Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Progressive Party

Sometimes, you learn things by doing some linguistic analysis. I basically support everything that Forrest Hill has listed as issues for his campaign. In fact, his redistricting plan for California is brilliant. His newsletters are very much focused on those things that a Secretary of State can and should manage well. However, they are also focused on the positioning of his stance as Progressive, not as being Green. Here is a comparative Count of the use of the words Progressive and Green in the four newsletters that I still have in my inbox.

Green: Newsletter 5 (2), Newsletter 6(0), Newsletter 7(0), Newsletter 8 (1)

Progressive: Newsletter 5 (2), Newsletter 6(2), Newsletter 7(1) Newsletter 8 (0)

Total: 5 uses of the word progressive, 3 uses of the word Green.

It is just as illustrative to see how the words are used:
  • Newsletter 5, talks of progressive politics, and list Progressive Democrats, Independents and Greens as examples.
  • Newsletter 6, talks of Building a Progressive Future, no mention of the Green Party.
  • Newsletter 7, talks of the great progressive struggles, no mention of the Green Party..
  • Newsletter 8, mentions the Green Party to indicate support for Todd Chretien as the Green Party candidate
It might be better that the party were re-named the Progressive Party, as there is nothing that Forrest has produced which tightly associates him with the Green Party or green values. While, as I said, those things that he says that he would do: IRV, sensible redistricting plan, immigrant voting in local elections, proportional representation, make sense, I get no feeling from reading his material that these arise from the values of the Green Party, but rather that the Green Party is a convenient place from which to carry forward his progressive agenda. In other words, I feel that there is nothing in these newsletters that even clearly associates Forrest with the Green Party, that would help attract people to the Green Party among voters who happen to agree with his positions.

Maybe this is just one more sign of a trend toward people not aligning with any party, not believing that a specific party has earned the right to their allegiance. Yet, there is an underlying assumption that Republicans are all evil. "progressive politics has become heavily orientated toward a single short term goal - defeating the Republicans at any cost." That obsession, is what cause such consternation among bloggers like Kos of Daily Kos when the Sierra Club endorsed the candidacy of long time environmental advocate Republican Lincoln Chaffee.

As someone who has no allegiance to the progressive movement, but a strong belief in the key values of the Green Party, I would love to see the candidates of the Green Party convey the sense that they arrived at their positions as an embodiment of Green Party principles but that seems not to be the case

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