Van Jones & The American Dream Movement

Filed in National by on June 24, 2011

Earlier this week we discussed activism and what makes it effective. I cited the Tea Party as an effective movement. The left has made a couple of attempts to replicate the success of the Tea Party but has not succeeded yet. Van Jones is attempting a new group called the American Dream Movement, focused on economic issues.

“We think we can do what the tea party did,” Jones said in an interview with The Fix. “They stepped forward under a common banner, and everybody took them seriously. Polls suggest there are more people out there who have a different view of the economy, but who have not stepped forward yet under a common banner.”

Jones’ “Dream” movement will launch Thursday night with a rally in New York City. The Roots are performing;, a well known liberal advocacy group, is co-sponsoring the gathering.

After the rally, the group will hold house meetings around the country in a bid to crowd-source the group’s platform, asking for ideas and collecting input from economists and activists. It will then use those contributions to form a “Contract for the American Dream” that will serve as an agenda to rally support and pressure politicians in Washington, riffing off the 1994 “Contract with America” that swept Republicans into the House majority.

While the tea-party movement gained clout in part through successful primary challenges to establishment politicians in 2010, Jones said the “Dream” movement is not “about primaries.”

This sounds like a really interesting group. I do think that Democrats in general agree about economic issues. The Blue Dog/Conservadems IMO are more of a Washington creation. Our Democratic party does need to be reminded what rank-and-file members support – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and progressive taxation. If possible, we would like to strengthen all of these.

A lot of liberal dissatisfaction with the direction of our country has been misplaced and misaimed at the president. If we really want a change we need to do it ourselves. Change can come from the bottom up but it is a lot of work and it is a longterm project.

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Comments (18)

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  1. delbert says:

    He’s trying, in approach, to copy what the Tea Party did. But it’ll never work. Environmentalists, tree huggers, and trough feeders will never work make a machine like that. They just wait for government handouts.

  2. Geezer says:

    Yes, environmentalism wouldn’t exist without government handouts. Do you realize what a numbnuts you sound like?

    Oops, didn’t mean to use such a gender-specific term. Oh, well, apologies to the posters with lady parts. He’s still a numbnuts.

  3. political wizzard says:

    The main thing that ties all liberals together is the way we have been turned into a commodity as far as work goes. The idea that you work for a company for years then get canned because it rained in some foreign place and the profits won’t be as good as the same quarter last year has about run it’s course. It’s getting to the place where ALL workers are sick of this practice. That is something that even the tea baggers can get behind.

  4. Avagadro says:

    he can call it “the coffee party”….

  5. Frank Knotts says:

    The problem Mr. (avowed communist) Jones will have is the fact that the TEA movement was started because the people felt that the power rested with the people. They felt that the government was un-responsive to their will. The people who came to the TEA rallies, whether they identified themselves as TEA Party members or not, they understood that the government was no longer listening to the people. This goes for both parties. That is why we saw so many GOP primaries go to the TEA backed candidates.
    Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, the people that Mr. (avowed communist) Jones will be attempting to rally have been told for decades to sit back and let the government and others take care of you. They have been told that they are victims and that they have no power. They have been told that the American system of government is stacked against them.
    Now Mr.(avowed communist)Jones will have to convince them that they have the power to alter events after all. This could have a negative effect on the liberal movement in the long run. Because once people learn that they can control their own destiny, they tend to want to.
    Of course Mr.(avowed communist)Jones will have the blind support of the labor lefties that control the money of the unions and many of the lock-step union members. But the average citizen, seeing the devastating effect that the Obama agenda has had on the nation, will not buy into the ideas of Mr(avowed communist)Jones, who has been and who is a supporter and fellow traveler of Pres. Obama.
    Also, the TEA movement has been a peaceful movement for the most part. Just wait and see what happens when the union thugs show up. This will quickly turn into a class warfare movement and violence will ensue. The greater appeal of the TEA movement was that it was inclusive, there were no lines drawn between citizens, it was intended to give greater freedom to all without taking anything from anyone. I really doubt that Mr.(avowed communist)Jones can duplicate this.

  6. cassandra m says:

    And look who shows up with *both* the talking points and the revisionist history.

  7. cassandra m says:

    If you are interested in this, the entire roll out of this thing is on line here. It is almost two hours long, but it is a good synthesis of what we know to be wrong (and a reminder of how excluded this part of the *debate* has been from the media). I don’t know how far this will go, but if Jones can get progressives to internalize the idea that American politics belongs to those who show up, he will have won something.

  8. Frank Knotts says:

    By the way the TEA movement in the early stages had no real organizers. It didn’t need someone like Mr.(avowed communist)Jones to motivate them.
    The reason this so called DREAM movement needs Mr.(avowed communist)Jones is because what he is pushing for goes counter to most Americans view of what this country stands for. Real equality, not just union talking points.

  9. Jason330 says:

    The Jack Kerouac of wingnut beat poetry speaks. Where are my bongos when I need them?

  10. socialistic ben says:

    you keep saying “avowed communist” like you think it will be a negative around here. The TEA party may have had it’s beginnings in grass roots… I met some TEA party members at Burning Man well before Fox bought out the movement….. (nice people, very libertarian, but very open minded, their ideal society sounded a lot like communism, just people decide on their own rather than have any governing body) But now, and for the last 2 1/2 years it has just been the Sams Club to the Republican’s Wall Mart.
    You claim there is diversity, but other than the 2 black people re-loacated to be in the camera shot, it is 99% straight conservative white people who wish to have their views be the law of the land. MUCH like progressive groups want OUR views to be the law of the land.
    The original intent of the Tea Party’s founders isnt that repulsive, it is what the conservatives have done to it…. what they do to everything.. which is, turn it into a money machine for already rich people.. that requires a counterweight on the left. The Tea partiers think they are advocating and screaming for freedoms which they dont have…. but if their leaders get their way; private, NON ELECTED businessmen will have the say in how these people… all us people…. live our lives. Is THAT freedom?

  11. cassandra m says:

    It didn’t need someone like Mr.(avowed communist)Jones to motivate them.

    More bullshit.

    Fox News was part of the pimping of this thing right at the start — largely giving over its network to this crazyass bullshit up until the first big rallies. And the Dick Armey group as well as the Vigurie resources have been a part of this right from the beginning. So don’t even try the “no real organizers” revisionist stuff here — peddle that stuff at your own blog where folks are way more credulous.

  12. Geezer says:

    “the average citizen, seeing the devastating effect that the Obama agenda has had on the nation,”

    The “average citizen” you keep referencing actually doesn’t see any devastating effect from the “Obama agenda,” which with the exception of the health care bill has been centrist. As usual, you can’t make sense because you can’t distinguish the difference between your fears and reality.

  13. socialistic ben says:

    Geezer, Obama storm troopers came to my house, forced me to marry (and consummate with) my dog AND a muslim communist. They also took all my guns, gave them to drug dealers and took all my money and gave it to welfare queens. We must stop this horrible oppression.

  14. puck says:

    The “average citizen” you keep referencing actually doesn’t see any devastating effect from the “Obama agenda,” which with the exception of the health care bill has been centrist.

    As usual the “average citizen” gets bread and circus, and is shielded from a crash in standard of living only because the Fed and the Administration are still somehow managing to keep the plates all spinning without taxing the rich. But jobs and the standard of living are slowly declining as the frog is being boiled.

    The two most significant pieces of legislation (HCR and tax cut extension) are right of center, so if you weight the accomplishments by significance the Obama administration falls right of center.

    Extension of tax cuts for the rich is on the right’s non-negotiable list, so that counts as far-right for Obama and the Democrats (Hi, Senator Coons!)

    And by privatizing social services and adding an individual mandate, HCR also counts as rightward, both being Republican ideas.

    I’ll let others comment on whether to weight Obama’s foreign policy on the left or the right.

  15. Geezer says:

    Well, at least they didn’t turn you gay.

  16. Geezer says:

    I disagree that HCR is right of center. As a program it is, because the big winners are the insurers. But the right-wing position is basically “fuck you,” so by dint of it offering near-universal coverage, I consider it closer to the center than either pole.

  17. socialistic ben says:

    By the new “michelle bachman is an average right wing voice” metric of where the “center” is, the HCR is center-left. By what the balance would be if we were a nation of sane people, it is right of center

  18. Frank Knotts says:

    My point was that I don’t remember in the early stages any one person having to declare that there would be a TEA movement at 2:30 Saturday afternoon.The TEA movement actually began at Town Hall meetings with candidates. Did Fox latch on to a big news story? Of course they did, it’s their business. I seem to remember CNN, MSNBC and the other networks following the story also. Just from a different point of view.
    The same as if Mr.(avowed communist)Jones is able to get any traction with this made up movement, those same networks will give him and his union bootlicks positive coverage.
    Did Republican candidates and leaders also jump on board? Again of course they did. Will you lefties tell me that if Mr.(avowed communist)Jones somehow manages to get together more than two hundred bused in paid union “PROTESTERS”, that Democrat leaders and candidates won’t be slobering over them.

    The real tell will be how the networks and the Democrats respond when the “PROTESTERS” turn violent.
    Just look how you lefties react when someone has an oposing view. You name call and insult. Can’t wait to see the communist crew that czar Jones puts together and how they act in front of the cameras.