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0 comments | Thursday, November 15, 2007

I think there's a sentiment out there, that's starting to say not only is the term progressive overused, but it's hard to know what one is talking about when s/he use's it (because of the voluminous number of meanings for different people). I don't agree with this, however, I find progressive to be a useful word; although I don't think it should be used interchangeably with liberal.

I've been searching around the net for my idea of what progressive is, but I've come up empty on an exact definition (or my opinion of one). Therefore, I'll just use individuals to give a sense, of what I think the term progressive really means. I personally think progressive refers to an individual or group being left of liberal in ideology. For example, I would label Ted Kennedy as a liberal, while I would consider Ralph Nader to be a progressive. In my opinion, socialists and anarchists are also included in progressivism, but they are not also liberal(s) (unless social democrats and not 'pure' socialists, for workers control of the means of production); whereas Ralph Nader could also be considered very liberal.

I favor social democratic policies myself, which I believe is synonymous with favoring progressive policies. Perhaps this is where progressive can be confusing, and it can undermine its meaning for a lot of folks. I consider the Sandinistas to be progressive as I do the CNT anarchists in Spain, old Labour in Britain, and FDR Democrats in the U.S. This might sound strange, if not nonsensical, but I find two common threads in all of these disparate groups. I think that progressive really has to do with creating policies that regulate/reform business for the benefit of the vast majority of working people. Moreover, it has to do with increasing the level of democracy in a given society or nation; it is these dual commonalities that make an individual or group progressive. In my opinion, it is also these criteria that can be used to determine which elected officials are there for the majority of us, and which are there to work for the powerful and the elite.


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