Tony Judt Wins December Sidney for 'What is Living and What is Dead in Social Democracy'
January 15, 2009
Contact: Audrey Thweatt
~Hillman Foundation's Monthly Journalism Award Recognizes Social Justice Journalism~
NEW YORK: The Hillman Foundation announced today that Tony Judt has won the December Sidney Award for What Is Living and What Is Dead In Social Democracy, his extraordinary piece in the December 17th issue of The New York Review of Books. Judt's essay, based on lectures delivered at New York University last October, chronicles the role of social democracy in 20th century political thought.
Sidney Award judge Charles Kaiser said, "Judt's 6,600 word article is a devastating account of the sharp decline of social democracy in the Western World over the last three decades. It is essential reading for anyone disturbed by the perilous condition of American democracy -- and it manages to enshrine all of the values the Hillman foundation strives to foster."
Judt's conclusions include:
The left, to be quite blunt about it, has something to conserve. It is the right that has inherited the ambitious modernist urge to destroy and innovate in the name of a universal project. Social democrats, characteristically modest in style and ambition, need to speak more assertively of past gains. The rise of the social service state, the century-long construction of a public sector whose goods and services illustrate and promote our collective identity and common purposes, the institution of welfare as a matter of right and its provision as a social duty: these were no mean accomplishments.
That these accomplishments were no more than partial should not trouble us. If we have learned nothing else from the twentieth century, we should at least have grasped that the more perfect the answer, the more terrifying its consequences. Imperfect improvements upon unsatisfactory circumstances are the best that we can hope for, and probably all we should seek. Others have spent the last three decades methodically unraveling and destabilizing those same improvements: this should make us much angrier than we are. It ought also to worry us, if only on prudential grounds: Why have we been in such a hurry to tear down the dikes laboriously set in place by our predecessors? Are we so sure that there are no floods to come?
Judt is severely disabled from the effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, the challenges of which he describes in an article in the current issue of The New York Review of Books. He continues to direct the Remarque Institute at NYU and is the author of Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945. His latest book, Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century, was recently reissued in paperback.
The Sidney Award is given once a month to an outstanding piece of socially-conscious journalism by the Sidney Hillman Foundation, which also awards the annual Hillman Prizes every spring. Winners of the Sidney receive $500, a certificate designed by New Yorker cartoonist Edward Sorel, and a bottle of union made wine. Nominations can be submitted here.
Certificate designed by Edward Sorel
The Sidney is awarded monthly to a piece published in an American magazine, newspaper, on a news site, or a blog. Television and radio broadcasts by an American news outlet are also eligible, as are published photography series.
Deadlines are the last day of each month. The piece must have been published in the month preceding the deadline. In the case of magazines, please nominate according to the issue date on the publication, not when it first appeared.
Nominations are accepted for one's own work, or for someone else's.
The Foundation will announce a winner on the second Wednesday of each month. Recipients will be awarded $500, a bottle of union-made wine, and a certificate designed especially for the Sidney by New Yorker cartoonist, Edward Sorel.
If you wish to nominate yourself or a piece by anyone else, please click here for our nomination form.If you have any further questions about the nomination process, please send your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org