On June 30th, at Town Hall in New York City, the Roots, Talib Kweli and Shephard Fairey met on stage with Van Jones to launch the American Dream Movement.
Inspired by recent protests by the union workers of Madison, Wisconsin—and put into action by environmental advocate, Van Jones—a new sense of hope was delivered to an inspired crowd about how we can work together as a country to rebuild the middle class. Backed by MoveOn.Org, Jones requested the help of our nation.
The Problem: Right-wing attacks on the middle class, stemming from three unilateral lies:
- Lie # 1: “We are broke.”
- Lie # 2: “Asking the super-rich to pay taxes hurts America’s economy.”
- Lie # 3: “…wrecking America’s infrastructure – is patriotic.”
The Solution: An organised national brainstorm to produce real solutions conceived by real Americans.
The Dream: That “all Americans can find jobs, afford to go to college, retire with dignity, and secure a future for their children and their communities.” (RebuildTheDream.com)
“MoveOn’s members are very concerned about the state of the economy, and how the American dream is slipping by for millions of families,” said MoveOn.org’s spokesperson Sarah Lane. “MoveOn joined forces with Van Jones and launched Rebuild the Dream to help change the debate in Washington, away from budget cuts and deficits, to creating jobs and putting the American Dream within reach for all of us.”
The “American Dream” as we know it is quickly turning into a thing of the past. We all know that young America is finishing college (if they can afford tuition) only to enter a discouraging professional world with very few jobs; while tens of millions of adult professionals are seeking not their dream job, but any job. We know that millions of Americans are losing—or have lost—their homes to banks, to floods… but did you know that 81% per cent of Americans are in favour of higher taxation for the top 1%? Even our country’s millionaires have come forth with a campaign actually asking to be taxed more, acknowledging the unfair political structure that granted them tax breaks that they never asked for and didn’t want in the first place. These “patriotic millionaires” feel the same way Van Jones does and the majority of Americans do and it is refreshing: “You do well in America” Jones says, “do well by America.”
As usual, Jones is receiving his fair share of criticism from the Right. Formerly appointed by Obama as a special advisor for Green Jobs, Jones resigned in 2009 after what was called “a vicious smear campaign” championed by Glenn Beck. He has been criticised for everything from signing the petition for 911Truth.Org to supporting Mumia Abu-Jamal, a convict who was sentenced to death for murdering a police officer. Jones has recently challenged Beck to an organised debate about the state of the economy… “Anytime, anywhere.”
But on this night, any controversy surrounding Van Jones was a thing of the past as he amped the crowd with his ratable speaking style and moving visual presentations about a topic that most American’s really care about: the health of the middle class.
Rebuild the Dream is quickly gaining momentum and is now being dubbed the “Tea Party Movement of the Left.” And in some ways it is quite similar—meant like the Tea Party, to give a voice to the American people (although the number of supporters may have already surpassed that of the Tea Party Movement.)
The “common-sense” message is simple: support workers’ rights throughout the country so we can do our parents and grandparents and future generations proud by turning the present-day American nightmare back into the American Dream.
The event opened with DJ and Visual Artist Shephard Fairey spinning a musical snack, and ended with the Roots and Talib Kweli. If you are a Roots and Kweli fan, rest-assured that as usual, they killed it on stage. And so did Van Jones.
Starting on July 5th there is a call to action for the people of our country to participate in a national brainstorm, leaving our best ideas of how to repair our nation’s problems on the table.
On July 16th and 17th, in every congressional district, meetings will be held by organisers to create the “Contract for the American Dream” which will be brought to Washington, DC, at a summit of the same name in October of this year.
Learn more at RebuildTheDream.com.
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