Eric Laursen
Only Change is Permanent

Critical theory is a bit like pornography, as a Supreme Court justice once said when asked to define the latter: “I know it when I see it.”

Critical theory can be defined pretty loosely as well. It’s the multitude of intellectual spin-offs from Marx that began to take flight roughly a hundred years ago, at about the time that Lenin and his acolytes thought they have codified what Orthodox Marxism was, forever.

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Good-bye to the Draft?

The Selective Service Repeal Act of 2021 was introduced in Congress on April 14 with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. If this becomes law, registering for the hated draft will no longer be required.

The draft laws have always contradicted the 13th Amendment that forbids involuntary servitude. The draft laws are the worst kind, forcing citizens to do the dirty, and often criminal work of the government in its endless wars, almost all of which are based on lies.

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Bill Weinberg
Anarchy in Belarus Anti-authoritarian Voices in Uprising Against the Dictatorship

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The former Soviet republic of Belarus exploded into angry protests last August in the wake of contested presidential elections resulting in a totally implausible landslide victory for long-ruling strongman Alexander Lukashenko. Police, riot squads and army troops unleashed harsh repression, using rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades and water-hoses against demonstrators who objected to the results in the capital of Minsk and other cities.

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Steven Cline
Future Shock: 2077

The prisons? Open. The army? Disbanded. And much more, besides.

Capitalism’s debraining machines have ceased all their debraining. Capitalism’s debraining machines lay rusty kudzu covered dead gone utterly forgotten.

It’s a love sex & shamanism world now, baby, yeah it’s everywhere ya look. Here, now, in this strange and marvelous and most lackadaisical of places—we all wear masks. Cuz we’re tricksters, kiddo, cuz we’re Monkey cuz we’re Crow. The ol’ Br’er Rabbit, reincarnated. But these masks of futurekind, they aren’t like any old mask that you knew from the waybackwhen, no siree.

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Jess Flarity
She Exists Only to Please Sexbot Take-over

Love dolls. Robo-whores. Slutbots. Synthetic options. Whatever you call the life-sized Barbies made by California-based Abyss Creations and other companies around the world, these 70-lb, orifice-slotted mannequins have one primary purpose: to be the ever-obedient, surrogate sexual partners of their owners, which are almost always men.

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Kim A. Broadie
Letter from the Trenches Can Schools Teach Freedom?

The late David Graeber perhaps said it best. “Bureaucracy has become the water in which we swim.”

For over 20 years, I was embedded within the New York City Board of Education as a licensed agent authorized to deploy weapons of mass instruction. These weapons were placed in our arsenal to control, and perhaps teach, but above all avoid scenes like the following, which happened just days after I started:

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Ania Aizman
From Tolstoy to Pussy Riot Teaching the History of Anarchism at the University of Michigan

In the fall of 2019, I taught a course at the University of Michigan: “Art and Anarchism: from Tolstoy to Pussy Riot.” The curriculum at the Ann Arbor, Michigan college concentrated on Russian anarchists, historic and contemporary, and was designed to be as accessible as possible even for those students with little knowledge of art, or Russia, or history, let alone anarchism.

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Martha Ackelsberg
Then and now The Spanish Revolution of 1936

July 19 marks the 85th anniversary of the Spanish Revolution.

This seems an opportune time, then, to reflect on multiple aspects of that revolution. It began as a response to an attempted right-wing military coup against the legally-elected left-wing government, unfolded in the midst of a brutal civil war, and came to an end with the victory of fascist armies in the spring of 1939.

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Octavio Alberola
Cuba: The Economy Changes The Authoritarian State Remains the Same

The Cuban state has usually been able to keep a tight lid on protests. Generally, it only allows demonstrations that have been organized by government ministries. However, during the fall and winter of 2020–21 the dissident San Isidro Movement in Havana began publicly defying the rules by demonstrating for freedom of expression for artists. The government responded with intimidation and even arrests.

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Max Cafard
Deserving the Best The Continuing Appeal of Surrealism

a review of

Surrealism: Inside the Magnetic Fields by Penelope Rosemont. City Lights Books 2020

I used to know an amazing old working-class philosopher (an electrician) and practical utopian who had a wonderful phrase to sum up his inspired anarchism: “We deserve the best.”

“The best” means, as Penelope Rosemont shows in this book, what the surrealists call “the marvelous,” a world of beauty, joy, and goodness. “We,” means everybody, of course.

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Sunfrog (Andy “Sunfrog” Smith)
Summer on Fire In 1967, it was the Summer of Love in San Francisco. In Detroit, it was a Summer on Fire.

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a review of

Summer on Fire: A Detroit Novel by Peter Werbe. Black & Red 2021

Summer on Fire, a debut novel from long time Fifth Estate staff member, Peter Werbe, takes place during seven weeks in 1967, the year I was born, during the months I lived in my radical mama’s belly. So, I definitely need the narrator’s front seat to those tumultuous times.

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Ngu Thi Yen
A Red Country (poem)

My country’s red, long so I was told

Victories, a star glows

Flag crimson, glorious so

Vanguard leads, the people follow.

.

Red in sight, we have traded lives

Beat armies, lay siege to empires.

Red in mind, we have triumphed fights

Bathed rivals in blood and plight.

.

Why today I see but grey

...

Sean Alan Cleary
1984 Still Knocking at Our Door George Orwell’s haunting tale takes on new power in this graphic novel

a review of

1984: The Graphic Novel: George Orwell, Adapted & illustrated by Fido Nesti. HMH 2021

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It might be that everyone has something to say about George Orwell’s 1984. It’s not only a perennial favorite among curriculum builders in American high schools, but also a ubiquitous shortcut for political meaning.

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S. Laplage
A Sacco and Vanzetti Mystery with a Modern Twist

a review of

Suosso’s Lane by Robert Knox (Web-e-Pub 2016). web-e-books.com/suosso/paperback.html

During the Red Scare following World War I, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were the perfect candidates for judicial murder. Italian, immigrants, and anarchists.

They were convicted in 1921 of murdering a paymaster and a guard during an armed robbery at the Slater and Morrill Shoe Company in Braintree, Massachusetts. Although their innocence became increasingly evident, they were executed in the electric chair in 1927. Mass demonstrations protesting the trial and the verdict took place across North America and the world.

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William R. Boyer
Death Squad Thy Name is FBI

a review of

Judas and the Black Messiah

Director: Shaka King 2hr 6m (2021)

“You can kill a revolutionary, but you can’t kill a revolution.”

—Fred Hampton, 1969

But what if killing a revolutionary does kill a revolution?

—Curious Film Critic

Until recently, few high school social studies classes, let alone the general adult population, ever stumbled upon COINTELPRO, state terrorism, or Fred Hampton, the last of four prominent African American leaders assassinated during the 1960s, after Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. As the mainstream seems even less aware of our essential protest past, perhaps Hollywood has oddly begun to fill a disturbing void.

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Carrie Laben
The Booksellers of our Better Nature

New York City. March 2020, the first days of the crisis that would define the year. The words “mutual aid” began to appear where they’d not been seen before, from lamp post flyers to Reddit neighborhood forums.

Everyone from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to Britney Spears was using the expression. Loosely organized groups ran errands and made deliveries. Friends sewed masks for friends, then for friends of friends. And well before the summer’s boiling-over of righteous rage at police brutality, sustained protests attempted to hold Cuomo and the prison system accountable for leaving incarcerated at-risk people in facilities like Rikers Island, which became a hotspot for COVID.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Art in the Fifth Estate

Images that appear in our pages are separate statements on the subject addressed in an article.

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P. 29 Lars van Dooren is a Brooklyn-based artist. He is a 2020 Frederieke Sanders-Taylor Studio Projects Fund grant recipient. arsvandooren.com.

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P. 20 Carla Repice’s work investigates systems of oppression and memory, and probes the effects of racism and dehumanization on the human psyche. She has an MFA in performance art, and studied painting and feminist theory at The Lorenzo de Medici School of Art in Florence, Italy. She lives in New York City.

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Marieke Bivar
Diane di Prima (1934–2020) Beat Poet & Activist

Diane di Prima has died. Now we have no choice but to introduce her to each other, since she is no longer here to introduce herself.

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Diane Di Prima, 1960s

On paper, you could say, “she was a poet, she was a feminist, beatnik, anarchist, Buddhist.” You could list her famous friends and lovers. Promote her books, her poems, her art. But she was so many things.

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Penelope Rosemont
The Paris Commune, The Right To Be Lazy & Surrealism The People Ruled the City for Three Short Months

“Work, now? Never, never. I’m on strike.”

—Rimbaud

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune, an experiment in self-governance that is still inspiring today. It was born in response to the suffering caused by the Franco-Prussian War and the betrayals of the French central government.

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Tom Sykes
The Human Life Exchange Rate Mechanism Liberal Rights, Double Binds, the West, & the Rest

In our neoliberal societies, elites like to quantify the worth of human lives in various ways. A telling example is per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product) that determines the economic contribution each citizen makes to a nation.

Such a view gives succor to Social Darwinists and free-market right-wingers. If some lives are more valuable than others in this formulation then why should those of lower value be aided by the wider community? While few elite figures today would say things like this out loud, similar calculi tacitly inform many political decisions.

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Ernest Larsen
Prison Abolition It’s Time!

Through the uproar of the sustained near-uprisings of Covid summer 2020 against police violence and systemic racism, one could sometimes hear more radical voices. The assertion from them that everybody behind bars should be recognized as a political prisoner is no longer completely beyond consideration. If so, then it’s worth looking at how radical prisoners have conceptualized their experiences within the state’s institutionalization of punishment.

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John Clark
On Living in the World Revisiting Ursula Le Guin’s Always Coming Home

Recently, the Anarchist Political Ecology Group (the APE Group) read and discussed Ursula Le Guin’s book Always Coming Home. Though it’s a work I often go back to, this was the first time I had read it cover to cover in about thirty-five years.

I first discovered Le Guin’s work when I read The Dispossessed in the mid-1970s. The book had a huge effect on the members of the anarchist group I was in at the time, the Black Pearl Mutual Aid and Pleasure Club in New Orleans.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Why An Anarchist Review of Books?

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

This famous quote from Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities probably can be applied to any era, but which it is depends upon where you are situated at a given time.

Most of us, though, might find it difficult to locate the best at this moment as we face a pandemic, an increasing climate crisis, and a rising fascist movement among other contemporary disasters.

...

Byron López Ellington
Ode to Anarres After The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

To break off from the homeworld,

Separate and start anew,

Takes courage nigh unknowable.

Make a new language, speak it;

Choose a harsher planet, keep it;

Dispossess yourself of things

And your only home alike;

Leave the old lush rainforests

For frigid deserts, dry, starving,

Where through hardship you are free.

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Masthead

Fifth Estate

Radical Publishing since 1965

Vol. 56, No. 3, #410, Fall 2021

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

www.FifthEstate.org

No ads. No copyright. Kopimi — reprint freely

Jess Flarity
Meg Ellison’s Pinhole Camera

a review of

Big Girl by Meg Elison. PM Press 2020

While there are several excellent reprints in the newest volume on Meg Elison in the PM Press Outspoken Authors series, let’s focus on the two originals. An all-too-real dystopian short story titled “Such People in It,” and the Nebula-nominated novelette, “The Pill.”

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Marieke Bivar
Cherishing the Secret Knowledge of Fulvia Ferrari

a review of

Secolo Nuovo or The Times of Promise by Fulvia Ferrari. Detritus Books 2021

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“There are people in this world committed to spreading rebellion as far as possible. They appear amid the disaster and guide people away from the [wreckage]. They carry a secret flame that can infect entire cities with its brightness. Fulvia carried this flame along with many others, living and dead, and they passed the sacred flame to us. It’s possible Fulvia never had children. Maybe those children are us.”

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Bill Brown
When Punk Was A Threat

a review of

We’re Not Here to Entertain: Punk Rock, Ronald Reagan, and The Real Culture War of 1980s America by Kevin Mattson. Oxford University Press 2020

This book reminds us that the 1980s—in addition to being a period of reactionary politics (Reagan’s efforts to “make America great again”) and reactionary music (synthesizer-dominated pop and MTV videos)—was also the decade of hardcore punk.

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Martha Ackelsberg
Christianity Comes to Amazonia

a review of

Five Wives: A Novel by Joan Thomas. HarperCollins Publishers, Ltd. 2019

Five Wives is a compelling novel about Operation Auca, a missionary project undertaken by evangelical Protestants in Ecuador in the mid-1950s. It seamlessly mixes the story of those events with the imagined thoughts and responses of both the original participants and their children and grandchildren.

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Steven Cline
Jason Abdelhadi

Communicating Vessels Surrealism & Anarchism

a review of

Dreams of Anarchy and the Anarchy of Dreams by Ron Sakolsky; Illustrations by Rikki Ducornet. Autonomedia 2021

In Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland, the Mad-Hatter poses the famous riddle, “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?” It is not a question that has a predefined answer, but which projects itself, through a lightning-bolt of poetic analogy, into some future resolution—one that we feel pulsing like magic just outside our current field of perception.

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Fran Shor
Radical Dissent Squashed During War

a review of

Free Speech & the Suppression of Dissent During World War I by Eric T. Chester. Monthly Review Press 2021

The focus of Eric Chester’s incisive study is the clash between the state and its dissenting citizens during the time of war. While based on a fundamental belief in the absolute right of free speech, Chester’s book navigates the ways that the government of President Woodrow Wilson imperiled and suppressed free speech during World War I.

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Hazel C. Cline
Is Your Nature Revolting?

Is your nature revolting? You certainly look the type. Yes? Then you will be interested in a very special inscription found scrawled on the wall of a public toilette by some good fairy to offer us salvation in transformation: “you must get smaller.” No simple task you might say. Maybe Alice left us a crumb, you might quip. Or perhaps we can reverse time, you add incredulously. No, my cynical friend, there is another way. And I found it on a sunny Sunday walk in the park. It is simple. Just walk out on the path with a stone in one hand and a leaf in the other and think of a vine sprouting through asphalt. When that pale green light inside your aorta expands around you and the or olfactories are filled with the scent of rich earth, you are ready, and your feet will guide you to the deeply trodden path of the deer. Crouch low to pass under boughs and thick bramble till you can feel your hooves firmly beneath you. Sniff out the rabbit trails among the moss and dry leaves, straining to follow them until you can hear clearly with your long, soft ears. Search out the long line of ants and walk with them until you can taste with your antennae down in the detritus. Crawl down into the earth, ever smaller and deeper. Until you are so small you can fit inside the smallest unit of life. And there, of course, you will find and become that which...well, I can’t tell you what. Perhaps you’ll know soon enough. In any case, I must be going. I have some graffiti to write.

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Robert Knox
The Anarchist Poet of Exarcheia What We’re Gonna Do Is Read Her Poems

a review of

Now Let’s See What You’re Gonna Do: Poems 1978–2002 by Katerina Gogou; translation by A.S., forward by Jack Hirschman. fmsbw press 2021

A biographer of Katerina Gogou terms her “the anarchist poetess of Exarcheia,” the so-called “edgy alternative” Athenian neighborhood with its political murals and anarchist bookshops. I have been to Athens, once, but the tour guides never pointed us that way. So, I will take on faith a biographer’s description of Gogou, who died in 1993 by her own hand, as “Greece’s greatest anarchist poetess.”

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Bill Weinberg
Underground Asia

a review of

Underground Asia: Global Revolutionaries and the Assault on Empire by Tim Harper. Harvard University Press 2021

This dauntingly detailed book on the roots of Asia’s anti-colonial movements documents the early influence of anarchism, and how it was ultimately displaced by nationalisms of different stripes.

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Bruce Trigg
Solidarity in Plague Time Mutual Aid Against the Pandemic

a review of

Pandemic Solidarity: Mutual Aid during the Covid-19 Crisis Edited by Marina Sitrin and the Colectiva Sembrar. Pluto Press, London, 2020

Every nation state has failed miserably in preventing, controlling and managing the still raging COVID 19 pandemic. While military, police, and prison systems continue unabated in their coercive functions, hospitals, public health and social welfare systems in many parts of the world are overwhelmed and in disarray.

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Kathy E. Ferguson
A Wild and Radical Life Cut Short by Fascists

a review of

The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams (with the original text of “Lesbian Love”) by Jonathan Ned Katz. Chicago Review Press 2021

Eve Adams died in Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp, because the U.S. government could not countenance the writer of a lesbian love story (among her other transgressions) to reside in the U.S.

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Noah Johnson
Battlefields, Slaughterhouses & the Opposition to Both

a review of

Constructing Ecoterrorism: Capitalism, Speciesism & Animal Rights by John Sorensen. Fernwood Publishing 2016

Anarchist and vegetarian Leo Tolstoy stated in his essay, “What I believe,” that “as long as there are slaughterhouses, there will always be battlefields.”

The quote, though often simply taken as a condemnation of violence against both humans and non-human animals, also ties the state, capitalism, and the rights of animals together in the way many animal rights activists do today.

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Marius Mason
How Not To Defeat Ourselves

a review of

Holding Change: The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and Mediation by adrienne maree brown. AK Press 2021

Holding Change is the kind of wise resource book I wish so very badly that I had when I was free and organizing. Way too often, I witnessed the depressing cycle of a hopeful and energetic coming together of a grassroots group break down into sad, burned-out individual activists.

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Fissiparous Michalski
Architecture and Anarchism Seeing like an anarchist

a review of

Architecture and Anarchism: Building Without Authority by Paul Dobraszczyk. Paul Holberton Publishing 2021

To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. To a state, every human activity looks like it needs to be pounded into the correct, pre-planned shape. State authorities always claim their social engineering schemes will raise living standards and promote the general happiness. No surprise, their plans do not always work.

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Rich Dana (Ricardo Feral)
In the World of Digital, Print Raises A Challenge

a review of

Urgent Publishing after the Artist’s Book: Making Public Movements Toward Liberation by Paul Soulellis (Book Design: Be Oakley). GenderFail 2021

Urgent Publishing After the Artist’s Book operates as a document, a record, an archival object and a piece of art, while the book’s commentary on the arts, publishing, and social justice is expressed both through text and graphic design. It challenges the reader’s role as viewer and consumer, potential ally and an unwitting antagonist.

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Sean Alan Cleary
No Justice, No Peace Against Slavery Then; Against Racism Today

a review of

Prophet Against Slavery: Benjamin Lay, A Graphic Novel by David Lester, author and artist, with editors, Paul Buhle and Marcus Rediker. Beacon Press 2021

Sean-Michel Basquiat’s 1984 painting Created Equal might be the first time the phrase “NO JUSTICE NO PEACE” was documented in that exact language, though its sentiment was a familiar one. A decade before, Pope Paul VI declared at a World Peace Day in 1972 that for a world dealing with colonial exploitation, “If you want peace, work for justice.”

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Mike Wold
America: Not So Great

a review of

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder. Norton, 2017

Nomadland—Film 2021; Director: Chloe Zhao

In case you weren’t paying attention, the Academy Awards for best picture, best director, and best actress this year all went to Nomadland, a drama centered around Fern (Frances McDormand), a woman near retirement age, after losing her husband and her home, starts living in a van.

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Eric Laursen
No More Mushrooms

a review of

No More Mushrooms: Thoughts About Life Without Government by Kirkpatrick Sale. Autonomedia 2021

Kirkpatrick Sale has been an activist, author, and promoter of decentralism and bioregionalism for more than 50 years. No More Mushrooms stitches together material from two of his best-known books, Human Scale (1980) and Human Scale Revisited (2017), to give a quick summary of his thinking about government and the potential for creating new societies based on community, interdependence, and mutual obligation.

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Peter Werbe
The Mob, Racism & Mayhem They Call a Sport

a review of

The Bittersweet Science; Racism, Racketeering, and the Political Economy of Boxing by Gerald Horne. International Publishers 2021

Watching two men beat the crap out of each other either in the ring or in the alley has always seemed a little boring. However, not so for followers of the brutal sport, particularly in an era gone by when fans knew the names of every champion and challenger in the different divisions down to welterweights

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Thomas Martin
Catastrophic Thinking

a review of

Catastrophic Thinking: Extinction and the Value of Diversity from Darwin to the Anthropocene by David Sepkoski. University of Chicago Press 2020

Catastrophic Thinking is not an optimistic book. However, it is relentlessly realistic.

Sepkoski is a professor at the University of Illinois specializing in transnational history of biological, environmental, and information sciences in cultural context.

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Farewell Elka Schumann Co-Founder of Bread & Puppet Theater

Bread and Puppet Theater’s Elka Schumann died this past August, at the age of 85. She and her partner, Peter Schumann, co-founded the Bread and Puppet Theater, the innovative and radical theater group, in New York City in 1963.

[caption id=“attachment_23753” align=“alignright” width=“256”] The Bread and Puppet Theater’s use of giant puppets with social justice themes has inspired similar use around the world[/caption]

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Olchar E. Lindsann
Petrus Borel The 19th Century Anti-Authoritarian Lycanthrope

a review of

Champavert: Immoral Tales by Petrus Borel, trans. Brian Stableford. Borga Press, 2013 WildsidePess.com

The long-forgotten radical novel, Champavert, is the only full-length book available in English by Petrus Borel. The anti-authoritarian poet was known in 19th century French underground circles as “The Lycanthrope” (Wolfman), and was central to the creation of the cultural avant-garde as both an idea and a functioning community in that era.

...

Gareth Henry
Ten Years As An Undercover Nazi

a review of

Codename Arthur: The true story of the anti-fascist spy who identified the London nailbomber by Nick Lowles. Partisan Books 2021

Codename Arthur is both a tribute to “Arthur,” an anti-fascist spy who spent a staggering 10 years undercover in the nascent far-right British National Party (BNP) during the 1990s and 2000s, facing the constant threat of exposure.

...

Chris Clancy
Class War in Chicago

a review of

The Haymarket Affair, Chicago, 1886: The “Great Anarchist” Riot and Trial by Corrine J. Naden. Moffa Press 1968

On a rainy Tuesday night in May of 1886, a rally in Chicago’s Haymarket Square calling for an eight-hour workday turned suddenly violent when someone threw a bomb into the crowd of 200 policemen sent to break things up. The blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and four civilians. News of the incident, known as the Haymarket Bombing, sent shockwaves around the world.

...

MHB
Class War World-Wide

a review of

Workers’ Inquiry and Global Class Struggle: Strategies, Tactics, Objectives, Robert Ovetz, Editor. Pluto Press 2020

“There’s not a Hand in this town, Sir, man, woman, or child, but has one ultimate object in life. That object is, to be fed on turtle soup and venison with a gold spoon. Now, they’re not a-going—none of ‘em—ever to be fed on turtle soup and venison with a gold spoon.”

...

Robert Ovetz
Fighting Racism & the Bosses

a review of

Ben Fletcher: The Life and Times of a Black Wobbly by Peter Cole. PM Press, 2021

One of the hardest tasks for an historian of the working class is telling the story of the organizer whose greatest talent is organizing their fellow workers while remaining anonymous. If not for historian Peter Cole’s book, Ben Fletcher: The Life and Times of a Black Wobbly, Fletcher might still be unknown to us today.

...

Michael Beykirch
Native Liberation as a Path Toward Planetary Freedom

a review of

Red Nation Rising: From Bordertown Violence to Native Liberation by Nick Estes, Melanie K. Yazzie, Jennifer Nez Denetdale, and David Correia. PM Press 2021

“I can’t fucking breathe,” Zachary Bearheels (Rosebud Sioux) said before he died in Omaha, Nebraska, in 2017, where cops tased, then mounted him on the pavement, and punched his head 13 times. Murdered. In a bordertown.

...

Marieke Bivar
Breaking up Families How Medical Colonialism in Canada is Retraumatizing Indigenous People

a review of

Fighting for A Hand to Hold: Confronting Medical Colonialism against Indigenous Children in Canada by Samir Shaheen-Hussain, Foreword by Cindy Blackstock, Afterword by Katsi’tsakwas Ellen Gabriel. Mcgill-Queen’s University Press 2020

On May 30, 2021, the land surrounding a former residential school in Canada was found to contain the unidentified remains of over 200 children. Since then, nearly a thousand other children’s graves have been uncovered. A horrified hush fell over those of us willing to accept this reality. Then rage.

...

Kim A. Broadie
Mutual Aid Can Save the Planet New Edition of Kropotkin’s Classic

a review of

Mutual Aid: An Illuminated Factor of Evolution by Peter Kropotkin, Illustrated by N.O. Bonzo, Introduction by David Graeber & Andrej Grubacic, Foreword by Ruth Kinna, Preface by GATS, Afterword by Allan Antliff. PM Press/Kairos 2021

This new edition of anthropological essays by Russian naturalist and anarchist philosopher Peter Kropotkin’s 1902 Mutual Aid provides us with key insights necessary to prevent our headlong plunge into planetary suicide.

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David Sands
The Yippie lineage continues into the 21st Century

a review of

In The Time Of Job When Mischa Was a Zippie by Michele Dawn Saint Thomas (check facebook.com/msaintthomas for ordering info)

I didn’t know the Yippies were still around. As it turns out, they are still alive and well in 2021.

For those unfamiliar with the Yippies (formally the Youth International Party), they are a radical group that emerged during the 1960s that was notorious for its wild street theater, revolutionary anti-authoritarian politics, and humorous stunts like running a pig named Pigasus for president in 1968. The Zippie of the title were a Yippie faction.

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Jason Rodgers
This World We Must Leave

a review of

When We Are Human by John Zerzan. Feral House 2021

John Zerzan is a longtime advocate of anarcho-primitivism, the form of anarchism that draws inspiration from hunter-gatherer band society and expands the anarchist evaluation to a more total critique of civilization. Many of his original essays laying out this perspective first appeared in these pages in the 1970s.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Anarchist & Radical Bookstores

Annares Infoshop

422 NW 13th Ave #147

Portland OR 97209

Blackbird Bookstore/Infoshop

1431 Park Avenue

Chico CA 95928

blackbirdchico.com

Bluestockings

172 Allen Street

New York NY 10002

bluestockings.com

Bound Together Bookstore

1369 Haight St.

San Francisco CA 94117

boundtogetherbookssf.github.io

...

Ben Olson
Anarchy and Obscurity

a review of

The Brickeaters by The Residents. Feral House 2018

In The Brickeaters, the recent novel by surrealist art and music collective The Residents, a freelance reporter—named Frank Blodgett leaves Los Angeles for Clinton, Missouri to investigate the mysterious death of an elderly man, Wilmer Graves, found on the side of a road with an oxygen tank. Compelled by the potential story, Frank tries to obtain information at the local police department and meets the secretary, Patty.

...

Peter Werbe
The Coldest of All Cold Monsters

a review of

The Operating System: An Anarchist Theory of the Modern State by Eric Laursen, Foreword by Maia Ramath. AK Press 2021

Politics in the U.S. are so skewed to the right that tepid reformers such as Congressional Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC) and Senator Bernie Sanders are characterized as the radical left for advocating universal health care and free college tuition.

...

vincent a. cellucci
grounded by your country (poetry)

not since I was seventeen

have I been in a similar state of lockdown

.

back then it was

beaming home with the early light

with complete disregard for any promises

of minding a curfew or sobriety

jeep a degenerate comet

reeking of beer and weed

and I an alien approaching a staircase

where I cross paths with my captors

...

Bob Stern
Earth First! Journal 40th Anniversary Edition

Wow! I thought, look at all that color! Can it really be the Earth First! Journal? They pulled out all the stops creating this collage of Earth First! art, poetry, history and personal reminiscences of radical eco-warriors over the past 40 years!

It’s been a long while since there’s been an issue of the Journal chronicling the actions and campaigns of what the powers-that-be love to label eco-terrorism, but so many others see simply as a fight to save life on Earth!

...

Karin L. Frank
Vigilante Birth Control (a logical addendum to the Texas Heartbeat Act)

Women,

step up to your place

as bounty hunters,

claim your $10,000 reward.

Grab your knitting needles,

pinking shears and nail files.

Maim, castrate or, if need be, kill,

at your discretion, each man

who approaches you in a

manner indicating he intends to engage

any of your body parts.

Remember,

...

Sylvie Kashdan
Cuba through the eyes of Che’s grandson

a review of

33 Revolutions by Canek Sánchez Guevara, Translated by Howard Curtis. Europa Editions 2015

Les Héritiers du Che (The Heirs Of Che) by Canek Sánchez Guevara and Jorge Masetti. Presses de la Cite 2007

“The persecution of homosexuals, hippies, free thinkers, syndicalists, poets (dissidents of a sort) certainly seems in excess of what was being combated. The criminalization of being different has nothing to do with freedom. Neither does the concentration of power in the hands of a few form part of anarchist ideas, and even less so the perpetual surveillance of individuals or the prohibition of any associations that may be formed on the margins of the State.”

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Art in the Fifth Estate

We welcome submissions of art and photography. Send high resolution images to fe@fifthestate.org. The Fifth Estate is an all-volunteer project. Images that appear in our pages are separate statements on subjects addressed in articles.

P. 5 Paul Signac, “Portrait of M. Felix Feneon” 1890.

Feneon was a French art critic and anarchist who coined the term Neo-Impressionism. Signac also was an anarchist.

...

Andrei Codrescu
The best human gift is perspective

it’s also the worst

when used in circumstances calling for a closeup

or in circumstances that call for detachment

it is only a gift when it employs the appropriate distance

that minimizes pain

between the observer and the observed

.

we have a school for teaching appropriate distance

it’s called a slum a favella

...

Katerina Gogou
I Stand for Anarchy

Don’t stop me. I’m dreaming.

We’ve been through centuries of injustice.

Centuries of loneliness.

Not now—don’t stop me.

Now here forever and everywhere.

I’m dreaming of freedom.

Gorgeous unique anyone,

let’s restore harmony to the universe.

Let’s play. Knowledge is joy.

It’s not mandatory schoolwork—

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Issue Intro

Welcome!

Welcome to another issue of the Fifth Estate Anarchist Review of Books. We haven’t changed our title permanently; just letting readers know what to expect inside this edition. We also haven’t changed our belief that it is direct action in the streets and in the woods, and creating communities of resistance and rebellion that are needed so critically as conditions worsen on almost every level. We read and learn to increase our commitment in our struggles.

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Ukraine Another war, another victory for the state

As we write at the end of March, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is at full fury with deaths and destruction increasing daily. By the time you read this, the conflict will hopefully have ended. If not, any number of terrible scenarios may have taken place or are still continuing.

The best outcome will be the thwarting of Vladimir Putin’s plans by Ukrainian resistance, but also by the overthrow of the Russian president by popular forces within Russia. The consequences of a victory for the invaders would be a disaster and only come at a horrendous price.

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Masthead

Fifth Estate

Radical Publishing since 1965

Vol. 57, No. 1, #411, Spring 2022

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

www.FifthEstate.org

No ads. No copyright.

Kopimi — reprint freely

Eric Laursen
A Carnival Parade of Political Forms Exploring the possibilities of reinventing ourselves

a review of

The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2021

“In one sense,” David Graeber and David Wengrow write, “this book is simply trying to lay down foundations for a new world history” Simply?

As the title indicates, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity is an extremely ambitious, 692-page book. It’s also a bit of an anomaly in contemporary anarchist writing, which tends to shy away from Big History, with its overtones of imperial sweep and Smart White Guys explaining to everyone else How It Went Down.

...

Rich Dana (Ricardo Feral)
Impact of New Wave Science Fiction a radical re-evaluation

a review of

Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950–1985 Edited by Andrew Nette and Ian McIntyre. PM Press, 2021

In the last several years, Science Fiction, or SF as it is known among fans of the literary genre, has been the subject of several excellent critiques.

In 2018, Alec Nevalla-Lee’s Astounding: John W Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction presented an in-depth analysis of the cultural impact of pulp magazines and the purveyors of the genre’s myth of “the competent man.”

...

Simoun Magsalin
Against Revolutionary Cynicism for Anarchist Consciousness

If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him with absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Tsar.

—Mikhail Bakunin

Modern fiction is replete with stories of revolt and failure. The setting might be a brutal dictatorship, maybe it is a medieval fantasy or a cyberpunk dystopia, but the ending is similar. The usual tropes are presented: violence of policing, spy agencies and brutal military forces, all of whom perpetrate torture, disappearances and murders.

...

Megan Douglass
Drawing New Maps to the Future Parallels exist between the movement of bodies globally in the search for freedom and belonging, and the migratory nature of Black life within the borders of the U.S.

a review of

The Nation on No Map: Black Anarchism and Abolition by William C. Anderson, Saidiya Hartman (Foreword), Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin (Afterword). AK Press 2021

As a Black diasporic female academic and activist, it isn’t so easy to encounter the intersectionality of the struggles I encounter reflected in many academic or anarchist discussions.

...

Marieke Bivar
Stories and Stories and Stories of Womanhood Pandora is out of the box

a review of

All of Me: Stories of Love, Anger, and the Female Body Ed. Dani Burlison. PM Press, 2019

In this collection, women’s bodies are discussed as sites of healing, burnout, grief, joy, transformation, and growth. The essays, interviews, and other writing vary immensely in tone and style, and there is a sense that this is a place where women’s anger is being expressed freely, however the contributors choose to do so.

...

Jason Rodgers
Stashing the Tacky Little Pamphlets As more of our daily geography is occupied by a coercive media ecology, a tool to regain some ground

You might assume that a Tacky Little Pamphlet (TLP) is just another name for a mini-zine. In a way, you are correct. It usually refers to a format of a single sheet folded into eight sections, cut up the middle, and folded up like origami to form a miniature zine. However, the term includes additional meaning that expands far beyond into a form of tactical media or strategic prank.

...

Sylvie Kashdan
Disability and Creativity Revolt against the categories and stereotypes that kill the spirit

a review of

There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness by M. Leona Godin. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2021

More Than Meets the Eye: What Blindness Brings to Art by Georgina Kleege. Oxford University Press 2018

“I want freedom, the right to self expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things.”

...

Michael Desnivic
Work and the Dreamers Against It The Surrealist movement’s view on what came to be known as work in the 20th Century

a review of

Surrealist Sabotage and the War on Work by Abigail Susik. Manchester University Press, 2021

Surrealism emerged from the brutality of the trenches of the first world war that devastated Europe as an attempt to come to terms with the ruins and a rapidly changing world of new technologies and systems.

...

Michael Dunn
The Modern School Movement Anarchist educational ideas and practices offer many lessons

In the wake of the punitive No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top legislation of the Bush and Obama years, education reform has turned one hundred and eighty degrees. Today, many schools are implementing much more non-coercive practices, like restorative justice and culturally sensitive teaching.

...

Hubert Gendron-Blais
Seeing social struggles through individual characters historical research, well-crafted dramatic intensity and moments of poetry and humour

a review of

3 online plays by Norman Nawrocki, 2020–2022: “EVICTION? Dog’s Blood!!;” “Ukrainians, Pelicans & the Secret of Patterson Lake,” and “Run Nawrocki Run! Escape from Banff Prison”

[caption id=“attachment_24088” align=“alignleft” width=“300”] Norman Nawrocki in “Run Nawrocki Run! Escape from Banff Prison”[/caption]

...

Robert Knox
1916: A Fictional War before the War San Francisco labor struggles form the background

a review of

The Blast by Joseph Matthews. PM Press, 2022

The Blast, a new novel by Joseph Matthews, takes place in San Francisco in 1916, just as the United States edges its way into the general European slaughter known as World War I.

We learn that three years before the current moment, labor radicals and anarchists of various denominations agitated mightily for workers’ rights and union recognition in that thriving waterfront shipping town, but failed to make lasting progress.

...

Nick DePascal
Magma

Three sisters

Sit in judgment-

Darkly, mutely on the mesa,

Apportioned their appointed part

In the cosmic monotony.

.

A man is shot dead

On ancestral lands (now

“Ran” by the national park

service) praying to

The four directions, hand

On his chest & over

The heart. Belligerent

At the command to leave,

...

Ron Sakolsky
Precarious Dreams Defending our Imagination from hi-tech Takeover

Just as obtaining job-related income is being made more precarious every day by automation, our sleeping hours are now increasingly under siege by the forces of techno-capitalism. In order to more fully understand the growing vulnerability of our dreams to corporate manipulation, the recent phenomenon of “dream incubation”, which involves the implantation of marketable dreams in our heads, is worthy of further investigation.

...

Norman Nawrocki
An anarchist operetta set in Taiwan Peter & Emma’s Bookcafe

a review of

Peter & Emma’s Bookcafe (operetta) by Lenny Kwok, 2021

During the worldwide youth revolt in 1968, Lenny Kwok was a 13-year old Hong Kong high school student handing out radical pamphlets with his friends. He got busted, but it didn’t stop him from continuing to agitate for anarchism.

Flash forward 53 years, and Lenny is still at it. He has spent a life-time as a Hong Kong anarchist/artist/musician/singer/author, but now lives in Taiwan following repression from the Chinese government.

...

Frank H. Joyce
Another cosmic hoax Perpetrated upon us by Colonialism We live under a social contract

a review of

The Racial Contract by Charles W. Mills. Cornell University Press 1993

No, we don’t. We live under a racial contract. Calling it something else, such as a social contract is part of the racial contract’s system of concealing itself.

The late Charles Mills clarified this matter quite definitively in The Racial Contract, a 133-page book published in 1993.

...

Jess Flarity
Space is Not the Place ...and Lea’s fictional spaceship society is, essentially, totalitarian

a review of
Hermetica by Alan Lea. Detritus Books 2021

The journey of a generation ship is a classic of the science fiction genre. One that tells the story of what happens when a bunch of humans decide to leave Earth in a sub-lightspeed rocket that will take generations to reach its destination.

The lack of unlimited resources and tight living conditions enables an author to experiment with alternative organizations of society, what critic Brian Attebery refers to as a science fiction parabola. The parabola is intriguing because it is boundless despite having an origin point, as J.D. Bernal’s long essay, The World, the Flesh, and the Devil, published in 1929, is the progenitor of the generation ship as a concept. In contrast, Alan Lea’s novella Hermetica is the latest data point along the parabola’s edge.

...

Bryan Tucker
Subverting Establishment Suppression ACT UP & Explosions from the Margins: Against gentrification of the mind

The AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power—known by its acronym ACT UP—coalesced in the late 1980s with a simple motivation: the desire to live.

This group is a striking example of the influence marginalized people using radical approaches can have. The ambitious and judicious group, founded in New York City on March 12, 1987, set their initial sights on exposing neglect and falsifications about the AIDS epidemic. They demanded attention and significant action from politicians, Wall Street, and the Catholic church.

...

Steve Izma
Geography, Progress, and Its Discontents Reflections on Turner’s Beyond Geography

a review of
Beyond Geography: The Western Spirit against the Wilderness by Frederick Turner. Viking, 1980

Beyond Geography first came to my attention in the early 1980s when Fredy Perlman began his arguments in Against His-story, Against Leviathan! with an appraisal of Turner’s book. Both of these texts attracted attention from the anarchist milieu around the Fifth Estate at the time, especially for those of us trying to build an historical picture of where human society went wrong.

...

Olchar E. Lindsann
Ontological anarchy and punk-inspired zine culture Jason Rodgers’ rich discourse and presentation

a review of

Invisible Generation: Rants, Polemics, and Critical Theory Against the Planetary Work Machine by Jason Rodgers. Autonomedia, 2021

For many years, Jason Rodgers has been a motivating presence in a startlingly large number of anarchist zine projects and communities, including frequently in this magazine. Her work has been published in a great many collective contexts, but always singly and hard to find. In Invisible Generation, her diverse body of critical writing has finally been brought together.

...

Christopher Clancy
Step by Step, Ferociously Space is not the place

a review of

Space Forces: A Critical History of Life in Outer Space by Fred Scharmen. Verso, 2021

The late stand-up comedian, Bill Hicks, used to close his routines with an idea. Take all the money allocated to the U.S. military each year, he would say, and instead use it to feed and clothe and educate the poor of the world, not one person left behind, then take whatever’s left over “to explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”

...

Sunfrog (Andy “Sunfrog” Smith)
Laughter of the Sinners This anti-novel points a middle finger at any and every preconception regarding reality

a review of

Lives of the Saints by Alan Franklin. Black and Red, Detroit, 2022

Alan Franklin dropped his book, Lives of the Saints, into a world where the final years of the last century seem like a distant dream. Where our then dramatically dire descriptions of accumulated misery were actually more understated prophecies than the mere screeching wheels of an overblown cerebral car-crash on the freeway of our shared consciousness. That is to say, Chicken Little was right, and so were the angry writers at publications like Fifth Estate. As bad as we told you it was then, it is worse now

...

Sean Alan Cleary
White racist violence and Black responses Detroit, June 1943

a review of

Run Home if You Don’t Want to be Killed: The Detroit Uprising of 1943 by Rachel Marie-Crane Williams. UNC Press 2021

Rachel Marie-Crane Williams’s new graphic history examines the violence that erupted in Detroit during the summer of 1943 in 230 evocative and beautifully rendered black and white images and text. But erupted might be the wrong word to describe what has been called variously a race riot, a pogrom, or, as Williams says in her title, an uprising.

...

William Boyer
Don’t Look Sideways As a comet approaches, the masses make light of their impending demise

a review of

Don’t Look Up, Dir: Adam McKay, 2021

Planet of the Humans Dir: Jeff Gibbs 2019

“You guys. The truth is way more depressing. They are not even smart enough to be as evil as you’re giving them credit for.”

—Kate Dibiasky (fictional astronomer in Don’t Look Up)

So, what to make of an unusual film about a streaking, earth-bound comet colliding with present-day distractions? Does it shake up the entertainment cycle only to disappear like a fairly close asteroid missing our orbital self-importance?

...

Peter Werbe
How to print zines, posters, flyers, and stickers The Old Fashion Way...A reminder that printed matter was often the key to social change in earlier years

a review of

Cheap Copies! Cheap Copies! The OBSOLETE! Press Guide to DIY Hectography, Mimeography, & Spirit Duplication by Rich Dana. Obsolete Press, 2022

The first question many people have when looking at a how-to manual like this one is, why bother? What’s the motivation for doing something the hard way with antiquated techniques and materials? Scouring junk shops and the Internet for the equipment and supplies, that, in printing, have been made obsolete by the machines that produce what you’re holding in your hands—computers.

...

David Annarelli
Clancy’s novel starts with everyday work-consume terror ...then Things Take a Strange Turn

a review of

We Take Care of Our Own by Christopher Clancy. Montag Press 2021

Imagine Amazon, Walmart, Exxon, Mobil, Pepsi, Coke, Fox News, Blackwater, the AMA, and Haliburton all rolled into one messy Play Dough ball of a supraconglomerate. The only corporation.

Add the military, and you have USoFA Worldwide with its finger in every pie, in bed with everyone and everything. And, it’s leading the War on Terror around the world the way a rock band goes on tour.

...

Jason Abdelhadi
Just another rusty seismographkid Steven Cline wants to re-invent Play

a review of

AMOK by Steven Cline. Trapart Books, 2022

Alone hitchhiker sticks out his thumb on a dusty Georgia back-road. He is wearing an all-white paint suit, clutching an ambiguous briefcase. His bearded face is ornamented in haphazard colors, ghastly reds and yellows. Disturbingly, he is not wearing any shoes. Does he not know where he is headed? Maybe he just wants to go, to go out there, to go with you, to show you...What? Do you pick him up?

...

John Thackary
Like a Hitchcock thriller with smart devices Even an agoraphobe can’t be alone

a review of

Kimi, Dir: Steven Soderbergh, 2022

Director Steven Soderbergh is well-known for both prolific output (an astounding 47 films and counting) and speed of production (roughly a movie a year over the past decade). Yet his work’s quality seems not to suffer from such a pace.

On the contrary, something about its fleetness belies a fascinating realism of the outlandish. Fittingly, in Soderbergh’s latest, his third collaboration with the streaming arm of HBO, a film simply titled Kimi, a villain’s posture bumbles unceremoniously. A tech millionaire conducts a Zoom interview in his garage before a pitiable, fake bookshelf background. The manner in which these characters are painted, all through edits and camera framings, bleeds with an obscure intentionality. Form as function.

...

David Annarelli
Twenty-four and Counting Stemming the tide of Christian religious fervor

a review of

24 Reasons to Abandon Christianity: Why Christianity’s Perverted Morality Leads to Misery and Death by Charles Bufe. See Sharp Press, 2022

Charles Bufe’s jeremiad is a scathing rebuke of Christianity filled with lurid details that support the charge made in the subtitle of 24 Reasons. It traces religion’s fearmongering and fire and brimstone manipulation by faithful zealots in service to the powerful, but also chronicles its inherent dishonesty, authoritarianism, sexual morbidity, hypocrisy...,well it’s a long list.

...

Marius Mason
How a Forest Really Grows

a review of

Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard. Alfred A. Knopf, 2021

I was hanging out in the dayroom of the Federal Correctional Institution at Danbury, Conn. late last year. It was noisy with the sound of the guys playing cards and Scrabble, when a friend brought a book with an intriguing cover to the table. It was Suzanne Simard’s Finding the Mother Tree, and it jolted me back to another place and time in my life, when so much of my world was about saving the trees from destruction. Her book is full of the wisdom gleaned from decades of careful and loving observation.

...

Fifth Estate Collective
Harriet and Harry T. Moore

Marius Mason was struck by the story of these early civil rights activists and their assassination by the Ku Klux Klan. He painted this portrait (“Harriet and Harry T Moore”, 2022) using prison coffee as the main medium.

The Moores incurred the wrath of the Klan for their advocacy of voting rights in segregated Florida in the 1940s. They were both killed on Christmas night 1951 by a bomb set at their home in Mims, Florida. This followed their both being fired from teaching because of their activism.

...