News & Reviews


Fifth Estate # 322, Winter-Spring, 1986

We always enjoy receiving the North Country Anvil in the mail. Despite serious differences in outlook that we have with its editors, we never fail to find articles and letter exchanges in this “handcrafted” journal that strike a chord. We had the pleasure of meeting Pauline Redmond and Jack Miller, Anvil editors, a few years back when they came to see us during a family visit to Detroit, and we’ve seen pictures of their region and been told firsthand stories of the communities spread across the north country of Minnesota who read and contribute to the Anvil. But we get the same sense of place and attachment to the land from the magazine.

The Anvil reveals once again that the growing refusal of technology is far from being a FE “line,” as our own critics would have it, but is actually a discourse filtering through many regions and many types of communities. In recent issues of their publication, a heady controversy about technology has been going on in response to Miller’s article “Technology as Possession,” in which he discusses technology as a system which “is becoming our primary reality, both in the world around us and in our inner lives.” A storm of debate reminiscent of exchanges in this paper followed, and number 50 (September 1985) contains a larger forum on technology and science. Now Miller has taken on work in his column “Hammering It Out.”

We obviously have many disagreements with-much of what we read in the Anvil, in particular Miller’s espousal of what he calls his “own tradition,” christianity, in his discussions on technology and work. We’d like to see the Anvil explore the intimate relationship between the Christian desacralization and disenchantment of the world and nature and the connections between christian civilization, conquest of the animist world, and the emergence of industrial capital. Hopefully they will as they go on unearthing a critique of the technological civilization they, like we, see as the enemy.

Their project reveals once more that more and more people are turning away from industrialism, that such discoveries aren’t the eccentricities of anarchist “sectarians,” as some of those with their heads still buried in the sands of the nineteenth century claim, but are the growing vision which flows directly from the American experience. They share with many others that vision, in Miller’s words, “which asserts that to deal with the destructiveness of the modern world, we must reestablish the primacy of spiritual values over the predominant material values of power and profit; that we must restore the sacred dignity of human beings, of creatures and of the earth in all its forms; that we must recreate human community; that we must both resist the existing system and work for the creation of a new society; that we must piece together into a new whole the fragmented pieces of our personal and social lives.” North Country Anvil, published quarterly, from Box 37, Millville, Minnesota 55957, $8.50/4 issues.

From Mendocino County, California, comes Lookout!, which reports that U.S. military forces “are prepared to make an all-out attack on the entire world.” Interesting commentary on Mendocino and San Francisco, and more. Dares to ask, “What’s so attractive about 40 acres of metal grape stakes, unless of course you’ve got a yuppie impaled on the end of each?” Write to Lookout!, PO Box 1000, Laytonville CA 95454.

From M. Spiegel in Seattle, we’ve received two booklets on the abuse and torture of animals. Meat is Murder deals with various aspects of our carnivorous society: the staggering contradictions apparent in economically starved Central American countries caught up in the monopoly of meat production for export to the insatiable U.S., the noxious and unhealthy results of eating “factory” meat and drinking “factory” milk, and the positive and healthy alternatives in vegetarianism.

Feminism and Animal Rights is a compilation of essays by various women focusing on the connection between the torture, manipulation, and objectification of animals and women in modern society. Aviva Cantor’s article, “The Club, the Yoke and the Leash” begins by poignantly linking oppression and patriarchy: “Nowhere is patriarchy’s iron fist as naked as in the oppression of animals which serves as the model and training ground for all forms of oppression.”

Susan Griffin’s “Cows” celebrates women’s intimate relation to the natural world. Ingrid Newkirk’s “Animal Rights and the Feminist Connection” criticizes women (especially feminists), as well as men, for being complicit in oppression and exploitation through their unquestioned dependence on the meat industry.

Both booklets are available for $1.50 each from M. Spiegel, PO Box 10469, Seattle WA 98101.

Instead of A Magazine’s Summer 1985 issue contains interesting material on the cop massacre of MOVE in Philadelphia last spring, and an article discussing the relationship between Taoism and anarchy. They have also reprinted the Lysander Spooner pamphlet Revolution: The Only Remedy for the Oppressed Classes of Ireland, England and Other Parts of the British Empire (written in 1880), and the essay Ireland: A Beleaguered Personal Statement, written anonymously in August, 1985. The pamphlets are $1.00 and 15 cents (minimum 5) post-paid, and along with the magazine, can be obtained from the Lysander Spooner Society, P.O. Box 433, Willimantic CT 06226.

Let’s mince no words. Fred Woodworth, editor of The Match!, owes Vancouver’s Open Road newspaper a public apology. Fred’s cranky brand of traditionalist, authoritarian anarchism is almost legendary, but when his intolerance of other views stretches to labeling those whom he disagrees with as police agents, he has gone too far. In his latest issue, he states that OR is so expensively produced “that the actual source of funds cannot for a single instant be in doubt.”

Fred surely knows that if anything has historically been the work of agents, it has been the sowing of suspicion and disharmony within a movement. We know, in part, where OR gets its money: our circle in Detroit has sent them donations several times after our periodic fund-raising picnics. Fred, you have smeared good comrades with an unfair and lying charge: now, apologize and set the record straight.

All of this takes place, by the way, in Fred’s self-serving review of a comedic parody of anarchist dogmatism, Chaz Bufe’s hysterical and slanderous Listen Anarchist. Chaz has an axe to grind against the FE for our past polemics, and this pathetic diatribe demonstrates how tiny his axe actually is. We and others are accused of “marginalization,” obscurantism, mysticism, deliberate falsification and lying to the point where if it wasn’t for us, anarchism would be flourishing in America. Woodworth claims that this pamphlet “is sure to be…bitterly hated, fought over and denounced” because of (he implies) Bufe’s honesty—here Woodworth has implicated himself in Bufe’s lies and should know better. While we got a good laugh from Bufe’s dishonesty and his old testament sermonizing about the true path of @ righteousness, others closer to the rat scene that produced the screed don’t consider it quite so funny, and have responded.

Turning a Deaf Ear, from some folks at Bound Together Books, can be obtained from BTB, 1369 Haight St., SF CA 94117. Feral Ranter has also produced a thoughtful and devastating critique, Anarchy Vs. Anarchism, available from him at Box 75, Newport OR 97365. Much of Bufe’s resentment against the FE came out of a polemic George Bradford of the FE had with the Match!, and is available upon request from us here free of charge. F. Ranter and BTB folks ask that contributions for mailing costs be sent with request for their pamphlets if possible. As for Woodworth’s latest stupidities against what he calls “leftist/primitivists” and his arrogant, priggish reaction to shamanistic practices such as the native American Sun Dance, space compels us to wait until a future issue to respond in this column.

By the way, The Match! reported almost gleefully in the same article on the alleged demise of Open Road, but we are pleased to announce receipt of OR’s Spring 1986 edition.

It’s not that we have no differences with the Canadian paper. Their uncritical support of urban guerrillas, including marxist-leninist groups and their failure to recognize the dead-end of trade unionism and wars of national liberation makes us wince at times. Still, their unswerving support of native peoples and prisoners struggles and their world-wide coverage of anarchist news is why, despite differences, we have supported them and continue to read their publication.

Meanwhile, some people around Bound Together Books have published the first issue of Rabies, which while not limiting itself to local terrain, lays bare many of the events surrounding the feud between Bob Black and Processed World—leaving little doubt as to the authoritarian manipulations of that marxist gang to defame all those who would disagree with its machinations as “rabid” sectarians, “dangerous psychopaths,” etc. It’s not a pretty story, but it needed to be told, particularly by those other than PW and Black who witnessed it all. We are grateful for their efforts here to clear the air of deception-and intimidation. Write Rabies, c/o Mystopia, PO Box 410151, SF CA 94141151. Donations appreciated.

Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, has published number 9, with an exchange on anarchy and cooperation. Write to CAL, PO Box 380, Columbia MO 65205.