and perhaps even a dangerous one.

True, there is a battle between disenchantment and re-enchantment in which we must rally to the aid of enchantment. But there is also a war between contending forms of enchantment that already exist, here and now This is the ultimate world-historical conflict that must engage our creative energies.

...

Peter Lamborn Wilson
Fool’s Day

Since the anti-wizard who disenchanted the world was Capitalism, we must assume that Capitalism will have to vanish by evolutionary necessity in order for re-enchantment to triumph.

Is it really possible to embrace such optimism? Let’s try.

An April 1, 2019 article in The Nation, “Warning: The Plastics Crisis is About to Get Worse,” begins with a “midrange” estimate of the amount of plastic garbage that is dumped in the ocean every year—eight million tons.

...

Rick London
Marie’s Song

Your fingers twitch in your sleep

for a moment before you open

your eyes and roll onto your back

You brush a small critter from your face

and pull a twig from your hair

A pink grey sky envelopes the landscape

as you make your way along an outcrop

of shale thru a field

of wet greens and browns

...

Ria
Giving Back Wild A Guerilla Guide to Re-wilding Earth

Consensus is boiling that humans have become hyper-exploiters, impacting and taking so much from nature that remaining ecosystems are entering death spirals. Is it possible for human’s bred-in exploiter culture to shift from a taking lifeway from the wild to a way of giving?

Just as humans can turn civilization’s wrenches against logging machines to halt destruction, they can turn their civilized brains and bodies to recovering earth’s wild.

...

SK
Cuba: Independent Self-Activity vs. the State Pride & Anarchism Against All Odds

This May was a very exciting time for anarchists in Cuba, full of both inspiration and anxiety. On the positive side, the Anarchist Social Center and Library (ABRA: Centro Social y Biblioteca Libertaria) hosted the Fourth Libertarian Spring Conference in Havana, from May 4 to 11.

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Cuba Pride March, May 11, despite being banned by authorities.

...

Bryan Tucker
Sanity & Identity Repressive Society’s Sleight of Hand

A tentative existence is what society’s current trajectory offers us: alienation from others simultaneous with chronic concern about perception by others. Futile attempts to persist in these conditions takes the form of claiming an identity, espousing sanctioned banalities, and various other nonsense that renders us drained and pained.

...

Quincy B. Thorn
Evoking Spirit The Anarchist Art of Robert Henri

The inflated effigy of a head of state, dressed in nothing but a diaper, floats over a joyous crowd of protesters on a sunny day. Beneath the surface description, two spirits can be perceived, the vile spirit of a deranged despot and the angry but hopeful and playful spirit of collective refusal.

Images such as this appear in current protests against the rule of racketeers like Trump. They are artistic weapons wielded against repressive reality, a part of radical history we are privileged to experience directly. In opposing authority, it is important to explore many cultural expressions of revolt, their past as well as present incarnations.

...

Steve Kirk
The Continuing Colonialism of Climate Change Solutions Radical Slogans, Militant Actions, but Their Solution is the Market

Climate change, global warming, the undeniable and irreversible global-scale reconfiguration of global chemistry, from the land, to the water, to the sky, we are awash in a multitude of changes. Each one compounds and codevelops with the other crises of civilization. Loss of ecosystems, extinction of species, obliteration of the land that runs in tandem with production weaves with the consequences of hydrocarbon use.

...

John Zerzan
From Red Anarchism to Green Anarchy

From its Eat the Rich Gang incarnation in the 1970s, Fifth Estate has been an unparalleled source of new ideas. Thinkers like Fredy Perlman, Jacques Ellul, and Jacques Camatte were introduced and moved anti-authoritarian perspectives forward very significantly.

I was happy to be a part of an exciting opening, as many of us pondered the limitations and defeat of the 1960s. Foundational critiques of technology and civilization emerged.

...

Rikki Santer
Curate This

How dreary—to be—Somebody!

How public—like a Frog—

To tell one’s name—the livelong June—

To an admiring bog!

—Emily Dickinson

Dogwoods swathed in delicate white, gently clear their winter throats as cable news updates crawl and grovel for her attention. But she doesn’t blog, pin, Snapchat, Instagram or—God No!—tweet, and her dumb phone shortcomings are just fine. She the freak in the waiting room without an umbilical glow in her palm, just a paperback copy of something she fills with marginalia.

...

Mike Wold
The Failure of Resource Nationalism in Bolivia

a review of

Blood of the Earth: Resource Nationalism, Revolution, and Empire in Bolivia by Kevin A. Young, 2017, University of Texas Press

Kevin Young’s Blood of the Earth examines the period of Bolivian history after the country’s 1952 revolution, in which the Nationalist Revolutionary Movement (MNR) was able to overthrow the ruling military government with the help of popular militias led by factory workers and miners.

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Marius Mason painting

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“Helmeted Hornbill” Marius Mason 2019

MARIUS MASON, AN ANARCHIST TRANS PRISONER serving 22-years for environmental sabotage, has been moved to a low security prison in Danbury, Conn.

The painting above will be one of two dozen as part of an exhibit of Marius’s work at the Maine Film Center in Waterville, Maine on Sept. 20. Fifth Estate staff member, Peter Werbe, will speak and singer/songwriter, David Rovics will perform. Check the Fifth Estate web site and Facebook page for more info.

Ann Hansen
A Woman Against the Mega-Machine Film review

a review of

Woman at War

Director: Benedikt Erlingsson

104 min. (2018)

You might be surprised to find the protagonist in this action-packed movie about a saboteur, Woman at War, is not a buxom blonde nor a dark-skinned foreign terrorist, but a white, middle-aged woman with a few visible wrinkles that appear around the eyes.

...

Peter Werbe
Comics, Graphic Novels, & the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike

a review of

1919: A Graphic History of the Winnipeg General Strike. Graphic History Collective and David Lester. Between The Lines (2019)

Although the term graphic novel may seem used simply to gussie up what many would call a comic book, the phrase generally describes a publication with more serious content than what you find in Marvel’s superhero tales of Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, Spider-Man, and the rest.

...

Eric Thomas Chester
The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919

On May Day 1919, in the immediate aftermath of World War I, a general strike began that shut down all economic activity in Winnipeg, Canada. The general strikes that took place in Glasgow, Scotland in January 1919, in Seattle in February 1919, along with the Winnipeg strike remain some of the high watermarks in North American working class history.

...

Andrew Mehall
Interest v. Principal A brief review of a book about Banksy

a review of

This Is Not a Photo Opportunity: The Street Art of Banksy

Artist: Banksy, Photographs by Martin Bull. PM Press, 2014 pmpress.org

Anonymous England-based vandal Banksy, most known for graffiti-like works across the planet recently made news with his latest prank, by destroying it, or rather by it destroying itself. Upon selling at Sotheby’s, an art auction in London, Girl with Red Balloon, autonomously shredded itself before bidders. This was a departure from previous works, which are displayed in Martin Bull’s 2014 book, This Is Not a Photo Opportunity. There is a problem with Bull’s book. You discover the issue when you approach the text more critically than you would a coffee table book, which might be all that this is.

...

Peter Werbe
But It All Falls Apart A Leftist Guide for Seizing the Power of the State

a review of

Seizure of State Power, Part 3 of Manual for Revolutionary Leaders by Michael Velli. Sources of Velli’s thought annotated by Fredy Perlman. Black & Red (2019) BlackandRed.org

Spoiler alert: This text is not well-intentioned advice for those seeking to lead the working class and seize the power of the state. Quite the opposite. It is a polemic against those who seek such a role.

...

Connor Stevens
How Pleasure is Revolutionary

a review of

Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, adrienne maree brown, Editor. AK Press, 2019 AKpress.org

This book is about creation, the act of re-creating the world; about a new world, a new language, a new flesh. Politics based around healing and happiness. adrienne maree brown and her fellow contributors offer a gift of unspeakable value by way of this sturdy, hilarious, tragic book. By helping to reinvigorate the world with magick and remembrance of the ancestors, it is more revolutionary than any text I can recall reading in years.

...

Jim Feast
Feminism & the Politics of the Commons

a review of

Re-enchanting the World: Feminism and the Politics of the Commons by Silvia Federici, Foreword by Peter Linebaugh. PM Press, 2019

Silvia Federici was born in Italy, taught for years in Nigeria, made many visits to South America, and now lives and teaches in the U.S. This broad experience, along with extensive scholarship, provides the wide angle lens which enables the perspective on view in her new book, Re-Enchanting the World.

...

Jesús Sepúlveda
Anti-authoritarian Portugal Germinating Anarchy

Last June, I was invited by the anarchist publisher, Textos Subterraneos, to speak about the newly-published Portuguese edition of my book, The Garden of Peculiarities, in Lisbon and Oporto. Of interest to FE readers, TS has also put out an anthology of Fredy Perlman’s work, A Reprodugio da Vida Quotidian e Outros Escritos.

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David Watson
Detroit trash incinerator closing —eco-apocalypse continues

The news in March 2019 that, due to “financial and community concerns,” the Detroit trash incinerator was to be closed was weirdly reminiscent of news back in the spring of 1986 that it was going to be built: It came as a surprise to almost everyone in the city. This time, obviously, it came as good news; people who had been working to shut it for decades naturally celebrated the closing as “a glorious day for the city and its residents,” as Sandra Turner-Handy, a long-term environmental justice activist, member of the Michigan Environmental Council, co-supervisor of Zero Waste Detroit, put it. [1]

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Fifth Estate Collective
Hong Kong

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Our banner in the marches, which is usually found at the front of our drum squad. It reads “There are no ‘good citizens’, only potential criminals.” This banner was made in response to propaganda circulated by pro-Beijing establishmentarian political groups in Hong Kong, assuring “good citizens” everywhere that extradition measures do not threaten those with a sound conscience who are quietly minding their own business. Photo by WWS from Tak Cheong Lane Collective.
Source: Hong Kong: Anarchists in the Resistance to the Extradition Bill (CrimethInc, June 22, 2019)
https://crimethinc.com/2019/06/22/hong-kong-anarchists-in-the-resistance-to-the-extradition-bill-an-interview

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Various Authors
Letters

Send letters to fe AT fifthestate DOT org or Fifth Estate, POB 201016, Ferndale MI 48220

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

YES TO PORN
In the [[https://www.fifthestate.org/archive/404-summer-2019/letters/][Summer 2019 Fifth Estate]], a comrade wrote that he uses pornography to satisfy his sexual desires being unable to find a female partner. I do as well—very often—and enjoy sexual stimulation in watching porn. Although I don’t share with this writer never having had a sexual relationship, I’ve experienced prolonged periods of celibacy.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Contents of print edition

Letters, page 2

Issue intro, page 3

The Logic of the Telescope Against the wisdom of Hawaii’s Native People

STEVE KIRK page 4

Seattle Far-Right Shooter’s Trial Ends in Hung Jury: How can we get justice in an unjust system?

RUI PRETI page 6

Museum Chronicles Fightback & Victories Against Gentrification: The storefront housing the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space in NYC.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Issue intro

About This Issue

Welcome to our Winter 2020 edition. Although there is no specific theme this issue, the totality of our articles affirms a longstanding commitment to the philosophy of anarchism that is now an existential necessity given the political and environmental crises the world faces.

Can a body of ideas, considered impractical by many, and ignored by most, rise to the point where it is powerful enough to challenge centuries old modes of hierarchal rule and ecological destruction?

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Fifth Estate Collective
Masthead

Fifth Estate

Radical Publishing since 1965

Vol. 55, No. 1, #405, Winter 2020 — Follows our Summer 2019 issue.

The Fifth Estate is an anti-profit, anarchist project published by a

volunteer collective of friends and comrades.

No ads. No copyright.

Kopimi — reprint freely

www.fifthestate.org

Steve Kirk
The Logic of the Telescope Against the wisdom of Hawaii’s Native People

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Last July, the so-called United States celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing while another fascination with space was playing out badly. It was with zero irony that the supposed “giant leap for mankind” was recognized while the Kanaka Maoli people of Hawaii’s struggle to prevent a promised miracle of science from desecrating their land was ignored.

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Rui Preti
Seattle Far-Right Shooter’s Trial Ends in Hung Jury How can we get justice in an unjust system?

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Josh Dukes

Following the recent dismissal of charges against a right-wing woman who shot an anarchist anti-fascist activist in 2017, the question of how anarchists should or should not interact with the state’s mis-named justice system has become more relevant than ever. The victim’s own anarchist stance on state-administered justice and possible alternatives to it have added needed complexity to a perennial issue.

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Bill Weinberg
Museum Chronicles Fightback & Victories Against Gentrification Squats & Community Gardens Saved by Direct Action & Solidarity

Above the front door to C-Squat, on Ave. C on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a weather-worn sign hangs from the fire escape reading “THIS LAND IS OURS, NOT FOR SALE,” with the squatter symbol of a circle bisected by a lightning bolt. It dates back to the 1980s, when the building was taken over by anarcho-punk squatters. Below, on the window of the storefront, a much newer sign reads, Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS).

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Eric Laursen
Why anarchists should take up the 50-year-old project of the Gray Panthers A Vision for Intergenerational Solidarity

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Demonstrator at the Waterville, Maine Global Climate Strike, Sept. 20. / photo: Peter Werbe

A friend tells me of his first job out of college. He was hired to run a senior center, not attached to a nursing home, in the Bronx.

It was his first exposure to a community of elderly, and he was saddened at what he saw: dozens of women and men, many of whom had once lived fulfilling lives according to the values of American society, now sitting in day rooms, watching television, many of them seldom talking, some nearly catatonic.

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Dave Hanson
We Have Work to do Before Catastrophe Strikes Musings on My 84th Birthday

The most important tasks for those of us who would wear the anarcho-primitivist label, are to wait and watch the acceleration of the collapse of modernity and technology while we learn how to live without them.

Anarcho-primitivism should not be labeled as re-wilding, and considering all the baggage attached to the word primitive, we should probably think of a new label for cultural and ecological organization that has a possibility of survival at the depths of a rapid global, environmental collapse and mass extinction.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Fifth Estate Censored by Prison Authorities All issues blocked to Pennsylvania prisoners

Incarcerated subscribers to this magazine are being subjected to increasing censorship from prison authorities.

The worst has been Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections which refused to allow delivery of the Summer 2019 issue of the Fifth Estate to subscribers in their prison system.

Pennsylvania initiated a policy last year that requires letters and periodicals to be sent to a central address rather than being delivered directly to individual prisoners in state lockups.

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Rich Dana (Ricardo Feral)
Feral Technology Is going backward the only way forward?

“Everything not saved will be lost.”

—Nintendo quit screen message

Well into the 21st century, the term Feral Technology has entered the contemporary discourse, but with some exceptionally non-feral technology companies using the moniker because—well, they think it sounds really cool. The meaning of words is irrelevant in a world in search of a catchy web address.

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David Rovics
After the Buses Burned Will Van Spronsen’s Final Act Against Evil

In the early hours of July 13, Will Van Spronsen was shot to death by police outside of an ICE-contracted private detention facility holding migrants in Tacoma, Wash. He was confronted by police in a parking lot full of buses; buses that were to be used to deport large numbers of migrants in a coordinated, nationwide action launched by the Trump administration. Will was trying to destroy as many buses as possible.

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Ron Sakolsky
The Marvelous Dance of Anarchy & Individuality On the occasion of Emma Goldman’s 150th Birthday

“There is no individuality without liberty, and liberty is the greatest menace to authority.”

—Emma Goldman, The Individual, Society and the State (1937)

The figure of Emma Goldman still looms large on the anarchist horizon, not least because of her passion for proclaiming the liberty necessary for individuality to flourish as an essential ingredient of any social revolution worthy of the name.

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Fifth Estate Collective
New Magazines Against Civilization

Backwoods, Spring 2019, offers readers a discourse on anti-civilization thought and “autochthonous anarchy.”

Comprised of several central essays, including an impassioned and scathing examination of the atheist-materialist worldview by Backwoods editor Bellamy Fitzpatrick in “What Does the World Desire?,” the 72-page journal presents both practical and theoretical considerations in a well designed format.

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John Zerzan
Transhumanism? Apocalypse Soon?

Transhumanism, which rarely rates a mention in the media, suddenly had a brief moment of infamy recently due to the reported interest in it by the late, evil, child sex trafficker, Jeffry Epstein.

Transhumanism claims that by utilizing technology it can artificially enhance the human body, and, if pursued far enough, will solve everything including victory over death, as futurist Ray Kurzweil and others promise. It involves a headlong leap of faith, viewing advanced technology as a transcendent breakthrough. Bio-ethecist Amy Michelle Debaets termed transhumanism “the Rapture of the geeks.”

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Edward Hasbrouck
Will there be a new military draft? Why should we care?

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There’s been little public notice, but the U.S. is on the verge of its first major national debate about military conscription since the early 1980s.

A bipartisan National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service (NCMNPS) appointed in late 2016 by lame-duck President Obama and Congressional leaders has been studying whether the current requirement for all young men to register with the Selective Service System (SSS) for a possible military draft should be ended entirely, extended to young women as well as young men, or replaced with some other system of (possibly compulsory) military and/or civilian national service. (See “A New Right for Women: Eligible for the U.S. War Machine”, Fifth Estate #397, Winter 2017.)

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Fifth Estate Collective
The man in the “Fuck the Draft” poster

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In 1968, Kiyoshi Kuromiya designed this poster and sent orders by mail. He was arrested by the FBI and charged with sending indecent material through the Post Office. Later that year, after beating the charges, Kuromiya defied the authorities by handing out 2000 of the posters at the Chicago Democratic Convention.

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Kamal Islam
IWW Takes on the Freelance Journalist Gig Economy

The role of technology in social and class struggles has long been debated among opponents of capitalism and the state.

But one of the newest branches of the Industrial Workers of the World, the Freelance Journalists’ Union, or IWWFJU, shows that digital praxis, coupled with the radical labor organization’s century-old model of organizing, offers even the most precarious workers new possibilities for resistance to their century-old enemy: the employing class.

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John Clark
Raging Against the Machine ...at the Dawn of the Anthropocene

a review of

Red Round Globe Hot Burning: A Tale at the Crossroads of Commons and Closure, of Love and Terror, of Race and Class, and of Kate and Ned Despard by Peter Linebaugh. University of California Press, 2019

The title of this fascinating and inspiring work comes from visionary poet William Blake (1757–1827). In one of his most memorable passages, Blake writes that “They told me that I had five senses to enclose me up, / And they inclos’d my infinite brain into a narrow circle,/ And sunk my heart into the Abyss, a red round globe hot burning/ Till all from life I was obliterated and erased.”

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SK
Anarchist Cuba A culture of resistance against capitalism & the state

a review of

Anarchist Cuba: Countercultural Politics in the Early Twentieth Century by Kirwin Shaffer. PM Press 2019

“...these anarchist rebels took part in a long tradition of imagining Cuba as an ‘island of dreams’ where humanity could create a free, healthy, educated, and egalitarian beacon for global liberation.”

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Peter Werbe
In Havana? Conference on Trotsky?

It seems improbable that a conference was held in Havana last May to examine the life and ideas of the Russian Bolshevik, Leon Trotsky. One would think the Cuban Stalinist bureaucracy would be averse to allowing a gathering sympathetic to the Soviet dictator’s arch rival within the Russian ruling clique power struggle that occurred almost 100 years ago.

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Peter Linebaugh
How we can exit the era of ecological destruction & affirm life

a review of

Between Earth and Empire: From the Necrocene to the Beloved Community by John P. Clark. PM Press 2019 pmpress.org

John P. Clark is a major thinker, on a par with Wendell Berry, Thoreau, or Rebecca Solnit. He is an anarchist and an eco-socialist but label not required.

The book under review, Between Earth and Empire, expresses the hope and the fear. From the Necrocene to the Beloved Community is his subtitle. Necrocene is geological portending death as a result of statist, technocratic, patriarchal society. The beloved community is spiritual. The terms bestride the natural and the social.

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Peter Werbe
Godless: 150 Years of Disbelief

a review of

Godless: 150 Years of Disbelief edited by Chaz Bufe; Introduction by Don Arel. PM Press, 2019 pmpress.org

More than a thousand years ago, a Chinese Zen master wrote: Magical power, Marvelous action! Chopping wood, Carrying water. The eleven essays assembled here by See Sharp Press publisher Chaz Bufe are effective diatribes against belief in gods that completely destroy every aspect and argument on which Christianity and other religions are based.

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Lowell Boileau
Religion: Aztec Style

“The Destruction of the Fifth Sun” is an allegory of justice based on the apocalyptic Aztec vision of the same name whereby the world and humanity ends in a cataclysm.

The central Mexican empire, dominant from 1300 to 1521, believed the doom could be delayed by daily ritualist human sacrifices in which the victims’ hearts were hacked from their chests by priests and the still pounding organs held aloft to the sun thereby appeasing the gods.

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PW
Good Without God Raising Religion-Free Kids

a review of

Parenting Without God: How to Raise Moral, Ethical, and Intelligent Children, Free from Religious Dogma Second edition by Dan Arel; forward by Jessica Mills. PM Press 2019

Although this may be beating a dead horse (that would be gods), there remains the pro-religionist argument that without God, anything is permissible. However, since under the sign of God, all horrors imaginable have occurred, it makes sense to look for a secular grounding for our ethics.

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Wendy Wildflower
The U.S. War On Vietnam Reflection on a Refugee Journey

a review of

Among the Boat People: A Memoir of Vietnam by Nhi Manh Chung. Autonomedia 2019 autonomedia.org

“When wars are over, people only want to know who won, what exciting battles took place, and all that military idiocy. People never know what the innocent victims have to say.”

—poet and artist Yuko Otomo

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Suzanne Freeman
Let Us Now Praise Idle Men (and Women)

It’s time to celebrate

the Late-sleepers

and merry drinkers,

the loafers & slackers & slow-pokes.

The ones on permanent vacation,

unhurried and unworried,

the rose-smellers & growing-grass watchers, what harm

did they ever do?

How about a cheer

for siesta snoozers

and Lazy losers,

the long joke-tellers

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SK
Paris May-June 1968 The Joy of Revolution

a review of

Freedom in Solidarity: My Experiences in the May 1968 Uprising by Kadour Naimi; Translation and foreword by David Porter. AK Press, 2019 akpress.org

During times of social ferment like the present, there tends to be a reawakening of interest in past insurgencies, such as those of the May-June 1968 French uprising. So David Porter’s English translation of Kadour Naimi’s memoir of those transformative events is particularly timely.

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Peter Werbe
A history of a little Detroit printing co-op that gave us Society of the Spectacle & a lot more

a review of

The Politics of the Joy of Printing: The Detroit Printing Co-op by Danielle Aubert. Artbook/D.A.P.

The text of this history of the Detroit Printing Co-op is engaging enough by itself, even without its colorful, graphic-filled pages of the work produced in the decade beginning in 1970 at an all-volunteer project amidst the city’s industrial ruins.

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Jason Rodgers
Infomodities All the Psy-Ops that Fit the Screen

“News is the dialogue of fragmented power with itself. Notice how scientists, politicians or businessmen now complain that even they only learn about the events they manage from the news.

—“Some Fragmented Views from a Fragmented World” (Against Sleep and Nightmares)

Information bombardment from multiple media sources makes contemplation difficult. Everything is broken down into fragmented data having no relation to anything else presenting. It is superficially processed constantly. No rest, but neither exertion nor effort. Just continuous banality and superficiality.

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Muriel Lucas
The work of Glauber Rocha Film as Social Critique on Cinema

a review of

Glauber Rocha, Ismail Xavier, editor; I.B. Tauris, 2019

The fiftieth anniversary of the global upheavals of 1968 has provoked a spate of books examining political cinema and its relationship to the era.

It’s an almost frenzied demand to re-examine the camera as a weapon of rhetoric, and to grapple with cinema’s apparent decline as a radical medium over the decades.

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Paul Walker (Peter Werbe)
Rebellions Rock the World But, is there still a vision of revolution?

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Hong Kong, 2019

In the latter half of 2019, the streets of Hong Kong, Santiago, Barcelona, Baghdad, London, Paris, and Beirut were flooded with huge demonstrations demanding reforms or the removal of politicians.

All displayed the outward exuberance of mass revolutionary upsurges, but generally raised only demands for fair governance rather than revolutionary alterations of the countries in which they are occurring.

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Jessamine O’Connor
Pen Pals

Friends for fifteen years

and never met.

She sends letters across the Atlantic,

then the span of land from east to west

and into the front gates

to be rifled through,

security checked and sometimes rejected,

wheeled along corridors

and doors made of bars,

until reaching

his cell.

It’s always the same time

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Tom Sykes
Call of Duterte Western Reporting on the Philippines Totalitarian Drift

“One hates to see Los Angeles go up in flames unless one’s got a camera running,” joked the British anarchist comedian Peter Cook after the 1992 LA riots. A variation on this idea applies to Western state-corporate media, which seldom covers the non-Western world unless it is gripped by disaster.

This is true of the Philippines today and its vicious president, Rodrigo Duterte, whose rule is characterized by a frenzied cocktail of leftish-style populism, state authoritarianism, cynical nationalism, toxic masculinity and, most appalling of all, the government-orchestrated mass-murder of drug abusers and traffickers.

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Various Authors
Letters

Send letters to fe@fifthestate.org or Fifth Estate, POB 201016, Ferndale MI 48220

All formats accepted including typescript & handwritten.

Letters may be edited for length.

SOME RELIGION?

Your Winter 2019 issue [FE #405] is full of fine writing and provocative thinking, particularly so in the review of Godless: 150 Years of Disbelief by Peter Werbe. The final section, beginning with “Let’s devise a spiritual belief system...” is a beautiful manifesto worth sharing. I wish I’d written it!

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Fifth Estate Collective
Masthead

Fifth Estate

Radical Publishing since 1965

Vol. 55, No. 2, #406, Spring 2020 — Follows our Winter 2020 issue.

The Fifth Estate is an anti-profit, anarchist project published by a volunteer collective of friends and comrades.

No ads. No copyright. Kopimi — reprint freely

www.FIFTHESTATE.org

Fifth Estate Collective
About This Issue

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Welcome to our Spring 2020 edition. Its theme is Justice. Since the political state arose thousands of years ago and began replacing communal societies, justice has meant “Just Us.” That is, the construction of legal systems solely benefiting the top of the social pyramid designed to protect the property of the ruling class and to thwart attempts to alter the repressive power and wealth arrangements. Our writers look at the history of justice, how it is used for class rule, and what would be an equitable solution. We know it as anarchism.

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S. Flynn
Dispatch from Exarchia “Calling all comrades!”

Athens Neighborhood is Home to Anarchy

ATHENS — In February, The National Herald, a right-wing Greek newspaper based in the U.S., boasted, “Exarchia Anarchists will be Wiped Out.” For nearly fifty years, Exarchia, a neighborhood in central Athens, Greece has been an example of autonomous living.

The neighborhood, which is the site of a number of uprisings has achieved what anarchists long believed possible; a self-organized city within a city. For decades, police who entered would be immediately attacked and pushed out.

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Kim A. Broadie
Google’s Utopia: Our Nightmare SidewalkToronto—A City Redesigned

The Internet wasn’t supposed to be like this. John Perry Barlow, Internet pioneer and friend of the Grateful Dead and contributor to their very early virtual community, The Well (or Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link), wrote this in his 1996 A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace:

“Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.”

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Clayton J. Pyke
Seeing is Obeying Authoritarian Aesthetics & the Afterlife of Fascism in Neoliberal Democracy

Faces covered with white masks, carrying a banner reading “Reclaim America,” chanting re-worked Nazi slogans, and waving stylized U.S. flags, 150 members of the white nationalist Patriot Front marched through Washington D.C. in early February.

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Antifascist protesters blocking white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and fascist sympathizers from entering Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017

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