What do you mean by "Progressive?"

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Edzell Edzell's picture
What do you mean by "Progressive?"

I see the word "progressive" used quite a lot on this forum, including statenents that "this is a progressive site" as well as suggestions that some posts, being not sufficiently progressive, have no legitimate place in it. I'm quite new here and I sometimes wonder what folks mean or imply by the use of the word. It apears to be code for a particular set of political, moral or ethical principles but I haven't seen them spelled out; and like many such words I suspect people intend various meanings when they use it.

When YOU use it, do you imply scorn for capitalism, conservative parties and mass media, support for some form(s) of socialism or socialist party etc, etc... or what?

I'd prefer to see people defining what in particular they applaud or dislike - and why - rather than characterising something as "progressive" or not; especially if it's used just to belittle someone's opinion.

Is there a definition of the word specific to its use on Rabble/Babble?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Well, there have certainly been attempts in the past to bottle the idea of "progressive".

Maybe it's just a relative term.  The word "tall" doesn't have some fixed meaning, measured in inches or centimetres, but I figure if I'm taller than you, that should be evident to all.  :)

6079_Smith_W

You might have hit the nail on the head yourself.

Focusing on how other people don't fit some progressive ideal is not a progressive exercise at all, because you aren't helping anything or anyone at all.

 

 

Edzell Edzell's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

You might have hit the nail on the head yourself.

Focusing on how other people don't fit some progressive ideal is not a progressive exercise at all, because you aren't helping anything or anyone at all.

Right. Assuming it's not code for some fixed ideology, I'd think welcoming all viewpoints for discussion is something I'd call progressive.

6079_Smith_W

I wouldn't go that far, not do I think you have to in order to have a well rounded discussion.

CBC found out a couple of days ago (most recently) how just letting anyone on the air the naive interest of fairness can easily go sideways.

https://ricochet.media/en/1890/proud-boys-interview-symptomatic-of-cbcs-...

But if you mean not being doctrinaire about stuff, yes, I agree.

 

quizzical

once boomers are gone so will CBC be.

Edzell Edzell's picture

Good grief, where did you find that piece? It's a real hoot - or at least what I've read of it which isn't a lot. You don't have to go far in to get the gist of the hysterical rant, or the literary "style" in which it's presented. I assume it's in reference to an item on CBC although the "author" gives no identification, much less a link, to whatever he's raving about. What more can I say about it? Not much except maybe Bleccch.

quizzical

edzell why don't you just stfu with your sexist and bigoted crap. your confirmation bias is showing. and not in a good way. coming straigt from Rebel Media are you?

i read the article and understood what it's about it.

Edzell Edzell's picture

So far I don't think anybody's offered an explanation of what they really mean when they use the word progressive, or what's meant by "This is a progressive site." - ????

Caissa

Progressive has become a meaningless term.  It describes two political movements in NA, one in the US and one in Canada. It's use in the late 20th century and early 21st century was probaly because people found the word "socialism" scare. I find its use to be a meaningless catchall term which obfuscates more than it clarifies.

6079_Smith_W

I don't think it is meaningless, even if it is relative. I think it probably helps to look at it on an issue by issue basis rather than the way some people look at it - as a medal to pin on their chests.

Were the Progressive Conservatives progressive in some things? Yes they were, even though some would call them right-wing fascists.

 

Caissa

The the PC party assumed that adjective when John Bracken became leader in 1942.  Can you point me to a coherent body of ideoology on "progressive"?

Edzell Edzell's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I don't think it (the word "progressive") is meaningless.......

My question is: When you use it, what do you mean? And what do you believe is meant by those who declare this site progressive?

In a way I do think it has become meaningless in many contexts, but only in the sense that people often use it as a handy word for saying they approve of something (or don't) without bothering to explain - or even understand? - why.

6079_Smith_W

I am talking more about the Red Tories, but you can point to Mulroney's action on environmental issues, opposing Apartheid and US intervention, Kim Campbell's foundation of Canadian Heritage, and Peter Lougheed's Heritage Fund and his record on arts and healthcare funding as progressive government measures which one would not associate with the current Conservative Party.

Same goes for Hugh Segal's promotion of Guaranteed Income.

For that matter, there are other cases of otherwise conservative entities taking progressive action. Utah's Republican government's efforts to reduce homelessness, for example.

But my point is that the notion of what is progressive is not an absolute. Someone can be progressive on one issue, and not on another.

 

 

Mobo2000

Edzell -- I think you hit the nail on the head in your last post:   "people often use it as a handy word for saying they approve of something (or don't) without bothering to explain... why."    Quizzical's post #8 is an excellent example.

Caissa

If progressive can be defined onm a case by case basis, prithee tell me what the progressive position is on sex work?

Mobo2000

Cassia:   Progressive = good/moral.      The progressive postion on sex work is whatever the particular person who self-identifies as a progressive thinks is the good/moral position on sex work.   And everyone who disagrees hates women and is definitely not a progressive.   Hope that helps!

 

 

 

6079_Smith_W

Caissa wrote:

If progressive can be defined onm a case by case basis, prithee tell me what the progressive position is on sex work?

There are diametrically opposed positions on sex work. Both come from a progressive perspective.

(and no, it isn't good or moral, so much as harm relief on one side and exploitation on the other.

Glad you brought that up, because it speaks to the fact that there is no absolute, and those who seek to demonize the other side as somehow not progressive are working backwards. To jump threads a bit, part of the job of a progressive organization is to contain and recognize the validity of both those perspectives, despite the conflict.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Progressive is largely a meaningless term.  A business leader who wants to tear down historic buildings to erect a new tower could be called progressive as could a environmentalist who opposed the same project because it will disrupt a stream through the old neighbourhood. 

It is a subjective term that only the person using it has any idea what it means in the context they are using it in. If anyone disagrees I will be forced to engage in progressive discipline.

 

6079_Smith_W

Like a lot of words it can be used in a meaningless way. Fascist and capitalist are other good ones. Doesn't mean they don't have meanings.

Caissa

I think fascism and capitalism have meanings. Progressive not so much.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Like a lot of words it can be used in a meaningless way. Fascist and capitalist are other good ones. Doesn't mean they don't have meanings.

All the uses of progressive in my post had specific meanings unlike words like fascist that people use incorrectly. This is your first warning.

Edzell Edzell's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

It is a subjective term that only the person using it has any idea what it means in the context they are using it in.

In very many cases I think this is correct. So in declaring this a "progressive" forum, does the word have any meaning at all, and if so where on the website is it defined?

6079_Smith_W

k:

You also said you thought it was a largely meaningless term. I don't think it is so long as people understand the context in which they use it.

What I said was it was one of those words which people tend to throw around without concern for their real meaning; in that I agree with you, though I think fascism gets abused far more.

Progressive might have a broader and more fluid meaning than fascism or capitalism but it very definitely has a meaning - generally meaning positive social change. Part of the dispute around what positive means comes down to both ideology and historical hindsight, but I'd hardly call it a useless word.

A couple of takes on it. Orwell's assessment is particularly good; he pointed out it is one of those words often used consciously in a dishonest way.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-11785483

And of course wikipedia, which starts with the original idea, based on technological and social progress:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressivism

(edit)

Cross posted with you Edzell. My guess it is along the lines of the "shorthand for leftist" at the end of the first section of that wikipedia listing.

If you want a finer definition, the first section of Babble policy might help:

rabble.ca is a public, independent, progressive news and information source. In defining itself as "progressive," rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and as such encourages discussions which develop and expand progressive thought.

http://rabble.ca/about/babblepolicy

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I don't think you can reasonably expect rabble to define progressive the way a dictionary would -- and frankly, who'd want that anyway?  It would immediately become the new beating stick.

But babble policy does give you, I think, enough information to be able to make some sense of how rabble sees progressivism:

Quote:
rabble.ca is a public, independent, progressive news and information source. In defining itself as "progressive," rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and as such encourages discussions which develop and expand progressive thought.

and, conversely:

Quote:
babble is NOT intended as a place where the basic and fundamental values of human rights, feminism, anti-racism and labour rights are to be debated or refought. Anyone who joins babble who indicates intentions to challenge these rights and principles may be seen as disruptive to the nature of the forum.

So that's basically the law of the land.  Stay within those bounds and you should be fine.  If someone who's not a mod tells you that you're not being progressive enough for them you can cheerfully ignore them.

 

MegB

Troll alert. 

 

6079_Smith_W

Ah.. cross posted with you Magoo. Great minds.

And yeah, probably. But its a slow day.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I can't help but imagine that right-wing message boards occasionally see someone ask "EXACTLY what does this board mean by 'patriotic'??  Someone please point me to the stone on which this definition has been carved!!"

Caissa

Did you take our troll away, Meg? We were having fun in the sandbox.

Mobo2000

This troll stuff is such a turn off.   Especially coming from a moderator.   

 

quizzical

what's a "turn off" is the incessant trolling by those who are against human rights, regulations and social justice.

people like yourself mobo.

JKR

For me the term "progressive" is synonymous with the term "left of centre." For me someone who is "progressive" is someone who believes that government should go against the conservative traditions that have supported inequity and inequality.

NDPP

Progressive Democrats: Resist and Submit, Retreat and Surrender   -   by James Petras

https://www.unz.com/jpetras/progressive-democrats-resist-and-submit-retr...

"Over the past quarter century progressive writers, activists and academics have followed a trajectory from left to right - with each presidential campaign seeming to move them further to the right..."

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Was Edzell banned??  If you click on his name, his profile is inaccessible.

I'm not looking to second-guess the mods, but if someone is turfed, I think that should be clear.  Otherwise it looks like "the knock in the night".

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

If you click on Edzell's name, you still get the "inaccessible" message.  So he didn't get a three-day timeout.

Can I ask again:  was he banned?  I'm not necessarily quarrelling with that, but I think it's important that we be told.

Edzell Edzell's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

If you click on Edzell's name, you still get the "inaccessible" message.  So he didn't get a three-day timeout.

Can I ask again:  was he banned?  I'm not necessarily quarrelling with that, but I think it's important that we be told.

Mr. M, thanks for asking. After much questioning/protesting I have been released from solitary. I'll reply more fully in due course; maybe by private message.

Edzell Edzell's picture

6079_smith and Mr Magoo;

Thanks for the policy extract and link
(http://rabble.ca/about/babblepolicy).
Until now I couldn't find the written policy - of which I certainly approve. The website menu item "babble policy" does not work for me, and I see no "about" that I could have selected. Am I missing it somewhere?

"Stay within those bounds and you should be fine." ? Not my experience :) :(.

Meantime thanks to all who contributed thoughtfully.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

All I can suggest is that you cross-post this on this thread.

Admittedly, I had to do some googling to find babble's policy.  Maybe rabble would like to get on that?  And the Contact page, too??

I know, busy busy busy.  Just one guy running around furiously spinning plates on sticks, I'm told.