WASHINGTON – Perhaps you think the Van Jones appointment as a White House czar was an aberration and, now that he is gone, America will never hear from him again.
His biggest fans and closest friends tell a much different story.
For instance, Don Hazen, executive director of the Independent Media Institute, a “progressive” alternative media outlet heavily funded by the likes of Teresa Heinz Kerry’s Tides Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation, says Jones’ talents were actually wasted in the position of “green jobs czar” Barack Obama gave him.
He calls Jones “arguably the most effective communicator in Democratic and progressive politics – and yes, that includes Obama.” He didn’t like that he was in a position where he would “have to control his tongue, and in many cases shut his mouth.”
“Part of what made Jones popular was telling it like it is. Jones inspired audiences, especially young people, with the notion that a radical vision, combined with innovative ideas and fundamental organizing, could work in tandem with our political system,” Hazen writes.
Hazen calls departing from the White House a “liberation” for Jones.
Not only is this better for Jones, says Hazen, it’s better for the “progressive” movement because Jones is the leader it needs on the outside.
- Now a he’s household name. “Although he has been wildly popular in progressive circles, and a headliner at progressive conferences like Take Back America and the Netroots Nation, Jones was still a relative unknown for the population at large. Now he has a national stage.”
- He’s been rescued from obscurity. “Jones took one for the team by taking an obscure position in the first place. And he took another one for the team by realizing quickly that the right-wing smear campaign against him was going to be a distraction.”
- He’s the leader progressives need: “Let’s face it. For reasons not altogether clear, there is no single powerful, articulate leader of progressive forces, which include many millions of Americans. It’s time we have such a leader.”
- He has a renewed charge to speak the truth: “Jones was attacked by the right for basically saying what is true: that Republicans are a–holes … and the biggie – that the Bush administration had to be challenged on 9/11.”
- He can provide real vision and organizing framework: “Jones’ book: “The Green Collar Economy,” was briefly a New York Times best-seller, and now it just might make it back on the list.”
“The liberation of Van Jones will give him the opportunity to fully explain his blueprint on green jobs, but also connect it to the political economy and the need for resources to train young people in the skills needed to bring a green economy to the U.S.,” continues Hazen.
There’s one more factor Hazen mentions.
“Fame is a valuable commodity in our society,” he writes. “And now, it is clear that Jones is a celebrity. In a short time, people will have a hard time remembering exactly what made Jones famous, but famous he will be. And he will have a major pulpit — thanks to his oratory gifts and to how the media treats notorious celebs.”
Hazen says, in American society, “fame seems to trump radicalism and scandal.”
Jones quit late Saturday night after pressure mounted over his extremist history first exposed in WND.
Jones was linked late last week to efforts suggesting a government role in the Sept. 11 terror attacks and to derogatory comments about Republicans.
As for his other comments he made before joining Obama’s team, Jones said: “If I have offended anyone with statements I made in the past, I apologize.”
In April, Aaron Klein, Jerusalem bureau chief for WND.com, broke the first major story on Jones who was identified as a self-described radical communist and “rowdy black nationalist” who said his environmental activism was actually a means to fight for racial and class “justice.”
Succeeding revelations by WND included:
previously served on the board of an environmental activist group at
which a founder of the Weather Underground terrorist organization is a
Jones was 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. The revelation followed Beck’s
reports on WND’s story about Jones’ communist background.
- That Jones and other White House appointees may have been screened by an ACORN associate.
One day after the 9/11 attacks, Jones led a vigil that expressed
solidarity with Arab and Muslim Americans as well as what he called the
victims of “U.S. imperialism” around the world.
days before his White House appointment, Jones used a forum at a major
youth convention to push for a radical agenda that included spreading
the wealth and “changing the whole system.”
Maoist manifesto while leading the group Standing Together to Organize
a Revolutionary Movement, or STORM, was scrubbed from the Internet
after being revealed by WND.
was the main speaker at an anti-war rally that urged “resistance”
against the U.S. government – a demonstration sponsored by an
organization associated with the Revolutionary Communist Party.
In a 2005 conference, Jones characterized the U.S. as an “apartheid
regime” that civil rights workers helped turn into a “struggling,
Jones signed a petition calling for nationwide “resistance” against
police, accusing them of using the 9/11 attacks to carry out policies
While talk radio and some cable television shows such as Glenn Beck picked up WND’s reporting and increased the pressure on the administration to cut Jones loose, there was no significant press coverage of the scandal by the major U.S. news media until late last week.
Note: Media representatives interested in interviewing WND’s Aaron Klein should e-mail WND.