What is a progressive?

The word progressive is now in the blood stream of our politics. But it can mean different things to different people.  

These are some of the main things being a  progressive means to us.

To be a progressive is to believe the best in people and not the worst – and then build a society based on that belief.  So, for example, instead of punitive welfare that humiliates people – we provide universal spring boards and safety nets for all.

To be a progressive is to know that all of us have amazing capacities to do incredible things – and it is the duty of society as a whole to ensure we have the chance to.

To be a progressive is to believe that the world can be better than it is, and we have the capability to make it so – our vision is of a good society that is much more equal, democratic and sustainable than this one.

To be a progressive is to realize that no single person, party or organization has a monopoly of wisdom. Instead we want a better future that can only be negotiated by all of us.

To be a progressive is to want a world that is social, liberal and green. That means Labour, Liberals and Greens must work together to make it happen.

To be a progressive isn’t to wait for someone to change the world for you – but to work with others to make it happen. We are the people we have been waiting for.

To be a progressive is to know that meaningful and lasting change comes from and is made by people from the bottom up (the horizontal) but needs the support and resources of the state (the vertical). Transformative change happens on the diagonal fault line between the two - we call this 45 Degree Politics.  

To be a progressive is to behave now as if we lived in a good society – by treating each other with respect and compassion and having empathy for all.  

To be a progressive is never to give up on the journey to the good society – which is always the society that knows it is not yet good enough.

Neal Lawson, Compass Chair.


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