Title: Black and Red Press keeps Gutenberg and Lenin in their Graves
Subtitle: reprint from FE #202, January 1974
Notes: Fifth Estate #368–369, Spring-Summer, 2005
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Fredy Perlman with the cover of Letters of Insurgents at Detroit’s Black and Red Print co-op, 1976

Though little known locally, Black and Red prints some of the most inflammatory and socially relevant material that has ever fanned the flames of discontent.

A variety of concepts mark themes in Black and Red literature: Fetishism, estrangement of power, spectacularization of social relations, all manner of alienating effects that happen when people live under the domination of a ruling class. The books document how people reproduce the institutions that dominate them, and how that domination is done largely because people are unaware of the many forms oppression takes.

“There are two kinds of revolutions,” Fredy Perlman told me, in elaborating on B&R political concepts: “one is a genuine rebellion against the ruling social order that is a popular movement by people to eliminate authority (abolish the state) and take control of their own lives. The other kind of revolution is conducted by those who want to eliminate the present rulers so they themselves can take over. These are two distinct kinds of revolution.”

“The work itself is an intentional rebellion against the capitalist division of labor,” two workers at the Print Co-op say. The Print Co-op is where Black and Red workers print all their publications themselves. This coincides with their concepts of progressive social relations where workers take part in all aspects of production, and the distinction between labor and management disappears. By the fact that every worker at the Print Co-op is familiar with all the jobs--photography, binding, press-work, stripping etc.-- there is no need for an overseer or management position. Even the task of translating foreign publications for reprint is done collectively.