Welcome to the Commonweal Institute's New Blog
Welcome to the Commonweal Institute’s new blog. We hope it will stimulate discussion about how to market progressive ideas, what progressive values are, and how progressives can work together more effectively. We also want to discuss building a political infrastructure that can keep working to advance progressive perspectives all the time, not just during election seasons, and not just limited to specific issues.
To give you a little background, my late husband Leonard Salle and I started the Commonweal Institute in 2001, in the wake of the 2000 election and its messy aftermath. We were motivated by our recognition that progressive voices and perspectives were being drowned out in the public arena, thanks to the well-organized conservative movement that had evolved over decades. The public, the media, and politicians (regardless of party) were accepting as credible many ultra-conservative ideas and actions that previously would have been unthinkable. There was little visible resistance to what we saw as a reversal of much of the progress that America had made in the 20th century. We decided it was time for progressives to get their collective act together.
Based on our analysis of what had made the Right successful, plus our awareness of the differences between progressives and conservatives, all of us at Commonweal agree that the Institute should not be just a traditional think tank. Instead, it should be a multi-issue organization that develops and promotes ideas, strategic thinking, and techniques for action. We’ve been doing this through research, advocacy, training, and strategic consultation to other organizations. In March of 2006, the Commonweal Institute sponsored the first Progressive Roundtable, as a step toward building coordinated political infrastructure.