Friday, March 12, 2010

Radical Centrism

I have tried to find the right words to describe the relatively new site California Independent Voter Network ( It has it's own site, promotes that site on facebook and twitter and even has a list of writers. Almost none of the writers at CAIVN are as well known as those at the California Majority Report, but then CAIVN has not been around as long, but they are getting there. I compared CAIVN's internet rankings on and they are gaining on some more established sites like

Still, I wonder how they define themselves. A Green Party friend of mine thought that they were conservative. One of the members of the committee that runs calitics called them "radical centrists". I would guess that the later description is closer.

There seems to be a notion that centrism is a good thing and the all politicians need to compromise. I find a number of fallacies in that. Primarily I don't think that it is very accurate to define a political spectrum in one dimension except as an explanatory simplification like left / right. The very term centrist, especially as used by the media these days merely to describe a position less strident than that of the ardently polarized major parties in California, an environment in which civil discourse is almost impossible.

When I first looked at caivn, I facetiously asked if independents were ever to organize, would they still be independent. It might not be a bad question. Now, I see that the folks at caivn are using facebook to try and find out just who are these independents in California. The comments being left (only 4 at the time I am writing this) indicate that they have multiple reasons for being dissatisfied with the majority parties.

I think that it would be a good focus group task to find some 20 self-identified independents and to test Green Party messages. I would love to see that undertaken by a competent team of opinion analysts. The comments that caivn are eliciting at facebook provide good anecdotal evidence that some independents are just as ideological as members of any political party.


Lisa said...

And now there is a Coffee Party movement trying to start up, heard them on KPFK this morn. A cute reply to the Tea Party, but we know how hard it is to form another party--the Green Party has been at it a few decades here in CA.

And the Nat'l Green Party already offered up a cute invitation to join the Green Tea Party, to those of the tea baggers, coffee folks, etc. who agree mostly with our platform.

Edward said...

I don't think that is "radical centrism". When I think of a radical centrist, I think of someone who holds extreme views from both the right and the left, not someone who is uber-middle-of-the-road. For example, being against war and the death penalty while at the same time opposing abortion and physician-assisted suicide.