On Being Progressive

Grace Barnett

“Progressive” is a word that we use a lot at Compass to describe who we are and what we stand for. But it is an especially ambitious term and perhaps for this reason is almost never defined. 

In this paper, Grace Barnett looks into the history and application of the term and interrogates some of the potential points of pain or contradiction, with the aim of creating a clearer picture of where we stand today as self-described Progressives.

Does “Progressive” still accurately describe our philosophy? How do others use it and does this matter? Does it bear any relation to the Left-Right political spectrum? Can we say what is definitely not progressive? Answering these questions should help us to assess more clearly the way we use this word and whether we want to continue doing so.

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