News & Reviews

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Fifth Estate # 345, Winter, 1995

England’s Green Anarchist magazine is now available as single issues or in bulk from Autonome Distribution, PO Box 79119, New Orleans LA 70179. In GA the Earth First! Journal meets Class War and puts forth an anti-civilization perspective as uncompromising as ours. Their long-range strategy is to support “Revolution on the Periphery,” Third World revolts that deprive mass society of the resources it exploits from the poorer regions. (They don’t support national liberation struggles!) They see this as creating the basis for “self-governing, self-sufficient communities” which will be “easier to establish as the State loses control of the rest of the planet.”

Articles in the Summer 1994 edition include an extensive diary of militant environmental action, opposition to repressive government laws, how to steal electricity and sexual liberation. Audubon magazine was never like this.

The Shadow is a prototype for an updated linkage between the underground press and grassroots urban activism. Now in its fifth year of publication, The Shadow is the project of a group of anarchists who are “exposing the right-wing offensive in NYC.”

In the April/June 1994 issue, coverage of the Zapatistas paled before the local accounts of ACT UP and squatter confrontations with public health, police, and fire departments. The “Legal Topics of the Day” and “Copwatch” columns exemplify the linkage whereby “underground” means of communication and dispersed bands of activists interact to create novel alliances.

The “Legal Topics” column is written by civil liberties attorneys William Kunstler and Ronald Kuby. In this issue they discuss, in lay terms, the legal ramifications of the controversial Crime Bill that recently became law. The “Copwatch” column is a series of entries that monitor escalating police control and encourage functional types of mutual aid and direct action in response to encroaching cop culture. Subs are $15/10 issues first class or $10/10 issues bulk rate from Shadow Press; P.O. Box 20298, New York, New York 10009

The following two catalogs for the small and independent press don’t offer exclusively radical publications, but all of their titles represent some departure from the mainstream. However, they do carry a number of important anarchist mags and newspapers including ours. For individual orders ask for: The Usual Suspects #8: the cross-pollenization issue from Xines, Inc., 1226 A Calle De Comercio, Sante Fe NM 87505; phone (505)474-6311; cost is $4.00 with $3.25 refunded with first order; for book and zine seller wholesale orders,

Fine Print 1994 Catalog, from Fine Print Distributors, 6448 Highway 290 East, Suite B104, Austin TX 78723.

Seattle’s Left Bank, a collectively owned and operated, community-based, not-for-profit libertarian project, now in its 22nd year, has issued their Fall 1994 Catalog featuring an enormous number of books, pamphlets and zines from the anti-authoritarian milieu. Its book store at 92 Pike Street in Seattle features 10,000 new and used books and its AKA Books at 4142 Brooklyn Ave. NE has 12,000 used titles on its shelves.

There is also a Books to Prisoners project and an active publishing wing which has recently brought out a new edition of Vaneigem’s Revolution of Everyday Life and Drunken Boat, a new anthology of writings on art, anarchy, and rebellion. They distribute almost every regularly appearing anarchist paper and zine in English and are eager to take on more titles.

When a profit accrues, Left Bank distributes it back to the community and international anarchist projects and publications.

Their catalog is available from 4142 Brooklyn Ave. NE, Seattle WA 98105; phone: 206/632-5870.

The Newsletter of the London Psychogeographical Association is too bizarre to describe simply or perhaps even complexly. They boast of ” 35 years of nonexistence” and have a perspective which links up geographical features with important political/social events.

Their Beltane 1994 edition warns ominously that “Nazi Occultists Seize Omphalos” meaning an elected member of the fascist British Nationalist Party had set up residency along an important “ley line.” Ley lines are alignments of a great number of ancient, important sites stretching across miles of countryside. In this case, a line connecting Greenwich Observatory, which they say is the Omphalos—or spiritual center—of the British Empire, the Isle of Dogs, and Queen Mary and Westerfield College is also the line upon which the neo-nazi resided.

This occult positioning, according to the LPA, is what got the BNP elected to the post of a local councilor. However, having done so, it meant a human life had to be sacrificed and this came in the death of Ian Stuart, lead singer of the skinhead Oi band, Skrewdriver, in January 1994.

True? Well, it makes good reading. Send a couple of bucks to LPA (ELS), Box 15, 138 Kingland High Street, London E8 2NS, England to check it out.

In Japan, various anti-authoritarian groups are moving toward clarity regarding the bankruptcy of the Left, the need for mutual aid within and among groups, and the importance of direct action against flagrant abuses by the state. The autonome-inspired Actual Action mag exemplifies these developments. Influenced by the militant, and to some, overly adventuristic writings and tactics of the late Shuji Funamoto and the imprisoned Yoshimasa Kurokawa, their concern seems to be bringing the insights of the German autonome movement to bear on the challenges radicals face in the land of the rising sun. Issues 1 through 4 of Actual Action are available in Japanese with some English translation. For issues or info write Actual Action, c/o AAA, 114 Kita-Ku oji, Tokyo Japan (fax# 03-3363-4158).

Live Wild or Die began five issues and several years ago as a more radical supplement to the Earth First!. The journal features rotating editorial and production collectives. The last excellent edition (see bookstore ad for further description) #5, was published in Berkeley, Calif. and the action next moves to the wild mountain women and men of Katuah for #6. They are soliciting “prose rants, weird articles from mainstream media, drawings, poetry, farm punk, philosophy, photos, letters, 10-most wanted list, how-to and other DIY directions.” Publication will be next summer, but get stuff in as soon as possible to LWOD, PO BX 2732, Asheville NC 28802.

Babyfish…lost its momma has been having excellent adventures since 1988. Anyone who gets ahold of the previous five issues of this remarkable zine will be impressed with its creative contents, inventive design and youthful energy. The latest issue, Babyfish #6: politics of imagination/ poetics of insurrection, features interviews with writers Kathy Acker and Hakim Bey plus the designs and verse of a multitude of local artists and poets. Available from our book service.

Prison News Service is an important forum for discussions and debates around issues of prisoner rehabilitation, rights and support networks. In its pages, political prisoners and prisoners politicized in prison write narratives that help them cope with the rigors of prison discipline. Their descriptive tracts of prison experiences call for legal protection to curtail prison authority. Discussions and debates in this journal link constituencies (near and far) for whom penal issues loom large.

In the May/June 1994 issue, political prisoner Laura Whitehorn brings attention to the plight of prisoners with AIDS. Through personal experiences with female inmates stricken with the disease, Whitehorn tackles the first challenge of activism: casting out fear and guilt through practices that fortify one’s determination in the face of seemingly insurmountable forces. Also, in this issue are updates on Leonard Peltier’s case, and the 1993 Lucasville prison uprising, an event whose significance resonates peculiarly with the L.A. riots in 1992 and the Branch Davidian-Waco standoff that erupted in 1993. Subs are $10/6 issues. PSC Publishers, P.O. Box 5052, Stn. A, Toronto, Ont., Canada M5W 1W4.

Local Cass Corridor rockers, The Blanks (Bill Boyer, Steve Bitto and Chris Israel), are back with a new 1994 release. Since the early ’80s, the Blanks and their live, high energy performances have survived beyond Detroit’s alternative clubs to include the 1992 Yellow Springs Anarchist Gathering, an October ’94 sun-powered, anti-nuke rally at Fermi II, and a November ’94 conference in Connecticut on the ’60s and Vietnam. Housebroken is their third and best full-length release. This 16-tune cassette rocks, pops and skanks. ($8ppd, Bill Blank/Falsified Records, PO Box 1110, Birmingham, MI 48012).

The Story of Tatiana by Jacques Baynac (Black & Red, Detroit 1994, 255 pages, $6 from FE Books or B&R, PO BX 02374, Detroit MI 48202) is skillfully translated from the 1985 French original by Ruth Nybakken and Lorraine Perlman. Black & Red’s latest offering is an intriguing one. It is a non-fiction exploration of the life of a woman whose act vaulted her past the point of no return.

Tatiana Leontiev, a Russian medical student in pre-World War I Switzerland, assassinated a man she believed to be a hated Tsarist minister. She had been arrested once in St. Petersburg prior to the shots she fired, but does not strike one as a political person. How this apparently apolitical young woman came to take such a passionate step and how the rest of her life unfolded is the essence of this beautifully produced book.

Turgenev, the nineteenth century Russian novelist, is quoted in Baynac’s preface. He posed an appropriate question about 25 years before Tatiana’s attentat: Is one who embodies such uncompromising extremity toward civil society an idiot—or a saint?

Baynac became captivated by the mysteries surrounding the figure of Tatiana, and the trail he follows as a kind of scholar/ private detective is a tale in its own right. His own decisions and meditations are of interest, and one may also even find material that bears on the question of today’s apparently depoliticized youth.

He was a comrade, by the way, of Fredy Perlman in the Paris events of 1968, is the author of La Terreur sous Lenine (The Terror under Lenin) and has completed the first third of a three-volume novel on the Russian Revolution.

—John Zerzan

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