I have spent some of the holiday time thinking about the next steps for Reboot Alberta. It is launched and getting some traction and momentum as a community of progressive-minded Albertans. Coming out of the first gathering in late November was a request that some time and effort be spent framing the concept of what it meant to be a Progressive in the context of a 21st century Alberta. That work is well underway.
A number of people have shared their thoughts on the “What is a Progressive” link at www.rebootalberta.org website. I encourage you to read and comment on the contributions so far.
The other outcome of the Reboot Alberta launch was the emergence of four identifiable theme streams for Progressives to use going forward as they press for change in Alberta politics, policy and democracy. The two themes with the most participation were to start a new political party with a different approach to politics, namely public service not just getting or retaining power as the focus. The other strong theme, based on participation levels, was the civil society approach to pressing for change. This theme sees using existing the power and influence of existing organizations and institutions as a means to make the major changes needed to put a progressive policy approach and political agenda forward for Alberta.
The other two themes had a smaller numbers of Reboot Alberta participants but no less enthusiasm for the cause. Some people who wanted to use their membership and influence in existing political parties to bring a more progressive approach to Alberta politics. Others saw themselves as ordinary citizens who wanted to make their progressive voices heard in the policy development of the province but were not interested in typical political organizations of partisanship as the way for them to press for change.
All four theme streams are alive, well and growing within the progressive Reboot Alberta community.
There was another overarching feeling I got from listening at the launch of Reboot Alberta is that the existing political and policy development system is not working and may even be broken. The cynicism and indifference posture of past progressive thinking in Alberta is no longer an option. In fact it is dangerous to the wellbeing of the province given the political options we are being offered are a far-rightwing or an even farther rightwing alternative. The general dissatisfaction with the other conventional opposition parties is almost unconscious but they are simply not seen as viable governing solutions.
One thing every politically active or reactive Albertan seems to agree on now is that Alberta’s politics are volatile and vibrant…for the first time in a long time. For those of us who what to press for progressive political and democratic change, that is a good thing.
So what is next for Reboot Alberta and progressives in light of all of this flux? At the base is an emerging movement for a re-engaged and reinvigorated sense of citizenship by progressives. Now progressives are starting to find each other, starting to connect, share and collaborate about creating common causes and reaching common goals. The website at www.rebootalberta.org is where this emerging progressive political community in Alberta is congregating.
While the virtual community is forming, Renew Alberta is moving forward in establishing a new political party. It is likely this new party will be influenced and informed by the efforts of the civil society theme stream within Reboot Alberta. This input will be vital as Renew Alberta works out what it stands for, what it wants to achieve, how will it be different from the status quo parties and what issues will it see as in need of political/ policy attention and change.
From some of the reading I have been doing on Paul Ray’s work on the New Political Compass, I see a strong correlation between the Cultural Creatives and the New Progressives, as he calls them (us?). This correlation is growing into political subculture based on values with concerns around certain central issues. Issues like resilient and vibrant communities, the ecological health of the planet, concerns over social cohesion as the rich get richer and even the working poor get poorer. There is a rejection of the old adversarial thinking based on “us versus them” approach particularly relating to social differences and in personal relationship. There is a grave and growing concern amongst Progressives about what kind of future are we leaving our children. And a deepening distrust of effectiveness of conventional partisan culture conflict of Left versus Right.
If these thoughts resonate with you I encourage you to take some personal action. Go to this link and see if you are a Cultural Creative. If so, then explore the writings at the new website for progressive Albertan at www.rebootalberta.org. I recommend you read and follow the offerings in the blog roll posts at the Reboot website. Spend some time reading the contributions to “What is a Progressive” as well.
If after all that, if you think you too might want to dust off your citizenship and start to revive those rights and responsibilities you have, then become part this progressive movement. You can make a contribution to help change Alberta’s politics and reform our democracy to become a more progressive political culture. You can register on the Reboot Alberta site and send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask to be put on the “In-the-Loop” email list. Plan to attend the next face-to-face gathering of the progressive Alberta community, Reboot Alberta 2.0. It is happening at the Delta Lodge in Kananaskis Feb 26-28. More details on that event will be coming out next week here and on the Reboot Alberta website.
Dissatisfaction and disillusionment do not generate hope or change. However, reviving your sense of responsible citizenship and re-engaging in the political culture of Alberta can create hope and change. It is vital that Alberta’s progressives start showing up and making their voices heard about our aspirations for the future of this province. The world is run by those who show up. In a democracy we always get the government we deserve. That is especially true now when we are at a threshold of enormous political change in our Alberta.