Progressive

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Progressive refers to individuals, organizations and political movements who embrace social progress, political reform and the protection of civil liberties.

Contents

Notes Phase - Check the Talk:Progressive page

Progressive Punch A very interesting ranking of U.S. Senators and Representatives.

The Argument: diaries and writings on fundamentals

Starting in around 2005, there have been a slow but steady procession of diaries, articles and books on the fundamental principles of progressivism. This subsection is an attempt to keep track of them.

Paul Rosenberg

Constructing Liberal Identity, Values & Narrative For A Political Realignment: Keys To Victory #3 - Keys To Victory #2 - Keys To Victory #1

Guy Saperstein

Third Way is the Wrong Way

Mary at Pacific Views

Metaphors for Human Society

Jeffrey Feldman

Framing the Debate book, available now!

Mike Lux

Why I am a progressive at HuffPo

georgia10

Debating Political Philosophy

A New Direction - Sort Of

kos

Progressive Elevator Pitch

Conceptual Guerrilla

I Got Your Democratic Ideas, Right Here

It's the Ideology, Stupid

Dan Ancona

Foundations I: Interdependence @dkos @soca related post on immigration @soca

Foundations II: Expanding substantial freedom @dkos @soca

Foundations III: 10 pt response to Russell Kirk @dkos @soca

The High Road: Obama and narrative - slides

Jamming the Cycle of Failure: @DMI

Washington Monthly

The Progressive Trinity: Family Business and Public Service by Greg Colvin

Taking Liberty - Liberals ignore and conservatives misunderstand America's guiding value: freedom by William A. Galston

The New Progressivism, An introduction Series of five articles from December 2005

elsewhere

Party in Search of a Notion Michael Tomasky @ Am. Prospect

The Politics of Definition, Part IV Halpin and Teixeira at the Am. Prospect (awesome!)

Do Ideas Matter TPMCafe

Democracy A Journal of Ideas

Single Sentence Definitions, Beliefs or practices of Progressive

1. Progressive is a characterization of political belief and practice generally to the left of liberal and to the right of Marxist, yet sharing important overlap with both.

2. Progressive is a political philosophy focused not directly on ideals but on progressing the state of culture toward supporting equity and justice for all.

3. Progressive is a political philosophy of liberalism which argues for incrementalism toward a goal in the spirit of progress over perfection. (see points in talk:)

4. Progressive is a word used by those to the left of Liberal to distinguish their political differences.

5. Progressivism is a political philosophy based primarily on realizing interdependence and expanding substantial freedom.

6. Progressives put the needs of people and the planet before corporate profits.


Single Paragraph Statements defining or describing Progressive

Progressivism as Subtlety

Progressive social issues are not won in the same way one "wins" an election, since these aren't really election issues (they aren't yes or no questions, either), but are broader based issues of social outlook and some philosophical nuance. Its a more long-term process and can't fairly be evaluated under the same kind of criteria that one would apply to an election campaign.


Progressivism as Progress Seeking

Progressivism as related to definition 3 above is all about the root word progress, but also about including the classical definition of progressive as related to a humanism, popular equity, liberalism, social activism, social security (the idea), and social progress.

This form of progressivism is incrementalism oriented, but like a ratchet if the increment is truly in the right direction and is secured against forced retreat, then we have progress, and that is either a little good or a lot good depending on the nature of the incremental improvement.

Guiding this form of progressivism as a central progressive ideal is the abolition of oppression and unfair advantage taking. This includes overt oppressions such as slavery or the denial of basic political rights and also other more latent oppression in the form of unfair systems which violate principles of equity.


Other


A short discussion from here.


Core democratic values

 (originally here)
  • 1. Opposition to authoritarianism
  • 2. Democracy requires accountability, transparency, dissent and disagreement, and respect for the minority interests on the part of the governing majority
  • 3. The Constitution, as a living document, is the set of guiding principles under which democracy functions
  • 4. Equality of access and opportunity to all. Human and Civil Rights are to be extended to all.
  • 5. Pay as you go
  • 6. Too heavy an accumulation of power in any one branch of government, majority party, economic sector or means of information distribution is to be guarded against and balance (with checks) is the ultimate objective.
  • 7. The government is the steward of the public treasury, the public interest and environmental/natural resources that are part of the commons. As such it needs to be empowered to check whichever forces may arise to put these in jeopardy
  • 8. The interests of Corporations should never be put before the interests of citizens
  • 9. Health care is a right, not a commodity.
  • 10. The U.S. is an active and responsible member of the world community and must observe all international law and treaties it is a party to.

What I would call progressive values:

  • 11. Wealth gaps are both anti-democratic and anti-progressive
  • 12. A strong public sector is the mark of a healthy, progressive and just society.
  • 13. Certain functions should always have protections from the vagaries of the market, and are more justly, efficiently and economically administered as public services.
  • 14. Equity and equality are not one in the same
  • 15. Advances in science and technology are both desirable and possible and it is in the public interest to have government support of these arenas.
  • 16. Justice, sustainability, democratic governance & accountability, and an eye to future as well as past generations are the guiding principles for democracy to flourish.
  • 17. The above principles apply globally, but are most effectively implemented locally.

What is the difference between a liberal and a progressive? Are there some "standard" definitions?

Some people like to keep the meanings within the tracks along which they developed historically, others like to relate the words back to their etymological roots, but in popular usage they are virtually interchangeable.

Historically "liberal" has had a very broad meaning that would encompass everyone from Paul Wellstone to Ronald Reagan (the president, not his son). All Americans were liberals from 1900-1965. Liberal was virtually synonymous with support of democracy and capitalism, especially capitalism in a modified form that limited monopolies and extreme concentrations of wealth.

"Progressive" more specifically emphasized the views of those who cared about process reforms to fight corruption and keep government clean and responsive, especially equally responsive to all citizens. All progressives were liberals, but not all liberals were progressives. In the '50s, '60s and '70s, "progressive" came to be more associated with those who wanted to distinguish themselves from "liberals" in their greater commitment to leftist views on economics and changing cultural paradigms.

As liberals became demonized by GOP propagandists, many abandoned the "L-word" for the less loaded term, progressive. Thus, over the last 25 years the terms have really blurred in the public mind.

Then there are those who choose one label or the other based on the idea that liber = freedom or the idea that there is a specific direction to history and they are on the side of progress.

As for me, I am proud to say I am both (but not in the etymological sense, as I don't believe in progress).

"Ambition makes them greedy, and mediocrity makes them cheat and lie." - AnonyMoses by pHunbalanced on Wed Jul 28th, 2004 at 09:14:33 CST

As for me, I am proud to say I am both (but not in the etymological sense, as I don't believe in progress).
So... you think we should still be living in caves, hunting small animals with pointed sticks? I dont follow.
by Ugluks Flea on Wed Jul 28th, 2004 at 09:37:28 CST
That's just change, not progress. There is technological progress of course, but when talking about political or social progress, the implication is that there is a specific track along which we are moving. I don't believe that.
"Ambition makes them greedy, and mediocrity makes them cheat and lie." - AnonyMoses
by pHunbalanced on Wed Jul 28th, 2004 at 09:41:33 CST

Progressive - The wellspring of political ideology for the Democratic party in the United States. The touchstone of liberal political ideals. The heart of left-wing politics.

Progressive thought is characterized by, but not limited to these ideals:

Democratic Governance - From passive "of by and for the people" to genuine participatory democracy.
Pro-choice - Belief in the privacy rights of individuals to make the decisions affecting their bodies.
Opposition to the death penalty - As with other criminal justice policies progressives reject what does not work in reducing crime. The death penalty is ineffective.
Support for gun control - progressives know that the large number of guns in circulation in the U.S. has made it the most violent advanced industrial society and that the Second Amendment does not create an indiviudal right to gun ownership.
Opposition to preemptive war - Progresives reject pre-emptive wars like that against Iraq and like that being contemplated against Iran. They know that nothing engenders loss of domestic liberty like international war. While respectful of Gandhian non-violence, progressives are willing to endorse the use of military force in the defense of the national and world communities but only in the context of law, international law and the pursuance of judgments made by international bodies.
Position on Israel/Palestine - One important issue that many progressives consider a linchpin to peace in the Middle-East and a possible root cause of some of the fundamentalist Islamic terrorism is the Israel-Palestine conflict. The unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict sometimes spills over into neighboring countries like Lebanon. Most progressives support an end-of-conflict,two-state peace settlement between Israel and Palestine: Israel must give up the West Bank and share Jerusalem; the Palestinians must limit realization of a right of return to Palestine itself and make Israel feel secure as a Jewish state. The United States should play an active, consistent role in promoting such a peace settlement.
Reasonable Regulation of Economic Markets - All well functioning economic markets are regulated to some degree. Truly 'free' markets are a mythic deception. Well-functioning markets require the regulation of the natural environment and the labor environment in order to prevent cannibalization of the economy.
Civil rights of Individuals- Women's rights; Civil rights for all races and ethnicities; and fully equal rights for gays, lesbians, and the transgendered, to name a few.
Universal Health Care - Providing health care for all our citizens is a fundamental imperative.
Ending the Drug War - Individual problems resultant of drug use are medical problems. Just as some cannot use alcohol many may not tolerate heroin without danger to themselves. But for each it is a medical and educational problem.
Freedom of Speech - The linchpin which forms the foundation of all other rights.
Legalization of recreational Drug Use - Individual problems resultant of drug use are medical problems. Just as some cannot use alcohol many may not tolerate heroin without danger to themselves. But for each it is a medical and educational problem.

Progressive is a term often used by those on the political left to describe their beliefs. This term is preferred by many over the more traditional label in American politics, liberal, because of the association of liberal with the centrist politics of many Democratic Party politicians (such as those in the DLC) in recent years. The term progressive is thus used to avoid confusion between the politicized term liberal and genuine philosophical views focused on social change. Progressive is viewed by some (and it technically is) as a loaded term, as it may imply that those opposed to "progressive" views are automatically regressive.

Progressive is used in place of liberal to best describe philosophical ideals that are opposite and contrasted to those held by conservatives. Political ideas that advocate rapid social change are likely to be progressive, while conservative ideas tend to reflect an adherence to established norms and support for (or furtherance of) the status quo. Continuing logically, by this spectrum, a philosophy that advocated reversing course to previous standards would be regressive, though this term is rarely used. Instead, the term reactionary is more frequently used to describe those who wish to return to previously established convention.

This is particularly useful when dealing with philosophical positions, since the liberal tradition has very particular and fixed Enlightenment connotations that may not necessarily have any useful meaning in the left political scene. At the same time, many progressives view their thought as directly derived from the Enlightenment, and resist attempts by some Leftists to distance the progressive movement from that foundation.

The term has its origin in American politics in the early part of the twentieth century. During this period, known as the Progressive Era, which saw the brief rise of the U.S. Progressive Party, many reforms were enacted. Some third-party presidential candidates ran for office during this time under the Progressive Party label, notably Robert M. La Follette, Sr.. The Progressive Party of Canada also briefly rose to prominence in the 1920s.


Progressivism can essentially be reduced to three tenets.

1. It is necessary that certain social and economic safety net be maintained (Food stamps would be an example).
2. At times, government regulation can be necessary to protect society from the excesses of the free-market and human behavior (e.g. Trust-busting, environmental protection, regulating accounting practices)
3. Government action can result in advancements that benefit all of society.

It is this third tenet that we have neglected. In the past progressives have fought for programs that will not-simply redistribute income but will serve as an "investment" (to use the words of Bill Clinton) that benefit all of society. Take social security for instance. While it undoubtedly plays a role in fulfilling the first tenet (establishing a safety net), it also has had an overall beneficial effect on our economy. Social security ensured that the elderly would not be destitute as they were in the past and therefore created a new class of consumers that play a large role in driving our consumption based economy. Our investment in public education is another example. The benefits of education extend beyond the consumers of it: all of society benefits from a workforce that is highly educated (and therefore more productive and also less like to turn to crime). In economics this is referred to as a positive externality where social benefits exceed private benefits and government intervention is necessary to reach a social optimum.

Today most of the issues progressives concern ourselves with involve defending or attempting to restore our previous accomplishments (social security, medicare) from conservatives who pursue their simple vision (less taxes, smaller government). We have very few transformational ideas that are yet to be implemented. Universal Healthcare has been mentioned as the holy grail of liberalism; indeed, there appear to be few additional examples of how we intend to offer new ideas for the future.

I hope that the dkos community will use the comments section of this post to propose new ideas which can result in "a rising tide" that "lifts all boats."

See dKos discussion and ideas here. (June 2004)

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