The Last FE as Capitalist Enterprise

reprinted from FE #265, August, 1975


Fifth Estate # 368-369, Spring-Summer, 2005

The newspaper you are now holding is the last issue of the Fifth Estate–the last issue of a failing capitalist enterprise, the last issue to appear in coin-boxes, and the last issue produced as a commodity dependent on advertising revenue for support, and the hiring of wage workers for its production.

This is also the first issue of a new more flexible, more consistent, more original publication that, amazingly enough, will also be called the Fifth Estate. In order to clear the air of false statements and rumors about recent changes, the current staff would like this to be a report to the readers as to the correct situation at the paper.

All during the period of the late sixties and early seventies, this paper saw itself square in the midst of a worldwide movement to abolish the domination of capital over the planet. Although most of us would have had problems with many of the political perspectives which appeared in the paper in those years, we saw the process as the organic development of a critical analysis of capitalism, ultimately leading to its overthrow.

In recent years, with the integration of “underground” music, radio, and media into the major commercial markets, the Fifth Estate mistakenly also took on the trappings of a capitalist enterprise. There were sophisticated attempts made to lure advertisers, and to have a broader “cultural” appeal.

A supposedly anti-capitalist newspaper finally proved itself to be subject to the same movement of capital as any small business, and the Fifth Estate became a failing enterprise.