Black & Red Books Now Out-of-Print Influenced the Fifth Estate
from Fifth Estate #398 Summer 2017
Although many of the influential radical titles from Black & Red Books, printed at the Detroit-based Detroit Printing Co-op between 1970-1980 are out of print, their relevance hasn’t lessened with the passing years. It is hoped there is interest in republishing them.
The books contain repressed histories, critiques from ultra-left, council communist, and anarchist sources. Discovering the works of Fredy Perlman, Jacques Camatte, Guy Debord, and others through B&R books contained the ideas that energized this publication to continue printing at a time of political quietism.
B&R continues sending its available titles through mail order, but currently has no plans to reprint those which have run out.
The Detroit Printing Co-op was a collective project where members set up and learned the printing craft in order to publish ideas and books in which commercial enterprises had no interest. The first English translation of Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle came from the Co-op which became quite renowned in political and critical theory circles.
It is now available through university presses, although we recommend Ken Knabb’s Bureau of Public Secrets edition which is also online at bopsecrets.org/SI/debord.
Ambitious four-color projects like Michael Velli’s Manual for Revolutionary Leaders preceded 800-page texts like Voline’s The Unknown Revolution, the best history of the Russian Revolution chronicling the role of anarchists and counter-revolutionary activities of the Bolsheviks.
The equally large Letters of Insurgents, by Fredy Perlman, is an exchange of letters between political radicals in Eastern Europe and North America. This important book has been reprinted by Seattle’s Left Bank Books. LeftBankBooks.com
G. Munis and John Zerzan’s essays in Unions Against Revolution contains critiques of organized labor.
Maurice Brinton’s The Irrational in Politics, is an excellent summary of Wilhelm Reich’s theories of the development of authoritarian personalities. Highly relevant today! Camatte’s The Wandering of Humanity, a text which greatly influenced the Fifth Estate staff pf that era and continues to do so today, discusses the domestication of humanity to capital, and how capital itself has run away from human control.
None of these works is copyrighted by Black & Red, and can be freely reprinted.
B&R can provide copies of some of the printed books, and many are available online. The text would have to be scanned or re-typeset. Write B&R, POB 02374, Detroit, MI 48202.
The B&R current list still contains books of great interest which are highly recommended. BlackAndRed.org.