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Tonight, Watch: Van Jones Jumpstarts New Progressive Movement to Confront and Push Back American Conservative and Corporate Dominance

Tonight is Jones' opening gambit in a large-scale, ambitious effort to create what many hope will be the progressives answer to the Tea Party.

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DH:That sounds pretty significant. Justin, what about MoveOn?

Justin Rubin: We got into this because we were seeing strong energy among our members particularly since Wisconsin. More energy around economic stuff than we’d seen around any issue in a long time. And there is a tremendous, palpable sense of frustration among our members. They were seeing huge cuts coming down in their communities, and trying to figure out how they were going to make ends meet and pay the bills at the end of the month and figure out how to afford their kids’ education.

They feel that in Washington DC, the conversation there is a kind of bizarre parallel world, where America’s economic problems were, "How do we make huge cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and the other programs that help build the middle class?" And "How do we afford more tax breaks for millionaires?" There is a strong sense that we need to have a powerful voice -- that we need to fight back in a unified way against this kind of right wing economic agenda and have a reasonable conversation about solutions that would actually make the American economy work for regular folks.

DH:Who are you going to have that reasonable conversation with?

JR: We’re going to have it with the American people because that’s where change has always begun in this country. And then we’re going to bring it to state capitals and to Washington DC. We have powerful ideas and a common banner. The American Dream as a unifying theme can bring together many of these disparate fights going on in many states that really are about common values and themes, but aren’t being talked abut that way by us or by those engaged. So the idea is about articulating our shared values and our shared vision for the economy, which is what that Contract for the American Dream process is about doing. So that’s the first thing we need to do.

Van Jones and Justin Ruben have much more to say, and I urge everyone to tune in tonight, Thursday, on AlterNet and hear the pitch. Visit their Web site,

Don Hazen is the executive editor of AlterNet.

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