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Fredy Perlman
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"This is the place to jump, the place to dance! This is the wilderness! Was there ever any other?"


Fredy Perlman (1934-85)

Printer, musician, organizer, scholar, theorist, traveller, publisher, & anti-authoritarian activist. Born August 20, 1934, Brno, Czechoslovakia; died July 26, 1985 Detroit, Michigan

Fredy Perlman was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia on August 20, 1934. He emigrated with parents to Cochabamba, Bolivia in 1938 just ahead of the Nazi takeover. The Perlman family came to the United States in 1945 & lived variously in Mobile, Alabama, Brooklyn, Queens before settling in Lakeside Park, Kentucky, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio where Fredy graduated high school.

1959-63, he & Lorraine lived on the lower east side of Manhattan while Fredy worked on a statistical analysis of the world's resources with John Ricklefs. They participated in anti-bomb & pacifist activities with the Living Theater & others. Fredy was arrested following a sit-down in Times Square in the fall of 1961. He became the printer for the Living Theater & during that time wrote The New Freedom; Corporate Capitalism & a play, Plunder, which he published himself.

From 1963-66 Fredy studied at the Belgrade University Economics Faculty where he received a master's degree. His thesis was titled "The Structure of Backwardness." He received his Ph.D at the Law Faculty; his dissertation was titled "Conditions for the Development of a Backward Region," which created an outrage among some members of the faculty. During his last year in Yugoslavia, he was a member of the Planning Institute for Kosovo & Metohija. In May 1968 after lecturing for two weeks in Turin, Italy, Fredy went to Paris on the last train before rail traffic was shut down by strikes. He participated in the exhilarating May Days in Paris & worked at the Censier center with the Citroen factory committee.

After returning to Kalamazoo in August, he collaborated with Roger Gregoire in writing Worker-Student Action Committees, May '68.

During his last year in Kalamazoo, Fredy had left the university and together with several other people, mostly students, inaugurated Black and Red of which six issues appeared. Typing and layout was done at Fredy and Lorraine's house and the printing at the Radical Education Project in Ann Arbor. In January 1969 he completed The Reproduction of Daily Life. While traveling in Europe in the spring of 1969, he spent several weeks in Yugoslavia and there wrote Revolt in Socialist Yugoslavia which was suppressed by the authorities as a CIA plot.

The only -ist name I respond to is "cellist".
Between 1971-76, he worked on, often with others, several books, some original, others translations including Manual for Revolutionary Leaders, Letters of Insurgents, Arshinov’s History of the Makhnovist Movement, Voline's The Unknown Revolution, and Camatte's The Wandering of Humanity. During the same years, Fredy began playing the cello, often playing in chamber music sessions twice a week. In 1971 he and Lorraine traveled to Alaska by car.

Both Fredy and Lorraine helped on "The Fifth Estate" doing typesetting and proofreading as well as contributing articles. Fredy's most recent contributions were "Anti-Semitism and the Beirut Pogrom" and The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism (published in Spain as El persistente atractivo del nacionalismo, (Valencia: Al Margen, 1998). During 1982-83, Fredy suspended work on The Strait to write Against History, Against Leviathan.

In 1983, Fredy joined the cello section of the Dearborn Orchestra & in June 1985 performed quartets by Mozart and Schumann at a program for Physicians for Social Responsibility.

On July 26, 1985, Fredy underwent heart surgery at Henry Ford Hospital to replace two valves. His damaged heart was not able to resume its functioning at the end of the operation.

From Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, Number 7, September 1985: Fredy Perlman

Fredy Perlman, one of the founders of the periodical & subsequently the publishing house Black & Red; author, translator & publisher of many radical books & pamphlets; & lifelong anti-authoritarian, died on the 26th of July.

Born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, Perlman lived in Cochabamba, Bolivia in his early youth before emigrating with his parents to the U.S. in 1945. In 1966 he obtained his Ph.d at the Law Faculty of Belgrade University in Yugoslavia. In 1968 he traveled to France where he participated in Paris & worked at the Censier center with the Citroen factory committee.

His published books include: a play entitled Plunder; Worker-Student Action Committees, May '68 (with Roger Gregoire); The Incoherence of the Intellectual, the satirical Manual for Revolutionary Leaders (with Lorraine Perlman), Letters of Insurgents, and Against History, Against Leviathan!.

His translations include I.I. Rubin's Essay on Marx's Theory of Value (with Milos Samardzija), Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle (with others), Peter Arshinov’s History of the Makhnovist Movement, parts of Voline's The Unknown Revolution (with friends), & Camatte's The Wandering of Humanity. He died before completing the manuscript of a comprehensive history of The Strait (Detroit & surroundings).

On July 26, 1985 he underwent open heart surgery at Henry Ford Hospital but did not survive the operation.

Fredy Perlman & Friends

Some resources:
  • Having Little Being Much: A Chronicle of Fredy Perlman's Fifty Years by his long-time partner Lorraine Perlman.

  • Fredy's distrust of technology & "civilization" opened a door for "anarcho-primitivists" & others to explore, & look at "A Primitivist Primer" by John Moore provides an introduction to the subject.


Having Little, Being Much: A Chronicle of Fredy Perlman's Fifty Years
Perlman, Lorraine
Havinf Little coverA biography of an important anarchist theorist & visionary, written by his partner of many years. She lovingly fills in & details the many & diverse activities of his life: more than simply the author of such important political works as Against His-story, Against Leviathan, The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism, & The Reproduction of Daily Life, Perlman was a printer, organizer, scholar, & activist stubbornly committed to the struggle against Empire. An inspirational account of a true radical. (1989/Illus)
Black & Red -- 155p.

Against His-story, Against Leviathan
Perlman, Fredy
An amazing personal odyssey through world history with an emphasis on discovering the nature of power. A monumental, deeply sensitive anti-authoritarian view of civilization & its malcontents. Turns world history upside-down & inside out in a wonderful, inspiring way. (1983)
Black & Red, 302 pages.

Worker-Student Action Committees
Perlman, Fredy & R. Gregoire
Reflections on, & a critique of, the Paris uprisings of May 1968 by a participant who asks: "Why did we participate in the worker-student action committees? What did we think was happening when the general strike began? What was the basis for what we thought?" One of the better accounts of this significant event in radical history. (1969-91/Illus)
Black & Red, 96p.


Fredy Perlman on the Internet:


Updated July 2002; Jan 2003, Jan & March 2004

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