Left-wing activist, Yale Law School graduate,
evolved from self-described communist to civil
rights group leader, to "green jobs" expert, to best-selling author and
Time magazine "100 most influential," then resigned as Obama's "Green Jobs
after being outed by Fox News'
Glenn Beck as a loud-mouth radical. He now enjoys fame and fortune in
non-government jobs and on the speaking circuit.
K. "Van" Jones:
Center for American
Progress, Green Opportunity Initiative;
visiting fellow, Princeton University:
Center for African American Studies / Program
in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy,
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs;
Founder, Green For All (501(c)(3)
Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation,
White House Council
on Environmental Quality (CEQ)
Founder: Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
Co-founder: Color Of Change, Inc.
Former Director: Politics of Trust Network (project
of Vasconcelos Project)
Circle of Life (now The Engage Network)
Fellow: Institute of
The Green Collar Economy:
How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest
Van Jones's relationships are mapped on
Diagram - Van Jones
The first that most Americans heard of Van
Jones was a noisy controversy in March, 2009 about his appointment in
the Obama Administration as the "Green Jobs Czar."
was one Obama "czar" too many. The big worry was his vague job title: "Special
Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation."
What's that? More worrisome, he was placed in the White House
Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which reaches into just about
every Cabinet-level department in the entire government.
Slate columnist Chadwick Matlin saw
Jones as "switchboard operator for Obama's grand vision of the
American economy; connecting the phone lines between all the federal
agencies invested in a green economy."
Conservatives envisioned Jones giving millions of
taxpayer dollars to his vast left-wing network of non-profit advocacy
groups (see Diagram above), or, at least, pressuring departments with
big budgets (Jones had none) to give to his favorite "charities."
Fox News icon, began to ask, "Who is this guy?" The answers were so
startling that he devoted 14 shows to Van Jones.
Inflammatory Jones quotes emerged from his
past political activities, including his support,
while still a law student at Yale (1992), for
Mumia Abu-Jamal, a prisoner sentenced to death for murdering a
police officer, the fairness of whose conviction has been disputed.
Beck questioned his 1993
Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement
(STORM), a socialist group whose
official Points of Unity "upheld revolutionary democracy, revolutionary
feminism, revolutionary internationalism, the central role of the
working class, urban Marxism, and Third World Communism."
Jones became associated with STORM
as soon as he graduated from Yale Law School.
While still at Yale, Jones participated as a
volunteer legal monitor for a protest of the Rodney King verdict
in San Francisco. He and many others in the
protest were arrested. The district attorney later dropped
the charges against Jones.
The arrested protesters, including Jones, won a small legal settlement.
Jones later said, "the incident deepened my
disaffection with the system and accelerated my political
More than ten years later, in October 2005,
Jones said he was "a rowdy nationalist before the King verdict, but
by August of that year
I was a communist."
Although Jones was never a Party member, his statement was sincere
and people took it seriously.
In July 2009
Color of Change, an organization that Jones founded in 2005 and
left in 2007,
launched a campaign urging advertisers on Beck's Fox News
show to pull their ads, in response to comments by Beck stating
has a "deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture."
In September 2009,
DefendGlenn.com, a website launched in response to the boycott
a video on YouTube
of a February 2009 event at which Jones called Congressional Republicans
Three days later, it came
out that Jones had signed
a 2004 petition from
911Truth.org that suggested the Bush Administration "may indeed have
deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen".
Jones apologized in a public statement saying he
never believed such an accusation.
Congressional Republicans were not amused.
Representative Mike Pence (R-Indiana), Republican Conference
chairman, and Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas),
publicly criticized Jones, and Senator Kit
Bond (R-Missouri) urged Congress to investigate Jones' "fitness" for
office. Bob Beckel, formerly an official in
the Carter administration, was the first
prominent Democrat to call for Jones' resignation.
OUT OF GOVERNMENT
Jones resigned on September 5, 2009, saying he
couldn't "in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious
time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on
deck, fighting for the future."
John Podesta immediately hired Jones as Senior Fellow for the Center
for American Progress' Green Opportunity Initiative "to develop a
clearly articulated agenda for expanding investment, innovation, and
opportunity through clean energy and environmental restoration."
Princeton University also provided shelter
for Jones a
s a distinguished visiting fellow in both the
Center for African American Studies and in the Program in
Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow
Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
also a senior policy advisor at Green For All.
Jones received the
2010 NAACP President's Award
at a special event.
Jones is reported to have received a large
fee to give the keynote speech at the 2010 conference of
Netroots Nation in Las Vegas in July.
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