Fifth Estate # 266, September, 1975

Dear FE Readers:

Well, here we are with issue no. 2 from the new staff and only two letters–one a form letter that went out to all the left press. We can only conclude one of several things from the lack of reader response: a) all of you agree with everything we say and there is nothing to comment on; b) you don’t agree with anything we say, but are too disgusted to bother with a response; or c) you just don’t give a shit about anything we say and are doing something else. In any event, we would like your comments and criticisms of what is being said in the paper and welcome your letters.

No Rolling Stone

Brothers and Sisters,

We wholeheartedly support your killing off the old Fifth Estate. We were not interested in reading the Detroit version of Rolling Stone, but are anxious to read your analysis of the working class struggle in Detroit. Include us as subscribers once again.

Sarah Hogg


To the Fifth Estate:

Recently Doubleday released a book by Susan Stern entitled, ‘With the Weathermen.’ On the eve of Stern’s cross-country tour to promote the book, many women in Seattle feel it necessary to say how we feel about this self-indulgent piece of trash.

Subtitled, ‘The Personal Journal of a Revolutionary Woman’, the book talks about Susan Stern in the antiwar movement, Susan Stern in SDS, Susan Stern in the Weather Bureau. How she used the movement to build her ego.

As she says about the beginning of the Seattle Seven Conspiracy trial, “Suddenly I was someone. I knew I was someone because there were so many people hanging around me… to get some of the glow from the limelight.”

This was the real reason she was in the movement–along with a way to score drugs and sex-and her ego inflation is also the reason she wrote this book. The book shows no real political understanding or commitment.

For one thing, Susan Stern was so interested in getting laid she ignored all the women who were working hard for their own liberation and in the anti-war struggles. She rarely talked to women at meetings unless they were with a man she was interested in.

All of us are trashed by the image she projects in the book, as if we are all like that. In addition in making us feel used and put down, she has endangered our sisters and brothers in the underground by her irresponsibility.

Any information about these folks can be used by the FBI against them. Details about who did what in any demonstration are potentially dangerous.

The book reinforces Establishment images of the movement as middle-class neurotic boys and girls playing games with sex, drugs and revolution.

We were assured we would “grow out of it.” And she has; she has gone right back to the exploitive capitalist security ethic, implying that those of us who are serious about change are immature.

People who are serious about change work for their own conscious reasons and politics.

Susan Stern portrays us as weak-willed women led astray by foxy, fast talking men. We have enough garbage to deal with from the pigs without having to answer this bullshit from our supposed sister. Mistakes have been made in the course of our revolution but some of us try to learn from them.

Turning to the capitalist press to broadcast these mistakes is not the answer to the problem. It can only hinder, not help.

We learn by discussing them with each other. People talked to Susan Stern before she published this book, urging her not to do it and explaining the politics of the situation. She ignored them.

We have written her explaining how we feel about her writing. If this book was really written to help each other grow, Doubleday would never have printed it.

Stern says she wrote it because it was an essential page of history. It seems that in reality it was just another rung in Stern’s climb to status.

The Mother Jones Brigade
Seattle, Washington