Our readers respond


Fifth Estate # 396, Summer, 2016

Send letters to fe – at – fifthestate – dot – org or Fifth Estate, POB 201016, Ferndale MI 48220. All formats accepted, including typescript & handwritten; letters may be edited for length.

Anarchists Out There

I am really glad the FE has published and continues to publish articles that cover the experiences of people in various parts of the world that haven’t conformed neatly to the dominant narratives on the left or the right, or the cheerleaders of any government. As anarchists, these are the stories we need to know about, and often the people are the ones we want to be in solidarity with, when we know they are there!

This is why I so appreciate the recent articles about the situation in Syria, including most recently in FE Spring 2015 and Summer 2015, and those about anarchists in Cuba, Summer 2015 and Winter 2016, as well as those about the resistance to the U.S. war on Indochina, including the only partly fictionalized story of “The Girl Who Would Stop Time” in Winter 2016, to mention only a few.

For me, information about lesser known histories and visions of freedom inspire more thoughts and ideas about where we come from and where we might go. All such articles fill important gaps in knowledge that might help strengthen our collective ongoing resistance to the tyranny in our daily lives.

Ida Montain

Waiting for FE

I wait everyday to receive the latest copy of the Fifth Estate. I was lucky enough to get a back issue, your Escape issue (#377, March 2008), from an anarchist group here in North Carolina, the Internationalist Collective. It was love at first sight.

I have known for many years that I am an anarcho-communist, but for the exception of the few books I could find on the subject, I really thought I was alone, and didn’t know there is a vibrant community of like-minded people who feel the way I do about the state and life in general.

I wrote a few months ago requesting a free prisoner subscription and enclosed a photo of myself so you can actually see who you are helping. And, I wait!

The back issue was from 2008, and I don’t know how often you publish.

Prisoner [name withheld]
North Carolina

FE reply: Although in the early 1970s this publication was a weekly tabloid newspaper, today we print three times a year in its current magazine format. This prisoner and others receive subscriptions through the generosity of our readers, but there obviously is a demand for more frequent issues.

Right now, it’s a staffing issue since the current editorial collective believes that more issues per year would be welcome.

One way to fill the gap is by ordering back issues from Little Black Cart (LittleBlackCart.org). Ones such as the Escape edition, edited by our departed comrade, Don LaCoss, is an excellent example of issues which remain relevant and interesting.

Fifth Estate historic back issues:

Read online or order copies FifthEstate.org

40th & 50th anniversary issues & others available


Bellamy Fitzpatrick’s article, “Mega-Cities: The Fifth Horseman of Arcology,” (Fifth Estate, Winter 2016) is a truly frightening picture of what a mostly urban planet will look like. Huge metropolises filled with millions of people all dependent on centralized grids for food, shelter, transportation, and energy.

The title of Mike Davis’ 2006 book of essays, Planet of Slums, says it all. More people are now crowded into cities, many of them with populations of over five million, and with names unknown to most of us, than in rural areas. And, in which the vast majority of inhabitants are threadbare poor.

The world’s 1,810 billionaires, whose combined fortunes total in the trillions, have enough wealth to theoretically end all poverty. However, that assumes a Western production and consumption level to improve the lives of the impoverished, but the earth doesn’t have the environmental capacity to accommodate a planet of consumers.

That leaves us with a growing world population, mostly poor, with a devil’s choice of leaving them in accelerating misery or strain the earth’s resources beyond its ability by creating a world of stuff to replace one of slums.

What does this do to our revolutionary vision of a new world based on decentralization, face-to-face decision making, and light footprint on the earth?

James DeWitt