The New Freedom: Corporate Capitalism

"The first book that Fredy Perlman wrote, printed, and bound was The New Freedom: Corporate Capitalism. His friend, John Ricklefs, made multicolored woodcuts that were interspersed throughout the volume. Some are legible as images, others are more abstract. They were printed in John’s New York City loft and hung to dry on clotheslines.2 The main text is set in Courier, with the occasional insertion of larger, dark hand lettering. Small illustrations by Ricklefs are reproduced on mimeographed text pages as well. Fredy, Ricklefs, and Lorraine printed ninety-one copies of the book (which ran to 201 pages). Lorraine’s sister, Ruth Nybakken, helped with binding. The text has been described as an anti-capitalist critique of the conditions that plague humanity. It draws on a range of academic disciplines. In it, Perlman urges readers to reproduce the book and distribute it free of charge, or to write their own interpretation of the problems facing society. In this first book, Perlman was perhaps interested in just how much labor went into its making. A note at the end of the book details: "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 chapter is held together by large staples, and the chapters are held to each other (bound) by cloth adhesive tape. The cuts were hand printed from relief wood blocks. The choice of materials was influenced by the extremely limited financial means of author and artist, but both hope their attempt to make a book whose outward shape was consistent with its content has been successful enough to encourage others to follow their example." Political texts tend to be quite dry in appearance, but here Perlman expresses the hope that others will be compelled to imitate his example of making a book that looks “consistent with its content.” That look is partly achieved through the use of inexpensive materials and a recalcitrant hand-cranked silk screen mimeograph machine. His explicit narration of the tools and materials of production asks the reader to recognize the invisible labor that went into its production. It tells us: It isn’t easy to do what we’ve done here with this book, but you can do it too if you put effort and time in. And if you’re going to do it, try to make it look nice. In Having Little, Being Much, Lorraine Perlman writes, “In publishing his first book himself, Fredy intentionally avoided commercial media. He conceived of this work as a gift, not a commodity. In its opening pages, John and Fredy challenge the reader to widen the network of non-business communication. Fredy never revised these principles on transmitting written words; over the years he made the challenge in many forms—but usually less judgmentally and with less urgency than in The New Freedom." The Detroit Printing Co-op by Danielle Aubert.
The New Freedom: Corporate Capitalism 1
The New Freedom: Corporate Capitalism 2
The New Freedom: Corporate Capitalism 3
The New Freedom: Corporate Capitalism 4
The New Freedom: Corporate Capitalism 5
The New Freedom: Corporate Capitalism 6
The New Freedom: Corporate Capitalism 7
The New Freedom: Corporate Capitalism 8