BRINGING ABOUT PROGRESSIVE CHANGE.

PositionEDITOR'S NOTE

Reese Erlich was a journalist who traveled the world with a driving sense of curiosity, filing dispatches for various news outlets. His first byline in The Progressive appeared in 1987, but most of the work he did for the magazine, both in print and online, was during the last decade or so, including, for the past several years, a twice-monthly web column called "Foreign Correspondent."

In late March, Erlich filed what he knew would be his final column, as cancer closed in on him. He died in Oakland, California, on April 6, at age seventy-three. He reflected on a career that spanned seven decades, with groundbreaking reporting from Cuba, Iran, Bolivia, Russia, and Syria, among other places.

"I hope I've helped explain some complicated world issues," he wrote. "I hope the activism earlier in my life and my writing and speeches later have helped bring about progressive change."

At a memorial service conducted via Zoom in early May, Erlich's family and friends recalled his life and legacy: being part of an important anti-draft protest in the 1960s, working with Walter Cronkite, and writing several books.

"He was a true inspiration," said former New York Times correspondent Stephen Kinzer. "Reese was a person who didn't want to report about policy. He wanted to report about people." But his reporting was political, and it had an edge: "Reese devoted himself to exposing the lies on which foreign policy is based."

Or, as Robert Scheer expressed it, "He knew that if you got history wrong, people got hurt."

Everything about Reese Erlich's approach to journalism is admirable. But it occurs to me that it is not unusual. A commitment to truth, justice, and the common good defines the writers who have for more than 112 years graced the pages of The Progressive. They write because they care; their goal is entirely immodest: to change the world.

It's true as well of the contributors to this issue, which looks at possible fixes to longstanding problems. Victoria Law writes about conviction integrity units that give hope to the wrongfully incarcerated. Eleanor Bader highlights the need to protect domestic workers from exploitation. Kalena Thomhave explores the promise of programs that meet people's basic needs by providing guaranteed...

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