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View Diary: Why I don't claim to be a progressive (154 comments)

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  •  One person's "progressive" is another person's (2+ / 0-)
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    chuckvw, ek hornbeck

    "trendy anti-GOP political newbie." Or possibly 'the current anti-Establishment establishment'.

    Are you at all familiar with this? 'Cause this:

    Now, the idea of calling liberals "progressives," if I recall correctly, started out in the late 1980s as a result of the senior Bush's campaign against "the L word."  The idea, then, was to identify liberals with the promoters of what was once called the "Progressive movement" during what was once called the "Progressive Era" (fundamentally, from 1890 to 1920).
    isn't entirely accurate (sorry, no links  -- I was there). It wasn't that "the L word" became A Bad Thing (though that phenomenon did happen), it was that Liberals in power/with media platforms were increasingly failing the left/running toward the right. "Liberal" was being disparaged by the right, sure -- but "Liberals" were also already distrusted by those further to the left (and anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, anti-racist, etc.).  When I started looking outside academia for non-mainstream political media/journalism (in the mid-late 80s), the people who were saying Lefty things were writing as Progressives (sometimes, IIRC, 'Socialist-Progressive. Though I don't recall who it was who made a point of using that phrase). They weren't avoiding "the L word" in the way that your not-very-political person who didn't want to be associated with, y'know, them were -- they'd determined that current Liberalism-in-action was too comfortable with imperalism/capitalism/racism/etc-ism.

    And then a couple years ago, when anti-Republicanism became trendy again (or, ok, simply too obvious to avoid), all sorts of people who weren't comfortable with "the L word" post-Reagan decided that "Progressive" sounded good. But not that lefty kind of "Progressive" who was blogging uncomfortably lefty stuff, y'know.

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