1.27.2005

Branding, Message, Progressives, and the Kitchen Sink

I'm really interested in the conversations that have been brewing around branding the Progressive Movement, simplifying our message, and creating a vision of the world we want to create. These are all questions I've been grappling with for awhile now.

First, I know that some people bristle at the term "branding." I don't know a different word for it, and I'm not sure if it's important to invent new language simply to take a stand against corporations and capitalism. I'm also probably biased towards using the term since I work in advertising and find it useful.

Second, I think it's possible to be succint without throwing out all your values / beliefs. The US Section of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) did that when we created our new vision and mission statements. Which brings me to another point - the difference between a vision and a mission. My understanding is that a vision statement expresses the world that you want to create; a utopia statement. A mission statement expresses how you expect to get to that world.

By the way, the reason I chose WILPF as my activist home is because I refuse to be a single-issue person. The only way to create a world at peace with justice is to recognize that all people and issues are inter-related. Here's WILPF's vision and mission statements for reference:
Vision Statement
WILPF envisions a transformed world at peace, where there is racial, social, and economic justice for all people everywhere - a world in which:
-- the needs of all people are met in a fair and equitable manner,
-- all people equally participate in making the decisions that affect them,
-- the interconnected web of life is acknowledged and celebrated in diverse ways and communities, and
-- human societies are designed and organized for sustainable existence.

Mission Statement
WILPF members create the peaceful transformation they wish to see in the world by making connections that:
-- provide continuity with the past so that knowledge of historical events and patterns informs current activities for change;
-- create analysis and action that reflect and reinforce each other;
-- link and challenge root causes of oppression, especially racism, sexism, heterosexism, militarism, economic disparity, and political disempowerment; and
-- build and strengthen relationships and movements for justice, peace, and radical democracy among people all over the world.
On another topic, I'm never sure what people mean by populist and progressive. I agreed with the original operating principles of P! and that's why I volunteered to be a contributing editor. I agree with John that there are some bad populists out there and that many progressives don't think it's important to gather popular support for their ideas. I'm hopeful that together, we'll figure out a starting point for our new media activism.


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The P! Editorial Team is currently working on our vision statement. Please help us with your comments here: Open Thread: Help Us Identify Populist, Progressive Principles. Thank you.