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Welcome to the Progressive Platform Project!

In the past few months, there have been a lot of discussions in the media and on the blogs about what a progressive is. Many, especially in the media, are of the opinion that a progressive is the same thing as a liberal. But is that really the case? Chris Matthews considers himself a liberal. The DLC folks consider themselves liberal. Most Democrats consider themselves liberal. But are those folks progressive?

Is a progressive the exact same thing as a liberal? If not, what is a progressive? And better yet, what does a progressive, in this day and age, stand for?

These last questions are ones that we will be answering over the course of the next several months while we draft our Progressive Platform.

This process is going to take a while, as we go slowly through each plank. This forming of a coherent platform will be dependent on your input in the comment section each week. I am hoping that there will be suggestions and robust discussions; there may even be some (civil) arguments. The end result of this little project of ours will be a Progressive Platform that we, as progressives, can use as a yardstick for supporting and endorsing candidates. We will use it here at Progressive Blue for the 2012 elections, and anyone is welcome to use it as they see fit.

In this inaugural post, we'll briefly explore platforms.

When many people think about platforms, the first thing they think of is party platforms. From Wikipedia:

A party platform, also known as a manifesto, is a list of the actions which a political party supports in order to appeal to the general public for the purpose of having said party's candidates voted into office. This often takes the form of a list of support for, or opposition to, controversial topics. Individual topics are often called planks of the platform.

Each major political party in the United States has drafted a platform since 1840. The American Presidency Project via the University of California, Santa Barbara has a great page with links to all of those platforms.

But platforms don't necessarily have to be directly affiliated with a party; they can also be movement manifestos. Again, from Wikipedia:

A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature. Manifestos relating to religious belief are generally referred to as creeds. Manifestos may also be life stance-related.

With this platform, we are not looking to purposefully create a new party; we simply would like to have a formal platform for progressives - something we can use as a yardstick to measure candidates and policies. Something between a party platform and a manifesto; it need not be particularly specific in individual policies, nor does it need to be overly broad. This platform can be however broad or specific as we all decide. I'm sure in the end, it will have some specific policy areas and some more broadly defined principles as well.

So this first week, we have some homework exploration to do. Check out the various party platforms to get an idea of what kinds of things go into a platform. Also, you can check out democrats.org, which has a section titled "What We Stand For".

We will begin dealing with planks next week. What planks do you want to see addressed in the platform? In the multi-choice poll over in the original Progressive Platform Project diary, I have put a standard list of possible planks for our platform. Please vote for the planks you think should be the most important in our platform. Please limit your votes to 5 planks and  next week we will start coming up with the order in which we address each plank.

This is a Progressive Blue project. We welcome all suggestions in the comments below; however, in order to affect the official platform, commenters may want to provide their input in the Progressive Platform Project diary at Progressive Blue.

Originally posted to poli's pages on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 04:05 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tips for progressives! (10+ / 0-)

    and for a strong progressive platform!

    --poligirl  :D

    "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Charles Beard

    by poligirl on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 04:05:09 PM PST

  •  I am a full on socialst (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eddie C, poligirl, ZhenRen, JesseCW

    I believe government has an obligation to ensure that citizens survive and thrive.

    Not a full on religious person but "the least of us" comes to mind.

    Not sure about the platform at this point can't wait for the discussion.

    Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight?~George Carlin

    by LaEscapee on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 04:07:26 PM PST

  •  Cart Before Horse I Think. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poligirl, LaEscapee, mdmslle

    Platform presumes you have a party that's a going concern and you simply need to alter course a bit.

    That's not where we are.

    At best progressives and liberals are where the rightwing was in the mid 60's, with no voice in media to reach the people and no power and credibility with Republican party leadership.

    They didn't start with platform projects, they started by building a national rightwing movement. We have a movement of numerous organizations and interest groups, and so did the rightwing, but they weren't going anywhere with it.

    Early essential steps included creating multiple new communication systems for organizing and mobilizing themselves and for educating voters. Early on they began stepping up and taking party and elected offices at the bottom rungs especially school boards and town councils, not merely voting for better candidates but becoming better candidates.

    When you talk platform you're talking party and the party is not a progressive party, it's a solid conservative party by any civilized standards and it's not going to turn toward the people just because it's better supported. It does need support at the ballot box but it doesn't need support for much else, and it doesn't appreciate meddling anyway.


    We're more the People's Front of Judea than FDR's Democratic Party. I think we need to work on numbers and muscle more than anything else.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 04:37:39 PM PST

    •  The beginning could be (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eddie C, poligirl

      the progressive caucus there are a few, even though they are few willing to fight for our right to party;^)

      Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight?~George Carlin

      by LaEscapee on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 05:01:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  not really. you don't have to have a party to... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eddie C, Thomas Twinnings, LaEscapee

      have a platform. a platform is generally a manifesto - what a group stands for.

      we have no urge to create a new party. but we would like to have a formal yardstick to measure candidates and policies, which is what the project is about.

      --poligirl  :D

      "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Charles Beard

      by poligirl on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 05:02:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Looking forward (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poligirl, LaEscapee

    to the discussion.

    And hoping there's an opportunity for more than simply sharing ideas.

    "Hey, remember that time we cut taxes for all the rich people and then at the end of the decade EVERYONE LOST THEIR JOBS AND THEIR HOMES?" -- Ministry of Truth

    by nonprofit jim on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 07:26:01 PM PST

    •  me too... and we intend to... (0+ / 0-)

      draft, through community discussion, a coherent progressive platform that can be used. we will be not just sharing ideas, but putting them into a formal platform for progressives!

      --poligirl  :D

      "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Charles Beard

      by poligirl on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 08:18:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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