Our readers respond


Fifth Estate # 383, Summer, 2010

Send letters to fe – AT – fifthestate – DOT – org or Fifth Estate, POB 204016, Ferndale MI 48220.

All formats accepted including typescript & handwritten; letters may be edited for length.

Greetings Comrades,

I just want to say thanks for keeping FE going. Yes indeed, the longest running radical mag in the US. I just ordered another year’s subscription.

I’m passing the word around to those I know might be interested. In an age of digital formats and slick websites I’m happy you are doing what you do to keep a hard copy in publication. Keep up the great work!


I loved it!

I just finished reading your magazine for the first time, the one dedicated to “The Radical Imagination of Ursula K. Le Guin,” Spring 2010. It is one of the few anti-authoritarian publications circulating in prison. Well, I love it!

I especially appreciated “An Open Love Letter to Ursula Le Guin,” because it pointed out how segregated our society is according to age. My thanks to author Jaimie Heckert. Most people walk (or stumble) through life without ever noticing how such divisions smother out a love that is supposed to be shared between us all.

Many view the way we live as, well, just the way it is.

I am hoping that it is possible to get my hands on some of your previous issues. Us prisoners need informative and empowering reading like the Fifth Estate. It keeps light, life, and hope alive in our hearts.

John Clouser
Albion, Penn.

FE note: There’s probably not a better statement of why we offer free subscriptions to prisoners and GIs. Please remember to add an extra donation to our Free Prisoner/GI Fund when renewing.

L@s Quixotes Books

Seattle’s L@s Quixotes radical lending library/infoshop is currently being generously hosted by Pilot Books, 219 Broadway East, Upstairs.

Stop by to get a library card, borrow books, zines and CDs of particular interest to anarchists/anti-authoritarians, and to discuss the things you are reading, the things you want to read, or just to sit quietly and read. If you can spare books, papers, zines or CDs of interest to anarchists/ anti-authoritarians, please bring them to donate to our collection, to share with others.

For more information about when you will find us there, and about scheduled collective meetings, see our web site at losquixotesinfoshop.wordpress.com.

Donations can be sent to: Care of Boxholder, P.O Box 14432, Seattle WA 98114.

Inmate Email

FE note: The following is a response to mention of an email system currently available to prisoners in federal facilities, in an update on Green Scare prisoner Marie Mason in our last edition. The program has been renamed Corrlinks and is available to selected prisoners. You must write a letter to ask an inmate to hook you into the system.

A short history of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) e-mail system: I first ran into it at Federal Prison Camp Montgomery at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. TRULINCS started out as a test of an internal BOP e-mail system for inmates at six institutions in 2006.

Every federal inmate has a commissary account that accepts money from outside sources as well as deposits the internal pay of inmates for prison work. They can spend the dollars at the commissary store (once a week), use it to buy phone or e-mail credits, or send it home or to pay bills, etc. E-mail credits cost six cents/min.

There is a special room in the prison education department with 30-or-so computers for this purpose. The inmate generally has access whenever s/he is not working.

Come the new game: While I was at FPC Pensacola, Florida, the TRULINCS’ system came there. I assumed it was pretty much the same thing. I was wrong. Someone in the system, or perhaps it was their scheme all along, saw the opportunity to have the inmates themselves divulge all of their contacts to a forever-memory computer system.

Clever. Very clever, and diabolical.

In addition to the e-mail service itself, the prison authorities now have centralized on-line the inmate’s commissary account info, their phone and email list info, and their general snail-mail list.

An inmate enters on their computer all the names of anyone they wish to contact. You cannot put a letter in the prison mailbox without that label. Prisoner censors reading outgoing and incoming mail are notoriously slow and arbitrary meaning weeks can go by before letters are sent and replies received.

The closely monitored prison email system takes about an hour to get to the addressee, and another hour once sent back. [FE note: Sometimes days!] One is, of course, free to opt out of the process. At which point you have no access to pretty much anything.

A former federal prisoner

Help Left Bank

Left Bank books has been a collectively-owned and collectively-run anarchist/anti-authoritarian independent bookstore for 36 years.

During this time, hundreds of people in the Seattle area have given their time, energy and creativity to help this important project contribute to our thriving anarchist community

And, thousands of anarchist/anti-authoritarian comrades from the Seattle area and many other places have also contributed to make this an ongoing project by visiting, giving presentations, buying books, and recommending the bookstore to friends and relatives.

However, due to the worsening of the capitalist crisis and its impact on most of the store’s supporters and patrons, Left Bank Books is facing unprecedented financial difficulties. Sales are way down and book distributors are tightening credit terms. It is also facing competition from corporate outlets, such as Borders and Amazon.com.

We very much value this bookstore and the role it plays in providing anarchist-anti-authoritarian books, papers and zines (and much more), and in helping to strengthen our community.

This is why friends of Left Bank Books are working in a variety of ways to try to raise enough money to help this bookstore survive in these hard times. Whatever you can contribute will be greatly appreciated. If you can help out, please send donations of any size to:

Left Bank Books, 92 Pike Street, Seattle, WA 98101. You can also call the store and make a donation with a credit card or buy books at: (206) 622-0195.


  1. Subscribe: Subscribers are a publication’s life blood. If you bought this at a news stand, consider subscribing and buying one for a friend or a library.
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  3. Distribute the FE: Sell or give away current or back issues. Get stores in your area to sell the magazine. Use them for tabling. Take them to events and demos. Bulk back issues are available for the cost of postage. Write us at fe@fifthestate.org for info.
  4. Hold a fundraiser for the FE: A house party or an event not only provides revenue for the magazine, but gets people together that share similar ideas.
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