Bridging the Divide Between Theory and Practice
One of the major obstacles to progressive social change is the separation that exists today between those who analyze and those who organize. This separation is a product of our society. Many of the tools for understanding the world are sheltered in universities, while much of the work of trying to change the world happens under conditions that do not allow for extensive research or reflection. The result is a divide between theory and practice which prevents the fragmented groups on the political left from organizing around a broader strategy for social transformation. But in order to change the systems of exploitation, exclusion and oppression under which we live, we must broaden our focus and combine our efforts. We need to bridge the divide between theory and practice with clear analysis that is grounded in practical experience and strategic organizing that is informed by radical theory.
The Center for Progressive Strategy & Research helps meet this need by combining elements of a political think-tank, a popular education program and a grassroots organizing campaign into a single organizational unit. As an association of members of The People’s Lobby, the CPSR works to inform and empower the progressive movement in Chicago, Illinois and beyond through targeted research and education activities. We study economic data and theory to develop an alternative to mainstream approaches, which remain systematically biased against progressive thinking. We conduct policy analysis to promote progressive solutions to concrete problems and to assist on-the-ground organizing campaigns. We work within The People’s Lobby to coordinate media and communication strategies aimed at popularizing the progressive narrative. Our goal is to broaden the base and build the framework for a true progressive movement: a movement that could not only defend against attacks on the common good, but could actively create a more just and sustainable world.