Thursday, July 12, 2012

Natural Organic Foods

Individuals can reverse disease, reduce high blood pressure, lose unwanted weight, lower your cholesterol levels, prevent heart disease and cancer, and improve your health - all without relying on drugs and fad diets. The importance of good nutrition is emphasized in Dr. Fuhrman's dietary program, Eat To Live. (Figure 1) Reduce high blood pressure, reverse diabetes and dramatically lower cholesterol without drugs. Dr. Fuhrman offers advanced nutritional advice based on scientific research. To learn more go to Dr. Fuhrman web-site For Superior Health and Your Ideal Weight at:

Dr. Fuhrman's dietary program, Eat To Live. (Figure 1)

When people buy organic, individuals do minimize their pesticide exposure, and they are also minimizing the amount of these pesticides that their environment is exposed to. Organic farming is clearly the more environmentally-friendly choice to make. According to the USDA, organic farming“integrat[es] cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.”Supporting organic agriculture will increase the demand for organic produce and decrease the percentage of farmland (and farm workers) exposed to potentially harmful agricultural chemicals.
Organic produce usually has more nutrients – especially minerals and antioxidant nutrients – than conventional produce. Organic apples, plums, blueberries, grapes, strawberries, and corn have all been shown to have higher antioxidant capacities than their conventional counterparts. Organic strawberries were even found to have more anti-cancer activity than conventional strawberries! Scientists have theorized that when the plants are grown without pesticides, they are forced to deal with the stress of insects, which causes them to produce more antioxidant compounds, which are beneficial to humans.2 Buying organic is a wise choice – organic foods taste better, and organic agriculture protects farmers and our environment.
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the majority of pesticides now in use are probable or possible cancer causes. Studies of farm workers who work with pesticides suggest a link between pesticide use and brain cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple myeloma, leukemia, lymphoma and cancers of the stomach and prostate.3 Organophosphate exposure (organophosphate pesticides are used on several crops including corn, apples, pears, grapes, berries, and peaches) are associated with ADHD, behavior problems, and neurodevelopmental deficits in children.4 A number of pesticides may have damaging effects on the brain that contribute to Parkinson’s disease, including paraquat, which is used on a variety of vegetable crops, and organochlorines.5,6 Exposure to organochlorines occurs primarily via fatty foods like meat, dairy, and fish.7
The individual’s that are concerned about pesticides and chemicals, keep in mind animal products, such as dairy, fish and beef, contain the most toxic pesticide residues. Because cows and steers eat large amounts of tainted feed, certain pesticides and dangerous chemicals are found in higher concentrations in animal foods. By centering the diet on unrefined plant foods individuals will automatically reduce their exposure to the majority of dangerous chemicals. (Figure 2)
1U.S. Department of Agriculture.
2Grinder-Pedersen L, Rasmussen SE, B├╝gel S, et al. Effect of diets based on foods from conventional versus organic production on intake and excretion of flavonoids and markers of antioxidative defense in humans. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Sep 10;51(19):5671-6. Olsson ME et al. Antioxidant levels and inhibition of cancer cell proliferation in vitro by extracts from organically and conventionally cultivated strawberries. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Feb 22;54(4):1248-55.
3Sanderson WT et al. Pesticide prioritization for a brain cancer case-control study. Environ Res. 1997;74 (2): 133-144.4Bouchard MF, Bellinger DC, Wright RO, et al. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides. Pediatrics 2010;125:e1270–e12775Dinis-Oliveira RJ et al. Paraquat exposure as an etiological factor of Parkinson's disease. Neurotoxicology. 2006 Dec;27(6):1110-22.
6Fleming L. Parkinson's disease and brain levels of organochlorine pesticides. Ann Neurol. 1994 Jul;36(1):100-3.
7United States Center for Disease Control Third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals: Organochlorine Pesticides
Organic Produce verse Conventional Produce (Figure 2)
This Article was by Michelle at People's Natural Living

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Water Fluoridation

Most people are exposed to fluoride through treated drinking water or products such as toothpaste and mouthwash. More than 60 percent of the U.S. population has access to fluoridated water through public water supply systems. (Cancer Government Web-Site, 2012) Many dentists and most of the public are unaware their fluoride-laced glass of water is actually spiked with an impure industrial waste product (fluosilicic acid), "scrubbed" from Florida phosphate fertilizer smokestacks. (New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation , 2004) EPA regulates fluoride in drinking water to protect public health. Fluoride may cause health problems if present in public or private water supplies in amounts greater than the drinking water standard set by EPA. (EPA , 2012)

Fluoridation is unethical. Informed consent is standard practice for all medication, and one of the key reasons why most of Western Europe has ruled against fluoridation. With water fluoridation we are allowing governments to do to whole communities (forcing people to take a medicine irrespective of their consent) what individual doctors cannot do to individual patients. While referenda are preferential to imposed policies from government, it still leaves the problem of individual rights versus majority rule. Put another way: Does a voter have the right to require that their neighbor ingest a certain medication (even if it is against that neighbor's will)? (Fluorida Action Network, 2012)

In this video, Christopher Bryson, an award-winning journalist and former producer at the BBC, discusses the findings of his new book The Flouride Deception. EARLY REVIEWS of The Fluoride Deception: "Bryson marshals an impressive amount of research to demonstrate fluorides harmfulness, the ties between leading fluoride researchers and the corporations who funded and benefited from their research, and what he says is the duplicity with which fluoridation was sold to the people. The result is a compelling challenge to the reigning dental orthodoxy, which should provoke renewed scientific scrutiny and public debate." -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (Figure 1)

The Fluoride Deception (Interview with Christopher Bryson) (Figure 1) 

High levels of fluoride exposure for extended periods of time may result in harm. For example, dental fluorosis - a discoloration of tooth enamel - may occur if a person is exposed to too much fluoride. In addition, it is possible for a lifetime of exposure to high fluoride levels to lead to bone weakening and skeletal fluorosis (joint stiffness and pain). More extreme, toxic effects and even death may result if someone consumes too much fluoride. Fluoride overdose is possible, for example, if a small child consumes an entire tube of tooth paste. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting blood, diarrhea, stomach pain, salivation, watery eyes, general weakness, shallow breathing, faintness, tiredness, and convulsions. (MNT Medical News Today, 2009) Fluoride suppresses the thyroid, and is likely to be the leading cause of hypothyroidism.  The increasing problems of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) in the United States and other fluoridated countries. Some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism include depression, fatigue, weight gain, muscle and joint pains, increased cholesterol levels, and heart disease. Drink spring water, avoid soft drinks, use fluoride-free toothpaste, use a shower filter, and throw away your non-stick pans. (Health Wyze Report, 2012)
Works Cited
Cancer Government Web-Site. (2012). Fluoridated Water. Retrieved from National Cancer Institute at National Institute of Health:

EPA . (2012, May 12). Water: Basic Information about Regulated Drinking Water Contaminants. Retrieved from EPA Government Site:
Fluorida Action Network. (2012). 50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoridation. Retrieved from Fluorida Action Network:

Health Wyze Report. (2012). Retrieved from How to cure hypothyroidism naturally:

MNT Medical News Today. (2009, June 16). What Is Fluoride? What Does Fluoride Do? Retrieved from MNT Medical News Today:
New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation . (2004, April 22). Where Does Fluoride Come From? Retrieved from National Health Federation A Non-Profit Health-Freedom Organization:
This Article was by Michelle at People's Natural Living

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Carbohydrate Cravings

Some carbohydrates support a strong, healthy, slender, energetic body (we will call these "good carbohydrate"), while other carbohydrates actually increase your overall risk of heart disease, diabetes and other degenerative diseases (these are "bad Carbohydrates "). The daily nutrition carbohydrates food list should include 45% to 65% good Carbohydrates and 0% Bad Carbohydrates.

Good carbohydrates are digested more slowly. This keeps your blood sugar and insulin levels from rising and falling too quickly, helping individuals get full quicker and feel fuller longer. Good sources of include whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables, which also offer lots of additional health benefits, including heart disease and cancer prevention.

Bad carbohydrates are foods that have been "stripped" of all bran, fiber, and nutrients. They have been processed in order to make cooking fast and easy. They digest so quickly that they cause dramatic elevations in blood sugar, which over time can lead to weight gain, hypoglycemia or even diabetes. When carbohydrates are refined, nearly all of the vitamins, minerals and fibers are removed, leaving only calories. Examples are white flour, refined sugar, and white rice. Certain products like flour and sugars are refined and then "enriched" meaning that only certain nutrients removed in the refining process are added back into the product. In white flour, the kernel of the grain is processed to remove the germ portion. This removes about 33 nutrients. “Enriching” adds 4-6 nutrients back into the product. This creates the nutritive deficit. White flour is literally a sugar in itself, and where it is mixed with fats in processed foods, the fats are commonly hydrogenated and rancid, increasing your susceptibility to a number of disease processes.
Cravings mean that the body has its signals mixed up. When individual are tired or sad, they will have low blood sugar and/or low serotonin (a “feel-good” brain neurotransmitter). Hormonal imbalance or weak digestion can lead to low serotonin. Low blood sugar or low serotonin sends a signal to the brain that it needs a pick-me-up. It is this signal — which individual do not consciously control — that causes a craving for sugar or carbohydrates.
Sugar or simple carbohydrates help release a burst of serotonin, so individuals feel good for a little while. But almost as quickly, they “crash” and return to their low-serotonin state, and the cycle starts all over again. Ironically, the more sugar individual eats, the more they crave it because over-consumption of sugar can lead to insulin resistance. It’s a downward spiral that dieting will make even worse.

Uploaded by TheLiveFoodist on Feb 6, 2009
NEW EBOOK! The Live Foodist – E-book is now available. It is a comprehensive guide to preparing and transitioning to Raw Food. Get it here Discusses the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates and explains how to give your body what it really is craving.

Food composed of some combination of starches, sugar and fiber -provide the body with fuel it needs for physical activity by breaking down into glucose, a type of sugar our cells use as a universal energy source.

This article was written by: Michelle at Peoples Natural Living

Sacred Economics

(Research since the 1930s reveals that unemployment has major effects on individuals' and families' emotional and physical health. Researchers have found strong relationships between unemployment rates and increased mental hospital admissions, suicide, homicide, total mortality, and cardiovascular-renal disease mortality.)

Human Development and Family Studies

Money makes people feel secure, because they can have food, shelter, clothing, a savings account for emergencies. Greed typically denotes the excessive urge to possess as a goal bringing satisfaction in itself, the desire to acquire material wealth and possessions beyond the need of the individual. There is nothing wrong with having money. There is nothing wrong with wealth. It is a personal choice to work hard enough to make a lot of money to have extra things. Greed can involve using wealth to gain power over others and sometimes by denying others wealth or power.

Money problems are a major source of stress, in fact money fights and money problems are the number one cause of divorce in North America. When people become much stressed, the body reacts very negatively. Some people cannot help but sleep all the time; other addictions, such as caffeine, over eating and alcohol. Some people are full of anxiety because of their money problems.

Poverty is a lack of money or material possessions. Poverty is usually accompanied by debt obligations to others. Debt, whether or not associated with poverty, is a form of slavery. Poverty and Homelessness is one of the worst things that can happen to a person. It goes deep into the psyche with feelings of failure.

Sacred Economics traces the history of money from ancient gift economies to modern capitalism, revealing how the money system has contributed to alienation, competition, and scarcity, destroyed community, and necessitated endless growth.

Directed by Ian MacKenzie Produced by Velcrow Ripper, Gregg Hill, Ian MacKenzie
Read the Book
Directed & Edited by Ian MacKenzie
Producers: Ian MacKenzie, Velcrow Ripper, Gregg Hill
Cinematography: Velcrow Ripper, Ian MacKenzie
Animation: Adam Giangregorio, Brian Duffy
Music: Chris Zabriskie
Additional footage: Steven Simonetti, Pond 5, Youtube
Stills: Kris Krug, NASA
Special thanks: Charles Eisenstein, Stella Osorojos, Hart Traveller, Clara Roberts-Oss, Line 21 Media

Today, these trends have reached their extreme - but in the wake of their collapse, we may find great opportunity to transition to a more connected, ecological, and sustainable way of being.

This Article was by Michelle At People's Natural Living

Junk Food May Be Addictive as Drugs

High sugar high carbohydrates and high fat diet does equal an addiction. (Figure 1-1) Missing vitamins or a deficiency of a certain vitamins anywhere in the linked chain can cause a collapse, with health problems being the result. A growing body of medical research at leading universities and government laboratories suggests that processed foods and sugary drinks made by the likes of PepsiCo Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) are not simply unhealthy. They can hijack the brain in ways that resemble addictions to cocaine, nicotine and other drugs. (Robert Langreth, 2011)

                  (Figure 1-1) Uploaded by yolimastermind on Dec 20, 2009 High sugar high carbs high fat diet = Addiction

Individuals must have carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals salts and fiber in the correct proportions. If there is not enough protein, individuals will not be able to grow properly and individual will not be able to repair oneself wounds will not heal properly.  Micro nutrients help trigger thousands of chemical reactions essential to maintaining good health. Eating a balanced diet means choosing a wide variety of foods and drinks from all the food groups. The goal is to take in the nutrient that is needed for health lifestyle.  A research conducted by Firman E. at Rutgers University in the Natural Gardener’s the minerals different in the organic verse conventional vegetables. (Figure 1-2) Many individuals have gotten away from eating and growing organic foods that have the minerals that are so important for one’s health.

    (Figure 1-2) A research conducted by Firman E. at Rutgers University in the Natural Gardener’s 

Education, diets and drugs to treat obesity have proven largely ineffective and the new science of obesity may explain why, proponents say. Constant stimulation with tasty, calorie-laden foods may desensitize the brain’s circuitry, leading individuals to consume greater quantities of junk food to maintain a constant state of pleasure. (Robert Langreth, 2011) In conclusion, in the United State unhealthy individuals will still increase because of the process food industries are not going away any time soon.

Works Cited

Robert Langreth, D. D. (2011, November 2). Fatty Foods Addictive as Cocaine in Growing Body of Science. Retrieved from Bloomberg:

This article was written by Michelle at Peoples Natural Living

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Picking a Snack

What is going on with processed food? More people are eating more processed food because, it is more convents and in some cases cheaper.  Thirty to sixty years ago more families had a garden. Back then people went outside to pick their snacks.  People do not grow or make anything a more. Thirty year ago people never heard of Childhood onset diabetes. Today, people go to the vending machines to get their snacks. I am going talk about health Issues, processed food and natural foods.
The Center of Science in Public Interest (CSPI) Margo G. Woodtan a nutritionals director say, “many parents who send their children to school with lunch money have no clue that it can be spent on Coke, Doritos and Hobo’s. A nationwide survey from CPSI showed that 95 percent of the snacks in the vending machine have very poor nutrition value (Center of Science in Public Interest , 2011).
Some people are food addicts, and it is processed non nutritious foods that they are addicted to. They are used to eating 3,000 to 5,000 or more calories in a day. Most of these calories come from things like fast foods, pizza's, soda's, cake, cookies, donuts, fried foods, and other white flour, white sugar, products. Processed foods tend to have a high amount of saturated and Trans fat, and they also tend to contain a lot of sugar, which increase the risk for Diabetes. Another effect of processed foods is the onset of high blood pressure as these foods tend to be high in sodium. From the documentary “Processed People,” The United State is known as a “Processed Nation.”   As explain in the video Promo trailer below.
Processed People
Everyone is talking, talking, talking about the issues raised in Processed People. Is anyone actually doing anything about them? Does anyone realistically know what to do?

Processed People features in-depth discussions with leading health experts detailing why so many of us are sick, and offers solutions to our current devastating health crisis. Tragically, many Americans are victims of a "health care" system and way of life which is devastating to our overall well-being.

To those running our system, the bottom line on the dollars we're able to spend is more important than the bottom line on our health. We're caught in a perpetual grinding machine, unable to escape.

But there are solutions -- read more an order the full DVD at
Data from the National Institute of Health (NIH) shows in the USA 14 million children from the ages 2 thru 19 are overweight. Then 40 million adults are morbidly obesity. Which means in the United State has the highest obesity rate in the world? Research from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2009, 147 billion spent on obesity related condition.
According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Artificial coloring, flavors and chemical preservatives must also be listed on the product label, as well as ingredients that for some people may cause an allergic reaction. (United States Department of Agriculture , 2011). Natural News T.V. Processed foods are foods that have been compromised by the addition of hormones, additives, preservatives, unnatural genetic material or other chemical or heat treatments that alter or destroy the natural healthy enzymes, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. The main goal of food processing is to lengthen the shelf life of foods so that larger amounts can be sold over time. (Natural News T.V. , 2010). In this video below this young 11 old understands what going on with our food supplies here in the United States.

Organic Food Activist

Birke Baehr -"What's Wrong With Our Food System? And How Can We Make A Difference?" Recently, Birke was a speaker at a Ted Conference. The annual TED conferences, in Long Beach/Palm Springs and Oxford, bring together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences -- the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK each summer -- TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and Open TV Project, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend watching Food Inc. It's on Netflix and can be watched instantly.
If you would like more info about how to be healthier and have a more fulfilling life, check out the following site. Look around a bit. It should give you some ideas.
Shoot me an email and let me know what you think

A healthy diet provides energy, promotes good sleep, and gives the body what it needs to stay healthy.  Not only do many organic foods contain more vitamins than processed foods, they also contain more antioxidants, according to Organic Facts. A University of California Davis study found that organically-raised tomatoes had higher concentrations of the antioxidants quercetin and kaempferol, both of which may protect the body against certain diseases by helping promote cell health. The researchers at the University of California Davis believe that organic foods contain more antioxidants because plants create antioxidants in order to defend themselves from plant-eating insects. Conventionally raised plants do not need to produce as many antioxidants because any plant-eating insects that might prey on them are controlled with insecticide. (Organic Facts, 2011).

Maybe, “Hipocrate” quote that said in 431BC had it right from the beginning.
“Let food be thy medicine and let the medicine be thy food.”

Now, image more families, schools and business planted, orange, pear or apples trees even grape vines and watermelon. Look at the cost saving for the people to go out to pick their snack instead of going to the vending machines. Just for fun here are some interest facts about natural foods that we eat. Actually a fruit, it took a ruling by the Supreme Court in 1893 to make the tomato a vegetable. Tomatoes are very high in the carotenoid, lycopene; eating foods with carotenoids can lower your risk of cancer. Fruits with a lot of vitamin C, like oranges, will help your cuts heal faster. They can also make your teeth nice and strong.  Apples belong to the same family as roses. The natural sugar in an apple is more potent than the caffne in coffee.

In conclusion, People have to ask themselves, “Is it worth feeling and looking awful simply to eat something quick and processed. Plus, being at risk for high medical bills in the futures? 

Works Cited

Center for Disease Control . (2009, July 27). Study Estimates Medical Cost of Obesity May Be As High as $147 Billion Annually. Retrieved from Center for Disease Control :
Center of Science in Public Interest . (2011). Retrieved from Center of Science in Public Interest :
National Institute of Health . (2011, Feb. 24). Obesity Research. Retrieved from National Institutes of Health:
Natural News T.V. . (2010, July 28). Retrieved from Dr. Andrew Siegel Processed Foods:
Organic Facts. (2011). Facts on Food, Nutrition and Home Remedies. Retrieved from
Processed People. (n.d.). Processed People Documentary. Retrieved 2009, from
United States Department of Agriculture . (2011, August 8). Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide. Retrieved from
This Article was by Michelle at People's Natural Living

Friday, July 8, 2011

Rebuild the Dream - Rebuilding American with Van Jones

Rebuilding  The American Dream

LIE Number 3 from "Rebuild the Dream” with Van Jones

Van Jones lays out Lie #3 from "Rebuild the Dream" event live from NYC, June 23rd. 
Sponsored by MoveOn Civic Action Learn more go to:
Exclusive: Van Jones on What We Can Learn From the Tea Party

Exclusive: Van Jones on What We Can Learn From the Tea Party

Friday 8 July 2011 by: Amy Dean, Truthout | Interview:

In late June, Van Jones - a former "green jobs" czar in the Obama administration and currently a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress - officially launched a new organization known as Rebuild the Dream. The group's first mission is to help spark a new economic justice effort called the American Dream Movement, an alliance focused on economic justice fights across the country. Amid conservative efforts to divide Americans by blaming scapegoats such as immigrants and unionized teachers for our county's problems, the American Dream Movement instead seeks to recreate a politics of common purpose - one that advocates for broadly shared prosperity in our country, appeals to a set of common values and highlights the need for creating good jobs that will allow people to work with dignity.
Founded in partnership with groups including, the AFL-CIO, Change to win, the Center for Community Change and the Campaign for America's Future, Jones describes the endeavor as "a national movement to defend the American Dream itself."
At the June 24 launch event for Rebuild the Dream in New York City, Jones elaborated on this general idea, emphasizing the need to reframe our national political discussion so that we refute four key lies: 1) that our country is broke, 2) that asking the super-rich to pay their fair share hurts America; 3) that it's patriotic to hate America's government and to undermine our national infrastructure; and, finally, 4) that we are helpless to change things.
Shortly after the New York event, I had a conversation with the ever-busy Jones to discuss the vision for the American Dream Movement, what we can learn from the Tea Party and what it will take to change the direction of national politics.

The Van Jones 'Rebuild the Dream' Road show debuts in New York City

Sponsored by (thus you-know-who), Van Jones launched the progressive copycat of the Tea Party with "Rebuild the Dream", complete with audience participation chants and crowd favorites: tax the rich, income redistribution, "justice", green job creation, and Van's latest hit, "America is Not Broke".

Defining the American Dream

I first asked Jones to define what he means by the "American dream."
"By the 'American dream' I don't mean the 'American Fantasy,'" he said, "which is what the commercializers have done with that concept. They've promoted the idea that everybody's going to be rich someday and that buying a bunch of stuff will make you happy. That version of the dream has led to an 'American nightmare' for most people.
"I reject that stuff," Jones continued. "I believe in something much more fundamental to the American ideal. I'm talking about the idea that you don't have to have a fancy last name to make it in America. That where you start off in life does not determine where you end up. That hard work should pay. And that ordinary people should be able to work hard, play by the rules, have a decent job, a paycheck, that give their kids a better life. That is the American dream that we are seeking to defend.
"The real fight is not between conservatives and liberal, or even between Wall Street and Main Street. The real fight is between 'cheap patriots,' who are trying to destroy the American dream and 'deeper patriots,' who are trying to restore it. It's really a fight between two different versions of patriotism, two visions of what American greatness will require in the next century.
"You have these cheaper patriots who have taken their wrecking ball agenda," Jones explained, "painted it red, white and blue and used it to smash down all of the institutions that made America exceptional: unions, public schools, the sense of responsibility among Americans to invest in the country that made their success possible."
How Did We Get to the American Nightmare?
I asked Jones to say more about how we got to the place we're in now: the American economy is in crisis and the historic link between increasing productivity and rising wages has been severed. We have undone the connection in our country between economic competitiveness and community well being. Given this, I was curious about what institutions he thought would need rebuilding, especially in the context of our global economy.
"I don't have a magic answer to the question," Jones said, "but I do try to promote a process that will get us closer to good answers. It's going to take a mix of approaches, some of them governmental, some having to do with individual behavior, some of them having to do with finding smarter ways for the labor movement to revive. But fundamentally, the deck is stacked against patriotic corporations that want to hire in America.
"You have trade policy and tax policy that encourage companies to take advantage of every possible benefit and to give back nothing. So you have your tax havens, where you can hide your money overseas. If you want to create a job or open a plant, you can do that overseas. You aren't punished for doing that by the tax code; in fact you're rewarded for doing it. It's an exploitative relationship. I say that corporate America would be the worst boyfriend ever: just take, take, take and give nothing back.
"We need to make sure the American government is a partner to the American people in solving this problem. Right now, unfortunately, the American government is a captive of some of the worst economic interests on the planet.
"So there has to be change in trade and tax policy. But also, we can't wait on Washington, DC to fix these things."
Where Do We Go From Here?
To explore how this change might come about, I asked what people who are not currently part of a union or community organization can do to connect with the movement.
"First, people who are Internet savvy should go to," Jones said. "We are having house meetings on the 16th and 17th of this month across the country. They can find a meeting to go to. You don't have to be a part of any organization to go to these meetings and bring your best ideas."
Still curious, I mentioned that, in his public speeches, Jones had spoken of the need to build a progressive version of the Tea Party. I wondered what exactly that meant - what the constituent elements of such an effort would be? What really would we want to emulate?
Jones replied, "The Tea Party is really an extraordinary achievement and people who disagree with their politics do themselves a disservice not to study them very carefully. Twenty-four months ago, nobody was talking about austerity. People were talking about a New New Deal and Keynesianism and about the return of [Franklin Delano] Roosevelt. Twenty-four months later, even the Democrats mostly talk about cuts. That's a big achievement by the Tea Party.
"On the whole, what we call the Tea Party represents a set of preexisting assets - both ideas and individual organizations that long pre-dated the declaration of the new movement. Some of them go back to the Ross Perot days. Yet this set of libertarian ideas was not taken very seriously, even within the Republican Party.
"It's sheer genius to be able to take a very old set of ideas and an aging set of assets and realign them and re-brand them so that they must be taken seriously in the current context. That's something we can learn from the Tea Party: How to take existing infrastructure and ideas but find a way to re-present them to the American people.
"We don't have to go out and start a bunch of organizations from scratch. We can bring together groups that are fighting effectively against cuts, against tuition hikes, but that are fighting alone, without a common banner. I would say, frankly, that we are already outperforming the Tea Party at its peak in terms of popular mobilization, if not in terms of electoral success. They got all this credit in September 2009 for bringing 150,000 people to D.C. and it shook everybody up. Well, we had 150,000 people on the streets of Madison, Wisconsin. We've had major protests in Ohio, in Montana - with the largest protest in the state's history - and more.
"In terms of the level of popular mobilization and fight back, we're probably two to three times the size of the Tea Party. But we don't have a common banner or a shared patriotic narrative about what common values we're advancing."
The Appropriate Use of Leadership
I asked what sort of leadership would be required in order to make the American Dream Movement into this kind of common banner and also what we can learn from past efforts on the left. Jones pointed to the limits of charismatic leadership.
"We have to be very attentive to the appropriate use of charisma," he said. "I think we had a big overdose of charisma with President Obama in 2008. People surrendered a lot of their own authority and initiative to our president. This is quite understandable because of his personal gifts and what he meant to the world. But I don't think it gave us the outcomes we wanted.
"The Tea Party has made a brilliant use of charismatic leadership. They have leaders that people can look to - Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Dick Armey and others. But none of those individuals could stand up tomorrow and say, 'the Tea Party is over' in a press conference. It wouldn't be over, because they have a network that is much bigger than any individual who is part of that network.
"One of our aspirations is to create a banner under which many leaders can shine and grow and learn, but where no one leader is the personification of the movement. People will always let you down. Principles endure. So having a network that is based on principles and values first, not based on politicians or even a political party, is critical.
"What the Tea Party has been able to achieve is that they have the benefits of a third party, but none of the downside. They can run primaries against Republicans they don't like. They can take very, very strong values-based positions. And at the same time, when it's all said and done, they don't have to go their own way, as they did in the Perot years.
"I think the people on their side of the divide have learned the lessons of Perot and come up with a very positive solution. For lack of a better term, we have not learned the lessons of Nader and come up with our own positive solution. So those of us who are in the American Dream Movement and care about partisan politics still have a great deal to learn from them."
Hard Struggle and Hard Study
Our time was growing short, yet I was interested to gain more insight into how Jones approaches his own work as a thinker and movement builder. While I doubted that he has a lot of free time on his hands these days, I asked what he has been reading in the spare moments he does have available this summer.
"It's interesting. There's a couple things. Carl Jung is back on my list. That relates to one of three things I feel I don't know well enough yet that I am trying to address. The first is persuasion. I'm still trying to figure out how to be a decent communicator. I think I've improved, but I think I have a long way to go. And I think to really understand persuasion you've got to go fairly deep into understanding human psychology. Jung is somebody I have admired a great deal, but who I still don't know enough about.
"I also am still learning about the American economy beyond green jobs. Green jobs is such a big chunk of the economy: it's energy and water and many other areas in which I feel very well prepared. But I'd like to learn about things like how Wall Street works. That's another of my goals for the summer.
"The last piece is trying to understand and refine my grasp on social media and social networks," he said. "I think that the Tea Party and Madison and Egypt and the Green Revolution in Iran all showed that you can drive a lot of change in a society really fast with no one leader. You can drive an awful lot of change with surprising tools.
"But I'm old fashioned," Jones concluded after reflecting another moment. "I think that hard struggle without hard study leads to futility and hard study without hard struggle leads to impotence."

Works Cited

Dean, A. (2011, July 08). Exclusive: Van Jones on What We Can Learn From the Tea Party. Retrieved from Truthout :