what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Progressive Dilemma

The eminent British journal The Political Quarterly has given us for 80 years the most elegant and insightful writing on British politics. 
Given the current desperation of the British left, it is understandable that the journal's current issue focuses on “Progressivism” and contains a fascinating account of the nature and course of that bundle of ideas in America and Britain over the past century 
In the US and the UK, progressivism went badly wrong in its politics: Theodore Roosevelt’s New Nationalist campaign of 1912 divided American reformers fatally, as did Lloyd George’s postwar Coalition in Britain after 1918.Now, even after Brexit, a progressive alliance seems further away than ever. The story of the ‘Progressive Dilemma’ remains one of unrealistic projects, invariably disappointed.

The article Dilemmas and Disappointment; progressive politics 1896-2016 (paywall) is from historian Kenneth Morgan and is well worth reading – not least for the amazing purchase price of 15 euros for internet access to the journal’s entire archives.
A book on “Britain and Transnational Progressivism” also gives a fascinating picture of the progressive  strand and its impact on, for example, the West of Scotland in the late 19th and early 20th century

A couple of months ago I wrote about various political labels – mentioning that my father had, in the 1950s, been a member of a local political group called “progressives” or “moderates” who sat as overtly apolitical councillors …I saw them as “fuddies and duddies” and myself as the van of a newer. more multi-coloured European Left – although I resisted the siren calls of both the 70s/80s “hard left” and Bliar’s New Labour. 
What a pity that EU membership did not seem to lead to any broadening of perspective as a result - the "single market" was very much a Thatcher-driven issue to which the British left generally had an angry reaction; and the positive stance taken by New Labour to the entry of new member states from the east is a stance now regretted by many in the Labour party.....Quite what the intellectual legacy of EU membership will be for the UK is, for me, a moot question... 

The question I have been wrestling with for some considerable time is where should I be putting my political energies? As I have lost my voting rights, this translates into the question of what vision and programme of politics should I be espousing in my writings?

The P2P Foundation is one which has struck chords recently. Every day my mailbox receives at least a couple of interesting posts from them eg https://blog.p2pfoundation.net/yochai-benkler-on-advancing-towards-an-open-social-economy/2017/01/24 which introduced me to the work of this legal scholar of the internet. 
Their posts have also made me aware of the potential of what they call “platform cooperativism” about which I have some reservations - which are well reflected in another of their posts https://lasindias.blog/platform-cooperativism-a-truncated-cooperativism-for-millennials
One of the problems I have is their language – and the feeling that they are unaware of the wider experience of “mutuality” expressed in the work, for example, of Paul Hirst.

So bear with me......I’m hoping to write about this shortly……….

BARGAIN OF THE YEAR - The Political Quarterly online (with the entire archives) can be accessed for as little as 13 pounds a year

No comments:

Post a Comment