David Watson

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About David Watson

Fifth Estate (FE) is a U.S. periodical, based in Detroit, Michigan, begun in 1965, and presently with staff members across North America who connect via the Internet. Its editorial collective sometimes has divergent views on the topics the magazine addresses but generally shares anarchist, anti-authoritarian outlook and a non-dogmatic, action-oriented approach to change. The title implies that the periodical is an alternative to the fourth estate (traditional print journalism).

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This person has authored 16 documents, with 151,758 words or 986,685 characters.

Having had the privilege of living for a time among stone age peoples of Brazil, a very civilized European of considerable erudition wrote afterwards, “Civilization is no longer a fragile flower, to be carefully preserved and reared with great difficulty here and there in sheltered corners. All that is over: humanity has taken to monoculture, once and for all, and is preparing to produce civilization in bulk, as if it were sugar-beet. The same dish will be served to us every day.” Those words were written in 1955. Now that civilization is engulfing the entire planet, the image of the fragile flower has largely wilted. Some of civilization’s inmates are remembering that the image was always a lie; other ways of seein... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Civilization is like a jetliner, noisy, burning up enormous amounts of fuel. Every imaginable and unimaginable crime and pollution had to be committed in order to make it go. Whole species were rendered extinct, whole populations dispersed. Its shadow on the waters resembles an oil slick. Birds are sucked into its jets and vaporized. Every part, as Gus Grissom once nervously remarked about space capsules before he was burned up in one, has been made by the lowest bidder. Civilization is like a 747, the filtered air, the muzak oozing over the earphones, a phony sense of security, the chemical food, the plastic trays, all the passengers sitting passively in the orderly row of padded seats staring at Death on the movie screen. Civilizat... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Editor’s Note I had the pleasure of crossing paths with David Watson—writer, teacher, activist, and early member of Fifth Estate, a long-running anarchist mag out of Detroit, MI—in June 2017, when I attended a panel he organized on Detroit’s multiple water crises for the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. I was so inspired I ended up profiling that panel for Deceleration. On reading our coverage, he sent me back a couple of his own publications, and a correspondence between South Texas and Great Lakes bioregions began—including the essay below, originally published in the August 2019 issue of Fifth Estate. Watson’s essay below is worth a slow, thought... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
FullImage::1 As we go to print, it is with great sadness that we report the passing of our compañero, amigo, padre, and abuelo, Federico Arcos, in Windsor, Ontario, at the age of 94. The last several months were very difficult for him, but all in all he lived long, fully, and admirably. He stood for lasting and noble human values. He cared about human beings and the Earth. He believed in justice and freedom and human solidarity and compassion. He had a powerful and permanent effect on us. For now, since we can’t write at length about our dear friend, we are publishing the following text, based on a tribute addressed to him in Detroit on his 80th birthday. --- Federico was the son of gente humilde, obrero... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
No se puede contar el infinito, ni concebir la eternidad; pero hay realidades intangibles que no podemos ignorar. — Federico Arcos, Momentos (1976) We have gathered here to honor and to celebrate our compañero, amigo, padre, abuelo, hermano — y guapo — Federico Arcos, on the occasion of his eightieth birthday. Fede, sorry we don’t have a present like the one you received on your sixteenth birthday — a revolution by the people of your beloved Barcelona, by the people of Spain, against the fascist rebels. We’ll try better on your eighty-first birthday, promise. Federico, was the son of gente humilde, of obreros. He grew up breathing the air of anarchist fervor in the o... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Foreword I first came across the Fifth Estate containing “How Deep is Deep Ecology?” in an anarchist bookstore on a visit to Sydney, Australia. I knew very little of deep ecology, but I had attended some Earth First! meetings, had bought the newspaper, and had been mostly inspired but occasionally upset by what I’d heard and read. Bradford’s essay placed these mixed reactions in perspective and gave me enough insight into deep ecology to see that both the positive and negative aspects of Earth First! might be attributable to a philosophical point of view rather than being merely expressions of individual personalities. I thought it was a valuable critique of a philosophy and a movement that are in many ... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
FE Note: We are publishing this essay to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. It is a substantially revised version of two articles written in the wake of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 (“The Israeli Massacre — Peace in Galilee?” and “Latin American Terror: The Israeli Connection”) that appeared in the Fall 1982 Fifth Estate (now out of print). Both were written by David Watson for the special edition which included Fredy Perlman’s “Anti-Semitism and the Beirut Pogrom.” * * * When the founder of organized zionism, Theodor Herzl, proposed to create a European Jewish state in the Middle East as “an outpost of civilization as o... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Introduction: “Hell No, That Won’t Go” by Richard Drinnon Another decade has passed and it is Spring 1995, twenty years since the “fall of Saigon to the Vietnamese,” in David Watson’s mordant words, and the man who gave his name to that war has just published In Retrospect, a memoir from which he broadcasts what everyone by now has heard: “we were wrong, terribly wrong.” Now the ur-Whiz Kid tells us that he had become a covert convert to the antiwar movement even by 1967, the year twenty thousand resisters tried to shut down his Department of Defense. If only the erstwhile carpet bomber had then come outside to join the fair number of us who had slipped by the soldiers and the marshals ... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
I wonder if anyone else feels the same nausea and despair I experi-ence when reading missives like R. Tate’s. Apparently, such jumbled, simple-minded invective, with its breathless disre-gard for the requirement to present serious evidence to support an argument, is what now passes for de-bate, for reasoning, in the so-called anti-authoritarian milieu. Was it always like this? Do any of these people even bother to learn anything about a subject anymore before applying their one-size-fits-all tem-plate? In debate, political or otherwise, one is generally expected (or should be) to cite books and serious historical evidence. In the best cases, there is an attempt to confront the breadth of the argument one is challenging, to addr... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
David Watson: Introduction to the Origins of Primitivism Set (2010) One thing I would say and may have already said in my books Beyond Bookchin and Against the Megamachine and my essay “Swamp Fever, Primitivism and the ‘Ideological Vortex’: Farewell to All That” is that I am not opposed at all to some kind of reasoned primitivism. I just distrust all “isms,” and in the case of much of self-proclaimed anarcho-primitivism, the insights of a primitivist view (for example, to be found in Stanley Diamond’s In Search of the Primitive, The Old Ways, much anthropological literature, and the writings and testimonies of native peoples) has become a simplistic, dogmatic, and sometimes fascistic response... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Introduction Federico Arcos (July 18, 1920-May 23, 2015), a lifelong anarchist, participated in the Spanish Revolution and Civil War in the 1930s, and later took part in the antifascist underground there. He immigrated to Canada in 1952, where he continued his commitment to anarchist goals. He eventually compiled an extensive archive of anarchist writings and other material. Fifth Estaters met Federico in the early 1970s. In time he became a beloved elder to people working on the paper, and in the larger Detroit/Windsor anarchist, radical, and labor communities. The 50th anniversary retrospective exhibit of the FE at Detroit's Museum of Contemporary Art is dedicated to Federico. It runs from September 2015 to January 2016. ... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
There she is, looking vaguely pornographic on the glossy covers of the weekly magazines, the planet Saturn. What have we discovered? I don’t know, I haven’t read them, feeling squashed as I do to the Earth by the giddying inertia of this century which plummets like a flaming satellite towards the nothingness. Gray skies, the weather turning cold, sirens in the distance. Some citizens walk by whispering reverently of the wonders of Saturn, disputing the number of rings and moons according to the latest counts, as the corroding universe about them threatens to be annihilated. They drool over photographs of a planet most of them couldn’t spot in a clear night sky — that is, if the night sky hadn’t already been col... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
This article was first published in the American radical ecological journal ‘Fifth Estate’ after the Exxon Valdez Oil spill. It describes first the spill itself before moving on to a wider analysis of the way that industrial interests can exploit even the disasters that might seem to undermine them and warns that in many cases environmentalists are acting as mere salesreps for industry. This incisive and rather scary analysis is backed up heavily. It also explains how industry creates needs for itself and looks at the limits of both environmentalism and leftism. Its impressive explanation of petrochemical civilization and its often false oppositions is especially relevant considering this years west Wales oil spill — which... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Hello, My Name is David, and I am in recovery from anarcho-primitivism All Isms are Wasms As one of the more outspoken non-atheists in the FE collective, it’s fitting that one of my early memories of the project was an argument about religion. I was hanging out in the office under the auspices of helping the collective members in their battle to stop the Detroit trash incinerator. While I could usually hold my rhetorical own, I was outnumbered and intellectually outgunned that afternoon in early 1988. Before I left the office that day, one of the collective members pulled me aside, sensing that I was feeling emotionally bruised after taking such a verbal beating. He encouraged me not to take the discussion personally, told m... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
The Miraculous Birth Only later did some say that the first of what were to be many miraculous births was presaged in signs. Only much later did a long list of the omens appear. Some could not resist applying the veneer of old myths to circumstances that seemed entirely novel. Someone had reported a two-headed comet, but that was predictable. It had been done before. Different indeed and widely reported was the experience of being awakened from troubled sleep to the sound of a woman laughing, laughing, saying, “Oh my children, my beautiful children!” The first birth made local, then national and international news. A young woman claiming to be a virgin (a claim no one believed, of course), gave birth to a Californi... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
This essay was first published in the American radical ecological journal Fifth Estate, shortly after the Bhopal chemical explosion, a day of death that is still killing to this day. Children are born deformed or dead, land destroyed. Those who survived the initial massacre — industrial refugee families who fled the chemical cloud are watching each other slowly die of cancer and other pollution/stress related ‘diseases’. The cinders of the funeral pyres at Bhopal are still warm and the mass graves still fresh, but the media prostitutes of the corporations have already begun their homilies in defense of industrialism and its uncounted horrors. Some 3,000 people were slaughtered in the wake of the deadly gas cloud, an... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)


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April 28, 2020; 6:14:37 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
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