Review: The Practical Progressive–How to Build a Twenty-first Century Political Movement

3 Star, Democracy, Politics

Practical ProgressiveIndustrial-era directory with little added value, September 27, 2008

Erica Payne

I eagerly anticipated this book’s arrival, believing from the title that it might actually contribute to my thinking on how to build a twenty-first century political movement (I support Reuniting American and the Transpartisan Alliance with public intelligence in the public interest).

Nope. This is an industrial-era directory with almost no added value. Seventy nine organizations are profiled in small print in hard copy, followed by snapshot bios of some of the activists.

Organizations that are NOT on the left (which has hijacked the term “progressive”) but rather centrist, postpartisan, transpartisan, or nonpartison are NOT included here, for example, The New America Foundation, World Index of Social and Environmental Responsibility, Reuniting America, the Liberty Coalition, and on and on and on.

I checked the website, hoping for an interactive online version of the book that might be useful, but found it to be merely an advertising site.

In brief: a lot of work went into this book, the editor and those involved in the book got a lot of face time with many good people doing important work in isolation from one another and from the rest of us, but the book does NOT advance participatory deliberative democracy in any significant way.

Other books that might be more satisfying:
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
Doing Democracy
The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics
The Change Handbook: The Definitive Resource on Today’s Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems
Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization
Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World
How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace
Election 2008: Lipstick on the Pig (Substance of Governance; Legitimate Grievances; Candidates on the Issues; Balanced Budget 101; Call to Arms: Fund We Not Them; Annotated Bibliography)

Both of the last two are free online.

I recommend the editor urge every organization listed in this book to join the rest of us at World Index of Social and Environmental Responsibility (WISER). That online resource is connnecting dots to dots, dots to people, people to people, and dollars to outcomes.