Reference Writers: Fredy Perlman


Fredy Perlman Archive



Fredy Perlman Fredy Perlman


From The Anarchist Encyclopedia

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 and 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 and 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 and pacifist activities with the Living Theater and others. Fredy was arrested following a sit-down in Times Square in the fall of 1961. He became the printer for the Living Theater and during that time wrote The New Freedom; Corporate Capitalism and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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, one of the founders of the periodical and subsequently the publishing house Black and Red; author, translator and publisher of many radical books and pamphlets; and 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 and 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), and Camatte’s The Wandering of Humanity. He died before completing the manuscript of a comprehensive history of The Strait (Detroit and surroundings).

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



1961: The New Freedom : Corporate Capitalism

1983: Against His-story, Against Leviathan

1988: The Strait : Book of Obenabi, His Songs


1979: Illyria Street Commune


1968: Anything Can Happen

1968: Chicago 1968

1968: Commodity Fetishism: An introduction to I.I. Rubin's Essay on Marx's Theory of Value

1969: Birth of a Revolutionary Movement in Yugoslavia

1969: The Reproduction of Daily Life

1969: I Accuse This Liberal University of Terror and Violence

1969: The Incoherence of the Intellectual

1969: Worker-Student Action Committees, France May `68

1977: Ten Theses on the Proliferation of Egocrats

1977: Manual for Revolutionary Leaders

1979: Progress & Nuclear Power

1983: Anti-Semitism & the Beirut Pogrom

1984: The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism

1984: The Machine Against The Garden