The long time activist for economic, racial, and environmental justice, and former Green Jobs Czar of the Obama Administration spoke at the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Memorial Hall on Nov. 3, adding his voice to the fight to repeal SB 5.

Some activists have said the American Dream has been bad for the planet and a nightmare for some of the people in poor countries for whom the consequences of our consumerism are as severe as they are out of sight and out of mind to most of us.

But Jones said the American dream is not about being materialistic. "Dr. King said 'I have a dream that's deeply rooted in the American Dream.' He wasn't talking about consumerism. He was talking about living in a country where everybody counts and everybody matters. We have to rebuild it and reinvent it and re-imagine it. But we got to rededicate ourselves to the idea where it's safe to dream again. We shouldn't let our dreams be killed off by these financial elites that are trying to buy our government."

People such as steady state economist Herman Daly and peak oil writer Richard Heinberg have argued an economic system based on continued growth will sooner or later crash into ecological constraints. That perspective is alien not only to conservatives but also to many progressives who call for rebuilding infrastructure so as to promote economic growth.

But Jones said he has been an advocate of "green growth" which he said is similar to what proponents of steady state economics call for.

"We can create more jobs that create more opportunity for people, but we can do so without expanding the amount of goods consumed. We need to focus less on growing consumption and more on growing quality of life and developing communities. But here is what I think is most important. We have the creativity and the genius and the resources here to meet the needs of everybody. We don't have to have these extremes of rich and poor which creates all kinds of social instability and corruption. You can't have a functioning democracy with this level of economic concentration in the hands of a few."

Jones said the Rebuild the Dream Movement which launched this summer, and the Occupy movement are against economic inequality and against the rigging of the system.

"Once the system is no longer rigged, you can go forward with any number of economic ideas. But we got to stand together right now to get big money out of politics."

Jones agreed that even if corporate rule were done away with, we'd still have difficult ecological challenges.

"We are threatening to bake the planet with greenhouse gases, we have 7 billion people on the planet but we don't have six new planets of resources--so we have a number of challenges. But I have great confidence that we can come together and solve these problems. But we can't do it unless we have a democracy. Right now, we're going away from democracy---which is about rule by, of, and for the people, and we're moving toward plutocracy---which is rule by, of, and for the rich. Corporate rule will not solve any problem. It will make these problems worse."

Jones also agreed part of building a mass movement is fixing the disconnect between White progressives and communities of color.

"I've been trying to build bridges my whole life between those two different communities and I think what makes it possible to do is when you have a common goal. We can march separately but strike together toward a common goal. My view about it is, right now, the 99 percent is a very good slogan because it tends to show our commonalities despite profession or region or race or gender. All those things are important, but in a situation where you have literally one percent of the country running away with all of our wealth, there's a reason for us to stand together."

Jones said he's familiar with Occupy the Hood.

" I know well the people in Los Angeles who are part of Occupy the Hood there. That's a very positive development as well."

Jones said we need to turn the energy of the Occupy movement into political power.

Jones had plenty of criticism for the economic elites and their enablers in government, at times delving into clever sarcasm, and using numerous catchy phrases throughout his speech.

He said some politicians in Washington this summer created a "phony default crisis so our nation would be stuck on stupid", and that our nation is not broke "because we helped grandma too much."

He said ending the wars and the Bush tax cuts to the very wealthy are ways to fix federal budget deficits.

But he avoided demonizing our adversaries. In fact, he implied we take the high road to unity as a nation.

"Saying we are working for the 99 percent is good. But it would be even better to be the 99 percent working for the 100 percent."

Though raising taxes on the very wealthy is one of the points of the Contract for the American Dream, Jones said he is not angry because some people are rich.

"If somebody wants to buy a yacht, that's up to them. But if somebody buys a governor, I got a problem with that...We don't hate winners , we dislike cheating. We're not mad at you because you're a banker, but we're against you if you're a bankster."

Jones' colleague at Princeton University, Cornell West, has recently been arrested twice--on the steps of the US Supreme Court during a protest with Occupy DC belatedly against the Citizens United case, and in Harlem during a protest with Occupy Wall Street against NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy. Jones said he would consider engaging in civil disobedience on a case-by-case basis.

He said economic elites and their enablers in government want to "repeal the 20th Century."

"In 1900, every cause or constituency you care about was in the garbage can. African Americans had no rights. Women didn't have the rights they have now. Workers didn't have rights. There was no weekend and no environmental protection. Lesbians and gays didn't even have a term in the English language, so they didn't even have a garbage can. Some people back then looked around and said, 'this looks pretty good to me, let's CONSERVE this."

Jones said there were others back then who thought differently and so fought for progress.

He said Washington and Wall Street are out of touch with Main Street, and he denounced attacks on state workers in places such as Ohio and Wisconsin.

"There is a lot of talk about 'public employees.' I never met a 'public employee' when I was growing up. I saw teachers, firefighters, police officers, nurses...I saw the backbone of our communities."