Letters to the Fifth Estate


Fifth Estate # 279, December, 1976

Solitary for T-Shirt

Greetings Comrades:

I thought I’d forward some news about authority inside prison….

I did 30 days in solitary for wearing a “Fuck Authority” tee shirt! They went nutty behind it. I’ve found out that one can fuck ANYTHING of theirs, but if one fucks with their authority they put you in the BOX! What ever happened to the First Amendment???????

George Orwell, if you can hear me, Animal Farm is not fiction; it’s a reality here at XXXXX Prison.

Love, Life, Liberty & FREEDOM,

Name and prison withheld

More on Spain

S.C. continues the discussion begun by the publication in the July FE of an article on the Spanish Revolution (Self-management and the Spanish Revolution, Issue 274) and the forms of worker self-management established during that period.

Dear Comrades:

Ted Lopez, for Tampa Narcissus, has it (See Letters, FE Oct. 1976) that I “pleaded” (!) that there was no bureaucracy in the CNT, but does not disprove this by saying that the entry into the government by what he calls the “CNT-FAI intelligentsia” was taken “without public debate and rubber-stamped at plenum meetings after the fact.” Quite so; this happens in the absence of bureaucracy when one has a personality cult. Not all faults stem from bureaucracy and lack of it also has problems—though people taking an academic approach, like Lopez, invariably tinged with university Trotskyism, think that what is the problem in Russia must be so everywhere.

He strains at abusive terms—to say there was no bureaucracy is “formally” (i.e. practically) untrue. Did these people come from a bureaucracy within the unions or not (CNT)? Clearly they did not if Lopez has to describe them as “intellectuals” (Russian experience again!) and certainly it is hard to put this label, say, on Garcia Oliver, though it might well apply to Federica Montseny.

None of these, or others like them, had any union standing. They were invited into the Government as “well-known libertarians.” They were not permanent union representatives (which is the only meaning of bureaucracy in this context) or elected permanent representatives.

This has arisen since in the exile movement based in Toulouse, but had nothing to do with the CNT itself which was based on factory, workshop and local committees and had no bureaucracy. That people from it entered the government bureaucracy is quite another matter.

One such former militant is Augustin Souchy, in no way representative of the movement either in Germany or Spain and least of all today, who, by virtue of the personality cult certainly entered the bureaucracy, but in no way coming from the workers’ organizations. Yet Tampa Narcissus, who put on such an air of detached ultra-ism, having the choice of inviting any number of active militants and resistance fighters to the U.S.A. to speak, who could have spoken for the guts of the CNT, chose Souchy rather than a dozen of other English speaking militants whom … I could enumerate from my own knowledge of Spain. Strange.

They might have learned that the academic difference they make between a anarcho-syndicalism, libertarian communism and workers’ councils, means absolutely nothing—even if they hadn’t been galvanized into activity.


Looking Back

Dear Fifth Estate:

I had to smile last night and sit back and look at the years that have gone by. You know, I look back to the early ’70s and remember reading the Fifth Estate.

Here it is ’76 and last night I received your April 1976 edition. The years seem to have been good to you there. I guess it comes from growing together.

I’ve been in contact with a person from Black Market Books who sent this issue of the Fifth Estate to me along with some lit on anarchism. You have become pretty popular and it sort of gave me a little joy to know that you survived all of the changes that the ’70s have gone through.

Besides saying Hi!, I want to know if I could put in a plea for help. I am now in the process of working on an appeal of a conviction I got a couple of years ago and any support would be a lot of help.


Randy K. Mulford
Box 779 – 127163
Marquette MI 49855