JERUSALEM – The man appointed as a special environmental adviser to the White House recently was as an admitted radical communist and black nationalist leader.
Van Jones, president and founder of Green For All, a nonprofit organization that advocates for building a so-called inclusive green economy, has been tapped to serve as the special adviser for green jobs, enterprise and innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. According to the White House blog, Jones’ duties will include helping to craft job-generating climate policy and ensuring equal opportunity in the administration’s energy proposals.
Jones, formerly a self-described “rowdy black nationalist,” boasted in a 2005 interview that his environmental activism was a means to fight for racial and class “justice.”
“I’ll work with anybody, I’ll fight anybody if it will push our issues forward,” he told the left-leaning East Bay Express in a 2005 interview. “I’m willing to forgo the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of radical ends.”
“There is a green wave coming, with renewable energy, organic agriculture, cleaner production,” Jones said. “Our question is: Will the green wave lift all boats? That’s the moral challenge to the people who are the architects of this new, ecologically sound economy. Will we have eco-equity, or will we have eco-apartheid? Right now we have eco-apartheid.”
Jones was a founder and leader of the communist revolutionary organization Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement, or STORM. That organization had its roots in a grouping of black people organizing to protest the first Gulf War. STORM was formally founded in 1994, becoming one of the most influential and active radical groups in the San Francisco Bay area.
STORM worked with known communist leaders. It led the charge in black protests against various issues, including a local attempt to pass Proposition 21, a ballot initiative that sought to increase the penalties for violent crimes and require more juvenile offenders to be tried as adults.
The leftist blog Machete 48 identifies STORM’s influences as “third-worldist Marxism (and an often vulgar Maoism).”
Jones did not return WND requests for comment left at his Green for All organization.
Speaking to the East Bay Express, Jones said he first became radicalized in the wake of the 1992 Rodney King riots, during which time he was arrested.
“I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th, and then the verdicts came down on April 29th,” he said. “By August, I was a communist.”
“I met all these young radical people of color – I mean really radical: communists and anarchists. And it was, like, ‘This is what I need to be a part of.’ I spent the next ten years of my life working with a lot of those people I met in jail, trying to be a revolutionary,” he said.
Trevor Loudon, a communist researcher and administrator of the New Zeal blog, identified several Bay area communists who worked with STORM, including Elizabeth Martinez, who helped advise Jones’ Ella Baker Human Rights Center, which Jones founded to advocate civil justice. Jones and Martinez also attended a “Challenging White Supremacy” workshop together.
Martinez was a long time Maoist who went on to join the Communist Party USA breakaway organization Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS) in the early 1990′s, according to Loudon. Martinez still serves on the CCDS council and is also a board member of the Movement for a Democratic Society, where she sits alongside former Weathermen radicals Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.
One of STORM’s newsletters featured a tribute to Amilcar Cabral, the late Marxist revolutionary leader of Guinea-Bissau and the Cape Verde Islands.
STORM eventually fell apart amid bickering amongst its leaders.
Jones then moved on to environmentalism. He used his Ella Baker Center to advocate “inclusive” environmentalism and launch a Green-Collar Jobs Campaign, which led to the nation’s first Green Jobs Corps in Oakland, Calif.
At the Clinton Global Initiative in 2007, Jones announced the establishment of Green For All, which in 2008 held a national green conference where most attendees were black. Jones also released a book, “The Green Collar Economy,” which debuted at No.12 on the New York Times’ bestseller list – the first environmental book written by an African American to make that list.
His appointment as a White House environmental adviser was announced on March 10.
White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley announced, “Van Jones has been a strong voice for green jobs, and we look forward to having him work with departments and agencies to advance the President’s agenda of creating 21st century jobs that improve energy efficiency and utilize renewable resources. Jones will also help to shape and advance the administration’s energy and climate initiatives with a specific interest in improvements and opportunities for vulnerable communities.”