News & Reviews


Fifth Estate # 323, Summer, 1986

A little belatedly we have received The Alternative Press Annual, for 1983 and 1984 published by Temple Univ. Press, Broad & Oxford streets, Philadelphia PA 19122, both of which contain articles by Fifth Estate writers. The 1983 edition has E.B. Maple’s article “The Pain of America and the Tylenol Killings” (FE Winter 1982-3) and the 1984 volume (the most interesting to date) features Lynne Clive’s “Newspeak and the Impoverishment of Language” (FE #315, Winter 1984) as the lead article. Publication price is a whopping $34.95 meaning it was published primarily with library reference sections in mind, where it might be a good place to read it.

Jailed for Peace: The History of American Law Violators, 1658-1985 by Stephen M. Kohn describes the history of resistance to military conscription from colonial times through to the present. It documents, from the beginning of the European occupation of this continent, how men fought being used by the state against their will. Another expensive one: $29.95 for 166 pages from Greenwood Press, 88 Post Road West, Box 5007, Westport, CT 06881—but they note, “review copies to journals and newsletters on request.”

Errata: In our Haymarket article “Who Threw the Bomb?” (FE #322, Winter/Spring, 1986) the correct spelling for the governor who pardoned the jailed anarchists is Altgeld, and the pardon took place in 1893.

Tuli Kupferberg has sent us In Media’s Feces, a collection of his recent wacky cartoons, collages and songs which hilariously lance the media’s pretentions of “objectivity.” His minimalist, almost child-like drawings look more like wall graffiti than what normally passes for cartooning, but Tuli, since his days with the Fugs rock band, has never let formal standards of excellence stand in the way of expression. The confidence with which he draws and his satirical wit combine into an appealing “primitive” style for his attacks on the foibles of government and its media. Available for $1 from Vanity Press, 160 Sixth Ave, N.Y. 10013.

A prisoner correspondent of the Fifth Estate, who writes under the nom de guerre of E.X. Boozhie (taken from an FE Bill Griffith cartoon) has published The Outlaw’s Bible: How to Evade the System Using Constitutional Strategy. It gives essential advice to the potential lawbreaker on what to expect from the cops and courts upon his/her transgression and what can be done to minimize the risk of getting busted. Available from Loompanics Unlimited, Box 1197, Port Townsend, WA 93868, for $11.95. By the way, from the address change we recently received it looks as though E.X. has been released from prison. Now we can see how his own advice works.

Loompanics, the above mentioned publisher, is a story in itself. Its 175-page catalog contains a wide range of right-wing, survivalist and how-to-kill manuals mixed in with a growing number of anarchist titles and even includes an essay by loose-cannon Bob Black. Although it appears that its appeal is to rebels toward the right end of the spectrum, it may be that Loompanics editor Michael Hoy is beginning to see the spectrum as increasingly irrelevant_

Search for articles and ideas. We are planning to produce a special issue on trees and forests, and seek articles, excerpts and graphics concerning trees in all their ecological and mythopoetic dimensions. All correspondence will be answered, all ideas seriously considered. Send to The Fifth Estate, Box 02548, Detroit MI 48202 USA.

Nuisance, in French, means a harmful thing—not necessarily trivial. The quarterly periodical, Encyclopedie des Nuisances, sets out to examine the all-too-numerous painful aspects of contemporary Western society.

Issue Number 2, dated February 1985, is devoted to the “History de Dix Ans.” The history begins with May ’68 in France; the “ten years” are counted from the revolution in Portugal in 1974. Spanish and Italian social upheavals are subsequently discussed and the history concludes with the aborted revolution in Poland in the ’80s. “The Polish proletariat’s most glorious victory was to have restored to our lifetime the freshness of the revolutionary project for a classless society, thereby refreshing everyone’s historic memory while exercising its own (which, since 1965, it had never lost).” (p. 42)

The authors, who remain anonymous, extol the autonomous actions of the proletariat; they also insist on the need for a coherent theoretical analysis: “When the unifying force brought into action by ‘the real movement which dissolves existing conditions’ disappears from social life, then the need for a unified critical theory reappears.” (p. 43)

Issue Number 4, dated August 1985, contains a critique of the leftist Paris newspaper Liberation, an essay on the transformation of quantification and measurement from exciting new techniques into the all-pervasive bonds they have become. “In these times when everyone’s spirit daily has to endure the torture imposed by the business economy’s separated, mechanized and automated quantification within the substitute environment which it has erected, its absurdities make it clear that measure and its instruments are definitely historical objects determined by a scale of values and a human project….The commercial measurement of the world and the retention of all the inhuman proportions of the economy lead directly to the destruction of values which were the basis of an earlier development and to the abandonment of all human projects worthy of the name. Once God became a useless hypothesis, the place from which he was ejected has never been occupied by humanity’s conscious activity; rather, it has been invaded by material and intellectual instruments of a knowledge which can continue to pass itself off as objective only by restricting and impoverishing what is real.” (pp. 72-73)

The final essay in Issue Four deals with the ruling class’s attempts to rationalize the city. Here is the introduction to this essay: “The cry, ‘A bas!’ [‘Down with…!] expresses the antagonistic feelings central to all revolutionary endeavors which always begin by articulating what is no longer wanted. Such feelings clearly motivate this Encyclopedie. However, the urge to destroy what exists, to be finished with the intolerable weight of history can lend support to measures undertaken by the ruling class which is eager to obliterate all traces of its origins in order to postpone its demise. Thus, the ruling class is attempting to destroy the European city in order to make a tabula rasa out of the memories recorded there, memories which allow inhabitants to remain in touch with another epoch’s efforts—evidence of a consciousness, sensitivity and competence which are admittedly frozen, but richer than the poverty-stricken ersatz which contemporary society is imposing on us.” (P. 77)

Encyclopedie des Nuisances, B.P. 188, 75665 Paris Cedex 14, France. Annual subscription of four issues of 100 francs.

Another publication which is more or less uncategorizable is The Voice of Zewam, which declares that “as the task of inquiry into the life of Zewam Amola proceeds, the affinities linking Zewambulism to surrealism are becoming increasingly evident…Both take an uncompromising attitude to the integrity of the individual and the ‘convulsive beauty’ of the dream state. Both harbor deep distrust of authority and its soul-withering, regimental, ratiocinative, utilitarian impulses. Both encourage and esteem nonconformity as a weapon to thwart these impulses…” According to the newsletter, Zewam Amola (1895-1957) was a native weaver and visionary poet from Labrador whose work prompted Andre Breton to write in 1938, “I derived an almost tangible satisfaction from the recognition of the surreal undercurrent that flows through your poems: your rivers pulsate with the power of your imagination; your porcelain skies glaze my eyes with their hallucinatory beauty…Such is the power of your verse that I fear my own poetry will never be the same again…” Write PO Box 196, Dobbs Ferry NY 10522 USA.

Another publication which has come our way is the Graffiti Times, containing interviews with graffitists from Chile and El Salvador. “The walls belong to the people, and we have every right to paint them, to do with them what we want because they are ours,” says the Salvadoran, for whom graffiting walls could bring an instantaneous death sentence. The publishers tell us in a letter, “We see graffiti as a free expression and we write about it in all its social, political, cultural and artistic forms.” They want info on graffiti from other areas. Write I.G.T., Box 299, Prince St. Station, NYC NY 10012.

The Nuclear Resister, which is published to support jailed and imprisoned anti-nuclear activists, has moved. They can now be contacted at P.O. Box 1503, Ukiah, CA 95482. Contains much info on anti-nuke direct action, for example that of Tom Hastings of Wisconsin, involved in work against the Navy’s installation of the Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) communications grid in Wisconsin and Michigan’s upper peninsula. Hastings decided to commit an act of direct disarmament when he read of the 8 to 18 year sentences handed out to the Silo Pruning Hooks people for their jackhammer disarmament of a missile silo near Kansas City. Hastings proceeded to cut down a transmitter pole and has joined the ranks of antiwar activists facing jail for his act of conscience. One of many such stories in this valuable newsletter. (For info on Hastings and anti-ELF, write Box 364, Webster WI 54893.)

Another related publication is The Nuclear Free Press, which carries much in-depth material on the nuclear plague, war, industrialism, and more. A recent issue contains an eight-page supplement on the genocidal war waged by Indonesia against East Timor and West Papua, compiled by the Indonesia East Timor Program (PO Box 1672, Peterborough, Ontario Canada K9J 7S4). This secret war, which has gone on since the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975, has caused 250,000 deaths—over one third of the Timorese population—by murder and starvation. The supplement also details the genocide perpetrated by this U.S. ally against the people of West Papua. The publication also contains articles on star wars, chemical war research on animals, and more. Write The Nuclear Free Press, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada K9J 7B8.