New York: Published by the author, 1961. Limited first edition. Hardcover. 1/91. Large quarto. 201 leaves. Original half tan handmade paper over tan fiber boards with hand-printed red woodcut art tipped on front cover. Black hand-lettering on spine. Hand-printed relief woodcut illustrations by John Ricklefs: five double page two-color (black with various second color), many woodcuts in text. Scarce first edition of Perlman's fiercely anti-capitalist work that draws on history, political theory, economics, philosophy, sociology, religion and literature. Details how corporate capitalism consolidated production, education and communication while converting the masses into means for the maintenance and growth of private wealth. Asserts an economic interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Alexander Hamilton comes under repeated criticism for his desire for governance by the rich and well-born and for promoting economic speculation for personal profit by a few. Examination of how this advancement of private property and consolidation of privilege runs contrary to and subverted the democratic ideals of: equal wealth, power and influence (justice); universal education; untrammeled communication (freedom of speech and of the press); participation by all in society's affairs (self-government). Discusses utopian and socialist commonwealth experiments, i.e., the Diggers led by Gerrard Winstanley in the 1400's, ideas developed during the French Enlightenment and Thomas Jefferson's contradictions. Looks at American politics during the 1940's and 50's, particularly President Roosevelt, who improved the condition of workers while patching the corporate system along familiar lines with government machinery: "In this way he kept away the social revolution and postponed the arrival of an indigenous fascism." (p64, author). The oil industry receives special mention. Touches briefly on the Cuban revolution and criticizes Ambassador Adlai Stevenson II's address on Cuba to the United Nations. Discusses how the aristocracy ingeniously extends its dominion under the cover of democracy by use of fraud, deception and violence, how the press is not free since it is a privately owned business controlled by the wealthy and powerful, and how in a corporate society the public is converted into a mass and manipulated by the press and by advertising.
"...docile men and women who spend their working hours making gadgets...spend their leisure hours buying the gadgets and returning to their corporate masters the incomes they got for making the gadgets. This cycle of purposelessness and human irrelevance has its toll, for apparently the creative intellect, the human imagination, the sense for truth, cannot be completely obliterated. The population of men whose humanity is suppressed is a population of anxiety-ridden men constantly seeking outlets for repressed passion, repressed imagination, repressed hatred. The advertisers are aware of the objectless anxiety of the American people--and the advertisers have learned to manipulate the very fear and anxiety they have themselves so largely created for the purpose of serving their corporate employers yet more effectively." (p112, author)
"This book is addressed to what the author considers the critical problems of all of Humanity in our time. The problems are the current misery of mankind, and the threat of a genocidal war. The misery cannot be alleviated, nor the destruction averted, by men who are not conscious of the threat or of its causes." The author asks the reader to respond with "acute foresight, critical appraisal and courageous action." He asks the reader to reproduce the book and distribute it without charge or to engage by circulating free of charge your own interpretation of the problems of humanity.
Contents: The Golden Age, Democratic Experiment, Growth of Capitalism, Ideology and Manipulation, and Corporate Dispensation. Limited edition of 91 copies, of which this is copy #66. Chapters stapled tightly, bound together by cloth-adhesive tape. Silk screen mimeograph typescript. Notes and bibliography at rear. Some age-wear on binding with vertical closed tear along front joint and minor chips. Corners slightly bumped, thus slightly affecting pages throughout. Binding in overall good, interior in very good condition. g to vg. Item #28079
Perlman (1934–1985): author, publisher, professor and activist influential on modern anarchist thought. His most popular book "Against His-Story, Against Leviathan" is a harsh critique of contemporary civilization. Born in Czechoslovakia. Before the 1938 Nazi takeover he and his parents emigrated to Bolivia; they came to the U.S. in 1945.