Those who were surprised by the White House appointment of Van Jones – a self-styled “communist,” and a proponent of the idea that the Katrina catastrophe was caused by “white supremacy,” haven’t been paying attention to developments on the left since the fall of Communism, or to president Obama’s extensive roots in its political culture. Van Jones is the carefully groomed protégé of a network of radical organizations -- including Moveon.org -- and of Democratic sponsors like billionaire George Soros and John Podesta, former Clinton chief of staff and co-chair of the Obama transition team.
At the time of his appointment as the President’s “Green Jobs” czar – and despite a very recent 10-year history of “revolutionary” activity – Jones was a member of two key organizations at the very heart of what might be called the executive branch of the Democratic Party. The first is the Center for American Progress which was funded by Soros and is headed by Podesta. The second is the Apollo Alliance, on whose board Jones sits with Podesta, Carol Browner and Al Gore. This is a coalition of radicals, leftwing union leaders and corporate recruits, which had a major role in designing Obama’s green economy plans, including the “cash for clunkers” program. The New York director of the Alliance, who will be writing its applications for tens of millions of dollars in “stimulus” funds, is Jeff Jones (no relation) who was a co-leader of the terrorist Weather Underground along with Obama’s close friend and political ally William Ayers.
According to his own account, Van Jones became a “communist” during a prison term he served after being arrested during the 1992 Los Angeles race riots. For the next ten years Jones was an activist in the Maoist organization STORM – “Stand Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement.” When STORM disintegrated Jones joined the Apollo Alliance and the Center for American Progress Democrats. As he explained to the East Bay Express in a 2005 article, he still considered himself a “revolutionary, but just a more effective one.” “Before,” he told the Express, “we would fight anybody, any time. No concession was good enough;… Now, I put the issues and constituencies first. I’ll work with anybody, I’ll fight anybody if it will push our issues forward.... I’m willing to forgo the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of radical ends.”
Pursuing the deep satisfaction of radical ends is the clear sub-text of Jones’ 2007 book, The Green Collar Economy which comes with a Forward by Robert Kennedy Jr. and enthusiastic blurbs from Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore. According to Jones, the Katrina tragedies were caused by global warming, white supremacy, free market economics and the “war for oil” in Iraq. This “perfect storm” of social evils deprived poor blacks of the protection of adequate levees and private vehicles which would have allowed them to escape. The fact that a fleet of public buses was available but the black mayor and the black power structure in New Orleans failed to deploy them go unmentioned in Jones’ indictment of white racism. Instead, “The Katrina story illustrates clearly the two crises we face in the United States: radical socioeconomic inequality and rampant environmental destruction.” To deal with these crises “we will need both political and economic transformation – immediately.”
How did John Podesta and Al Gore and Barack Obama come to be political allies of a far left radical like Van Jones, a 9/11 conspiracy “truther” and a supporter of the Hamas view that the entire state of Israel is “occupied territory?” To answer this question requires an understanding of developments within the political left that have taken place over the last two decades, and in particular the forging of a “popular front” between anti-American radicals and “mainstream liberals” in the Democratic Party.
The collapse of Communism in the early Nineties did not lead to an agonizing reappraisal of its radical agendas among many who had supported it in the West. Instead, its survivors set about creating a new socialist international which would unite “social justice” movements, radical environmental groups, leftwing trade unions, and traditional communist parties – all dedicated to the revival of utopian dreams.
The new political force made its first impression at the end of the decade when it staged global demonstrations against the World Trade Organization and the World Bank. The demonstrations erupted into large-scale violence in Seattle in 2001 when 50,000 Marxists, anarchists and environmental radicals, joined by the giant leftwing unions AFSCME and SEIU, descended on the city, smashed windows and automobiles, and set fire to buildings to protest “globalization” – the world capitalist system.
In the direct aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the anti-globalization forces morphed into what became known as the “anti-war” movement. An already scheduled anti-globalization protest on September 29 was re-redirected (and re-named) to target America’s retaliation against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The new “peace” movement grew to massive proportions in the lead up to the war in Iraq but it never held a single protest against Saddam’s violation of 17 UN arms control resolutions, or his expulsion of the UN arms inspectors. It did, however, mobilize 35 million people in world-wide protests against America’s “imperialist war for oil.” The orchestrators of the demonstrations were the same leaders and the same organizations, the same unions and the same “social justice” groups that had been responsible for the Seattle riots against the World Trade Organization and the international capitalist system.
A second watershed came in the run-up to the 2004 elections when billionaire George Soros decided to integrate the radicals – including their political organization ACORN -- into the structure of Democratic Party politics. Together with a group of like-minded billionaires, Soros created a “Shadow Party” (as Richard Poe and I documented in a book by that name) whose purpose was to shape the outcome of the 2004 presidential race. “America under Bush,” Soros told The Washington Post, “is a danger to the world,…” To achieve his goal, Soros created a galaxy of 527 political organizations headed by leftwing union leaders like SEIU chief Andrew Stern and Clinton operatives like Harold Ickes. As its policy brain he created the Center for American Progress.
Soros failed to achieve his goal in 2004 but he went on working to create new elements of the network, such as the Apollo Alliance. Four years later the Shadow Party was able to elect a candidate who had spent his entire political career in the bowels of this movement. Obama’s electoral success was made possible by the wide latitude he was given by the press and the public, partly because he was the first African-American with a chance to be president and partly because his campaign was deliberately crafted to convey the impression that he was a tax-cutting centrist who intended to bring Americans together to find common solutions to their problems. When confronted with his long-term associations and working partnerships with anti-American racists like Jeremiah Wright and anti-American radicals like William Ayers, he denied the obvious and successfully side-stepped its implications.
Just eight months into his presidency, however, a new Barack Obama has begun to emerge. With unseemly haste Obama has nearly bankrupted the federal government, amassing more debt in eight months than all his predecessors combined. He has appeased America’s enemies abroad and attacked America’s intelligence services at home. He has rushed forward with programs that require sweeping changes in the American economy and is now steamrolling a massive new health-care program that will give the government unprecedented control of its citizens.