Fifth Estate # 267, November, 1975

Letters to Fifth Estate



You are to be commended for surviving despite the premature reports of your publication’s demise coupled with the other difficulties the Fifth Estate has faced recently.

I was greatly pleased to find your September issue on the newsstands. What a great issue. Your politics are a breath of fresh, fresh air–especially when compared to the drivel in The Sun and the so-called Michigan Free Press.

Your parody of The Sun was excellent. Only the Fifth Estate could fully deal with Sinclair and his crew. Well done. I wish you continued success.

Frank Fox


To my friends of the FE collective,

Greatly enjoyed reading the September issue of the new FE. Very informative and well organized, particularly got into the three approaches to current trends in capitalism–in Portugal, the “Internationalism” reprint and “Capital, Stage Two.”

The reality that capital has a gluttony all its own, outside the fat folds of the bulging bureaucracy, is increasingly evident. As it feeds off politically unstable countries throughout the world, as it feeds off the misshapen fears of the left against the right, and as it ulcerates itself in self-indulgence, capital, as is its nature, only perpetuates its own hunger to exploit.

Since I’ve relocated in San Francisco, I’ve viewed distressingly the concentration of “hip” capital–the endless chain of turquoise-laden, valium dosed leather and bead pushers who live off tourists, groupies, but mostly each other. From my first impressions I’m sad to witness Bay inhabitants generally identifying their world through their sexual and drug habits primarily. And as you know, the Bay Guardian, Berkeley Barb, etc., support these limits.

I strongly agree with the concluding sentence of your article on Portugal: “the need for information is critical,” but in a broader sense than their struggle.

For that reason it’s encouraging to see you people coming through with some of the goals you talked about for so long–a newspaper free from commercial advertising that examines some pertinent questions, a bookstore and an active office for meeting, and organization as I’m told. If I can be of any assistance from out here, let me know.

Your sister and former staffer,

San Francisco


Fifth Estate People,

I really appreciate each new issue of the FE. It is undoubtedly the best paper around, both in terms of content, and graphics, color work, and layout.

Many people on the staff of “Free For All” (where I work) cite the FE as an example of “sectarianism” destroying a readership and want to avoid what they think happened to you. I dig you now more than ever, but I wonder how many people now read the paper?

“Free For All” is a blend of liberalism, old style anarchism and a bit of the new. I feel somewhat isolated. FFA does have a large readership, but as most papers, it is caught by finance. People have been talking about getting more ad money and about paying people to work on the paper “so people don’t get burned out” (by having outside jobs too).

I am against paying anyone or feeling so dominated by ads. But the alternative of charging for the paper would cut down those who take it to 1/4 of the present circulation. It seems nothing is acceptable.

Do you feel your new form to be more effective in communicating with people? FFA aims to be a “community” paper and sees overall incoherence as a positive thing. I don’t know.

Recently we organized a meeting of libertarian socialists and anarchists. 25 people came together and we are starting to get to know each other, working on potential projects and getting a study group going. For the time being we are calling ourselves Madison Black & Red.

Of interest is a co-op conference here next month. The co-ops are increasingly becoming closer to anarchism, this conference being called “There’s no government like no government.”

Yours for generalized self-management,

Madison, Wis.

Staff note: Thanks for the report on Madison activity. Our circulation is reported elsewhere in the paper.

FE Full of Shit

To the Fifth Estate:

The “new” staff is full of shit. In your first issue you damned the “old” staff for what they had done to the paper. You burned the bridges behind you and announced a new format–sweeping reforms–a more revolutionary stand. How did you try to accomplish this goal?

The cover story of your second issue is the same time-honored garbage about how Big Bad Bell is leaning on the Fifth Estate. Inside we learn that “the cur-56,n; staff” accomplished what the old staff couldn’t–they stayed the giant.

How can you decry your predecessors while at the same time resting on the laurels of their past accomplishments (i.e. “How to Cheat Ma Bell”)? Why should anyone celebrate the 10th anniversary of a paper that has only published two issues?

As for your more revolutionary stand–the political differences between the “old” and “new” Fifth Estate are as drastic as the editorial differences between the News and the Free Press. Need I explain further?

All that I am trying to say is that I think the Fifth Estate should drop its holier than thou attitude. It is unearned.

Thomas Dow Martin

A Suggestion

Dear Friends:

We received the last issue of the Fifth Estate and are happy to see it alive and well. We felt that the capitalist principle of “bigger” implying “better” would not succeed in a project like the Fifth Estate.

The Fifth Estate’s venture as a capitalist (counterculture) publication can possibly be considered a process of development that many of us have gone through in realizing that adaptation to the existing socio-economic political structure or attempt at reform are meaningless, since the mode of production and essential social values are not changed.

Our main suggestion to you is that we hope the Fifth Estate will continue to subscribe to the alternative press services in order to provide us with informative pieces which were a very strong asset of the publication in the past.

These bits of information we were not able to read in the capitalist press.

A good example of this were the stories carried by the Fifth Estate regarding the effect of aerosol sprays on the ozone layer of the earth’s atmosphere.


Oksana & Bohdan Futala
Carlsbad, California

Doin’ It Right

Dear F.E.:

I have been peering through the Ammunition Books catalog for Sept./Oct. 1975 and noticed that you carry Carlos Marighella’s Mini-Manual for the Urban Guerrilla.

I have read the booklet and object to you describing it as a “How to do it book.” In actuality it is nothing more than a crudely translated, tactical treatise on the employment of unconventional forces in built up and fortified terrain.

If you and your readers want to really learn the technical aspects of Fucking the Rich as well as eating them, may I suggest The Poor Man’s James Bond by Kurt Saxon and the Improvised Munitions Manual by the U.S. Army, both available from Hillcrest Publication, Box 395, McDonald OH 44437.

Saxon is a right-winger, but his book ($7.95) would be most useful to crazed RED, nun-rapers and pig-fuckers as well. It includes chapters on blowing up cars, homemade silencers, how to make impact ignition fire bombs, etc.

The recipes for explosives in the military manual are as dastardly and as deadly as only the U.S. Army could design them.

Make Love and War,

Rufus R. Reptile,
Chairman of the Highly Perturbed Motor City Unemployed Workers Bi-Centennial Festivities “Planning” Committee