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Fredy Perlman

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Fredy Perlman
BornAugust 20, 1934
DiedJuly 26, 1985(1985-07-26) (aged 50)
EducationColumbia University (MA)
University of Belgrade (PhD)
Occupation(s)Author, publisher and activist
Known forAgainst His-Story, Against Leviathan (1983)
Lorraine Nybakken
(m. 1958)

Fredy Perlman (1934–1985) was an American author, publisher, and activist. His best-known work, Against His-Story, Against Leviathan!, retells the historical rise of state domination (and domination generally) through a poetic investigation the Hobbesian metaphor of the Leviathan.

Early life


Perlman was born August 20, 1934, in Brno, Czechoslovakia, to Henry and Martha Perlman. His family immigrated first to Cochabamba, Bolivia[1] to escape the Holocaust[2] and later to the United States. Perlman received a master's degree from Columbia University and a PhD from University of Belgrade. He married Lorraine Nybakken in January 1958.[3]



His best-known work,[4] Against His-Story, Against Leviathan (1983) rewrites the history of humanity as a struggle of free people ("zeks") resisting the sovereign nation-state (Leviathan).[5] The book influenced the anarcho-primitivist author John Zerzan.[6] Philosopher John P. Clark states that Against His-Story, Against Leviathan! describes Perlman's critique of what he saw as "the millennia-long history of the assault of the technological megamachine on humanity and the Earth." Clark also notes the book discusses "anarchistic spiritual movements" such as the Yellow Turban movement in ancient China and the Brethren of the Free Spirit in medieval Europe.[7]



Perlman died on July 26, 1985, while undergoing heart surgery in Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital. He was survived by his wife and a brother.[3]

Selected publications

  • Fredy Perlman (1962), Plunder, New York: Living Theatre
  • "Essay on Commodity Fetishism". Telos 6 (Fall 1970). New York: Telos Press.
  • "The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism"
  • "The Reproduction of Daily Life"
  • Against His-story! Against Leviathan!
  • Worker-Student Action Committees, France May '68 with Roger Gregoire
  • Manual for Revolutionary Leaders
  • Manual for Revolutionary Leaders Second Edition Including The Sources of Velli's Thoughts (Black & Red, Detroit, 1974)
  • "Ten Theses on the Proliferation of Egocrats"
  • "Obituary for Paul Baran"
  • "The Machine Against the Garden: Two Essays on American Literature and Culture"
  • "Chicago, 1968"
  • "Anything can happen"
  • Illyria Street Commune 1979 (AudioPlay)
  • Illyria Street Commune 1979 (Playscript on The Anarchist Library)

See also



  1. ^ "Fredy Perlman Reference Archive".
  2. ^ "The Anarchist Library: Fredy Perlman Anti-Semitism and the Beirut Pogrom a4".
  3. ^ a b "Deaths: Fredy Perlman". Iowa City Press-Citizen. Iowa City, Iowa. July 29, 1985. p. 3.
  4. ^ Purkis, Jonathan; Bowen, James, eds. (2005). Changing Anarchism: Anarchist Theory and Practice in a Global Age. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 237. ISBN 978-0-7190-6694-8.
  5. ^ Marcus, Daniel (April 2020). "Information War". Artforum. Vol. 58, no. 8. ISSN 0004-3532.
  6. ^ Purkis, Jonathan (2004). "Anarchy Unbound: A Tribute to John Moore". In Moore, John; Sunshine, Spencer (eds.). I Am Not a Man, I Am Dynamite! Friedrich Nietzsche and the Anarchist Tradition. New York: Autonomedia. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-57027-121-2. OCLC 249155584.
  7. ^ John P. Clark, "Anarchism" in Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, edited by Bron Taylor; New York : Continuum, 2008, pp.49–56. ISBN 978-1-84706-273-4

Further reading