News & Reviews

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Fifth Estate # 357, Summer 2002

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Drawing Resistance

Back in November, I had the privilege to see the Drawing Resistance traveling exhibition at Detroit’s Trumbullplex. This compelling collection addresses the anti-globalization movement, working class rights, the destruction of the environment, corporate control, police brutality, homelessness, gentrification, and the Zapatista liberation movement in Mexico.

The organizers describe the project as inspired by the Do-It-Yourself ethics of the punk rock community as opposed to the corporate culture of big art shows. Additionally, as the exhibition moves from city to city, local groups “are planning collaborative events to coincide with the show. Events discussed in various cities include a local political art show, documentary film nights, skill share events, artist talks, and street art performances.”

The show began touring in late 2001 and hopes to stay on the road until sometime in 2004. Later this year, appearances are scheduled in: Providence, Rhode Island; Plainfield, Vermont; Montreal, Quebec; Toronto, Ontario; and Toledo, Ohio. Check the website (drawingresistance.org) for updated schedules and details.

Anarchist Communitarians

Wen I began researching my book project Utopian Prospects, Communal Projects back in 1997, I was struck by how few contemporary writers and activists made explicit connections between revolutionary anarchism and utopian communalism. Thus, I’m encouraged by the emergence last year of the Anarchist Communitarian Network (ACN), founded by a handful of anarchists who are also involved in intentional communities.

Anomie, a member of ACN, comments, “Community is anarchy in action. Nonhierarchical organizational structures, consensus-based decision-making, and a non-capitalist lifestyle are all commonalities shared by strains of anarchism and communitarians.”

Currently, most of the ACN’s work has involved networking and education although some folks want to formalize a federation of anarchist communities. They have an excellent website ( www.anarchistcommunitarian.net ) and newsletter called The Communitarian Anarchist. To order the newsletter, contact Marc Silverstein at silverstein_marc@hotmail.com. Write the ACN at P.O. Box 7180, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33338-7180.

Anarchist Black Cross

“The prison system is the armed fist of the State and is a system for State slavery….Thus it must be opposed at every turn and ultimately destroyed altogether.”—Lorenzo Komboa Ervin

The first Anarchist Black Cross conference in North America since 1994 will be held July 26-28, 2002, in Austin, Texas. Some goals of this meeting include: to build our solidarity and communications among the various autonomous prisoner support tendencies; to learn together and from one another via our experiences; to educate on the ins and out of prisoner support, freedom campaigns, etc.; to get autonomous anarchist anti-prison groups acquainted and developing an ABC network; and to help people interested in prisoner support work to organize effective ABC groups in their communities.

Contact: Austin ABC, P.O. Box 19733, Austin, TX 78760-9733 or email: austinabc_@hotmail.com.

Words of love, words of war

Days of War, Nights of Love: CrimethInc for Beginners. $8 ppd.

Harbinger (of a new dawn) donation.

Available from CrimethInc Workers Collective (2695 Rangewood Dr. Atlanta, GA 30345 or PO Box 1963 Olympia, WA 98507 or visit them in “cyberia” at crimethInc.com)

“We make suggestions, we spread this propaganda of desire, because we hope by doing so to indulge our own programmed passion for propaganda in a way that undermines an order that discourages all of us from playing with our passions—and so to enter a world of total liberty and diversity, where propaganda and power struggles alike are obsolete. See you on the other side.”

—CrimethInc Workers Collective

Just when the politics of desire appeared permanently appropriated by academics and advertisers, some new voices burst into the anti-authoritarian scene with as much subtlety as a supermarket tabloid, as much intelligence as a wizened sage, and as much restraint as an orgasmic moan.

Few writings from the so-called anarchist milieu in recent years have inspired and energized as much as the generous eruptions of provocative prose from the CrimethInc Collective. From the sporadic and emphatic zine Harbinger to the deliciously arrogant anthology Days of War, Nights of Love, these linguistic pranksters pose revolutionary ideals with a sense of poetry, immediacy, and joy that’s all too rare in these dark days. Many readers will instantly be reminded of the urgency and playfulness found in so many Situationist slogans circa May ’68.

Apparently, some critics categorize the CrimethInc project as nothing more than a bunch of unsophisticated, identity-seeking, counter-culture bohemians, thus sounding as old and cranky as Murray Bookchin on a bad day. Of course, as anarchists, we must question everyone and everything, but by taking this skeptical stance, we need not deny the presence of insurrectionary art in our lives that has the capacity to move beyond suspicion and inscribe hope. It’s as though some writers, thinkers, and activists, completely devoid of poetry and delight in their own lives, must automatically dismiss any comrades who exude the poetry of refusal.

For me, resistance to the state, capital, and all specific organs of conformity and control demands that I maintain the integrity of an imagined and lived autonomous alternative. The CrimethInc propaganda provides part of this vision. Their words of love and war stoke the fires we must keep burning if we ever hope to leave the prison of this society.

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