Ron Arnold's Left Tracking Library


Van Jones

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 Czar" 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.

Anthony K. "Van" Jones:
Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress, Green Opportunity Initiative;
Distinguished 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) non-profit (2009);
Former Special 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)

Former Director: Rainforest Action Network
Former Director:
Former Director:

Former Director: Circle of Life (now The Engage Network)
Former Director: Free Press
Former Director: Apollo Alliance
Fellow: Institute of Noetic Sciences
The Green Collar Economy:
How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems


Van Jones's relationships are mapped on Muckety

Social Network 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."

He 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."

Then Glenn Beck, 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 involvement with 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 radicalization." 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 [1992] 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 President Obama has a "deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture."
In September 2009,, a website launched in response to the boycott campaign, posted a video on YouTube of a February 2009 event at which Jones called Congressional Republicans "assholes".
Three days later, it came out that Jones had signed a 2004 petition from 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.


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 as 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.

Jones is 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.