Van Jones Warns of 'Turbulent' Election Year

Activist calls Martin Luther King Jr. the 'original Occupier.'

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President Obama's surrogates, not giving up hope that the themes of the "occupy movement" will help his reelection and push Congress to back Democratic jobs ideas, are looking to the birthday and federally-sanctioned holiday of what Obama activist Van Jones calls the "original Occupier," Martin Luther King Jr., to spark action on the streets of America.

Jones, part of a group called "Rebuild the Dream,"- which sees itself as a liberal version of the Tea Party movement- said the gatherings will kick off what he sees as a "turbulent, exciting" year, led by civil rights leaders pushing a new agenda of social justice.

"What are you doing this weekend for MLK Day? It's our only national holiday about social justice, yet too often, MLK Day feels like a Hallmark Card. This year, let's do it differently," he tells backers in an e-mail. "Rebuild the Dream members are hosting MLK Day Movement Meet-ups across the country to celebrate Dr. King -- the original Occupier -- and link the Civil Rights Movement with today's struggle for an economy that works for all." [See a collection of political cartoons on the Tea Party.]

The group has made a video to share at the meetings, meant to kick-start the movement's actions this year.

[Check out 2011: The Year in Cartoons.]

When Jones announced the new group, he provided a blueprint of goals including taxing the rich, cutting military, agriculture and oil subisidies, increasing funding for nurses and first-responders, providing government health care, and boosting union rights.

Jones, initially Obama's effective green jobs czar, was pushed out after news reports revealed that he disparaged congressional Republicans. Below is his MLK note.

Dear Paul,

What are you doing this weekend for MLK Day? It's our only national holiday about social justice, yet too often, MLK Day feels like a Hallmark Card. This year, let's do it differently.

Rebuild the Dream members are hosting MLK Day Movement Meet-ups across the country to celebrate Dr. King -- the original Occupier -- and link the Civil Rights Movement with today's struggle for an economy that works for all.

Neighbors and friends will gather to watch a great video we made, plus engage in a special discussion about how we strengthen our movements in 2012.

Find an MLK Meet-up near you, or host one of your own.

2012 will be a turbulent, exciting year. It's important for us to get together and get ready. This is your chance to touch base with friends and like-minded folks in your area, and start the new year right.

There is a lot for us to fight for, and people are continuing Dr. King's struggle every day in the 21st century. With a rising movement sweeping the country, let's gather together and ask: What would Dr. King and other civil rights leaders do today? How can we continue their legacy in 2012 and beyond?

MLK Day is an opportunity to take a day on, not a day off. The meet-ups will be an opportunity to join with those who share your same passion for positive change. It's a chance to look back and look ahead -- let's look at one of the most important movements of our past as a springboard for the ongoing fight for justice.

Join a discussion in your area, or host one of your own.

Century after century, generation after generation, countless people of all different backgrounds have continued to arrive on America's shores. Beyond our differences there lies the promise that maybe we can carve a better future for ourselves and our children and our children's children, with opportunity and justice for all. This was the dream our country was founded on, and Dr. King's dream throughout the Civil Rights Movement. Let's gather this MLK Day and commit to continuing Dr. King's fight for the dream.

Thanks for being a part of, and believing in, this movement,

Van, Billy, Natalie, Ian, Jim, Somer and the Rebuild the Dream Innovation Fund team

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