Joel Rogers Responds

Joel Rogers Responds

Jeff Isaac believes contemporary progressives face serious new problems of program and agency: identifying “what is to be done” to advance egalitarian democratic values under present economic and social conditions, and finding someone to do it. Sharing these values with Isaac, I agree with him that we need a new strategy to realize them. We disagree on what that strategy should be.

To begin with our common problem. We need to figure out policies and organizational forms appropriate to a changed world: where the nation state is less capable of directing the economy within its borders; where solving supply-side and regulatory problems is essential to citizen well-being; where traditional productivist politics is qualified by concern about such “non-economic” issues as the environment or gender; where “the working class” and “the family” and “black people” and other building blocks of progressive agency are not unambiguous, homogeneous, or stable terms. As nobody knows just what those new policies and organizational forms are, moreover, finding them will require social experiment and learning—so we also need to build the organizational routines and supports for that. Steady work indeed.

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Lima