Barack Obama - Green Jobs Czar - Van Jones

Last Updated : Apr 18, 2010

Summary

In March of 2009, Anthony "Van" Jones was appointed by President Obama to the newly created position of "Special Advisor for Green Jobs".  Not long after his appointment, questions began to arise concerning his socialist opinions and associations with socialist groups, comments about President Bush and Republicans, and his signing of a "911 Truth" website declaring that President Bush was involved with the 9-11 attacks.  These questions led a number of Republican politicians and several conservative personalities to call for his resignation or termination.  On September 6, 2009 Mr. Jones resigned from his position.

 

Van Jones's Background

Van Jones received a B.A. in communications and political science from the University of Tennessee at Martin (UT Martin).  Jones worked as an intern at the Jackson Sun (Tennessee), the Shreveport Times (Louisiana) and the Associated Press (Nashville bureau).  He also helped to launch and spearhead a number of independent, campus-based publishing efforts. These publications included the Fourteenth Circle (University of Tennessee), the Periscope (Vanderbilt University), the New Alliance Project (state-wide in Tennessee), and the Third Eye (Nashville's African American community).  After graduating from UT Martin, Jones left his home state to attend Yale Law School. In 1993, Jones earned his Juris Doctor and moved to San Francisco, California.  (Text taken from wiki). 

Jones worked as an intern at the Jackson Sun (Tennessee), the Shreveport Times (Louisiana) and the Associated Press (Nashville bureau).  He also helped to launch and spearhead a number of independent, campus-based publishing efforts. These publications included the Fourteenth Circle (University of Tennessee), the Periscope (Vanderbilt University), the New Alliance Project (state-wide in Tennessee), and the Third Eye (Nashville's African American community).  After graduating from UT Martin, Jones left his home state to attend Yale Law School. In 1993, Jones earned his Juris Doctor and moved to San Francisco, California.  (Text taken from wiki).

 

Rodney King Riots and Communism

Van Jones has described himself as he arrived at Yale Law School as an angry black separatist, wearing combat boots and carrying a Black Panther bookbag.

In 1992, Van Jones was still a law student at Yale and working as an intern in San Francisco.  When the verdicts were announced on the four white officers accused of the taped beating of the black motorist Rodney King, Van Jones was a legal monitor in a protest march where he and many others were arrested.  The reasons for the arrests are unclear.  Although no violence seems to have taken place, this document written be Van Jones within days of the arrest, seems to indicate that San Francisco was under a curfew at the time or some form of martial law.  In that document, Jones speaks of the city, and the arrests as follows:

 

The charges against Jones and the other protestors were eventually dropped, but they did spent a few days in jail.  Most of the protestors that were arrested, including Jones, received some form of settlement from the city.  However, as Jones would write 15 years later while discussing the paper cited above, the incident left a permanent mark.

 

At a speech in November of 2005, Jones again noted how the incident affected him.  These statements indicating that he was a communist were often cited in requesting his resignation.

 

STORM

After his arrest, Van Jones decided to stay in San Francisco, instead of going through with a job he had already secured in D.C..  In 1994, he and several partners formed STORM - Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement.  According to one source, the group "held study groups on the theories of Marx and Lenin and dreamed of a multiracial socialist utopia. They protested police brutality and got arrested for crashing through police barricades."

Among the traits and statements of STORM were the following:

  • Complained that "the Right," which was in "firm control of the U.S. government," was "on a vicious offensive … successfully rolling back the gains from the civil rights movement and other freedom movements of the 1960s and 1970s…. [It] slashed funding for social programs like education and welfare - securing profits for corporations and helping pay for U.S. imperial aggression. It curtailed the civil liberties of people of color and poor people throughout the United States."
  • Membership was by invitation only, and attempted to maintain 75% "people of color and 60% female
  • It's members studied the organizing models of Saul Alinsky, the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, and Marxism-Leninism. Convinced that "revolutionary Marxist politics would be central to the development of a successful liberation movement in this country," all of STORM's members "developed a basic understanding of and commitment to revolutionary Marxist politics
  • In 1998 STORM created a Political Education Committee called "411" which schooled new and established members in "Marxist 'basics,' … philosophy, wage exploitation, capitalism, imperialism and globalization, Lenin's theories of the state, revolution and the party,… the political ideas of Mao Tse-tung and Antonio Gramsci
  • One of its defining endeavors was a crusade to win the freedom of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, whom it described as a "political prisoner" whose case was inextricably linked to "police brutality," and who represented "an important voice of resistance and truth for communities of color."

 

PoliceWatch 

In 1995, Jones started Bay Area PoliceWatch.  PoliceWatch was a hotline and lawyer-referral service for alleged victims claiming police abuse to speak with bar-certified lawyers.

 

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

Building off the success in PoliceWatch, Jones created the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in 1996.  The organization is a "non-profit strategy and action center based in Oakland, CA," with the stated aim of "to work for justice, opportunity and peace in urban America."  The organization has four main initiatives:

  • Books not Bars
  • Soul of the City
  • Green-Collar Jobs Campaign
  • Silence the Violence

 

Color of Change

Prompted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Jones and an associate co-founded Color of Change.  Color of Change's mission as described on its web site is as follows:

Jones moved on to pursue other goal within 2 years of the founding.

 

Green for All

In 2007, Jones shifted his focus slightly to the creation of jobs for poor people to revamp energy infrastructures with wind a solar power.  This prompted Mr. Jones to publish his first book: The Green Collar Economy, which was released on October 7, 2008.

 

Racial Comments Concerning Environmentalism

In an interview on January 19, 2008, Van Jones made the statements shown below in text and video which indicate that part of his green evolution movement is the belief that previous environmental movement were inherently racist.  He uses the statement "eco-apartheid" to denote the transfer of pollution from white neighborhoods to black neighborhoods which he claims occurred in previous movements.

 

Declaring himself still a Revolutionist

in 2005, a large writeup in the East Bay Express proclaimed that Van Jones:

 

Portraying President Bush as a Crackhead for Oil

In 2008, while giving a speech to the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, Van Jones portrayed President Bush as a "crackhead" when it comes to oil.  He then imitated the mannerisms of a crack addict.

 

9/11 Truth Movement

In September of 2009, it was revealed that Van Jones was on the organizing committee for a 2002 "truth" march in San Francisco, and was one of 100 notable signatories of a 2004 "9/11 Truth Statement," calling for an investigation into the terrorist attacks.

The petition states as follows:

The petition lists 12 questions relating to the events surrounding Sept 11, and asks for the following four things:

  • An immediate investigation by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer
  • Immediate investigation in Congressional Hearings.
  • Media attention to scrutinize and investigate the evidence.
  • The formation of a truly independent citizens-based inquiry.

Today, the petition notes that Van Jones and at least one other person have asked to have their names removed from the list.

Eventually, Van Jones released the following statement concerning the petition and controversy surrounding some other statements he made concerning race:

Van Jones never directly denied signing the petition, only stating that he did not fully understand what the petition contained.  At least two other members of the "100 prominent Americans" whose names are on the petition have come forward stating that they were misled about the content of the petition and have asked that their names be removed.

The 9/11Truth.org spokesman Mike Berger told the Washington Times over the phone that all of the signers had been verified by their group. He said 9/11Truth.org board members

 

Remarks about Oil Companies and Beck Videos

In another speech, Van Jones noted that he believed that some of the companies proclaiming to be green are really just oil companies.  He stated that he believed oil companies were "killing mother f%$$# in Nigeria".

The video below shows this clip along with a section of the Glenn Beck Program which shows several other clips.  These programs were instrumental in causing the eventual resignation of Van Jones.  Shortly after focusing on Van Jones, his former group "Color of Change" launched a campaign to boycott the sponsors of the Glenn Beck radio and television programs.

 

Disparaging Remarks about Republicans

On February 11, 2009, Van Jones was answering questions at a conference when he was asked how the Republicans were able to push through legislation when they were in charge, yet the Democrats have higher majorities and can't seem to push anything through.  He responded by stating the following (note: video not bleeped):

Van Jones did not explain what legislation was pushed through by the Republicans, or what was meant by "getting a little uppity".

 

Resignation

 On September 6, 2009, several sources reported that Van Jones had resigned from his position.  The resignation was announced in a dead of the night email on a holiday weekend, and White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs gave the following statements:

 

In his resignation statement, Van Jones said the following:

 

In February of 2010, Van Jones appeared on the Tavis Smiley program and explained that he was approached by a group claiming to represent 9/11 families and he offered his support.  This support was interpreted as a signature for this petition he never saw.  The video below is a segment of video from "The Young Turks" radio and internet program.  Note that this is not agreement with TYT viewpoints.

References

[1] Website: The Huffington Post Article: 15 Years Ago: Rodney King Uprising Left LA in Flames -- And Me in Jail! Author: Van Jones Accessed on: 04/07/2010

[2] Website: East Bay Express Article: The New Face of Environmentalism Author: Eliza Strickland Accessed on: 04/07/2010

[3] Website: DiscoverTheNetworks.org Article: STANDING TOGETHER TO ORGANIZE A REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT (STORM) Author: NA Accessed on: 04/07/2010

[4] Website: SpeakTruth.org Article: Van Jones Author: NA Accessed on: 04/07/2010

[5] Website: Ella Baker Center for Human Rights Article: Ella Baker Center: The Basics Author: NA Accessed on: 04/08/2010

[6] Website: ABC News Article: Controversial Obama Administration Official Denies Being Part of 9/11 "Truther" Movement, Apologizes Author: NA Accessed on: 04/08/2010

[7] Website: Hot Air Article: Unbelievable: Van Jones says 9/11 petition didnít reflect his views; Update: Jones didnít ďcarefully Author: ALLAHPUNDIT Accessed on: 04/08/2010

[8] Website: Washington Times Article: Green jobs czar signed 'truther' statement in 2004 Author: Amanda Carpenter Accessed on: 04/08/2010

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