Tales from the planet


Fifth Estate # 342, Summer 1993

Freedom Press Attacked by Fascists

As we were going to press, Albert Meltzer, active in British anarchism for five decades, visited Detroit and told us of a devastating arson attack on Freedom Press in addition to the ones reported below.

We called England and learned that on June 4th, Aldgate Press, which shares space with Freedom in Angel Alley on the first floor below the bookshop, was gutted by flames and its printing press destroyed. Damage was estimated to be $100,000. Although the first floor is a “burnt shell,” the Freedom book shop received only minor smoke damage.

No responsibility was claimed, but the same fascist group as mentioned below is suspected.

Two anarchist projects in England were the target of attacks by ultra-rightists earlier this Spring. The Freedom Press Bookshop was invaded March 27th by five masked men carrying wooden truncheons, one with a spike. They preceded to wreck everything possible in the bookstore and at the Freedom Press offices upstairs. Bookshelves were knocked over, typesetting and telephone equipment wrecked, people pushed over and one pinned under a falling shelf.

Before they left, the attackers spray painted “C18,” in large letters on the wall; these are the initials of a fascist, paramilitary organization, Combat 18. Freedom newspaper, founded by Peter Kropotkin over one hundred years ago, had to publish on borrowed equipment, but did not miss an issue.

Two weeks later, on April 12th, an arson attack was attempted on the anarchist 121 Centre, by a man with a can of gasoline who was driven off by local residents. Earlier this year, the bookshop at the center was broken into and shop records and contact lists stolen. C18 is suspected in these attempts as well.

C18 is the paramilitary wing of the fascist British National Movement, an openly nazi group, which tries to appeal to working class whites on the basis of racism against black and Asian immigrants.

The anarchists in the U.S. currently face no such threat, but it is up to us to support our comrades who are under attack. Subscriptions to Freedom are $36 yearly (24 issues; or half price for 12) from Freedom Press in Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX, England. The 121 Centre needs donations; send to 121 Railton Rd., Brixton, SE24, England.

New Evidence Shows FBI Lied In Earth First! Car-Bomb Frame-Up

A stunning series of photographs and police reports have been released to Earth First! by the Oakland (Calif.) Police Department (OPD), showing without a doubt that the FBI and OPD lied, and knew they were lying, when they arrested Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney for the 1990 car-bomb assassination attempt on Judi Bari (see FE #34, Summer 1990).

Bari and Cherney were driving through Oakland on May 24, 1990 on an organizing tour for Earth First! Redwood Summer, when a bomb exploded under Judi’s car seat, nearly killing her and injuring Darryl. Within minutes of the blast, the FBI and OPD moved in and arrested Judi and Darryl, claiming it was their bomb and they were knowingly carrying it.

For eight weeks the police claimed Judi and Darryl were the only suspects in the bombing, but finally admitted they did not have evidence to prosecute. To this day, there has been no serious investigation of the bombing, and the bomber remains at large.

Bari and Cherney have filed a lawsuit against the FBI and OPD for their handling of the bombing, charging them with false arrest and other civil rights violations. The lawsuit allowed for the release of the photos to the plaintiffs. The FBI and OPD based their arrest of Judi and Darryl on their claim that the bomb was on the back seat floorboard of the car, therefore the two knew they were carrying it, and it was their bomb. In fact, the bomb was hidden under Judi’s seat, and was meant to kill.

This is quite clear in the police photos, which show the epicenter of the explosion under the driver’s seat, and the back seat completely intact. There are also photos of the police holding a mock-up of the bomb in the exploded car in various positions, showing that they knew perfectly well where it was actually placed.

For more info contact Ecotopia Earth First!, 106 West Standley, Ukiah, Ecotopia 95482.

Chico Mendes’ Assassins Escape

After two years of imprisonment for the murder of Brazilian rubber tapper leader Chico Mendes, his murderers have escaped from their prison cells and are now at large.

Darci and Darly Alves da Silva, the ranchers convicted of murdering Mendes, were sentenced to 19 years in prison in December 1990. On February 14, 1993, the two reportedly sawed through their cell bars in a loosely guarded prison facility in Rio Branco and walked to freedom.

The violent murder of Chico Mendes in 1988 was by no means an isolated incident.

More than 1,000 rural union leaders have been killed in Brazil in the past decade with little or no action taken by the Brazilian justice system. The trial of the Alves da Silvas had cast a small ray of hope on a dark situation. Because of the international attention focused on Chico Mendes and the subsequent legal action, the incidents of violence against these leaders has slowed.

Typically, hired gunmen and their invisible bosses in the Rural Democratic Union (UDR) of Brazil’s land barons have been able to eliminate their opposition with impunity. However, in Mendes’ case, the international community focused its attention on Brazil.

Darly and Darci’s recent escape from prison, however, is sending a new message to ranchers, land speculators, road builders, and corrupt politicians: it’s business as usual once again.

The Rainforest Action Network asks that letters be sent to protest the escape of the Alves da Silvas; please write: Exmo. Sr. Presidente, Itamar Franco, Presidente da Republica, Palacio do Planalto, 70.150 Brasilia, DF.

Sign of the Times in ex-USSR

The triumph of capital in the Soviet Union captured in photography: the New York Times, Sunday, June 6, 1993 shows a beggar in front of the Moscow Burger King.

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 have a free prisoner’s subscription. Please do so only if you are sincerely interested in the ideas contained herein. Thank you.

About the Back Page Poster

The “NO MORE EMPERORS” poster was conceived and executed in San Francisco by G.D.; translation help from J.W., a China scholar and T.C., a former student from Beida. 450 copies were sent to Hong Kong out of a total press run of 1,000. The rest went up locally on walls or were sent to various cities in the U.S., U.K., and France.

In Detroit, the Fifth Estate newspaper staff used them to decorate our booth at a street fair only a few booths away from an RCP table sporting “Mao More Than Ever” banners.

Upon receipt of further resources, larger posters and other projects are planned. Contributions to future printing ventures and to offset the cost of the color poster in this newspaper, may be sent to International Friends of Wei Jingsheng, PO Box 40256, San Francisco CA 94140.