Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Liberals’ Tea Party

Democracy for America has joined with Van Jones' new American Dream organization to promote nationwide community organizing activities -- at town halls, at their district offices, everywhere -- starting with a "Contract for the American Dream." As Netroots Nation 2011 keynote speaker last June Jones delivered fiery speech where he said of the politics of the hard right, “I’ve had all I can stand! I can't stands no more!” - invoking the old “Popeye” cartoons .

Listen to NPR's All Things Considered segment on former Obama Adviser Van Jones "Brews A Different Tea Party"
Jones envisions the new American Dream movement as a left-wing alternative to the Tea Party. Launched at a July 23 event in New York City, the American Dream Movement aims to restore the fight for economic justice to the center of progressive politics.

On Aug. 9, the movement put out its crowd-sourced “Contract for the American Dream,” a 10-point economic manifesto that called for new investments in education and infrastructure; higher taxes for corporations, Wall Street and the wealthy; and curbs on lobbyists. The contract was created by over 120,000 grassroots progressives working together at house parties nationwide in July and it includes ten featured goals to rebuild America:
  • Invest in America's Infrastructure
  • Create 21st Century Energy Jobs
  • Invest in Public Education
  • Offer Medicare for All
  • Make Work Pay
  • Secure Social Security
  • Return to Fairer Tax Rates
  • End the Wars and Invest at Home
  • Tax Wall Street Speculation
  • Strengthen Democracy

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
speaking about her Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream legislation.
Full story
Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois introduced her Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream legislation based on the contract.

Jones is convinced that with the right message and the right organizing, the now-dissipated energy of the Obama campaign can be recaptured. Speaking of progressive disappointment with the president, he holds up a sheet of paper. “It’s that thin,” he says. “People forgot that our slogan was not ‘Yes he can.’ It was ‘Yes we can.’ The minute we have a vehicle to be ‘we’ again, a lot of this stuff goes away.”

People who expect Obama to lead progressives, he says, misunderstand his role, and their own. “The job of leading an independent movement to bring out the best in our country is not the same job as being head of state,” he says. “I’m glad Obama is there, and I will do everything in my power to make sure he stays head of state until they have to pull him out of there. I might block the driveway at the end of 2016. But the job of creating an independent movement that brings out the best in the American people, that’s our job.”

There’s a certain dramatic symmetry in Jones’ quest to take on the Tea Party. After all, when he resigned his position as White House special adviser for green jobs in September 2009, he became one of the nascent movement’s first scalps. He retains a central place in Tea Party demonology, his name often mentioned in the same breath as George Soros and Saul Alinsky. Meanwhile, for progressives, his exit was an early warning of the right-wing ferocity to come, and of Obama’s disinclination to fight back.

Jones, who joined the White House Staff in March 2009 as Pres. Obama's environmental adviser on green jobs development, resigned in September 2009 after the rightwing media and blogosphere echo chamber ginned up calls for his ouster in over his past statements and activism.

Jones issued two public apologies in the days preceding his 2009 resignation, one for signing a petition in 2004 from the group 911Truth.org that questioned whether Bush administration officials "may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war" and the other for using a crude term to describe Republicans in a speech he gave before joining the administration.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said of one's resignation on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Van Jones decided was that the agenda of this president was bigger than any one individual." The president does not endorse Jones's past statements and actions, "but he thanks him for his service," Gibbs said.

No comments:

Post a Comment