News & Reviews

by

Fifth Estate # 309, June 19, 1982

Share this on... Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

An anarchist group and bookstore, Impossible Books (Suite 202, 3435 N. Sheffield Chicago, IL 60657) has been formed by a group of friends in the Chicago area. Although their resources are limited and funds low, they have initiated a newsletter and a small but growing booklist, and have put on several public forums and engaged in activities around the city. They also decided to take part as a group in the Chicago peace march on April 10 (attended by some 20,000 people) and distributed a leaflet entitled “Protest Without Illusions,” which is worth quoting here:

“Those who want to prevent nuclear war, or any war, must realize that there is but one answer to the problem: the abolition of the state and the dismantling of national armies.”

We’ve heard it all before, but the illusions of the growing disarmament movement indicate that it is necessary to repeat it. The Chicago anarchists have written, “Anything that people can contribute will be greatly appreciated. Money, furniture and office equipment are needed.” More activities and forums are being planned…

A new publication is coming out of Ann Arbor, the Street Sheet (c/o 608 Pearl Street number 1, Ypsilanti MI 48197), “a poster and newspaper aimed at presenting an Anarchist perspective on a variety of topics which we feel are, or should be, of concern to the community at large. Future issues will be forthcoming as we can afford them and as we generate enough copy to justify the effort.” The Street Sheet is free to its readers, and paid for out of the pockets of the people involved in its production. Donations and inquiries as well as articles are obviously welcome…

Left Bank Books wishes to announce that they operate a “Books to Prisoners” project in which they send any book in print in the U.S. to prisoners at cost (usually 30 to 35% off retail price) and pay all postage costs. They write, “Prisoners may order direct from us, or friends may write and arrange to have the books sent in.” Direct all mail to Left Bank Books, Box A, 92 Pike St., Seattle WA 98101.

The latest issue of the newsletter of the National No-Nukes Prison Support Collective (a support network for jailed and imprisoned anti-nuclear activists), has appeared announcing their new address: Subscriptions, donations, and information requests should be sent to Box 1812, Madison, WI 53701, and news about jailings and actions, publications and donations should be sent to Box 37, Tempe, Arizona 85281. Recent actions mentioned in the newsletter include a blockade at the Livermore Weapons Lab in California, disruption of a Rockwell International shareholder’s meeting at the Pittsburgh Hilton for Rockwell’s involvement in nuclear weapons any power work as well as the B-1 bomber; and other actions in San Francisco, Westboro, Massachusetts, Mather Air Force Base (SAC) near Sacramento, and at Nevada nuclear test sites and elsewhere. The editors of the newsletter write that they need help in both writing and production, and would like to decentralize the operation. They ask that anyone interested in working with them on it in any capacity should contact them at the Arizona address above…

Other projects which provide valuable information on nuclearism are Nukewatch, 315 W. Gorham Street, Madison WI 53703, and Don’t Waste America which produces the Lake Superior Region Nuclear Waste Update from the same address…

From Cityzens for Non-Linear Futures (P.O. Box 31638 Seattle WA 98103) comes issue number one of Patio Table (subs $5/5 issues), a folded poster-publication containing articles on the draft, Roy Lichtenstein, “Plastic Plasma Body of Blood,” Jurgen Habermas, America after Television, last summer’s riots in the U.K., and more. We quote: “‘in the gray-less eyes of the Sado-Masochistic Nation in the fathom-less death-love-cancer eyes of the Survivors and the Pigeon Clerks ‘we’ are a trillion MAGGOTZ'”….

The SRAFederation Bulletins numbers 72, 73 and 74 have appeared. Number 73 includes communications from Helsinki, Finland, Chicago, Paris, Columbia MO, a particularly interesting letter from LEAF in Denver on work with high school students and on the relationship between anarchism and the non-statist cultures of indigenous peoples. SRAF writes that “It might be a good idea if groups took the time to re-affirm their affiliation…” All correspondence except subscriptions, to FL/SRAF, P.O. Box 21071, Kalorama Station, Washington DC 20009; subs ($3/6 issues to individuals by voluntary donation or $6 to institutions) to SRAF, Box 52, Cottage Grove, Oregon 97424.

From Eugene, Oregon, we have received the Newsance, published biweekly by Eugene Black & Red (P.O. Box 254, Eugene OR 97440). The issue we received had articles on “Spont” groups in Zurich who amuse themselves by, among other things, setting loose mice in department stores. Also, “Solstice Time,” and “Your Life Is A Commercial”….

The latest issue of the Anarchist Black Dragon has appeared, beautifully done in many colors, with articles on (and by) Carl Harp, also on fascist prison guard gangs, practical schemes for outsiders, women in prison, the continuing struggles of Leonard Peltier and Standing Deer, the war on native peoples, and many other articles and discussions. Ron Reed of the Solidarity Committee announces that the next issue will return to the format of issues 1 through 7 “where it was laid out in prison and sent to an outside group to print and mail. That’s how it should be, but due to some severe repression, that job fell on us outside.” This issue is dedicated to Carl Harp, who had already written the introductory essay “The Dragon Speaks” before he was murdered by the Authorities. The Dragon will be sent by the FE to all prisoners free upon request for as long as our supply lasts. People can also write directly for info/issues to Solidarity Committee, CP2, Succ. La Cite, Montreal Quebec, Canada H2W 2M9, or to John Bosch, 253269, P.O. Box 520, Walla Walla WA 99362 USA. (Don’t mention the Dragon on the envelope to the latter.) Donations and stamps are especially appreciated, and can be sent to John Bosch…

The League for Economic Democracy (which publishes Synthesis (LED, P.O. Box 1858, San Pedro CA 90733), has made the interesting name-change to the League for Ecological Democracy, and published a couple of numbers containing articles and discussions on a broad range of subjects. Interesting articles on ecology, industrial plagues, pioneer ecologist Aldo Leopold, permaculture, and other questions are included. One article on micro-computers (in number 9) reveals a less than critical approach to this new technology and repeats the common syllogisms of decentralized autonomy based on computerized “information”-flow; and its technocratic description of a society based on “eco-units” (somehow reminiscent of the Socialist Labor Party blueprints of the industrial democracy of the future socialist society) presents a technoutopian future which leaves something to be desired. Quote: “Flowing from the local-area eco-units level [of 4,000 people] could be commune eco-units of 100 delegated eco-service representatives in 500 units serving 400,000 people each. These rotating, revocable, ecoservice representatives would be elected on the basis of their knowledge, experience and wisdom and would cooperate to service the ideas, decisions, and needs of the local area, community and citizen eco-units…” When I hear the word “service representative” I reach for my revolver. Synthesis nevertheless does contain interesting news and discussions. They are interested in publishing “reasonably brief, well-thought-out ideas and analyses as well as reports and announcements of interest in this field.” Subs are $3.25/5 issues (U.S.) and $4/5 issues (foreign)….

Recent foreign publications received include Musta Toli (Box 151, 00141 Helsinki 14, Finland), a weekly (!?) anarchist tabloid. They are interested in receiving news and publications in exchange, and plan to publish a monthly “info-leaflet” on events in Finland…

Also, from Oslo, Norway, we have received Jaap-Bulletinen (Hjelmsgt 3, Oslo 3, Norway), but we can’t understand a word of it. Does anyone speak Norwegian out there? We still have foreign language publications free upon request with book orders (or for postage) in German, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish, Greek. State the language of the publication you would like to receive…

From Australia comes Jail News, published by the Prisoners’ Action Group, “an independent organization of ex-prisoners and friends which fights for the advancement of prisoners’ rights in New South Wales. At the same time as providing support facilities for both prisoners inside the jails and those just released, the PAG attempts to focus public attention on the iniquities of the present system. It believes that the only effective means of achieving change in the jails can come from a movement organized and run by prisoners and ex-prisoners. Around this base it hopes to encourage the assistance of Prisoners’ relatives and friends, as well as those sympathetic with the PAG’s aims. The help provided by such people of good will is essential if the prisoners’ voice is to be heard.” Subs are $8 Australian, prisoners free. Write to: Jail News, PO Box 215, Glebe N.S W. 2037 Australia.

We have also received a 1982 anti-authoritarian calendar from Panic Productions (PO Box K153, Haymarket N.S.W., Sydney 2000 Australia, and a poster-flyer BUGA UP, (c/o Box 78, Wentworth Building, University of Sydney Union 2006 Australia), published by a movement of graffiti artists and troublemakers which defaces billboards (how can you deface what is already a defacement?). Their “Spring Catalog” poster reproduces photos of their detournements (mostly of tobacco and alcohol advertisements).

We have received the following announcement from the U.K.: “Women’s writings, lyrics and Poetry wanted for an anthology on nuclear holocaust by a group of politically active women attempting to use words to inspire change and resistance.” Write R. Azen, Flat 3, 29 Honeywell Rd., London SWII England…

Two fliers have come in from End of a Tether (PO Box 8368, Austin TX 78712), “Factories don’t burn themselves…they need help from you,” and “War in the High Schools”: “‘Students were told to put their hands on their desks,’ Dobbs said…The message is repression, the effect is brainwashing. From day one almost all of us have a cop riding on our backs. What class society wants to do is put the cop inside our heads…”

From “The Immensity of the Unknown” (from Praxis, Box 11075, 100 61 Stockholm 11, Sverige Sweden): “The electric light has eliminated the old conception of day and night on the human level. Reality always turns into a dream, but within the territory of the fantastically possible is found the making of DREAM TO REALITY…”

PRISON NEWS SERVICE FORMED

A prisoner news service has been formed by inmates at Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla, and has been functioning regularly despite (sometimes intense) harassment since last November. Bill Dunne, a prisoner in Walla Walla, wrote a letter to us recently in which he described the goals of the Washington State Penitentiary News Service (WPNS) as “to disseminate some real and correct information about this face of the state, counter some of the distortions and outright lies put out by the prison administration, work on changing people’s very negative conception of prisoners and develop some communication skill and inclination.” Bill continues,

“WPNS has been produced weekly since 29 November 1981, and barring administrative murder thereof, will continue. Right now, it is only semi-collective, with anyone having a good story about something happening at WSP or the other contributing prisons having access to its pages. Up ’til now, that has translated as me [William D. Dunne, 271440, P.O. Box 520, Walla Walla WA 99362] and the Purdy [Treatment Center for Women] editor Marina Chavaud (P.O. Box 17, Gig Harbor WA 98335-0017) doing most of the writing, typing and editing, but the future holds promise in that regard as in many others. Further information on the subjects covered in each number can be obtained by writing to the author or editor; we try to keep the articles in the service as brief as possible in order to cover as much in the limited space as our meager resources allow… Eventually, we hope to be able to rotate the editorship between the prisoners who contribute at each participating prison, with the WPNS becoming a collective source of reports from the prisons involved. This will facilitate skill development and give the service some security. It will also make WPNS independent of the continued presence on the ‘mainline’ of any particular individual, given the possibility of midnight bus rides and trips to the hole (though the latter didn’t stop numbers 10, 18, and 20 through 24!).

“WPNS, like all such endeavors, needs support. We try to make it available to those who Perceive a value in it but cannot pay because dissemination of the information is our primary goal. But economic reality prevents us from going as far as we’d like in that regard, expanding as an information outlet, and from making the information available free to people with a particular need to know. In fact, we will soon have to cut back if we can’t bring our operation out of the red soon. If you think it’s worth donating some money or stamps to or subscribing to (at $2.50/month—$30/year) send what you can to Washington Prison News Service, 219 First Ave. N., Suite 135, Seattle, WA 98109. Whether or not you do, we are interested in people’s thoughts on the service.”

Bill points out that the news service includes contributions from Walla Walla and Purdy, and has begun to receive information and contributions from the Washington State Reformatory, the McNiel Island Correctional Center, and the Pine Lodge Correctional Center. He notes, “Communication is often difficult for prisoners of the state, as these things sometimes move slowly.”

Obviously, the administration of the prison is not happy with prisoners creating their own forms of communication and making information on their condition available to the outside world. In January, WSP warden C.R.M. Kastama demanded to know who authorized the WPNS, labeling it inflammatory and full of distortions. In April, the WPNS “office” was raided and ransacked by a squad of special guards. According to the newsletter, “The ‘search’ was apparently on administrative command, because wing guards indicated they did not request the search, nor had they been informed that it was to take place. Many items were confiscated by the prison ‘goon squad,’ but the producers of the newsletter remained undaunted.

“The unnecessary disruption and invasion of legal privacy and unjustified confiscation are repressions to which life with big brother subjects all prisoners,” they responded to this harassment and violation of minimal human rights which they allegedly enjoy. And they have continued to publish and distribute their newsletter with news on guard brutality, on the trials and continuing harassment of such prisoners as Jimi “Dexter” Simmons, the misuse of prison funds by the administration, and other subjects of importance to the prisoners and to those on the outside who are concerned about their safety and their welfare.

Letters of inquiry, support, and criticism, as well as donations, are welcome at any of the addresses listed above, but correspondence to prisoners should, as always, omit mention of the newsletter on the envelope to facilitate its getting through to them.

Other news regarding prison support work is not so positive. We recently received a letter announcing the demise of the prisoner support group HAPOTOC after the loss of several members over the last two years and especially after the death of one of its most active people, Aus Greidanus. The correspondents write, “Those among you who have been with us for all these years know what we are about, that helps but it still hurts. And for all that we have shared together, we ask you DON’T GIVE UP! Join another group who works a similar way! STAY ACTIVE! Do whatever has to be done. Keep the lines open with the brothers and sisters behind the walls. Don’t let them down. We too will remain active, we’ll write with and for prisoners as always and will stand up against nuclear insanity, as always…For us the question remains though: why didn’t more people join us? Perhaps because success will come only in the long run, if it comes at all. It is very frustrating work at times, maybe that’s why so many people shrink back from it…But we thought it was necessary and hopefully one of You will see that too and start or continue with the work.” They want to keep in contact with other activists and can be reached c/o PO Box 22523, Fazantenhof, Amsterdam, Holland, or c/o Box 10638, Amsterdam, Holland. The-work of HAPOTOC will certainly be missed.

—P. Solis

Share this on... Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail