About this Issue


Fifth Estate # 293-294, August 21, 1978

The question of what constitutes revolutionary activity is raised again on these pages in two articles; 1) an in-depth analysis of the Italian situation and 2) a review of a book on anarchism in the U.S. Claudio Albertani explodes the mystification surrounding the militancy of the autonomous groups and the fetish of armed struggle held by organizations such as the Red Brigades. The article by Marcus Graham, a long time friend of the Fifth Estate, raises the question in a more subtle way (see FE #293-294, August 21, 1978, page 14). We have had his manuscript for several months, but had declined to print it due to a staff disagreement over his usage of the terms “anarchist” and “anarchism.”

In a recent letter to Marcus, we stated that none of us on the staff consider ourselves “‘anarchists’ nor the Fifth Estate as an ‘anarchist’ newspaper, though obviously our ideas owe enormously to anarchists and anarchism…

“The mere idea of an ‘ism’ implies for us the subordination of the individual to a body of principles, to an ideology, and all ideologies are reductionist, even those which appear to be liberatory.”

Marcus responded, “There is, I think, an ‘ism’ in every sphere of thinking that the human mind encompasses,” and although not convinced, we feel the review contains interesting and informative material. We have printed it as part of our ongoing discussion about the definitions of our lives and our activity. We invite you to join in.