Creative Class Progressivism - Is this what we want to be?

Chris wrote in his Drinking Liberally post:

In addition to overtly political and media-oriented work conducted with progressive interests in mind, the progressive movement is also part of a social movement. It is connected to the growing dominance of "creative class" values within much of American culture, and to the rise of a new structure of the public sphere based not on mass membership institutions but upon self-starting, micro-targeted social networking. Contemporary progressivism has become more than just about our political beliefs, but also about the way we conduct many other aspects of our daily lives.

I was completely floored. Aren't we supposed to fight for the least among us and to empower them? To define an entire movement as reflecting the values of high-income, largely white, urban professionals seems antithetical to the world I want to live in. Moreover, to then claim, as I often read on this site, that the same movement is fighting for some sort of "general" liberalism, free from interest group politics, is astounding.

That said, Chris' statement is entirely accurate. There is a world of difference between the issues brought up on this site and in other centers of leftist thought. For instance, in urban African-American communities, a huge amount of energy is put into dealing with violence and simultaneously battling the prison-industrial complex. We talk about unions a lot on MyDD (commendable!), but the commenters in unions are almost entirely CWA and AFSCME folks - we're rarely talking either a lower-income union like UNITE-HERE or a more industrial union like the UAW. I think that this section of blogosphere ignores feminist and black issues in dangerous ways. The list is endless.

I would urge everyone who writes on this site, especially the frontpagers, to drop the pretense that the netroots are a force pushing for some general liberalism that can push the Democrats uniformly to the left on all issues. We are an interest group like any other, with a specific set of issues we care about like any other - I think that the creative class formulation is a decent approximation of what we are.

Also, I hope that this diary can act as a thread for discussing just what the progressive movement is and where it fits into the left. Should we be addressing other issues than we are? Thinking through different lenses than we are? Are we too bound by the prejudices of our place in society and how do we fix that?

I, for one, am uncomfortable associating myself with a movement of the creative class. It really conflicts with deeply held, leftist beliefs about where power should be located in society. Reading Chris' post has to a great extent disillusioned me to what MyDD is. Maybe this thread can either bring me back into the fold or even help change what our community represents.

Tags: Class, Ideology, progressive movement (all tags)


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