IT MUST MARK A NEW LOW IN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORY when the fact that someone is a self-described Communist is not the most damning thing that can be said of a presidential adviser entrusted with federal power. Not only is Green Jobs Czar Van Jones a 9/11 Truther, but his organization believes Hurricane Katrina was a Bush conspiracy, as well. His unique combination of radicalism and irresponsibility provides a remarkable window into Barack Obama’s own radicalism.
After a string of embarrassing revelations, yesterday the press reported that Jones had joined such notable leftists as Cynthia McKinney, Ralph Nader, and Howard Zinn in signing the 9/11 Truth Statement (signature #46), which called for a federal investigation whether President Bush knew about – or perhaps colluded in – the destruction of the World Trade Center. This is somewhat ironic, since on the evening after 9/11, Jones stood in the streets with the Maoist-communist organization he founded – Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM) – to denounce the United States for having brought the disaster on itself.
To this author’s knowledge, it has not yet been reported that Van Jones also popularized the belief that Hurricane Katrina was a conspiracy. The organization Color of Change, which he co-founded after Katrina, waged a campaign to censure President George W. Bush, claiming: “He knew about the levees, and he knew about the Superdome. But he did nothing.”(Emphasis in original.) In 2006, Color of Change worked with MoveOn.org Civic Action to screen Spike Lee’s film When the Levees Broke, which features allegations the federal government dynamited the levees. As one report puts it, “Lee took no side on the issue” – originally popularized by Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan – but Lee made it clear in other media that he believes in the theory.
The conspiracy would be consistent with Jones’ statement last January, that “white polluters and the white environmentalists are essentially steering poison into the people-of-color communities, because they don’t have a racial justice frame.”
In a 2005 blog on the Huffington Post, Jones wrote the hurricane had been exacerbated by Bush’s environmental policies and “deep contempt for poor African-Americans.”
How He Got There
Despite his radical views, he hardly sprang from a vacuum. When Jones won the San Francisco Foundation’s 2008 Community Leadership Award, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called him “one of the most innovative and strategic thinkers of our time. He is what I like to call a magnificent disrupter of the status quo.” San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom lauded him profusely. SFF, which presented Jones with a $10,000 honorarium, describes itself as “a vehicle for change.” Past SFF winners include former Congressman Ron Dellums.
Jones has also collected the Rockefeller Foundation’s “Next Generation Leadership” Fellowship and the Campaign for America’s Future “Paul Wellstone Award 2008,” and was named one of the George Lucas Foundation’s “Daring Dozen 2008.”
The grant-making institutions of the Left have promoted him from a petty street Maoist to a position at the right hand of power, because leftists are heavily invested in command economics and malicious conspiracy theories.
What Difference Does It Make?
Some on the Left have parried that it does not matter what Jones’ views were, because he will only work in the area of “Green jobs.” This is true, insofar as it would be if President Bush had appointed a Posse Comitatus Holocaust denier as head of the EPA. Jones’ recent actions provide precious little comfort.
Jones has not repudiated his Hate America views, has shown no remorse, nor even registered comprehension that the agenda Maoists and other revolutionaries advanced was insidious. As recently as two years ago, he hoped his own youthful rage would inspire other “racial justice activists.” In response to Hurricane Katrina, he posted an essay he wrote following the Rodney King riots in the hope “that somehow the observations from my own generation’s struggles – 15 years ago – will be of some aid and comfort to the newer generation of racial justice activists who are now mounting history’s stage.”
On the contrary, Jones has made clear he is switching tactics, not goals. “I’m willing to forgo the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of radical ends,” he said.
Further, Jones has made clear he intends to use his position in a Fabian manner, to incrementally socialize the U.S. economy:
Right now we say we want to move from suicidal gray capitalism to something eco-capitalism where at least we’re not fast-tracking the destruction of the whole planet. Will that be enough? No, it won’t be enough. We want to go beyond the systems of exploitation and oppression altogether. But, that’s a process and I think that’s what’s great about the movement that is beginning to emerge is that the crisis is so severe in terms of joblessness, violence and now ecological threats that people are willing to be both pragmatic and visionary. So the green economy will start off as a small subset and we are going to push it and push it and push it until it becomes the engine for transforming the whole society.
Knowing his background, President Obama placed him in a position to accomplish these “radical ends,” alongside the numerous other radicals the president appointed as czars. Those who insisted Obama’s longtime affiliations with Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and others would be of no consequence have a large plate of crow to eat.
For the past several months, left-wing commentators have insisted Republicans distance themselves from those who believe Barack Obama was not born in the United States. They are now in the position of defending a man who has not repudiated his belief that George W. Bush may have issued the fatwa on the Twin Towers. Such a basic failure of judgment should disqualify him from office. Certainly, Barack Obama can’t believe there is a place for such thinking in his administration, can he?
If Jones is not promptly thrown under Rev. Wright’s bus, skeptics will have their answer.