Journey to the Center of the Underground Press (Zine Reviews)

‘Zines: underground magazines, frequently self published, sometimes standing alone, other times periodicals that span years. Zines continue to defy the death of print. Please consider checking out some of the titles we’re excited about!

In Slingshot #118 I reviewed the Political Pre-History of Love and Rage which included a factual error. From reading the ‘zine I was under the impression that Neither East Nor West (NENW) was a response to an RCP front group, No Business As Usual. We received a reply from an ex-member of NENW that said their organization formed autonomously, and their history has been published again by the Anarchist History Nerd Brigade and is reviewed here. (A. Iwasa)

Mob Work

Anarchists in Grand Rapids, Vol. 4

This ‘zine is the fourth in a series covering Anarchist activities in Grand Rapids, Michigan from the 1980s to the 1990s. Though this volume focuses on the 1980s and ’90s, it starts with major actions, organizations and periodicals from the 1970s from all over the U$ to properly contextualize the main topics of the ‘zine. This also allows new readers to start with this volume.

From Anarchist participation and Anarchistic organizational forms in the anti-nuclear and Central American solidarity movements, to the emergence of explicitly Anarcha-Feminism and its effects on Queer Liberation struggles; different groups, periodicals and events are chronicled and sources are extensively cited. The influence of Anarchism on punk and hardcore, is followed by the late ’80s continental Anarchist gatherings such as the 1,500 strong 1989 San Francisco gathering where one of the pilot issues of Love and Rage, Writing on the Wall, was distributed.

The opening of Infoshops in North America, Anarchist involvement in Earth First! and the emergence of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) are all covered before the main topic of the ‘zine.

Some of the national political movements of the 1980s and ’90s are quickly reiterated before a lengthy description of the era’s Anarcho-Punk scene in Grand Rapids. Media is covered next, first via a radical student paper, Wake Up!, then a TV program made by the Society for Economic Equality (SEE), followed by Discussion Bulletin; a libertarian socialist publication for various anti-state groups to share and debate ideas.

1990s Anarchist gatherings that occurred in Michigan are written about, then anti-Klan and anti-police brutality demonstrations.

Local Anarchist and Anarchistic initiatives directly influenced by International Movements from Anarchist Black Cross, Anti-Racist Action, Food Not Bombs and Critical Mass are all written about building up to the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organization (WTO) protests. In turn, the post-Seattle prominence of radicalism, especially in the George W. Bush era, and the changes of tactics from non-violence to confrontational direct actions is recorded.

Like any history of the 1980s and ’90s probably should, this ‘zine started in the 1970s and ended in the early 2000s. The newer Grand Rapids Anarchists’ lack of connection to the previous few decades of Anarchist struggle is seen as both a good and bad thing. Hopefully this ‘zine has helped bridge that gap, and it would be nice to see more like it. (A. Iwasa)

Reckless Chants #21 Jessie McMains PO Box 85278 Racine, WI 53408

Following a brief introduction, Rust Belt Jessie takes you on a very personal journey from her youthful politicization during Operation Desert Storm, through crushes, involvement in punk and how much that can bring you down, all sorts of fandom; and thoughts on gender, gentrification, change, queerness and ‘zines.

Some topics come up again and again. These aren’t tidy, one dimensional stories, but a series of articles, a couple journal entries and one interview that wildly flow through all of these things and more, with all the fluidity of a life passionatly though sometimes painfully lived to the fullest.

I became familiar with Jessie’s writings through her blog,, and have read a couple of her stand alone ‘zines: and it murders your heart and Belmont & Clark. Though all of that material has been interesting, finally reading Reckless Chants has made me a fan of her’s for sure, and I look forward to backtracking through all the old issues I can find. (A. Iwasa)

Neither East Nor West NYC: a De Facto Anarchist Black Cross History, 1980-1994

In responce to my review of the Anarchist History Nerd Brigade (AHNB) ‘zine, The Political Pre-History of Love and Rage, ex-member of Neither East Nor West (NENW) Bob McGlynn submitted this text to the AHNB and Slingshot to clarify that the organization’s roots were not an anti-authoritarian responce to the Revolutionary Communist Party front group, No Business As Usual, as was stated in the Love and Rage material used to make the AHNB ‘zine.

Previous editions have been printed in Fifth Estate and The Utopian. McGlynn’s prologue seems a bit tangental, but quickly turns into a wild ride of activism in support of radical political disidents going from Poland’s Solidarnosc to the USSr’s Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists. Protests and petitions went on in both sides of the iron curtain and the importance of their newspaper, On Gogol Boulevard as a networking tool for the nearly 40 NENW groups that emerged in North America is stressed.

For those interested in late 20th century radicalism, left-wing dissent in the Eastern Bloc, and the history of political prisoner support, this is a must read. (A. Iwasa)


Oh yeah, here is the work of someone tracing the labor issues of a select industry—UPS, and done so with marvelous humor. Their February issue has pick up lines like, “Don’t worry I know how to handle a package” which reveal that unions don’t have to be dominated by dour lifeless people. This does a lot to make real the conditions that people face who would be easy to ignore through their corporate logo and uniform. Also the mere fact that this exists speaks to the power of printed materials. I found my copy in the free literature area of the local community center, The Omni. A good example to move our struggles to more spaces that are off the internet. (eggplant)

AB #18 Sept 2015 c/o Lisa Ahne PO Box 181 Alsea OR 97324

Here you have the on going dialog regarding how to live on very little resources and off the radar. This should appeal to back to the landers and anti authoritarians. This issue looks at people who get by in mobile homes, 5 pages on sea dwelling vessels, anecdotes about the ever present police hassles, a political tract and analysis on a healthy food book that exhausts the history of humans and food habits. The zine’s writers is full of contributors with a little bit of commentary by the editor. The whole production is pretty dense. There is no graphics to separate sections when the subject changes. I wouldn’t recommend this to impatient people or the illiterate. For people who painstakingly search out details to find the cracks to escape from the prison of this system.(eggplant)

Prisoners Air Mail #1 Ramon D. Hontiveros P-34034 B3-SHU-105 PO Box 290066 Represa, CA 95671

Reminding me of a high school publication or a punk house newsletter this prison made zine is brave. An assortment of voices rally to show strength in numbers. I liked most of the pieces of writing but what really makes the contributor’s writing vivid is the notes the editor gives to flesh out the personality. There’s also reprints of topical items like Palestine and political prisoners which normally would put me to sleep. But as far as reprints goes they are quite readable. It is also indicative of how limited the resources are for the people working on this. A little chaotic for the first issue with stray voices and styles to figure out. Also the printing is pretty lousy, having computer filtered fuzziness throughout it. As i read it I contrasted the people around me holding a phone in front of their face squinting – at least i was squinting at paper that has a lot of soul put to it.

Write the editor who is also the organizer of Solidarity Now! a international network of prisoners. He will probably not be able to send you a zine but he can direct you to his outside contact that can. (eggplant)

Node Pajomo #18 Summer 2015 Po Box 2632 Bellingham WA 98227-2632

A zine dedicated to the hands on world of media. Mail art, mix tapes and zines are given proper consideration and contact information. Change is in the air. This is the last issue as a full on zine. The editor announces the nature of the what he does will scale down and become more of a zine listing other projects. This is too bad because he actually investigates all the material people send him and relates what he finds. Also most impressive is that many of the pages is ordained in graphic deliciousness. I read this issue during a 12 hour experimental noise show – the collage of sounds reflected back onto the paper.(eggplant)

Cemetery Gates #1  $6.50 ppd (???) PO Box 251 Modesto, CA 95353

This new publication looks at how people confront death and grief. The editor sets the context of why to do this and its quite touching. The bulk of the content are some written pieces and photos of cemeteries. The atmosphere of cemeteries is pretty hard to capture using photocopiers but there’s close to a dozen images here that you can take to the copy shop and use to make art with. (eggplant)

Cameron Forsley Art PO Box 720283 San Francisco, CA 94172

Three zines from the same artist who works in pen and ink made it to our mailbox since our last issue. Animal Sketches and Sketch Book Drawings give the hungry mind a chance to feast on rich images. They look like they come straight from what he’s looking at and onto his notebook. Also received was Tat Rat#6, which is structured like a comic that tells a surreal story. Its more of a psychedelic hallucination than an ordinary comic. It’s good to know that as the world turns there’s someone out there recording the motion.(eggplant)