News and Reviews

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Fifth Estate # 348, Fall, 1996

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After looking at the latest jam-packed issue of Factsheet 5, PO Box 170099, SF, CA 94117, “the magazine of record” for zines, it doesn’t seem like anyone should worry about the state of autonomous publishing. Still, a number of stalwart anarchist publications have either ceased publishing recently or are appearing much less frequently (like us?). Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed hasn’t printed an edition since December 1995 and even then didn’t get issues out to all its subscribers.

By early 1995, Anarchy’s intrepid editor, Jason McQuinn, increased his publication’s circulation to 8,000 copies quarterly by virtue of attractive, 4-color covers, diligent distribution, and solid anti-authoritarian content. Jason also began publishing the Alternative Press Review, a quarterly compilation of the alternative and anarchist press.

The increased burden led McQuinn to transfer production of Anarchy, the paper he had nursed since it was a tabloid in Columbia, Mo. 15 years ago to a publication group in New York City. Unfortunately, it appears as though the new gang wasn’t up to the task. We’ve heard talk of a new issue coming out of a reconstituted publication group in Portland, Ore., but haven’t seen anything yet. For info: C.A.L., POB 1446, Columbia MO 65205.

Bayou La Rose announced in its August 1996 edition that it was going into “hibernation for a while.” Arthur J. Miller, who founded the paper in New Orleans 18 years ago, cited child custody battles he lost due to being an anarchist, illness, overwork; and commitment to the Leonard Peltier support network as reasons for its demise.

Miller sees himself outside the mainstream anti-authoritarian milieu which he said is inhabited by middle-class radicals: and academics. Miller, a pipefitter in the shipbuilding industry, feels his paper was never taken seriously because it focuses almost exclusively on prisoner, native people, and Third World support activity.

Bayou never made it to the computer age and was pounded out on Miller’s typewriter with little editing or proofreading. What it lacked in sophistication was compensated for by Miller’s courage, dedication, and righteous indignation toward the crimes of the state. Hopefully, Bayou will wake in the spring from its hibernation with another issue. Contact: The Heart of Angiolillo, PO Box 5464, Tacoma WA 98415.

Gone to Croatan Dept., or What Ever Happened To…?: Michael Ziesing published books and zines promoting the individualist anarchist ideas of Benjamin’ Tucker during the ’70s and ’80s from his home in Willimantic, Conn. His publication, Instead of a Magazine, thoughtfully examined themes Murray Bookchin might chide as “lifestyle” issues as a practical way to place anarchism in daily life.

After 20 years, Mike decided to chuck it and headed off to Thailand, his destination perhaps influenced by his interest in Zen. Loompanics Unlimited has published Mike’s odyssey under the title I Walked Away: An Expatriate’s Guide to Living Cheaply in Thailand. Here is a practical advice on how to live well and safely without running afoul of the ubiquitous corrupt officialdom in a fairly dicey country.

It covers everything from the language to work to love, including how to navigate in the sex scenes of the sleazy cities. Mike lives up country in Northeast Thailand, but still commutes to Bangkok where he teaches in a university.

If you want I Walked Away, don’t be kee-neow (cheap; a glossary is included), send some baht (money) to Loompanics Unlimited, PO Box 1197, Port Townsend WA 98368; $14.95 plus $4.95 shipping. This also gets you Loompanics’ over-the-edge The Best Book Catalog in the World which contains everything from titles on anarchism, to how to kill, to instructions on how to produce your own atom bomb.

I ran into an activist the other day who apologetically said she has never read the classics of anarchist literature. Kent Jewell, long a stalwart at Seattle’s Left Bank Books, 92 Pike St., wouldn’t have a problem with this. He’s published Beyond Anarcho-Fundamentalism and Into a Splendor of Knowledge, a synopsis/review of 111 nonfiction books that “exist outside of the more well-known anarchist ‘canon'” which avoids titles by well-known authors. In it, he says “I’m much more interested in anarchy as open process, mutuality and interrelationship than in historically-derived and dogmatically-ideological Anarchism.”

It contains a wealth of books, some of which will be familiar to our readers, but others which extend the themes of anti-authoritarianism, radical ecology, spirituality, expanded consciousness, and culture. $4; Gaianarchoculture Press, PO Box 14341, Seattle WA 98114.

AK Press, the anarchist publishing and distribution company, has teamed up with Epitaph records to release “Better Read Than Dead,” a 22-track, benefit compilation of bands whose styles range from punk to metal to rock. Bands donating their music include NOFX, Propagandhi, Napalm Death, The Levellers and ex-Detroiter and former MC-5 member, Wayne Kramer.

AK has just released two new titles to add to its voluminous catalog, Tales From The Clit: A Female Appreciation of Pornography, compiled by Feminists Against Censorship, and a new edition of End Time: Notes on the Apocalypse. For their 120-page catalog or the album ($14 cd or Lp), write them at AK, PO Box 40682, SF CA 94140; phone (415) 923-1429.

Another anarchist publisher with a growing list of titles is III Publishing, best known for The Last Days of Christ the Vampire by J.G. Eccarius, the deliciously blasphemous tale of how some young anarchists confront the plans of the Savior for a big blood meal. It’s been re-published in a large format with a new cover; $10.

Anarchist Farm by Jane Doe, also $10, is their newest offering extending the tale of Orwell’s similarly titled book. Napoleon, the head pig of Animal Farm, is overthrown by his Doberman Praetorian guard and joins the Forest Defenders, a group of wild animals who carry out a series of Earth First!-type actions to stop logging.

They make common cause with their domesticated counterparts who are self-managing a farm after its human owner dies. It’s filled with action in the forest and extends to the barnyard when the animals learn their farm is being put up for sale by humans. Although it occasionally makes one wince (an animal characters have name’s like Judi Bear), it’s a compelling allegory for what’s going on now in the old growth forests of northern California and Idaho.

III has issued ‘a temporary tattoo to promote the book featuring a circle A symbol, free for the asking. For tattoos, books or catalog, contact them at PO Box 1581, Gualala CA 95445; phone (707) 884-1818’.

San Francisco’s Bound Together Anarchist Book Store sponsored the wildly successful first Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair earlier this year and have scheduled a second one for Saturday, March 29, 1997, 10 am to 6 pm, at the SF County Fair Bldg., near 9th Ave. and Lincoln Way, in Golden Gate Park; admission is free.

An expected 2,000 people will see representatives from 50 anarchist and alternative book, zine, and publishing projects. There will be a cafe and bar, spoken word performances and visual displays, as well. A $40 fee is requested from exhibitors; contact Anarchist Book Fair Committee, 1369 Haight St., SF CA 94117; phone (415) 431-8355.

New Orleans’ engaging. Meseschabe: The Journal of Surre(gion)alism, has produced another lively Issue, including poems by Barbara Mor, Joel Dailey, A. di Michele, Ray DiPalma, Ronnie Burk, and others. It also has interviews with Ed Sanders and Tom Dent, and reviews of work by Bob Kaufman and NOLA’s “homeless guru-poet” Everette Maddox. Detroiters will respond with special attention to Gil Helmick’s harrowing story about being hit in the chest by random New Year’s Eve gunfire (they apparently do it, too), as well as a tribute to Bob “Righteous” Rudnick by John Sinclair, former Detroiter (and former official Political Prisoner of the FE), “Remembering the Righteous One.” Single issues are $4 and subs are $20/year Write Meseschabe, 1539 Crete Street, New Orleans LA 70119.

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