Van Jones: It's time for an "American Autumn" in the spirit of the Arab Spring

Part umpteen in a continuing series on Jones’s quixotic dream “to build a progressive counterbalance to the tea party.” Honestly, I find it almost charming that he thinks selling his program as a U.S. version of the Arab Spring will win the public over to his cause. I haven’t seen an American poll on that subject in a good long while, but last I checked, people here were decidedly lukewarm about the protests in the Middle East. And that was before the most recent unrest in Greece, the August riots in London, and the spectacle of Egyptian populism degenerating into an assault on the Israeli embassy in Cairo. The grievances are distinct in each of those cases but the broader lesson that demonstrations of mass popular discontent have tended to turn out rather badly lately abides. And in case that lesson hasn’t been fully digested yet, wait until the heroes of the revolution in Egypt elect a much more radical regime than the one they just toppled. My hunch is that if Jones ever did organize a Tahrir-sized crowd for sustained protests, it’d end up operating as a de facto GOP campaign commercial. Then again, maybe electoral politics is beside the point here. The left’s disappointed in Obama, partly because he isn’t the progressive lion they hoped he’d be and partly because he’s on track to lead the party to a total wipe-out next year. Somehow the Great Liberal Realignment of 2008 has led to this, and this. They tried fashioning the permanent Democratic majority from the top-down by electing O, now they’re going to try it from the bottom-up with the “American Autumn” or whatever. Gotta stay relevant somehow, no?

Anyway, that’s one highlight from a predictably hard-hitting interview with Lawrence O’Donnell. The other highlight: Jones casually dismissing “this phony made-up deficit stuff” that Republicans are always yammering about. That’s part of his ongoing attempt to convince a population that’s $14 trillion in debt that the main thing standing between them and prosperity is their unwillingness to turn rich people upside down and shake the quarters from their pockets. Who knows? Maybe the American Autumn will be a huge success and our new Democratic congressional majority will reinstate the Clinton tax rates and pass Medicare for all, like real progressive warriors want. Then we’ll really be rich.

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Jazz Shaw 8:31 AM on December 04, 2022