President Obama’s “green jobs czar” is co-founder of a black activist organization that has led a campaign prompting major advertisers to withdraw from Glenn Beck’s top-rated Fox News Channel program.
In recent weeks, Beck has done several critical segments about Van Jones, who was appointed as the special adviser for green jobs, enterprise and innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Now Colors of Change, an activist organization seeking to “strengthen Black America’s political voice” has led a furious campaign against Beck culminating in major companies such as Geico and Lawyers.com pulling their spots from the Fox News star’s daily show. The group also says it has garnered about 75,000 signatories for an online petition against Beck to be sent to advertisers.
Colors of Change says the controversy stems from Beck’s recent comment while a guest on another Fox News show that Obama is a “racist” with “a deep-seated hatred for white people.”
Bill Shine of Fox News’ programming department clarified Beck was expressing “a personal opinion which represented his own views, not those of the Fox News Channel. And as with all commentators in the cable news arena, he is given the freedom to express his opinions.”
Immediately following NewsBusters report, Colors of Change scrubbed its site of any mention of Jones. However, a Google cache of the site lists Jones as a founder.
After News Busters pointed out the deletion, Colors of Change added Jones back to its site but now claims “Van hasn’t been active in the work of ColorOfChange in recent years.”
“After helping ColorOfChange get started in 2005, Van moved on to other pursuits,” the website now claims.
Previously, the site simply listed Jones as a co-founder but did not claim any distance from the radical activist.
Most major media reports on the Colors of Change campaign fail to note Jones is a founder of the group or that Beck has been reporting critically on Jones.
Beck’s program, meanwhile, has been taking major hits from the Colors of Change campaign.
Geico and Lawyers.com have pulled their ads from the Fox News show, and Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance and SC Johnson have all claimed their ads were run in error and vowed to correct the mistake.
Fox News said most of the companies will have their ads shifted to other Fox programs.
According to the White House blog, Jones’ duties include helping to craft job-generating climate policy and to ensure equal opportunity in the administration’s energy proposals.
Jones, formerly a self-described “rowdy black nationalist,” boasted in a 2005 interview with the left-leaning East Bay Express that his environmental activism was a means to fight for racial and class “justice.”
Jones was president and founder of Green For All, a nonprofit organization that advocates building a so-called inclusive green economy.
Until recently, Jones was a longtime member of the board of Apollo Alliance, a coalition of labor, business, environmental and community leaders that claims on its website to be “working to catalyze a clean energy revolution that will put millions of Americans to work in a new generation of high-quality, green-collar jobs.”
He was a founder and leader of the communist revolutionary organization Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement, or STORM. The 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).”
Speaking to the East Bay Express, Van 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 10 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, or CCDS, in the early 1990s, 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 Ayers and 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.
The tribute is noteworthy because Jones reportedly named his son after Cabral and reportedly concludes every e-mail with a quote from the communist leader.
STORM eventually fell apart amid bickering among its leaders.
Van 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, an activist organization which in 2008 held a national green conference in which 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 the list.
His appointment as a White House environmental adviser was announced March 10.