News & Reviews

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Fifth Estate # 354, Spring, 2000

Bound Together Books is presenting the fifth annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair, Saturday, April 15 at the San Francisco Hall of Flowers in the city’s Golden Gate Park.

The fair showcases anarchist publishers, distributors and activist groups with attendance at last year’s event having grown to 3,000. According to its organizers, the idea for the fair is to build an international radical community, exchange ideas and sell literature.

Also, there will be an installation by Art and Revolution, an anti-authoritarian art exhibit, and a vegan/vegetarian café. Speakers will include Wobbly singer and storyteller Utah Philips, and prison activist, Christian Parenti. A video collective will show footage documenting recent Bay Area radical activity.

Tables are available for presenters at a nominal fee, but admission to the fair is free. Contact Bound Together Books, 1369 Haight St., San Francisco CA 94117, or email: seansul@mindspring.com for information.

Book fairs abound. Chicago’s Autonomous Zone is sponsoring Matches ‘N Mayhem, The Midwest Anarchist Book Fair, May 5, 6 and 7.

The mayhem won’t be from the city’s notorious anarchist-hating cops, however, but from scheduled anarchist soccer matches. Yes, there will be rules.

There’ll also be a film festival, a propaganda gallery, variety show, and workshops. The films will be Friday night, the fair on Saturday with displays from numerous publishers, and a variety show in the evening. Then, the mayhem on the soccer field on Sunday.

If you want to field a soccer team or display your publications, contact A-Zone, 1573 N. Milwaukee, #420, Chicago IL 60622; 773-252-6019; azone@wwa.com. There are small fees for the events.

The northern Ohio college town of Bowling Green will be the site of a second Underground Publishing Conference, June 10-11.

Last year, two of us from the Fifth Estate attended the first gathering at the university bearing the town’s name and were witness to the best of the small, alternative publication milieu. Attendees at the conference, mostly youth of college age, came from across the country to compare notes and resources, and to trade papers. Although the subject matter of the zines ranged from anarchism to poetry, anti-authoritarian politics was the dominant theme.

Unfortunately, most of the publications are of limited circulation, some printing as few as a couple dozen and the largest only in the low hundreds. Unfortunate because of the wide range of subject matter, good writing, and thoughtful analysis. The spirit in the workshops seemed similar to the Underground Press Syndicate meetings of the 1960s, but on a smaller scale which is due more to the political climate than the quality of the magazines.

A good example is a one-person zine, The Secret Files of Captain Sissy #3, published by Andy Cornell featuring personal musings on the nature of life in’ modern America—”Being non-political means being an activist for the enemy,” he argues in it. Many of his themes are anti-work and anti-suburban boredom.

Cornell and his friends have put together the Words As Weapons zine distro, P.O. Box 4493, Ann Arbor MI 48106 which carries an array of zine publications including his. Also, in attendance were people from the distributor, Tree of Knowledge Press, P.O. Box 252766, Little Rock AR 7225, who have a large catalog of publications as well as instructional texts on how to publish a zine. Both outfits will consider publications sent to them for possible distribution.

For information on the conference contact Jason, 216 S. Church, Bowling Green OH 43402; 419/353-7035; of upcon2000@hotmail.com.

Louise M. Gagneur was a best selling novelist in the late 19th century and a passionate advocate of radical and feminist causes. In her essays and ten popular novels, she not only demanded equal rights for women, but also an end to the ancient tyrannies based on social classes and authoritarian institutions. -Despised by the male publishing and academic establishment in both France and this country, her writings were long assigned to oblivion until the recent re-issue of her title, The Nihilist Princess, by III Publishing.

This Gagneur novel has all the grand sweep of 19th century literature, and centers on a young, beautiful Russian aristocrat who is appalled by her father’s treatment of his serfs. She joins the radical, and sometimes violent, underground Nihilist movement ‘which is seeking radical changes in Russia including abolition of serfdom and the czar. Thrilling adventure marks almost every page as the princess risks her life for her principles.

$12 plus postage from III Publishing, POB 1581, Gualala CA 95445, (707) 882-1818; or www.iiipublishing.com.

In our last issue, a debate took up the question of the propriety of this paper’s and anarchist support of the striking unions at the Detroit News and Free Press.

In Carlotta R. Anderson’s excellent biography, All-American Anarchist: Joseph A. Labadie and the Labor Movement (Wayne State University, 1998), a section about a strike during the 1880s against one of the same newspapers shows no record of a similar controversy at the time.

“Labadie was another featured speaker [at a mass meeting of the Trades Council]. He urged the audience to join the typographical union’s boycott against the Detroit Free Press for its twelve-year refusal to employ union printers and pay union wages. ‘Just as long as it boycotts us, we will boycott them,’ he roared out. Fifteen hundred copies of a ‘Black List’ circular were distributed, listing Free Press advertisers who should also be boycotted.”

The paper capitulated and recognized the unions in 1886 during a wave of labor militancy and agitation for the eight-hour day.

De Fabel van de illegaal (The Myth of Illegality), a Dutch language newspaper printed on high gloss paper, sends along an English summary with each edition. The current translations are of articles concerning the overtures by the New Right to those campaigning against the World Trade Organization (WTO) and globalization

With the disintegration of the European old Right, a crop of neo-fascists are taking up themes of many Left campaigns and the opposition to multinationals. This is nothing new, of course. Nazis and fascists, particularly in the 1920s and 30s, sometimes sounded close to the Left and labor, and even ecologists, on many issues.

Still, when the veneer of issue-oriented politics is removed, the Right’s core authoritarian politics of a dictatorial state, conquest by war, racism, patriarchy and hierarchy are revealed. De Fabel van de ilIegaal urges readers to be overtly anti-capitalist, thereby ending any confusion that national capitalism is a preferable state of affairs to globalization.

The magazine charges that English millionaire, Edward Goldsmith, editor of the London-based, long-publishing magazine, The Ecologist, typifies the raproachement between Left and Right which they fear. De Fabel reports that Goldsmith regularly addresses neo-fascist gatherings and that its work is highly regarded in right-wing circles, many of which are influenced by the thought of Francis Parker Yockey and his neo-fascist, pan-European opus, Imperium.

Sorting out European politics with its history of fascist triumph, collaboration, and ideology-switching personalities is always difficult, so it’s hard to evaluate the publication’s charges against Goldsmith, but the phenomenon they warn about certainly is real.

Reach De Fabel at Koppenhinksteeg 2, 2312 HX Leiden, Netherlands; or www.dsl.nl/media/lokabaal.

Class War newspaper is publishing again. England’s sassiest tabloid still delights in photos of bloodied cops, reporting on the latest riot and sabotage, and is filled with general working class opposition and mischief towards the rulers. Issue #78 contains an anti-BNP Donor Card to be carried in our wallet which contains stipulations body part allocation after death. It states, “No part of my body may be used for the treatment of members of the British National Party [fascists], serving or retired police officers, members of the British Royal Family, or…the House of Lords.” Subscriptions are $20 (U.S.), from Class War, BM Box 357, London WC1N 3XX, United Kingdom.

Do or Die #8. We at this newspaper usually think we have a fat issue when we reach 32-pages, but this edition of DoD is a book-sized 346!!

The contents cover the entire spectrum of anarchist, radical environmental, and anti-fascist politics with a list of articles taking up an entire pages itself. If you want a distillation of English anti-authoritarian politics, you’ve got it in this volume.

They don’t take subscriptions but you can get this issue or next for about $12 (U.S.) from Do or Die, c/o 6 Tilbury Place, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 2GY, United Kingdom; or, wwW.eco-action.org/dod.

A book banned by the Michigan Department of Corrections, The Celling of America: An Inside Look at the US Prison Industry, must now be allowed into state prisons under terms of a recent out-of-court settlement.

Two inmates brought suit in federal court against the prison system after being denied the book in 1998. Not only did the department agree to allow the title into its prisons but also agreed to change its notification system when book’s are banned.

Previously, only the inmate was informed of the seizure of a publication. Under the newly signed agreement, not only will the sender be notified, but must also be told how to appeal the seizure. Paul Wright, editor of Prison Legal News (PLN) said, “This is a victory both for the right of publishers to send their message to prisoners and for prisoners to receive ideas from outside the prison.”

The state agreed to pay the book’s publisher and PLN each $1,000 in damages and $10,000 for the plaintiffs’ legal fees. The Celling of America is available from Common Courage Press, Box 702, Monroe ME 04951; (207) 525-0900; or www.commoncouragepress.com.

FE note: Without sounding a negative note, we hope that this will be more than a paper settlement. Our experience with prison systems in other states where our paper has been refused admittance, is that the appeals process is a joke.

In one Texas gulag, an issue of the FE was banned because it contained a famous photo of Vietnamese civilians hideously burned by U.S. napalm in which a naked young girl could be seen. The paper was barred because it would “encourage deviate sexual behavior.” The exclusion was upheld by the appeals board.

Guinea Pig Zero is an occupational job zine for people who are used as medical or pharmaceutical research subjects. GPZ #6 contains true tales of guinea pig adventure stories, discussions of bioethics, news and reviews, even poetry and fiction relating to the “disposability of plebeian life.”

This very quirky zine is edited by Philadelphia Wobbly, and occasional guinea pig, Bob Helms, who has done several TV interviews as a result of its publication and even been featured in People magazine.

The content runs from the humorous to the grotesque. Current issue contains a “report card” on two labs by Dishwasher Pete, a Butcher of the Month Club centerfold, and a translation of Octave Mirbeau’s delightful little story, “The Enema.”

Sample copies from GPZ, POB 42531, Philadelphia PA 19101.

As our lives go by, it’s easy to forget that Leonard Peltier is more than a worthy cause, that he’s an innocent man who has spent almost 25 years in prison as a scapegoat for a failed government raid at Pine Ridge, South Dakota in 1975.

Peltier was falsely convicted in the deaths of two FBI agents who were part of an invasion force assaulting the native reserve.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, the official newsletter for the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, Peltier writes from prison of “knowing the grim pleasure the FBI takes in seeing me suffer here year after year.”

The 20-page tabloid contains updates on legal efforts and direct action to free Leonard plus other news of native people’s struggles. Subscriptions are $15 from LPDC, Box 583 KS 66044. Or, 785-8425774; www.freepeltier.org.

The South Chicago Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) Zine Distro, P.O. Box 721, Homewood IL 60430, distributes over 100 zines covering anarchist, feminist, anti-racist/abolitionist and prisoner issues.

SCABC specializes in helping articulate activist prisoners get the word out Send for their 40-page catalog or view it on-line at http://members.xoom.com/ thought bombs.

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