A public philosopher

For 40 years Fred Newman translated the most progressive ideals of the 1960s into effective instruments of social and personal transformation.

he centerpiece of Newman’s work in culture, psychology and politics is our capacity to create the conditions for our own development.

Newman’s cutting edge discoveries and accomplishments generated constant controversy throughout his career. Branded a “cult leader,” a “self-hating Jew,” a brainwasher and a political opportunist by his critics, Newman’s unusual blend of rigorous postmodern philosophy and practical on-the-ground organizing have made him a lasting – if vilified – architect of a new progressivism. (See Newman and his Critics)

Born in 1935, Newman grew up in a predominantly Jewish, working class area of the southwest Bronx. After his father died when Newman was nine, leaving his family destitute, Newman earned what money he could at a variety of jobs. From the years he spent working in machine shops, where he learned the skill of precision tool-making from his older brother, Newman derived a lifelong interest in creating the social machinery for making new tools. Read more