The New Freedom: Corporate Capitalism

By Fredy Perlman (1961)

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(1934 - 1985)
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. (From :


This document contains 9 sections, with 88,348 words or 566,428 characters.

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Reader, At the hazard of being dismissed by you we imprudently ask you to undertake certain obligations on receiving this book. Prudence, we feel, is not the proper response to impending catastrophe which, if it is to be averted, had better be met with acute foresight, with critical appraisal, with courageous action. This book is addressed to what the author considers the critical problems of all Humanity in our time. The problems are the current misery of mankind, and the threat of a genocidal war. The misery cannot be alleviated, nor the destruction averted, by men who are not conscious of the threat or of its causes. The purpose of this book is to communicate the author’s understanding of these problems to readers. We feel convinced that such communication cannot be accomplished by a publishing network whose primary purpose is not communication but profit. In view of these considerations, we turn to you, reader, and... (From :

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Happy the age and happy the times on which the ancients bestowed the name of golden, not because gold, which in this iron age of ours is rated so highly, was attainable without labor in those fortunate times, but rather because the people of those days did not know those two words thine and mine. In that blessed age all things were held in common. No man, to gain his common sustenance, needed to make any greater effort than to reach up his hand and pluck it from the strong oaks, which literally their sweet and savory fruit. Clear springs and running rivers offered him their sweet and limpid water in glorious abundance. In clefts of the rock and hollow trees the careful and provident bees formed their commonwealth, offering to every hand without interest the fertile produce of their fragrant toil. Spontaneously, out of sheer courtesy, the sturdy cork trees shed their light and broad bark, with which men first covered their houses, supported on rough poles only as... (From :

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On the American continent, on fresh ground unsoiled by the “fraud, deceit... malice” of Western Europe, independent farmers and left wing intellectuals dreamed of attempting a democratic experiment. They dreamed of a government in which every man, whether farmer, artisan or lawyer, would have a voice. It was to be a government where force or the threat of force would be replaced by rational discussion and decisions based on common consent. The decisions of the King’s Private Chamber were to be placed into the hands of the public who are affected by them. All men were to receive a thorough education which would familiarize them with the problems and projects of the world in which they live, of the past experience of mankind, of the laws of nature. They would be fully informed on all important social and political issues, for only thus could they participate intelligently in forming public policy, reaching decisions, interpreting criticism. To gain t... (From :

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Perhaps the democratic dream was unrealizable. Perhaps it was inevitable that one or another group would turn the hopes of men into a new facade behind which the naked search for wealth and power would continue. Perhaps the faith in man’s educability, in man’s capacity to grasp and solve political problems intelligently in concert with other men, was unfounded. Perhaps democracy could only be practiced, as Aristotle had claimed so long ago, in small communities of a few thousand inhabitants at most. The eighteenth century’ revolutionaries did not know whether or not their dream was possible. That was the point of the “experiment.” They asked for the indulgence and good will of spirited men for a grand collective effort to create Democracy. The task would be difficult and might take generations. Men everywhere waited anxiously for the results of the experiment. But the experiment never took place. The democratic dream became the rhetoric of a new aris... (From :

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In April, 1961, the State Department told the people of the United States and Ambassador Adlai Stevenson told the United Nations that the Cuban government had “betrayed” the Cuban revolution. This is bizarre. Cuba had carried out a democratic revolution for the first time in the history of the Americas. Cuba had not only proclaimed, but substantially realized, a program almost identical to the one betrayed in the United States in the 1790s by Hamilton and the security-holding capitalists. One must assume that Ambassador Stevenson, who is widely known as an intellectual, is familiar with history—or at least with American history’. Yet in his outburst to the United Nations, he not only displayed ignorance of the rules of the United Nations, which do not allow the type of meddling in the internal affairs of another state that Mr. Stevenson indulged in; he also displayed incredible ignorance (for an “intellectual”) of his... (From :

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The democratic ideal was an affirmation of human life. Democracy was to open for all men the possibility for creative development, imaginative exploration, experimental activity. Every man was to participate in the creation of the human community. Knowledge and technique need not have been put to the service of profits and slaughter. If taken up in a spirit that affirms human life, the sciences and technologies could be made to serve human ends. As Lewis Mumford has pointed out, “The ability to face one’s whole self, and to direct every part of it toward a more unified development, is one of the promises held forth by the advance both of objective science and subjective understanding.” If put to the service of human development the science and technology which have come to the verge of annihilating mankind would enable men to “attempt enterprises that no civilization seeking mainly to exploit immediate economic advantages would entertain: launc... (From :

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A. THE DEMOCRATIC IDEAL I apologize for the European bias of my bibliography. I understand there are old traditions of profound explorations of democratic polities in Indonesia, India, China, and doubtless elsewhere. I regret not having read the works, and hope that my sketchy expression of the democratic polity is not altogether incompatible with what is best in those traditions. My articulation of the democratic ideal into four parts, which I have termed social justice, education, communication, participation, can obviously take as many forms as there are men who will undertake the study. Lest some unimaginative reader misunderstand me, it has not been my intention to erect walls, but to open doors. The four principles I have examined do not describe the final shape of a democratic society but the conditions for a democratic experiment. There could be no “final shape” to such an experiment, since these are conditions for each to develop a... (From :

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Publication History This edition of The New Freedom: Corporate Capitalism reproduces the entire text of Fredy Perlman’s first book, self-published in 1961 in an edition of 91. The text of this edition is based on copy 7, currently in the possession of the Library of Congress. A publication note contains the following information about the production: “Mimeographed and proofread by Lorraine and Fredy Perlman at 13 3 Henry Street, New York City, from July to November 1961. Woodcuts stamped, and books stapled and bound by John Ricklefs and Fredy Perlman at S3 West 24 Street, New York City. First copy completed in November 1961.” At the end of the book, there is this: “The materials that went into the making of this book include mimeograph paper, heavy paper, fiber-board for the covers, and a small hand-cranked silk-screen mimeograph machine. Each... (From :

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Cervantes, Don Quixote de la Mancha (translation by J. M. Cohen) The Tevipest. Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge, p. 213. Quoted in R.H. Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism, p. 74. and p. 90 Quoted in George H. Sabine, Political Theory, p. 361. See Sabine, History, p 490f. This, and the following quotations, are from Thomas More, Utopia First Book. This, and the following, quotations are from Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince (translation by Luigi Ricci, revised by E.R.P. Vincent). This, and the next two quotations, from More, Utopia. Quoted in Sabine, p. 492. Quoted i n Ibid., p. 491. Babeuf quoted this statement of the French philosopher Mably to his executioners;... (From :


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