Fredy Perlman

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(1934 - 1985)


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About Fredy Perlman

Fredy Perlman (August 20, 1934 – July 26, 1985) was an American author, publisher, professor, and activist. His most popular work, the book Against His-Story, Against Leviathan!, details the rise of state domination with a retelling of history through the Hobbesian metaphor of the Leviathan. Though Perlman detested ideology and claimed that the only "-ist" he would respond to was "cellist," his work as an author and publisher has been influential on modern anarchist thought.

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This person has authored 52 documents, with 996,576 words or 5,960,346 characters.

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1983 ~ (115,985 Words / 730,689 Characters)
1 And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight Where ignorant armies clash by night. (M. Arnold) Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit There is not even silence in the mountains But dry sterile thunder without rain... (T.S. Eliot) The darkling plain is here. This is the waste land: England, America, Russia, China, Israel, France.... And we are here as victims, or as spectators, or as perpetrators of tortures, massacres, poisonings, manipulations, despoliations. Hic Rhodus! This is the place to jump, the place to dance! This is the wilderness! Was there ever any other? This is savagery! Do you call it freedom? This is barbarism! The struggle for survival is right here. Haven’t we always known it? Isn’t this a public secret? Hasn’t it always been the big... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1983 ~ (6,241 Words / 38,825 Characters)
Escape from death in a gas chamber or a Pogrom, or incarceration in a concentration camp, may give a thoughtful and capable writer, Solzhenitsyn for example, profound insights into many of the central elements of contemporary existence, but such an experience does not, in itself, make Solzhenitsyn a thinker, a writer, or even a critic of concentration camps; it does not, in itself, confer any special powers. In another person the experience might lie dormant as a potentiality, or remain forever meaningless, or it might contribute to making the person an ogre. In short, the experience is an indelible part of the individual’s past but it does not determine his future; the individual is free to choose his future; he is even free to choose to abolish his freedom, in which case he chooses in bad faith and is a Salaud (J.P. Sartre’s precise philosophical term for a person who makes such a choice [The usual English translation is ‘Bastard’]). (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1968 ~ (4,205 Words / 26,405 Characters)
“Be Realists, Demand the Impossible!” This slogan, developed in May by revolutionaries in France, flies in the face of common sense, especially the “common sense” of American corporate-military propaganda. What happened in May also flies in the face of official American “common sense.” In fact, in terms of American “common sense,” much of what happens in the world every day is impossible. It can’t happen. If it does happen, then the official “common sense” is nonsense: it is a set of myths and fantasies. But how can common sense be nonsense? That’s impossible. To demonstrate that anything is possible, this essay will place some of the myths alongside some of the events. The essay will then try to find out why some of the myths are possible, in other words, it will explore the “scientific basis” of the myths. The essay, if successfu... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1969 ~ (8,849 Words / 57,091 Characters)
“Heretics are always more dangerous than enemies,” concluded a Yugoslav philosopher after analyzing the repression of Marxist intellectuals by the Marxist regime of Poland. (S. Stojanovic, in Student, Belgrade, April 9, 1968, p. 7.) In Yugoslavia, where “workers’ self-management” has become the official ideology, a new struggle for popular control has exposed the gap between the official ideology and the social relations which it claims to describe. The heretics who exposed this gap have been temporarily isolated; their struggle has been momentarily suppressed. The ideology of “self-management” continues to serve as a mask for a commercial-technocratic bureaucracy which has successfully concentrated the wealth and power created by the Yugoslav working population. However, even a single and partial removal of the mask spoils its efficacy: the ruling “elite” of Yugoslavia has been exposed; its “Marxist”... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1968 ~ (8,919 Words / 56,588 Characters)
Background Yippies The whole thing started at the end of last year, when some “kids with hair” founded the Youth International Party (which made them YIPpies), decided to run a pig for the presidency of the United States of America, and began to prepare a Festival of Life as a response to the Democratic Party’s Convention of Death in Chicago. The Yippie candidate was nominated in February, 1968. Yippie militants Jerry Rubin and Ed Sanders presented Pigasus to the nominating convention as “the next President of the United States.” (Chicago Seed, Vol. 2, No. 11) According to Rubin, “The Republican Party has nominated a pig for President and a pig for Vise-President.” “The Democratic Party will most likely nominate a pig for President and a pig for Vise-President. “And so the Yippies will nominate a pig for President. “D... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1968 ~ (15,420 Words / 99,829 Characters)
According to economists whose theories currently prevail in America, economics has replaced political economy, and economics deals with scarcity, prices, and resource allocation. In the definition of Paul Samuelson, “economics or political economy, as it used to be called, is the study of how men and society choose, with or without the use of money, to employ scarce productive resources, which could have alternative uses, to produce various commodities over time and distribute them for consumption, now and in the future, among various people and groups in society.” According to Robert Campbell, “One of the central preoccupations of economics has always been what determines price.” In the words of another expert, “Any community, the primers tell us, has to deal with a pervasive economic problem: how to determine the uses of available resources, including not only goods and services that can be employed productively but also other s... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1984 ~ (11,973 Words / 78,612 Characters)
Nationalism was proclaimed dead several times during the present century: the First World War, when the last empires of Europe, the Austrian and the Turkish, were broken up into self-determined nations, and no deprived nationalists remained, except the Zionists; after the Bolshevik coup d’etat, when it was said that the bourgeoisie’s struggles for self-determination were henceforth superseded by struggles of workingmen, who had no country; after the military defeat of Fascist Italy and National Socialist Germany, when the genocidal corollaries of nationalism had been exhibited for all to see, when it was thought that nationalism as creed and as practice was permanently discredited. Yet forty years after the military defeat of Fascists and National Socialists, we can see that nationalism did not only survive but was born again, underwent a revival. Nationalism has... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1969 ~ (4,543 Words / 27,487 Characters)
On February 24th, 1969, a radical student was arrested at her home early in the morning and taken to the Kalamazoo Jail. She was charged with “assault and battery” for defending herself from the insistent harassment and insults of a student who opposed her POLITICS: he insulted her because she had dared to question a Political Science Professor and had tried to PROVOKE DISCUSSION among students in a university. The Political Science Professor did not answer the questions she raised; he responded with VIOLENCE: he had her summoned to a Dean and a Disciplinary Board to suspend her from school for “disrupting” his class, and he proudly announced that she would be arrested by the Police FOR VIOLENCE against his “good” student. For trying to question his course, the Political Science Professor is having her thrown out of school and tried for a crime; once he transforms her into an “outsider” and a “criminal,” she w... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2011 ~ (31,280 Words / 200,891 Characters)
to Donna — Ben A note on performing Illyria Street Commune A dash at the end of a speech indicates that the next speaker begins before the previous one is finished. In general, there should be no pauses; props can be carried in and out while the action develops. Sequences in different parts of the room can sometimes be done simultaneously, depending on the discretion of the performers. If a prompter is necessary, it would be consistent with the play (“Ben’s play”) if Ben sat in a corner with a script, and intervened to correct lines, stepping out of his corner into scenes in which he takes part. In general, only plot and character developments have been worked out; mannerisms, motions, and also actions of other people in the house, have not. Since the setting is the main room of a commune, much will probably be happening all the time. But in developing such actions, criteria like “This will really... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1969 ~ (26,717 Words / 183,584 Characters)
INTRODUCTION Man as History‑Maker The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it. — Karl Marx For C. Wright Mills, the most important issue of political reflection—and of political action—in our time is the problem of the historical agency of change, of the social and institutional means of structural change. The problem of social change, of revolutionary practice, occupies a central place in Mills’ writings, which stretch over a period of two decades. For Mills, this is not a speculative problem; it is not a subject for contemplation. It is an intensely practical and personal problem. It raises questions about the relation of the individual to history, about the relevance of intellectual activity to the making of history, about the unity of thought and action, theory and practic... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1976 Yarostan’s ninth letter Dear Sophia, Your letter was as painful to read as it must have been to write. How can everything be over? How can workers without illusions about unions march back to work hailing their union’s “victories”? How can a population that just woke up be back asleep? We’ve been hearing rumors of an imminent invasion, of tanks massing at our borders, but those rumors disturb us infinitely less than the knowledge that “normal” life has resumed in your part of the world. We had begun to take it for granted that our fellow human beings in other parts of the globe were engaged in acts similar to our own. The council office and the commune, the occupied research center, the spreading general strike, had all become part of the geography of our world. You couldn’t have shocked us more if you had told us a continent had sunk. I was fas...

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1985 ~ (11,123 Words / 70,517 Characters)
Introduction One can only approach with trepidation the task of writing an introduction to a text that takes as one of its themes the ways in which forewords domesticate or recuperate the works they introduce. To forestall accusations of proving this thesis, the introductory remarks that follow will therefore attempt to open up debate rather than limit it through imposing a supposedly definitive reading of the two essays published in this volume. These essays are important first and foremost because they are the last works of Fredy Perlman. Written during February and March 1985, and subsequently typeset by the author, they were published in the October 1985 issue of the radical primitivist Detroit periodical, the Fifth Estate. But this was a posthumous act of publication, for Perlman had tragically died while undergoing heart surgery in June 1985. Aside from his unfinished epic The Strait, therefore, these essays are, n... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1972 ~ (98,017 Words / 638,949 Characters)
Chapter 1: Generation of Revolutionaries Plunder and war continue to spread across the world. They are stuff of past and present history. The greater the material product of society the greater the plunder; the larger the stock of productive forces the more extensive the destruction. It is not the task of this manual to examine the plunder or the destruction, but to treat contemporary forms of resisting them. Among forms of resistance only two will be examined: a form which has become established as the modern model of revolution, and resistance which takes the form of a continually changing response to continually developing productive forces. It is the task of the manual to apply the twentieth century model of revolution to the conditions created by the development of productive forces. By its successes this model has proved itself the quintessence of revolutionary political activity in modern times. Its processes have so far been limit... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1979 ~ (2,390 Words / 15,351 Characters)
The premeditated poisoning of human beings, of soils and of other living species can only by the grossest hypocrisy be considered an “accident”. Only the willfully blind can claim that this consequence of Technical Progress was “unforeseen”. The poisoning and removal of this continent’s living inhabitants for the sake of “higher entities” may have begun in Eastern Pennsylvania, but not during the past few weeks. Eleven score years ago, in the region currently being poisoned by radiation from Three Mile Island, speculators with names like Franklin, Morris, Washington and Hale hid their names behind facades such as the Vandalia Company and the Ohio Company. These companies had one purpose: to sell land for a profit. The individuals behind the companies had one aim: to remove all obstacles which stood in the way of the free deployment of profit-making, whether the obstacles were human beings or millennial cultures... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (8,942 Words / 54,572 Characters)
The everyday practical activity of tribesmen reproduces, or perpetuates, a tribe. This reproduction is not merely physical, but social as well. Through their daily activities the tribesmen do not merely reproduce a group of human beings; they reproduce a tribe, namely a particular social form within which this group of human beings performs specific activities in a specific manner. The specific activities of the tribesmen are not the outcome of “natural” characteristics of the men who perform them, the way the production of honey is an outcome of the “nature” of a bee. The daily life enacted and perpetuated by the tribesman is a specific social response to particular material and historical conditions. The everyday activity of slaves reproduces slavery. Through their daily activities, slaves do not merely reproduce themselves and their masters physically; they also reproduce the instruments with which the master represses them, and their own... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1988 A Note to the Reader: An early death kept Fredy Perlman from finishing the two-volume account of Robert Dupre’s forebears who lived on the Strait and in the surrounding woodlands. In both volumes, "Book of Obenabi. His Songs” and "Book of Robert Dupre. His Tales,” narrators recount familiar historic events as individuals indigenous to the region might have experienced them. Fredy intended to present The Strait as texts written down by Obenabi’s nephew, Robert Dupre, in the 1850s. In 1851 Obenabi presumably told (or sang) his narrative to Dupre in Detroit’s prison hospital, uncle and nephew having been jailed as conspirators who opposed construction of a railroad across Michigan. In addition to Obenabi’s songs, Robert Dupre was to be credited with preserving the tales of his aunt Wabnokwe. This history purports to be based on journals Obenabi’s sister kept throughout her life, and it const...

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1977 ~ (1,814 Words / 12,154 Characters)
I The Egocrat — Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Kim Ii Sung — is not an accident or an aberration or an irruption of irrationality; he is a personification of the relations of the existing social order. II The Egocrat is initially an individual, like everyone else: mute and powerless in this society without community or communication, victimized by the spectacle, “the existing order’s uninterrupted discourse about itself, its laudatory monologue, the self-portrait of power in the epoch of its totalitarian management of the conditions of existence.” (Debord) Repelled by the spectacle, he longs for “the liberated human being, a being who is at once a social being and a Gemeinwesen.” (Camatte) If his longing were expressed in practice: at his workplace, in the street, wherever the spectacle robs him of his humanity, he would become a rebel. III The Egocrat does not express his longing fo... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1969 ~ (36,548 Words / 236,211 Characters)
Publication Details Worker-Student Action Committees was first published by its authors in Kalamazoo (Michigan) in the spring of 1969 and then reprinted by Black & Red (Detroit) in 1970. (Printed at the Detroit Print Co-op which Perlman co-founded). The articles making up Part I were all written in Paris between May and July 1968 except for the last which was completed in the US. Some of the articles were published at the time in different journals — details are given in the notes for those articles. In the pamphlet no previous publication details are given for the first article The Second French Revolution but according to the bibliography in ’Having Little, Being Much’ an article with that title was published in the Kalamazoo paper the Western Herald (June 14, 1968). The 1970 Black & Red edition was copiously illustrated with cartoons and graphics created in France during May ’68. This o... (From :


August 20, 1934 :
Birth Day.

June 26, 1985 :
Death Day.

April 25, 2020 ; 7:54:24 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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