Letters to the Fifth Estate


Fifth Estate # 306, July, 1981

No Responsibility

Dear Tomega Therion,

Your article on coffee (FE, March 18, 1981) confused the evils of capitalism and of working for someone else instead of for oneself with the “evils” of coffee. The latter is merely a tool which offers people the option of changing their energy rhythms. The purpose it is used for must determine its value in that instance. However, increasing the number _ of options is, in itself, a good thing whether we use every option or not.

Your phrase -responsibility to ourselves” is a bit of mystification. It posits a “self” of which you are the spokesperson and to which we owe a “responsibility”. I am one with myself and no one can interpret to me the inner workings of my nature. I have no “responsibility” to pursue health. I have the right to choose my own goals and I do.


Fran Now
San Francisco

Humans the Enemy

Dear Fifth Estate,

This letter is in support of the Friends of Entropy, who were trashed by Lorenzo Ervin in the 3/18/81 FE. There are millions of us who hate ourselves (our actions) and civilized man in general. Our shit-pile money culture which causes us to murder dreams directly and indirectly, makes this inevitable. This hate is not sickness, but awareness and an unconscious, suppressed desire for fulfillment of childhood dreams, i.e., happiness.

That anyone can climb out of this conscious or unconscious hate and defend the existence of the more numerous non-murderous species (killing to eat = murder) is beautiful. The human race is not the alpha and omega of all life but the most murderous and destructive of living habitat of any creature on earth. On passing from hunters and gatherers (members of the soil community ) to agricultural soil parasites, the human race became the enemy of land-based life.

Dave Moore
Seattle, WA

Carl Harp Moved

Dear Fifth Estate,

Was just thinking about you all when’ the copy of your letter to the Director of Corrections about my conjugal visits arrived. Thank you for the letter. Do let me see any reply, if one arrives. Got told last Thursday that the issue of conjugal visits is moot because I am being transferred within the next couple of weeks. Was told I am going back to Washington State, but WS may only be taking me to another state. They’ve got priors on this: with other exile cases and do not like me. Outside support from all over the world has forced this out of them so let us hope I am being returned to Washington State.

Lots of new shit since my last letter only this time focused on my wife. She was working for some rich folks in Seattle but thanks to Seattle’s finest, she quit. Around where she worked a lot of break-ins were happening, so all the hired help in the area got investigated. They found out she was my wife and told her bosses who got to shit-talking, so she said stick it and quit.

Also, my wife is a member of United Families and Friends of Prisoners (Board member) in Seattle. A few weeks ago UFFP went to the Penitentiary at Walla Walla for some activities inside and she was denied entrance (along with another woman)—the reason was: suspected of being George Jackson Brigade members!

She and I have never been members of the GJB and are not now. They started this game on me in 1976 and now to fuck with me, they include her in it. She also thinks her phone is tapped by the State and/or Feds. One game after another and all because we want Justice, this pig pen country to practice what it preaches…Anyway, I’m OK and doing well and Love you all and thank you all for your support. Will let you know where I end up soon as I know.

Love and Rage,
Carl Harp

Twig Technics

Dear People,

It seems Gypsy (see Letters, FE, 3/18/81) tried to put words in my mouth. I never said all technology has to be saved. Considering Gypsy also differentiates technology, “…applied by many anarchists to capitalist technology.” “Capitalist technology has developed…”, I see little reason for me to reply.

A tractor owned by agribusiness and a Lincoln Continental are capitalist technology, but a tractor used to feed starving people isn’t. Capitalism came into being with the advent of Surplus value which came into being as a result of the domestication of animals and agriculture not that many thousand years ago. But, technology has been around probably before our distant relatives crawled out of the trees millions of years ago. When an ape uses a twig to pull termites out of a log, that twig temporarily becomes technology.

Rage & Love,

Staff Note: See first section of our article on Technology for a response.

Lawn Order

Dear Fifth Estate:

About a year and a half ago while I was living on Jefferson, I had the experience one night to j-walk across the street. An officer in his cruiser caught up to me and asked me for my driver’s license.

After looking at the name on the license he said to me, “We know all about you!” When I asked him what he meant by that he told me that the police had a special detail called the Red Squad and that my name was on a list with them.

The officer then continued with a number of abusive statements. For instance, he said that he noticed my clothes were pressed and clean and considering the type of person I was, it was strange.

It was only about three months ago that I found out what the Red Squad was. It seems that the Detroit Police have been vigorously fighting the release of these derogatory files for some time. The FBI and the police feel that it would be bad for “national security.”

The Detroit Police and the FBI know that people are going-to bring law suits. They believe they have the right to decide who gets to collect damages and who doesn’t. This is not reality.

They simply don’t want to pay what they owe. They believe they can put unbearable mental stress on people and get away with it scott free. When you add to that their “track record” which consists of torture, murder, crippling and physical disfigurement, topped off by poverty-provoking economic exploitation, one begins to wonder whether or not law and order really means hellish injustice and chaos.

Lenny Glantz

Put Masks On

Dear FE:

About Citizen’s Militia—Toward a Citizens’ Militia (See Oct. 28, 1980 FE for review. This Cienfuegos Press publication is currently out of print) is almost entirely a condensed edition of Total Resistance, a guide to partisan warfare written by Major H. von Dach Bern, an officer in the Swiss army.

Total Resistance originally appeared in 1965 by a right-wing publishing house. The ISRP/First of May Group often quote Bern’s text word-for-word, without any acknowledgment; at least they could have noted the source for readers who might want to pursue the subject in greater detail. (ISRP/FoMG are the authors of the militia booklet.)

But that aside, they have done a very good editing job on Resistance, which is itself one of the best available technical manuals on armed subversion/sabotage. Most writings on guerrilla war deal with the rural Third World; being a European, Bern was influenced by the more familiar anti-Nazi resistance of WWII and the Hungarian Revolution, and was thinking in terms of an industrialized, metropolitan environment.

Neither Citizens’ Militia nor its parent work are concerned with theory. Of course the contradictions between libertarian principles and organizational forms and the hierarchy and secrecy required „ for military operations can only be resolved in actual practice, if at all. But it is true, as the editorial collective notes, that partisan warfare really cannot-function under traditional military procedures and customs. Also, there are historical examples of armed libertarian forces who have had success or failure in dealing with this problem.

Considering the accelerating breakdown of commodity society, with the inevitable popular revolt and authoritarian reaction, this pamphlet couldn’t have come at a better time. We should begin to consider these alternatives here in the great cities of the Northern Hemisphere. Belfast now, soon London, Warsaw….

Just two points of criticism: considering their proximity to Ulster, it is surprising that the editors didn’t mention some new innovations in street fighting (i.e. acid bottles, sling shots), guerrilla war is open-ended and no final word can be said on the subject. Secondly, the pamphlet is out-sized for convenient carrying in a knapsack or back pocket.

Anyway, let’s be thankful that this useful material has been reprinted for a new readership. The moral degenerates who rule this world depend upon brute force to maintain themselves; their masks are off—let’s put ours on.

In Memory of Bobby Sands and the others,

Molly Maguire