From the Editor

Americans are used to regular publishing schedules:  their daily paper (which everyone used to read) arrives at the same time every day.  National Geographic (for example) is dated monthly and arrives at the same time every month.

This journal, on the other hand, sometimes achieves regularity but lately not.  Special issues keep making their way onto the stage and pushing the regular issue of Progressive Democracyinto different publishing slots.  I hope that that readers can accept that this variability.

The special issue dealing with the conference PetroLA has now been up for a while.  It is time to publish the next regular issue (#24 to be exact.)

While there are quite good progressives essays here, what I am specially pleased with is the return of the sub-section entitled Pithy Polemics.  These short pieces were a feature of the early years of Progressive Democracy, but then vanished as a special section for a while (the short pieces did not vanish but were woven into slots between other, longer, essays).  Various considerations have led me in this issue to once again unite them in a separate bloc.

There is a question that has been asked.  It runs something like ‘Why are essays that focus on problems with regulatory issues in California included in a journal that is concerned with progressive/liberal/social democratic ideas?’

The answer comes in two parts.  First, since the progressive left came to accept that capitalism is here to stay and the response (for the medium run at least) is work to keep it under control via regulations and other government actions, it is important to look at attempts to satisfactorily regulate entities within the capitalist system.  The problem has been that those businesses that are to be regulated in the public interest have been too successful in capturing the regulatory agencies and perverting them in their own interest.  It is thus important that we remind ourselves how much and how often that is happening – with the hope that they can be returned to the aim for which they were created (and for an ultimate assessment of how well the progressive program is going.)

The second reason is that John Grula’s work is a really good example of public muckraking.  John is not professionally involved with either journalism or the businesses being regulated or with the relevant agencies.  He is doing citizen’s work of muckraking.  His work can be a model for other progressives around the country about how to go about keeping the failures of the agencies in mind.  In short:  go imitate him!