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0 votes
I recently got access to some older Fifth Estate magazine/newspapers. It is a really interesting magazine, especially anything by Fredy Perlman and John Zerzan. Overall, there are definitely articles that don't match the tone of articles I will have read from an issue years later.
There's a David Watson article basically endorsing John Kerry in 2004 and some of the articles from when they moved to Tennessee are weak (from my perspective). Sunfrog, from what I can tell, abandoned their identification of Anarchist and moved towards being a Liberal Christian (Sojourners magazine type ??..weird shit)

Very cool reads, but also odd combination of articles...

Anyone with a thorough knowledge of their history and perspectives of their different trajectories ?

I have been reading their magazine for about 4 years but only recently have seen their older issues.
by (8.2k points)
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2 Answers

+4 votes
Fifth Estate is of course the longest lasting anarchist/semi-anarchist publication in the u.s.
As you note, it started out with fredy perlman, who was anti-civ before that was a thing, and who was also infamously uninterested in labels ("the only -ist i am is a cellist"), and FE mostly abides by both those tendencies, including taking anarchist off the cover some years ago, although many (most?) of their authors (seem to) identify as anarchists.
FE is pro-art, more than any other u.s. anarchist publication that i know of (except for maybe the Match, but that is a different sort of project). it seems like a hippie project to me (i say that with no denigration intended, unusual for me) in the sense that its aesthetic is reminiscent of many of the good things of the 60s of myth and legend. it continues to support anarchist political prisoners (not to mention marie mason, who worked on FE for many years before being imprisoned).
because it has included so many people and been around for so long and its production process includes people in different areas taking primary responsibility in turns, it sometimes seems a little scattered, but in a way that means it can stay flexible...
by (53.1k points)
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"it seems like a hippie project to me (i say that with no denigration intended, unusual for me)..."
ha ha, that's all I needed to hear.

I might add though that Fifth Estate existed before Fredy Perlman. It was more New Left/Liberal type paper with Harvey Ovshinsky as the main person behind it initially. From what I understand Fredy Perlman brought the more anti-authoritarian ideas into FE (and with Loraine Perlman helping to create Black And Red Press, which had/has(?) a strong relationship to Fifth Estate.)
that's right.
(i conflate fifth estate history with black and red -- fredy and lorraine being so awesome... Having Little, Being Much = required reading in the dot universe.)
+1 vote
I end up getting every issue of FE, and normally have muddled through all the content by the time the next issue comes out. I say "muddled" because, for the longest running "anarchist" periodical in North America and the place that most of John Zerzan's foundational work was first published, it is, as you state, pretty up and down, quality-wise. The period that you are referencing (the post 9/11 Bush-era) was particularly not great, though there were always just enough things of interest for me to pick it up.

It is kind of like that 60s era radical that is still around the milieu who used to be much more fiery, but who now has a job and a family. Their perspective has perhaps softened (they might say broadened) with the accumulated years and experience, but they still love it when the kids go out and break shit, and will always let everyone in to have a post-prole stroll drink.
by (22.1k points)
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just to pick on you (this is my most recent pet peeve), it's 60s, or '60s, not 60's.
many many many people get this wrong. i am speaking to all of them through you! :D
hehehehehe. thanks, dot! You know me and my somewhat antagonistic relationship with proper punctuation. apostrophes are central to the conflict.
Are you saying that your foundational project is to map the negative dialectics of apostrophes?
lawrence- Now that you mention it, yes.