Issue Introduction


Fifth Estate # 381, Summer-Fall 2009

It’s a paradox and an irony that in a nation so filled with timid, quiescent conformists, that pirates hold such romantic appeal for so many.

Perhaps, due to the dominant mass psychology of submission, it’s the repressed fantasy of transgression and rebellion that drives so many web sites, festivals, games, movies, histories, and re-enactments devoted to the buccaneers.

Our interest in them is chronicled in these pages and celebrates those crews and those moments when the poor and working class of the sea mobilized against the rich and their vessels to do a little on-the-spot divvying up the swag of emerging mercantile capitalism.

Also, to the extent they exhibited anarchic principles of association, the more appealing they become to us.

As the back cover suggests, the real pirates are the masters of land and sea, the planet wreckers and slavers, the money bosses and generals, who have turned an earthly paradise into a pyramid of human misery and ecological disaster with them astride it all.

Capital and the state, beyond their official hypocrisies, contain the bandit ideologies which recognize no law, restraint, nor border. Ending their reign would eliminate the rapacious piracy they depend upon, and, following their demise from the stage of history, negate the social context for what remains of common outlawry.

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