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A Contest of IdeasCapital, Politics, and Labor$
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Nelson Lichtenstein

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037856

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037856.001.0001

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Why American Unions Need Intellectuals

Why American Unions Need Intellectuals

Chapter:
(p.254) Chapter 21 Why American Unions Need Intellectuals
Source:
A Contest of Ideas
Author(s):

Nelson Lichtenstein

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252037856.003.0022

This chapter explores the relationship between union leaders and intellectuals, which today has become more entangled than at any time since the 1940s. If one has a generous definition of “intellectual,” it is easy to find lots of students, academics, researchers, journalists, and writers, many of radical pedigree, working in, around, and for the U.S. labor movement. Unions have long sought help from high-profile outsiders in support of their strikes, bargaining agendas, and political objectives, but today these connections have grown so dense that some of these figures, many pro-labor academics, now find themselves enlisted, at times even drafted, into the disputes that have recently wracked some of the nation's key unions. Not since the early Cold War split the labor movement and divided American liberals have otherwise independent writers and academics played such a public role inside the labor movement.

Keywords:   trade unions, intellectuals, union leaders, labor movement

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