News & Reviews

by

Fifth Estate # 340, Autumn 1992

SLINGSHOT (700 Eshlecreature Hall, Berkeley, CA 94608) continues to be a thorough and thoughtful anarcho-newspaper from the always radical and socially tumultuous community of Berkeley. The Summer 1992 issue contains several interesting pieces of analysis on the Los Angeles rebellion and simultaneous uprisings throughout the world. Rather than resorting to reductionist cheerleading, the diverse collection of articles on LA provide a patchwork of revolutionary perspectives that reflect the event’s complexity and significance. The informative “News Briefs” about Berkeley and Jack Straw’s essay on psychedelic mushrooms balance out the issue.

MUTINY (4202 Trumbull, Detroit, MI 48208) is the energetic, cooperative effort of several members of the 404 Willis Collective here in Detroit’s Cass Corridor. With a raw, rough-around-the-edges feel, Mutiny merges humor, original graphics and intelligent writing with an authentic desire to be, as the opening article suggests, “A Community for Autonomy.”

The debut issue is FREE, but send some stamps or a small donation to cover postage and copying costs.

The Angry Thoreauan, Jun/Jul 92 (P.O. Box 2246, Anaheim, CA 92814) contains several noteworthy exchanges in their Op-Ed section, particularly on the issue of Class War, an interview with alternative musician D.J. Lebowitz about his career, music, and politics. Also included is a copious review section of well-known and lesser known anarchist and radical punk zines nationwide.

The United Anarchist Front (P.O. Box 1115, Whittier CA 90609),active in one of the most conservative regions of Southern California, offers LPs, periodicals, and patches expressing an anarchist perspective.

The two-year old Food not Bombs group (PO Box 4472, Long Beach, CA 90804-4072) is involved in a series of direct action activities, from serving free hot vegetarian meals to the homeless to protesting war and poverty. The first issue of their newsletter “Food for Thought” reports of their confrontations with skinheads in San Pedro, their protest action for the Big Mountain region in Arizona, and their participation in the “500 Years of Resistance” march against the genocide of native people during the Rose Bowl parade.

The Boston Anarchist Drinking Brigade (P.O. Box 1323, Cambridge, MA 02238) has released another polemic by writer Joe Peacott. After the controversy following his last effort, “Misinformation and Manipulation: An Anarchist Critique of the Politics of AIDS,” Peacott along with coauthor Jim Baker with “Regulated to Death: Anarchist Arguments Against Government Intervention in Our Lives.” Their spirited investigation unearths the bureaucratic codes and regulations that regiment our lives in the areas of housing, health care, etc. Available for $3; $4 foreign.

Imminent Strike (504 W. 24th, No. 81, Austin, TX 78705) is a radical anarchist ‘zine containing stimulating content. The two samples we received (one with the famous Bush/Liar poster on the cover) features articles on nomadism, anarcho-tribalism, the praxis of squatting and living underground as a fugitive. Write them for these exemplary issues.

Emma Goldman’s Continuing Relevance

The Traffic in Women and Other Essays on feminism, Emma Goldman, Times Change Press, Ojai, California, 1970

The three essays in Emma Goldman’s The Traffic in Women and Other Essays On Feminism transcend the period in which they were written.

Originally penned in 1917 for Mother Earth, the journal edited by Goldman and her companion, Alexander Berkman, these essays delve into issues still relevant today. Goldman writes about woman as worker, wife or lover, and (non)voter. The book also contains a brief, but worthwhile biography of Emma by Alix Kates Shulman.

The title essay, “The Traffic in Women,” examines the reasons for prostitution. Goldman discusses the many surface reasons why some women become prostitutes, but she sees its ultimate cause as the virtual slavery women are subjected to by men:

“Nowhere is woman treated according to the merit of her work, but rather as a sex. It is therefore almost inevitable that she should pay for her right to exist, to keep a position in whatever line, with sex favors.”

She states that it is just a matter of degree to which a woman sells herself to a man. Since capitalist society values the dollar over simple, non-material relationships, all women—whore, worker or wife—has a price.

This idea is carried into Goldman’s second essay, “Marriage and Love.” Here she questions the traditional role of women in marriage as slave and breeder for the patriarchal family. Love, on the other hand, she says, is free from all such constraints:

“Love, the strongest and deepest element in all life, the harbinger of hope, of joy, of ecstasy; love, the defier of all laws, of all conventions; love the freest, the most powerful molder of human destiny; how can such an all-compelling force be synonymous with that poor, little State- and Church-begotten weed, marriage.”

The two are as opposite as any two words and ideas can be and prefigure the Surrealist concept of l’amour fou—literally “mad love” which, if followed to its logical extension, will destroy repressive society.

The last essay, “Women Suffrage,” insists that since men have accomplished nothing by voting, why would a woman’s vote (denied them when this was written), create a profound change in the state? She argues, “I do not believe that woman will make politics worse; nor can I believe that she could make it better.”

Since Goldman had no faith in any government, it made no difference who votes, men or women. One can extend this to the contemporary question regarding the importance of an office holder’s gender, to which Emma would have replied that the best situation is no offices.

Like all true classics, these three essays stand the test of time. Her writing affirmed the view that capitalism enslaves women in work and marriage, but also that alternatives exist: to slavery within wedlock—love freely given; to wage slavery and government—anarchism. Thus she suggests the new world we have yet to create. Her words are as relevant now as they were then.

—by Sadwig

ATTENTION PRISONERS!

If this is a sample copy of the Fifth Estate you are reading, you must write back to tell us you wish to be a subscriber. Please do so only if you are sincerely interested.

The Prisoners’ Literature Project (PLP) a group that sends free books to the incarcerated upon request has recently received a $600 grant from Resist, a foundation which funds social justice projects. The grant came at an opportune time as it allowed PLP staff volunteers to catch up on a backlog of 300 prisoner requests. Further donations are needed for postage as well as new or clean books for orders. Contact PLP c/o Bound Together Books, 1369 Haight St., SF CA 94117; (415) 431-8355. Prisoner requests for books are welcome.

It takes a lot of guts to go right up in the faces of the cops, but that is what the New Jersey Anarchist Federation (NJAF) is doing with their publication, Cop Watch. The group is committed to documenting the day-to-day brutality and corruption which occur in every police force, by tracking their local cops as they go about their patrols.

As you can imagine, the thugs in blue, the armed might of the state, do not appreciate the efforts of those who make even the reformist demand that they function within the definition of their own laws. So what started out as an attempt to report on the abuses practiced against others, has turned out to also include stories of the NJAF’s own confrontations and legal hassles with the forces of lawn order.

The paper is available from NJAF, P.O. Box 8532, Haledon, N.J. 07508-8532. Send something for postage, please.

// Share this on... Facebooktwitterredditmail
Top