Recently, I re-read an April interview between Applied Research Center’s wonderful, incisive President, Rinku Sen, and provocative progressive thinker, Van Jones. The interview followed by a few days the publication of Van’s newest book, Rebuild the Dream which debuted on the anniversary of MLK’s assassination; a date that holds special significance for Van because, as he states, ‘it’s also the day of Robert Kennedy’s assassination, the day he was born, and the date of his father’s death.
Those who have read, or ordered it, or even ‘placed it on hold’ at the local library, know Van can talk and write. The book illustrates, again, his analytical skills are fully developed and well honed. He candidly explores a number of mistakes and missteps made in the Obama White House after Obama’s 2008 victory; the one Van worked in.
Rather than gripe about justice delayed, Van also lays out a game plan for turning progressives’ righteous anger into real action, moving protest to power, building solutions from suffering.
I found his continued ability to laugh, to look carefully at the underlying factors that undergird our present systems, and his adeptness at identifying, exposing then proposing new ways of progressives doing what we must with what we have, supportive and compelling. It confirmed my belief that what ‘we, who believe in freedom do, really matters.
I’m sharing a few selected conversation points, to whet your appetite for more, and to encourage us all to “Keep HOPE Alive” awe work for justice and peace.
Rinku Sen: What’s making you hopeful these days?
Van Jones: I’m hopeful because of the fact that the vast majority of people in the country agree with progressive ideas and values, even when they are put head-to-head with right wing ideas. That should not be true. The right wing, especially those portions that are committed to corporate liberty and extreme ideologies, have a huge advantage over progressives when it comes to their media messaging operation. They should be able to garner 80-90 percent approval for their agenda, and they can’t.
That means we have tremendous opportunity to grow a real movement that is not based on any personality or politician or political party but is grounded in the needs of the vast majority of working class people.
Right on, right on!