Fredy Perlman

August 20, 1934 — June 26, 1985

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August 20, 1934 — June 26, 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 101 documents, with 1,084,888 words or 6,525,669 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 choos... (From :
“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... (From :
“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 conce... (From :
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.” &ld... (From :
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.”[1] According to Robert Campbell, “One of the central preoccupations of economics has always been what determines price.”[2] In the words of another expert... (From :
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 f... (From :
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 “go... (From :
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.[1] 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 th... (From :
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.[1] 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 Est... (From :
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 revolut... (From :
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 purpos... (From :
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 eve... (From :
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... (From :
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 pub... (From :


An icon of a baby.
August 20, 1934
Birth Day.

An icon of a gravestone.
June 26, 1985
Death Day.

An icon of a news paper.
April 25, 2020; 7:54:24 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
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