News & Reviews


Fifth Estate # 336, Spring, 1991

We never could figure out which faction was responsible for the auto-destruction of New York City’s Sabotage Bookstore (the pamphlets published by either side casting blame are definitely not recommended reading), but we had the same sensation one does when watching a once loving couple rage at one another. Fortunately, people close to the excellent Shadow newspaper (PO Box 20298, New York NY 10009) have established the city’s only “underground anarchist bookstore” featuring publications, records, tapes and books, as well as pins, t-shirts, posters and the like. A-Central Books is located at 208 E. 7th St., phone (212) 674-0581, and also contains a People’s Switchboard with information on local, national and international anarchist events.

The Anarchist Proposal/Anarchist Black Cross-Athens Group publishes an English language newsletter A-Infos providing a chronology of the startling violent and militant anarchist scene in Greece. Bombings, fights with the cops and right-wingers, armed struggle and large demonstrations seem to be the norm in a country from which we receive little information. They want to see other papers and ‘zines. Their address is AP/ABC Athens, 8 Aristidou Str., 10559 Athens, Greece.

The Trumbull Art Gallery, 720 Mahoning Ave., NW, Warren OH 44482, is sponsoring a Kenneth Patchen Mail Festival and welcomes submissions in all media that is mailable and influenced by or concerning Kenneth Patchen. Entry deadline is April 25 for the 1991 display with no fee, no jury and no returns, although there will be documentations to all contributors.

English Anti-authoritarian Publishers

Chronos Publications, (write B.M. Chronos, London WC1N 3XX, England), for better or for worse has republished The Veritable Split in the International, virtually the divorce papers of the Situationist International written by Guy Debord and Gianfranco Sanquinetti. This is SI hardcore; you gotta really care about what constituted their breakup and recriminations and cough up $16.95 US for a 138-page book. Ask for a list of their other titles.

Phoenix Press, PO Box 824, London N1 9DL, England, has published an excellent edition of Tolstoy’s essays on Anarchism and non-violent revolution entitled, Government is Violence. An elderly Bulgarian comrade of ours used to tell us, “My teachers are Bakunin, Kropotkin and Tolstoy; That’s all.” You could do worse.

Tolstoy argues that “people can only be freed from slavery by the abolition of Governments,” but anarchists “are mistaken in thinking that Anarchy can be instituted by violent revolution.” Wonder what he would have thought of the 1936 anarchist revolution in Spain? Also from Phoenix, the Anarchist 1991 Yearbook, listing English anti-authoritarian magazines and publishers along with short essays on anarchism. Book is £5 and pamphlet is £1.50; double the UK pound figure to get U.S. dollar amount, plus add postage.

Freedom Press, 84b Whitechapel High Street, London El 7QX, is England’s most prolific anarchist publisher and we have been remiss in not mentioning the numerous titles they have sent us in the last year. Having published Freedom newspaper for over 100 years, they possess an amazing source for historical material which they often draw upon for their books.

Freedom has recently published a multi-volume series of selection from Freedom and War Commentary which includes selections from the dark days of the 1930s, World War II and the Cold War seen from an anarchist perspective.

Another recent title is a collection of selected writings from anarchist Marie-Louise Berneri, Neither East Nor West, covering the period of 1939-48. Her trenchant direction of World War II is a sobering reminder of the culpability of both sides in the inter-imperialist slaughter.

Many of her essays, like a 1942 reflection on the British bombing of Milan, Hamburg and Turin, could have been written today about the U.S. aerial destruction of Iraq. For instance, “Workers in British munition and aircraft factories are asked to rejoice at this wholesale destruction from which there is no escape. Photographs, showing great heaps of ruins, are plastered all over the walls with the caption, ‘this is your work.’ The ruling class wants them to be proud that they have helped to destroy working class families. For that is what they have done.”

Also, Talking Houses, ten lectures by anarchist housing expert, Colin Ward, is a recent release. Write them for a list of titles.

Aporia Press: We have been negligent for not yet reviewing and offering for sale John Moore’s mytho-poetic deconstruction of the Little Red Riding Hood myth, Lovebite: Mythography and the Semiotics of Culture, published by Aporia Press. John’s previous work, Anarchy and Ecstasy, moved far beyond anarchist ideology and historiography as does his latest work which examines the primal condition of freedom and the patriarchal counter-revolution. But rather than give it all away, expect a review next issue and the offering of the pamphlet through our book service. If you can’t wait, it is available through Counter Productions, PO Box 556, London SE5 OR1, England at £4 plus £1 postage.

Other Aporia titles are also available through Counter Productions. They specialize in 17th century titles documenting that era’s revolutionary resistance to Church and State. The visionary, apocalyptic writings of the Diggers, Levelers and other anti-authoritarians are represented in volumes by Gerrard Winstanley, Thomas Tany and others. The last named was jailed for blasphemy; he burned the Bible in public and mounted an attack on Parliament. Write for Aporia’s catalog.

Free U.S. and Soviet Prisoners. This pamphlet provides information on the cases of Rainbow Hawk and Sergei Troyanski, both unjustly imprisoned on drug charges in cases with political overtones—both are anarchists. The Soviet prisoner, Sergei, has since been released, but Rainbow continues to be incarcerated. The pamphlet is available from Bob McGlynn, 528 5th St., Brooklyn NY 11215. Send $1.00.

In a related matter, we have learned that a U.S. representative of the Neither East Nor West group is attending the Soviet Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists conference held in Leningrad March 16-18. Information is available from the above address. Donations urgently needed.

Capitalism Comes to Poland

Bad news and good news from Poland: Poland has made the trip out of the state capitalist frying pan and into the private entrepreneurial capitalist frying pan. An unholy trinity of the Catholic Church, Solidarity and Polish patriot groups are attacking women’s rights with a vengeance. Recent laws have greatly restricted abortion, made divorce more difficult, curbed parental leave policies, cut funding for teenage counseling and birth control clinics and re-established compulsory religious teaching in public schools.

Add to this low wages, reduced workers’ benefits, high unemployment, and even beggars in great numbers, and the miracle of free-market capitalism unfolds.

As we contended for ten years, Solidarity was a stalking horse for the Catholic Church and capitalism. (See, Poland 1980-82, by Henri Simon, available from FE Books, $2.50, and back issues of the FE from the 1980 period.

The good news is that the spirit of rebellion still exists in Poland: Last fall, a group of local residents in the town of Plonsk demolished a waste disposal facility which was operated by the military.

Eastern Europe, including Poland, has been turned into an ecological nightmare by unchecked production-and disposal methods used by the communist governments. At Plonsk, about 100 miles from Warsaw, the installation was preparing to burn 550 barrels of toxic waste from Austria.

However, a group of more than 100 people broke through a fence and destroyed the furnace using two tractors. Any ideas for the Detroit incinerator?