Our guest blogger is Van Jones, a former green jobs adviser in the Obama administration and author of a new book, Rebuild The Dream, which is being officially released today.
In 2008, millions of people voted for hope and change. We found out it was a lot harder than we thought. Now, millions of us are struggling to make it to the next paycheck, and we’re barely fighting off attacks on the environment, women’s health rights, economic regulations, and everything the 99% need to reach the American Dream.
As a grassroots outsider who became a White House insider, I’ve got a special perspective on these challenges. My new book, Rebuild the Dream, pulls no punches in explaining what we’re up against. But it’s also a roadmap to win — in 2012, and beyond.
It’s likely the book will cause controversy. In it, I say what I think about the Tea Party (including what it does well), and I offer constructive feedback for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
On the Tea Party:
A major reason the Tea Party movement was so successful was that it faced effectively zero competition from elsewhere along the political spectrum. In a period of economic agony, there was only one form of militant economic populism that was visible: the right wing, libertarian variety that was on offer from the Tea Parties. Progressives also could have been demanding redress, marching for jobs, barking at the banks, and thereby attracting millions of supporters, but most were peaceably getting to know the new administration, muting their criticisms of Wall Street, and hoping the stimulus bill would work. For two years, progressives let angry right-wingers own the streets, unchallenged. If an American was “mad as hell” about the economy, there was only one place to go.
On Occupy Wall Street:
Occupy Wall Street is composed of people of all ages, but it is powered by younger people…Millennials are going to account for one-third of all the eligible voters in 2016. They stood up in 2008 for Obama and made history. Disillusioned by politics, they sat down in 2010. In so doing, they made history again but in the opposite direction. Then they got out their tents and sleeping bags to lie down in the streets of New York and made history that way, too. Standing, sitting, or lying down, this generation shakes the foundations of the nation into which it was born…If they continue to fight for a more fair economy, all bets are off as to the kind of transformation Millennials can bring about.
I’m the first Obama insider to write about my experience; the book has a real shot at the Best Seller List. This could be HUGE for our movement. If we make it, Rebuild the Dream will be the only bestseller on economic justice. It will validate our movement in mainstream media, and it will get our message out to millions of people in libraries, airports, and bookstores around the country.
But most importantly, my book explains how we can create jobs for millions of Americans — including veterans coming home, debt-burdened students, and our public employees who are being thrown under the bus. To make progress on all of our issues, from education to Medicare, we’ve got to turn our economy around by making it more fair and opening more opportunities for all.
We’re starting to put this plan in action through a new organization, Rebuild the Dream. My co-founders Natalie Foster and Billy Wimsatt and I, along with an amazing team, are pushing for people-powered solutions to fix the U.S. economy.
We’re winning big victories — you can visit our website to learn more and help — but we’ve got to reach millions more Americans to truly change the course of the economy.
We’ll find out for sure next week. We built a lot of energy in 2011, from Wisconsin to Wall Street. All of that energy and anger was good, but it wasn’t enough. This year, we’ve got to turn those PROTESTS into POWER. We’ve got to move from anger to answers, and turn suffering into solutions.
If Rebuild the Dream makes the Best Seller List, it will be a strong step in getting millions of people on board.
You can order Rebuild the Dream on Barnes and Noble by clicking this link.