News & Reviews

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Fifth Estate # 343, Fall-Winter, 1993

Eco-Defense, A Field Guide to Monkey Wrenching, edited by Earth First! founder Dave Foreman and Bill Haywood, is once again available.

The text, which ranks with The Anarchist Cookbook as a title reviled by the authorities, has sold 25,000 copies in its two previous editions, is banned in Australia, and, in an effort to squelch its distribution, it was a central piece in the FBI’s $3 million effort to put Foreman in jail.

Foreman’s proprietary legal attempts to stop even a xeroxed, pirate edition from being sold by EF! after leaving the group doesn’t detract from the book’s value as a field-tested guide to methods for protecting forests and the environment from the planet killers. It’s a how-to manual for decommissioning everything from bulldozers to whaling ships, closing roads, felling billboards, spiking trees and more. We hope its section on security and undercover agents has been expanded to include Foreman’s own experiences.

Eco-Defense is available from FE Books for $20 (the price jumped $6 since last printing), plus postage (see ad on this page). Bookstores can contact Abbzug Press c/o Ned Ludd Books, PO BOX 85190, Tucson AZ 85754; (602) 628-9610 or individuals can write for their catalog.

Bayou La Rose is a tabloid focusing on solidarity with the struggles of prisoners and native people, and, as founder Arthur J. Miller states in the latest issue, such publications get far less help than the “intellectual papers.” For the first time in its history, Bayou was unable to publish an issue on schedule and finally appeared in a reduced size. This meant a prisoner’s tale or the campaign for recognition of native rights went untold.

Bayou needs funds to continue its important project. Subscriptions are $7.50 a year and donations are welcome. Also available is their guide to anti-authoritarian, native, labor, prisoner and ecology publications and groups for $7.50. Write Bayou La Rose, PO BOX 5474, Tacoma WA 98415.

A method of fundraising we’ve used in Detroit in the past is one we adopted from our comrades in the Italian anarchist movement in the U.S.—the cena or dinner. Nothing more than a potluck supper which is followed by a fundraising pitch with the proceeds going to “the publications and the political victims” as they used to say to us. So, if you do one, be sure to include Bayou La Rose in your list of recipients.

Do or Die—a voice of British Earth First!, an ultra-radical, strongly feminist-influenced zine, covers Earth First! and animal rights struggles in Great Britain and around the globe. They tie these together in a non-compromising manner exemplified by their slogan on the cover, “By any means necessary.” To back this up, they feature a “Dear Nora” page about monkeywrenching tactics.

Their April/May 1993 issue contains information about the Sea Shepherd’s sinking of a Norwegian whaling boat, an article by Judi Bari about the feminization of EF!, a piece about the coalitions between EF! and indigenous people, Twyford Down action updates, and other campaigns. In the back are contacts to hook up with to get active.

For a sample copy, send 1 pound or $1 to Do or Die, c/o MSEF!, PO Box 23, 5 High St., Glastonbury, Somerset BA6 9DP, United Kingdom.

We were gratified to learn that the Russian samizdat magazine Aspirin Won’t Help has published George Bradford’s essay on the collapse of the soviet empire, “The Triumph of Capital,” in Russian. (See Spring 1992 FE, available for $1.50.) We have seen the first installment, in issue #1, which also includes pieces on the Situationist International and surrealism. Editor Mikhail Tsovma writes that radical and anarchist movements in Russia are “virtually nonexistent today. The groups that existed before ended as little sects with a couple of dogmas and very rare activities.” Tsovma thinks things are not much better now than at the beginning of perestroika, and that in fact people are “much less optimistic today. People’s attitudes to authorities are, of course, more openly hostile now but it is surely not enough to overthrow the system.”

Tsovma expresses frustration at the lack of discussions in the movement and “the inability of anarchists to propose an alternative.” Groups are dominated by leaders, publications are rare “and the same ‘party mentality’ (though it is not called so) can be found among the anarchists as among politicians,” he writes.

For these reasons and others Tsovma has founded Aspirin Won’t Help as an attempt “to start from the beginning.” The second issue of Aspirin Won’t Help has been published with continued analysis of the collapse of the Soviet state. They can be contacted at: Mikhail Tsovma, Volzhsky Blvd. 21-62, 109462 Moscow, Russia.

Tsovma is involved in the Russian Labor Review, organized to disseminate and discuss information on working class and trade union movements in the former Soviet Union. The RLR is currently looking for help in distributing their English-language journal in the U.S. and can be contacted at P.O. Box 16, Moscow 129642, Russia. He also sent us a multi-lingual publication, Mother Anarchy, containing an article on “the forgotten Russian situationists,” an interview with a Russian gay radical, “My Date with Boris Kagarlitsky,” by Laure A, and a wicked piece worthy of Paul Krassner, “Excerpts from the Diary of Martha Phillips” (the American Spartacist operative murdered in Moscow in February 1992). There are also articles respectively in Russian and Esperanto on the Mujeres Libres and individualism. Write P.O. Box 500, Moscow 107061 Russia.

Addendum to our page 10 story on new anarchist spaces opening across the country is the Beehive Autonomous Collective, 925 “U” St., NW Washington DC 20001. It will function as a community and performance space, as well as offer books, indie tapes and records, and zines.

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