Tales from the Cybersphere

Fifth Estate on the Web


Fifth Estate # 389, Summer, 2013

Since its radical beginnings the Fifth Estate has consistently been more than a magazine, indeed, more than a publication. From the start its staff and contributors–in Detroit and farther afield–have been engaged with anti-authoritarian activities and ideas that are hard to grasp simply by viewing single issues of the FE.

Those of us who have had the good fortune to know the Fifth Estate for a long time, and possibly have a file drawer full of back issues for reference, know and treasure the magazine as a rich, radical resource.

So, it is encouraging to note two new Web-based initiatives aiming to extend the presence of the FE and its community beyond the magazine’s printed pages.

First, is this column, which will feature information and links for accessing the work of FE staffers, contributors, and friends that have found their way onto the Web. Each issue we will focus on a few such individuals and groups, as you can read below.

Second, we are pleased to announce the beginning of a project to share virtually all of the anti-authoritarian content of the Fifth Estate from 1975 to the present via the FE‘s own website. Just as FE & Friends have been active in areas beyond writing and publishing, so the archives will also eventually include multi-media access to their art, music, film, video documentation, and more. Keep checking fifthestate.org for signs of our progress in rounding out the definition of this anti-authoritarian project’s past and present.

Our friend and comrade Federico Arcos, born in 1920, has been involved as an FE contributor from early on. To begin learning more about this anarchist veteran of the Spanish Revolution and lifelong rebel, you can visit The Anarchist Library’s holdings at: theanarchistlibrary.org/search?query=federico+arcos. There you’ll find, among other texts, some of Federico’s prose and poetry, as well as a stirring appreciation, “Homage to Federico Arcos,” written by David Watson, another long-time FE contributor.

While browsing the Web you can also see and hear Federico, along with other Spanish anarchists, recount their experiences of the Revolution of 1936-1939 in the film Vivir la Utopia (Living Utopia). A version in Spanish with English subtitles can be found at: youtube.com/watch?v=Xirj-Ri5d9g. An English version of the film’s script is at: recollectionbooks.com/siml/library/utopia.htm

Kelly Pflug-Back is another FE contributor whose life has seen much more than writing and print publishing. To learn more about her many and varied forms of revolt, visit her site at kellypflugback.wordpress.com.

Kelly just finished serving a prison sentence related to her participation in protests at the 2010 G20 meeting in Toronto. Her article, “Life in the Body Dump,” printed in Winter, 2013, can also be found on her site. It illustrates the ravages of late capitalism as they are visited on the life of a 47-year-old fellow inmate Kelly came to know.

Another article by Kelly, “Survival of the Fittest? Questioning Perceptions of Disability Before Industrialized Medicine,” from our Summer 2012 issue (#387), is also available online at againstcivilization.tk/

The lives of Fifth Estate staff, contributors and friends are unfolding along with the anti-authoritarian ideas and actions they contribute to and reflect. You’ll see their words and images here in the FE‘s print pages, and in the cybersphere.

This column will guide you to their presence on the Worldwide Web.