The “Occupy Wall Street” protests and former White House “green jobs czar” Van Jones are the beginning of an “American Fall,” according to Rep. John Larson, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
In Tuesday evening remarks before a group of visiting activists and journalists from Egypt and Tunisia, Larson said the United States has drawn inspiration from revolutions in those countries and, as a result, is experiencing its own “Arab Spring, if you will.”
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller following his speech, Larson said left-wing activists with “the right morals” are pushing America’s democracy to “evolve.”
The Connecticut congressman’s comments came during a welcoming function for international fellows hosted by World Affairs Journal.
Asked to elaborate on his perception of an American “Arab Spring”, Larson told TheDC, “I see that as people that are concerned in this country — youth taking to the street on Wall Street,” referring to the ongoing protests in lower Manhattan’s financial district.
The Wall Street protests caught national attention as YouTube videos spread during the past week showing police subduing or arresting approximately 80 demonstrators in New York City on September 24.
The protesters’ political demands have been far too widely varied to represent much agreement, but the group’s website claims: “The one thing we all have in common is that we are the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.” (RELATED: ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters are demanding … something)
“They see the inequities that exist in this country,” Larson explained, “and the point is that even an advanced democracy like ours — the Constitution says, ‘We the people, in order to create a more perfect union.’ We’re not there. It’s something that continues to evolve.”
In turn, Larson said, developing democracies will look to the activities of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement to understand how democracies pursue that evolution.
“We have to make sure that as Tunisia, as Egypt, as frankly the whole world starts to look at how free people think and feel, that [they] understand that it’s an evolving process,” said Larson. “It just doesn’t happen overnight.”
Larson believes the American public has an appetite for congressional action on what he calls the president’s “bipartisan” American Jobs Act, and that this same hunger is fueling the anti-capitalist protests and the activism of Van Jones and other movement leaders.
“When you talk about an ‘American Spring,’ look what’s happening with Van Jones, and look what’s happening with a lot of the movements amongst people — even the young people — turning out on Wall Street.”
But what of critics who say there is no unified message coming from the “Occupy Wall Street” protests?
“I don’t know if they have the right message,” said Larson, “but they have the right morals.”
“They’re standing up and saying the things they feel deep inside that are working unjustly and unfairly against them,” concluded Larson, “and everybody ought to take heed, that it’s not only an ‘Arab Spring,’ but there is an ‘American Fall’ as well.”