Stanley Aronowitz, Labor Scholar and Activist, Dies at 88

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As a self-described “working-class intellectual,” helium declared that nonstop enactment was much potent than corporate bargaining oregon accepted politics.

Stanley Aronowitz successful  2002, erstwhile   helium  was the Green Party campaigner  for politician  of New York. “We’ve been relying for truthful  agelong  connected  politicians to lick  problems,” helium  erstwhile  said of organized labor, “that the national   rank  nary  longer truly  relies connected  its ain  power.”
Credit...Nancy Siesel/The New York Times

Sam Roberts

Aug. 21, 2021, 2:44 p.m. ET

Stanley Aronowitz, a blue-collar organizer, assemblage prof and prolific writer who argued that electoral authorities had failed American labour and that unions needed to follow militant strategies to prosecute a wide societal agenda, died connected Monday astatine his location successful Manhattan. He was 88.

The origin was complications of a stroke, his girl Kim O’Connell said.

Professor Aronowitz, a societal theorist who taught astatine the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, called himself a “working-class intellectual.” He maintained that nonstop enactment was a much potent limb for workers than corporate bargaining oregon accepted politics.

“We’ve been relying for truthful agelong connected politicians to lick problems,” helium told the mag In These Times successful 2014, “that the national rank nary longer truly relies connected its ain power.”

“Direct action, governmental acquisition and taste authorities are the close ways to go,” helium said successful an interrogation with The Brooklyn Rail, a taste journal, successful 2012.

As a disciple of the sociologist C. Wright Mills and the philosopher Herbert Marcuse, Professor Aronowitz believed that labour had mislaid the people consciousness that erstwhile placed it astatine the forefront of wide movements for societal change.

He argued that labour needed to broaden its docket to see issues similar acquisition and affordable housing, and to flex its musculus done tangible tactics similar one-day strikes and boycotts, alternatively than stay “supplicants of the Democratic Party.”

“Capitalism is not a rational system,” Professor Aronowitz said successful an interrogation with The New York Times successful 1995. “The lone mode it turns astir is done wide struggle.”

Professor Aronowitz forecast the shrinking of the mediate people and the wholesale replacement of some manual and intelligence labour by exertion successful the much than 2 twelve books helium wrote, helped constitute oregon edited, including “False Promises: The Shaping of American Working Class Consciousness” (1973), “The Jobless Future: Sci-Tech and the Dogma of Work” (1995), “How Class Works” (2003), “Left Turn: Forging a New Political Future” (2006), “Against Schooling: For an Education That Matters” (2008) and “Taking It Big: C. Wright Mills and the Making of Political Intellectuals” (2012).

“He broke the paradigm of labour studies,” Michael Pelias, a prof astatine Brooklyn College and Long Island University and a erstwhile colleague, said by phone.

Professor Aronowitz helped constitute New Jersey’s unemployment compensation instrumentality successful 1961 portion moving for the state’s Industrial Union Council; recruited workers and organized boycotts for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America; and enlisted labour enactment for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and different civilian rights groups successful the 1960s.

In 2002 helium ran for politician of New York connected the Green Party ticket, campaigning connected a level that combined “opposition to firm powerfulness and plutocratic authorities with committedness to sustainability, radical equality, feminism, cheery liberation and idiosyncratic freedom.” He received 41,797 votes, conscionable nether 1 percent of the 4.6 cardinal cast.


Credit...Associated Press

Professor Aronowitz’s way to academia was unorthodox; helium was a assemblage dropout who had been laid disconnected arsenic a metallic worker.

Stanley B. Aronowitz (the mediate archetypal seemingly did not basal for anything) was calved connected Jan. 6, 1933, successful the Bronx to Nat Aronowitz, an engineer, and Frances (Helfand) Aronowitz, a bookkeeper.

After graduating from the High School of Music and Art successful Manhattan, helium enrolled successful Brooklyn College, but helium was suspended successful the autumn of 1950 for participating successful a sit-in to protestation the suspension of the field newspaper, which had protested the dean’s refusal to authorisation a left-wing pupil group. Rather than instrumentality to college, helium transplanted himself to New Jersey, wherever helium became a metallic worker. He besides worked for respective unions and contributed to the Port Huron Statement, the manifesto of Students for a Democratic Society, successful 1962.

In 1965 helium lectured astatine the Free University of New York, a sanctuary for academics fired for their leftist views. He earned a bachelor’s grade successful sociology from the New School successful 1968, erstwhile helium was 35, and a doctorate from the experimental Union Graduate School (now the Union Institute and University) successful 1975. Between degrees, helium was subordinate manager of Mobilization for Youth.

Professor Aronowitz taught astatine Staten Island Community College (now the College of Staten Island) from 1972 to 1976 and was an subordinate prof of societal subject and comparative lit astatine the University of California, Irvine, from 1977 to 1982. He retired from the City University of New York successful 2017.

As a founding exertion of the Duke University diary Social Text and a unit down the instauration of the Center for Cultural Studies (now the Center for the Study of Culture, Technology and Work) astatine the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, Professor Aronowitz lamented what helium called the diminution of the nationalist intellectual.

Complaining that “almost cipher successful the societal sciences deals with the question of power,” helium said: “What we bash not person is an organized left. If you bash not person an organized left, you bash not person an organized governmental nationalist intellectual.”

His matrimony to Jane O’Connell ended successful divorcement successful 1962. In summation to his girl Kim O’Connell, helium is survived by his son, Michael O’Connell, besides from that marriage; his girl Nona Willis-Aronowitz, an author, from his matrimony to the writer and taste professional Ellen Willis, who died successful 2006.; 2 different children, Hampton and Alice Finer; four grandchildren; and 3 great-grandchildren.

“Before Occupy Wall Street, earlier Bernie Sanders, earlier the Squad,” Ms. Willis-Aronowitz said by email, “there was Stanley Aronowitz, singing maine ‘Solidarity Forever’ arsenic a lullaby, moving for New York politician nether the slogan ‘Tax and Spend,’ astatine a clip erstwhile it seemed similar everyone connected the near was trying to out-moderate each other.”

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