Skip to main content

View Diary: (UNRec This) We Can Question AND We Can Give Him A Chance (180 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  It is fundamentally a semantic discussion (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jacob Bartle, nycjoc, thethinveil

    Because the definition of "progressive" has been eroded. The term has been captured and stripped of meaning.

    Progressive in a 21st century context originally meant fundamentally left-wing policies that stopped short of socialism. "Progressive" was a useful term to define that category once known as "social democracy" - in between liberalism and socialism.

    Progressives fundamentally oppose neoliberal economic policies. That's the primary reason we came into being - we oppose free trade, we oppose involving the profit motive in health care, we oppose privatization, we oppose militarism, etc.

    What has happened, however, is a lot of neoliberal type of people - those who embrace the policies of the 1990s (to be a progressive is to reject 1990s policies) have taken the term as their own and basically applied it to anyone perceived to oppose the existing Washington DC power structure from a Democratic position.

    Obama is an establishmentarian above all else - he fundamentally believes Washington DC works, that its political institutions and leaders are good people. Everything else flows from that. In power he is going to prove to be David Broder's wet dream come to life.

    That to me is a value-neutral statement. Obama may side with us progressives on this or that issue, but he does not come from a progressive movement or a progressive point of view.

    That's OK. We progressives supported him anyway. But it doesn't help when the term and the concept of "progressive" is redefined in order to shut down criticism of Obama.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day
    Neither is California High Speed Rail

    by eugene on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 09:20:36 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  side note (0+ / 0-)

      The main reason I just call myself Liberal is because I never heard a clear definition of progressive until now.  It doesn't change my mind but I do believe in democratic socialism.  

      But your right, the term progressive has been eroded to almost mean or standing for nothing.  

      •  As do I (0+ / 0-)

        And I wonder if maybe going back to an explicit statement of "democratic socialism" or "social democracy" (which are slightly different concepts) is better than embracing a term that has become almost a meaningless catchall.

        I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day
        Neither is California High Speed Rail

        by eugene on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 09:37:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And herein lies Obama's strategy (0+ / 0-)

          That sounds great.  Go ahead and try to sell Democratic Socialism or Social Democracy as a party platform here, in the U S of A, in 2008.  Just try!  Half the country thinks that Socialism + Stalin, Death Camps, Hitler and Pol Pot!  I speak from a purely pragmatic, 'how do you do it' sense.  

          It is simply not where we are.  You can't run before you can walk.  Uneducated people cannot be enticed by something they've been taught over and over again to fear and revile to the core of their beings without be re-educated and without being reassured.  

          Have you never had to convince anyone to do anything?  It takes more than a sensible argument.  It takes creating mutual trust and understanding.  It takes TIME, and unfortunately in today's politics it takes branding and marketing.  

          What Obama is doing strikes me as a WAY better way to bring Progressivism, whether as a movement or loose definition, back to the center of American discourse.  Just don't expect it to happen all at once.  

          •  The problem is (0+ / 0-)

            Obama is NOT interested in subtly moving things to the left, in bringing progressivism back to the center of American discourse.

            That doesn't mean we can push him to do that. We can. But we need to be honest with ourselves - there is no secret plan. Obama isn't some stealth left-winger. We need to take him at his centrist word.

            I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day
            Neither is California High Speed Rail

            by eugene on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 11:26:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  when hilary started calling herself as progressiv (0+ / 0-)

        something weird was going on. it go watered down in no time flat with people unable to really tell the difference between liberal and progressive. Or elected liberal establishment who look at it as just a less dirty word than liberal. Maybe  they don't know that progressive means to the left of liberal; much less interested in technocratic pro-business elitism that characterized  liberalism to a more grassroots-peoplepowered-social democracy.

        A dream catcher works . . . If your dream is to be gay.

        by thethinveil on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 12:54:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site