I was sitting and enjoying an ice cream on Warren/Cass when who
should stroll by but Fredy. He had some letters in his hand he was
going to post "Because I might not be alive after tomorrow" He said
with a smile. I thought he was joking. Why? I asked. He told me we
was going in for heart surgery. I told him "Good luck!" And he went
on his way. He died the next day.
Peter Werbe found the following information about Fredy
here, but I'm petrified the info will one day disappear, so I've
placed it on the site, just in case:
From the Fifth Estate Vol. 20 #2
Indian Summer 1985
Fredy Perlman, 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 and lived variously in Mobile, Alabama,
Brooklyn, Queens before settling in Lakeside Park, Kentucky, a
suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio where Fredy graduated high school.
In 1952 he attended Morehead State College in
Kentucky and then UCLA from 1953-55. Fredy was on the staff of _The
Daily Bruin_, the school newspaper, when the reactionary university
administration fired all of the editors of the publication. The five
editors, including Fredy, proceeded to publish an independent paper
which they distributed on the campus.
In 1956-59 he attended Columbia University
where he met his life-long companion, Lorraine Nybakken. He
originally enrolled as a student of English Literature but soon
concentrated his efforts in philosophy, political science and
European literature. One particularly influential teacher for him at
this time was C. Wright Mills.
In late 1959, he and Lorraine took a
cross-country motor scooter trip mostly on two-lane highways
traveling at 25 miles per hour.
From 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
In January 1963, Fredy and Lorraine sailed for
Europe on a Swedish freighter for what they considered a definitive
departure. In September of that year they arrived in Belgrade,
Yugoslavia after living some months in Copenhagen and Paris. In June
he had inquired about becoming a student in Czechoslovakia, but the
country of his birth found his request to be suspect.
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
During 1966-69 Fredy and Lorraine lived in
Kalamazoo, Michigan where Fredy was a professor in the Economics
Department at Western Michigan University. Most of his teachings was
in introductory social science courses and again he created outrage
among some members of the faulty when he initiated student-run
classes and let the students grade themselves. During his first year
in Kalamazoo, he and Milos Samardzija, one of his professors from
Belgrade, translated I.I. Rubin's Essay on Marx's Theory of Value.
Fredy wrote an introduction to the book: "An Essay on Commodity
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
In August 1969 he and Lorraine moved to
Detroit where he wrote The Incoherence of the Intellectual
and with others translated Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle.
In 1970 Fredy was one of a large group who set
up the Detroit Printing Co-op with equipment from Chicago which they
moved, set-up and learned to operate. For the next decade, Black &
Red publications were printed there along with countless other
projects ranging from leaflets to newspapers to books.
Between 1971-76, he worked on, often with
others, several books, some original, others translations including
Manual for Revolutionary Leaders, Letters of Insurgents,
Arhsinov's History of the Makhnovist Movement, Voline's
The Unknown Revolution, and Camatte's The Wander 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.
In 1976 Fredy underwent heart surgery to
replace a damaged heart valve. After, he helped write and perform
"Who's Zerelli?" a play critiquing the authoritarian aspects of the
During 1977-80 he studied (and charted) world
history. During these years, he traveled to Turkey, Egypt, Europe
and regions of the U.S. to visit historic sites with Lorraine. In
1980 he began a comprehensive history of The Strait (Detroit
and surroundings). He did not finish this work as the first and last
chapters remain unwritten. In July 1985, he estimated that it would
take him eight or ten months to complete and edit the manuscript.
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."
During 1982-83, Fredy susped 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
Fredy Perlman, 1934-85
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 & 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
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 Levithan!. 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), Arhsinov's History of the Makhnovist Movement,
parts of Voline's The Unknown Revolution (with friends), and
Camatte's The Wander 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.
Special thanks to Freddie Baer (
fbaer@WestEd.org ) for typing in