By Nelson Lichtenstein

For greater than thirty years Nelson Lichtenstein has deployed his scholarship--on exertions, politics, and social thought--to chart the historical past and clients of a revolutionary the US. A Contest of Ideas collects and updates lots of Lichtenstein's such a lot provocative and arguable essays and reviews.

These incisive writings hyperlink the destiny of the exertions circulation to the changes within the form of global capitalism, to the increase of the civil rights circulate, and to the activists and intellectuals who've performed such very important roles. Tracing large styles of political concept, Lichtenstein deals very important views at the dating of work and the kingdom, the tensions that typically exist among a tradition of rights and the belief of unity, and the increase of conservatism in politics, legislations, and highbrow existence.

The quantity closes with pictures of 5 activist intellectuals whose paintings has been important to the conflicts that have interaction the hard work move, public coverage, and political tradition.

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Extra info for A Contest of Ideas: Capital, Politics, and Labor

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So if Engels had studied the condition of the working class in Manchester to seek a revolutionary solution to the labor question of his day, my generation would have a similar motivation for its investigation of the social politics of Detroit and the world historic industry with which it was near synonymous. Of course, the American automobile industry, which had seemed so solid and stolid during the middle decades of the twentieth century, was already beginning to crumble, putting into question the model of corporate governance and working-class organization that went with it.

17 This was a judgment that was certainly sustained by those studying the struggle of unions to secure a foothold in the textile industry of the American South, or in industries where women or people of color represented a substantial proportion of the workforce. 18 African Americans became staunch unionists, as well as firm proponents of the grievance procedure, even in unions and workplaces where the seniority system was structured to defend the interests of the white majority. This is because they understood that for those at the bottom of the workplace hierarchy, to those who had long been subjected to the capricious exercise of power by petty elites or to an ethnically coded set of discriminations, the very bureaucratization of labor relations had an impact that was liberating in the world of work.

These were the companies, the production facilities, and the workers who occupied the “commanding heights” of the American economy. As management theorist Peter Drucker put it in 1946, when near-continuous warfare between shop militants in the auto factories and their management adversaries seemed to be the fulcrum for an even larger set of class politics: “The automobile industry stands for modern industry all over the globe. ”6 The production of motor vehicles then held a cultural and ideological importance that made an understanding of this economic sector central to figuring out how twentieth-century society worked.

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