A Contest of Ideas: Capital, Politics, and Labor by Nelson Lichtenstein

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 customers of a revolutionary the USA. a competition of rules collects and updates a lot of Lichtenstein's so much provocative and debatable essays and studies. those incisive writings hyperlink the destiny of the hard work circulate to the ameliorations within the form of worldwide capitalism, to the increase of the civil rights circulate, and to the activists and intellectuals who've performed such vital roles. Tracing wide styles of political idea, Lichtenstein bargains vital views at the courting of work and the nation, the tensions that usually exist among a tradition of rights and the assumption of unity, and the increase of conservatism in politics, legislations, and highbrow lifestyles. the quantity closes with pics of 5 activist intellectuals whose paintings has been important to the conflicts that interact the exertions stream, public coverage, and political tradition.

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I would be fair and honest—not sensationalistic— but I was going to speak the truth that reasonable people who were in the trenches were telling me. And it wasn’t just about the teachers’ unions. I decided to be tough on all of the adults whenever they put their own interests ahead of those of the kids— starting with my own hypocrisy in driving past three public schools with my own children. In the film, I reveal the very uncomfortable truth about the role of the Democratic Party, which receives more campaign contributions from the teachers’ unions than from any other source, as well as the parade of politicians who give lip service to education reform but refuse to take the hard steps necessary to make it happen.

1586489274-text_Layout 1 7/30/10 10:22 AM Page 46 46 / Davis Guggenheim As far as the film is concerned, I hope the fairness and honesty I’ve tried to bring to this issue will be obvious to audiences, and I hope people will try to take what I’m offering and use it to help illuminate ways to improve our schools for the benefit of kids, rather than to bash teachers or unions or anyone else. But in the end that depends on the goodwill of people I have no control over. ” Despite all the dysfunction and controversy reflected in Waiting for “Superman,” I hope the overriding impression that people take away from the movie is a hopeful one.

So we try to unravel what has made the problem so intractable by examining the political and systemic dysfunctions that have made it so difficult for well-meaning people to do the right thing, and that have created all kinds of crazy incentives for political leaders and union leaders and parents’ organizations and taxpayers’ groups to behave in ways that have complicated the situation rather than leading to the solutions that everyone, deep inside, really wants. Not until we untangle this mystery for people will they be ready to connect to the issue, and maybe invest in the solution.

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