The unrest in Wisconsin has inspired Van Jones.
In fact, he’s so touched by the outpouring of support for the unions he’s calling on people across the country to protest even more. And everywhere. This week, Jones announced a plan to “rally on the steps of every statehouse in the union,” calling it the “positive” Tea Party moment. Not surprisingly, the plan is being sponsored by a who’s who of progressive organizations.
“Moveon.org and others have issued just this kind of call to action; everyone should prioritize responding and turning out in large numbers,” Jones says in an op-ed on the Huffington Post titled, “Introducing the ‘American Dream’ Movement.”
“On Saturday, the powers-that-be (in both parties) should see a rainbow force coming together: organized workers, business leaders, veterans, students and youth, faith leaders, civil rights fighters, women’s rights champions, immigrant rights defenders, LGBTQ stalwarts, environmentalists, academics, artists, celebrities, community activists, elected officials and more — all standing up for what’s right.”
According to Jones, the rallies are part of a movement to “defend the American dream” against Republicans and their “slash and burn agenda” that’s “killing [it] off.”
But Jones’s language isn’t limited to death-related rhetoric. He also tries to appeal to calmer progressives with references to a “moral center:”
By standing up for dignity, equal opportunity and fair play, the Wisconsin workers have found their way to America’s great moral center. They have shown us all, at last, the way back home. By standing with them, we reclaim what is best in our country.
April 15, 2009, marked the beginning of the national movement to remember the Tea Party and pull America to the ideological right.
Let Saturday, February 26, 2011, mark the beginning of the national movement to renew the American Dream and return us to the moral center — where everybody counts, and everybody matters.
Still, there’s no talk of such a center on the main rally website.
“In Wisconsin and around our country, the American Dream is under fierce attack,” the site (a part of Moveon.org) says. “Instead of creating jobs, Republicans are giving tax breaks to corporations and the very rich—and then cutting funding for education, police, emergency response, and vital human services.”
Another section of the George Soros-funded Moveon.org calls the gatherings “emergency rallies” and notes, “We are all Wisconsin. We are all Americans.”
There are currently 40 rallies planned for Saturday at 12 pm local time. They are not all scheduled for state houses, however, as some rallies will take place in major metropolises, such as one set to lay siege to the New York Stock Exchange.
In order to get the word out, the group has started a Facebook page. But so far, the page seems sparsely viewed, with just over 1,000 “liking” it (as of publication time). But the lack of interest thus far hasn’t stopped some people from sharing their thoughts.
“We all know we need to live more sustainably but austerity is not the answer,” one commenter writes. “We need justice. Social Justice, Environmemtal Justice, Economic Justice. … The middle class & poor should not be the ones to pay.”
Apparently emboldened by Wisconsin teachers calling in sick, another commenter said “i [sic] think we should have a sick out in may and everyone that WORKS for a living stay home for 1 week im talking waitresses, gas station attendants, truckdrivers anyone that physically works.”
Facebook pages for individual rallies have started popping up, however. 15 people are attending the rally in Sacramento, CA, while 32 people have signed up for the aforementioned gathering at the NYSE. According to the Albany, NY page, 19 people have confirmed their attendance. One attendee is even on planning a “kid’s corner” and proposes “maybe sidewalk chalk or a ‘marching band.'”
So exactly who is supporting these rallies? Unions and progressive groups. The rally’s site lists the sponsors so far:
Frances Fox Piven would be so proud.