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The Fall of the Red Czar By: Gregory Gethard
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, September 08, 2009


No thanks to the establishment media and Congressional Democrats, the Obama administration’s “green jobs czar” Van Jones is out of a job.

Jones resigned this weekend in the wake of revelations, initially ignored by the press, that he has a long record as a political radical, a background that includes his association with the so-called “Truther” conspiracy theorists who claim that the September 11 attacks were an inside job by the U.S. government.

Now that Jones has stepped down, the media has rallied to his defense, depicting Jones as the victim of a “vicious smear campaign” by foes of his environmental politics – a charge echoed by the administration’s Democratic allies. The less palatable truth is that Jones is a racial provocateur and opportunist who tried to capitalize on the administration’s sympathy for the “green” agenda to bring his own brand of socialist and black radical politics to national prominence.

Although apparently missed by the Obama administration’s screeners, Jones’ intention to use environmentalism as a way to push his socialist agenda can clearly be seen in his remarks at the “PowerShift ‘09” youth conference in Washington. Described as an attempt to bring together young people united in support of climate change and other green policies, PowerShift ’09 quickly became a forum for Jones to push his radical views on a captive audience. Among his many startling comments:

"What about our Native American sisters and brothers?... They told us a long time ago that this was sacred land.... [They] were pushed and bullied and mistreated and shoved into all the land we didn't want, where it was all hot and windy. Well, guess what, renewable energy? Guess what, solar industry? Guess what, wind industry? They now own and control 80 percent of the renewable energy resources. No more broken treaties! No more broken treaties! Give them the wealth! Give them then wealth! Give them the dignity! Give them the respect that they deserve! No justice on stolen land! We owe them a debt!"

Elsewhere in his remarks, Jones declared:

"If all you do is have a clean energy revolution, you won't have done anything.... If all we do is take out the dirty power system, the dirty power generation in a system, and just replace it with some clean stuff, put a solar panel on top of this system, but we don't deal with how we are consuming water, we don't deal with how we are treating our other sister and brother species, we don't deal with toxins, we don't deal with the way we treat each other; If that's not a part of this movement,... this is all you'll have: You'll have solar-powered bulldozers, solar-powered buzz saws, and bio-fueled bombers, and we'll be fighting wars over lithium for the batteries instead of oil for the engines, and we'll still have a dead planet. This movement is deeper than a solar panel! Deeper than a solar panel! Don't stop there! Don't stop there! No, we gonna change the whole system! We gonna change the whole thing! We not gonna put a new battery in a broken system, We want a new system. We want a new system."

If Jones sounded strikingly like a revolutionary radical, that was no accident. Contrary to suggestions that his political career was undone by a few out-of-context quotes, Jones is a longtime political extremist who has wanted to change “the system” for much of his life.

The record speaks for itself. Already a radical by the time he entered Yale Law School, Jones eventually went on to declare himself a communist after the Rodney King verdict. In pursuit of his political goals, Jones co-founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, a George Soros-funded organization that styles itself as an “action center for justice, opportunity and peace in urban America.” In fact, the center is notorious for fueling racial grievance in the Bay Area’s black community. For instance, it asserts that “communities of color” are the targets of “excessive, racist policing and over-incarceration” and “face a cycle of violence that makes everyone less safe.” Similarly, it teaches “low-income youth of color” that they are at risk for violence “by virtue of race, class and geography.” Fusing this inflammatory racial rhetoric with an environmentalist agenda, the center touts “green” jobs as the answer to the black community’s woes.

Jones also has ties to Bay Area communist group Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement, better known as S.T.O.R.M. Along with the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, STORM issued a press release within hours of the 9/11 attacks, part of which tried to blame the U.S. government for the terrorist catastrophe. It claimed:

The system, in the United States and worldwide, has continually denied peaceful, "legitimate" attempts by those seeking justice and freedom. Through its own reckless, violent and oppressive actions against poor people and people of color, the United States government has fueled frustration, grief and outrage here and around the world. Suffering under the boot of poverty, people around the world are becoming more and more desperate. Neither police repression at home nor U.S. bombs abroad will ease this fundamental despair; instead, they will only continue this vicious cycle of frustration and violence. Ordinary people in the United States can best deter future attacks by insisting that the U.S. government abandon its oppressive role of keeping down workers and dominating poor nations around the world. Increasingly, safety at home will require justice abroad. Intensified police crackdowns at home and military savagery abroad are not the answer; the answer is justice. We must not allow the United States to respond with bombs for Third World people and continued support for repressive dictatorships and rapacious corporations. Instead, we demand that the US respond to this crisis with efforts to meet the legitimate demands of the majority of the human family.

On the night after the attacks, STORM held a vigil “mourning the victims of U.S. imperialism around the world.” Not only did Jones not distance himself from STORM’s sinister propaganda, but he issued his own condemnation of the United States, warning of an “Anti-Arab hostility” that was fueling a “rush to judgment that an Arab group is responsible for this tragedy.”

What ultimately led to Jones’ downfall was the signature he placed on a petition from 911Truth.org, which charged that the U.S. government was complicit in the 9/11 attacks. Jones did not deny signing this petition, but he has since insisted that he did not agree with the “Truther” statement, which “does not reflect my views now or ever." Of course, only Van Jones truly knows what he truly believes, but it’s not a stretch to think that a man whose first instinct after a massive terrorist attack was to accuse his country of racism could believe that 9/11 was a U.S. government conspiracy.

Despite this background, Jones managed to ascend to the highest levels of power. It would be sufficiently troubling if this was a result of the Obama administration’s screeners, who failed to uncover what many bloggers and successfully tracked down. Even more alarming, however, is the possibility that the administration was willing to overlook his past because it saw nothing untoward about his views.

That is certainly the impression one would get by listening to prominent Democrats. Nancy Pelosi, for one, has touted Jones’ virtues on several occasions. Al Gore is quoted on Jones’ official website as saying, “Van Jones demonstrates conclusively that the best solutions for the survivability of our planet are also the best solutions for everyday Americans.” And Howard Dean complained on Fox News that Jones was “brought down,” lamenting that this was a “loss for the country.”

Reaction from the Left has been equally telling. Liberal commentator Alan Colmes has described Jones as a “mainstream liberal.” The Huffington Post’s David Sirota has described Jones as a “movement progressive.” And liberal editorialists across the country have expressed sympathy for the loss of a conventional liberal whose views merely require some “explanation” and “context.”

In the end, that may be the most worrying lesson of the Jones affair. This lifelong political radical may have been pushed out of the Obama administration, but he has found a home in the modern Democratic Party.


Gregory Gethard is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer.


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