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Musings From Our ‘Green Czar’ Van Jones

Mr. Van Jones talks about the Green Collar Economy in his 2009 BERC Annual Lecture:

For those who still haven’t heard the background of this worthy, we turn once again to the invaluable Discover The Networks website:

Van Jones

Born in 1968 in rural West Tennessee, Van Jones (whose birth name was Anthony Jones) attended the University of Tennessee at Martin. As an undergraduate aspiring to a career in journalism, he founded an underground campus newspaper as well as a statewide African American newspaper. After earning his BA degree, Jones abandoned his plan to become a journalist and instead enrolled at Yale Law School, where, as an angry black separatist, he first arrived wearing combat boots and carrying a Black Panther bookbag. "If I’d been in another country, I probably would have joined some underground guerrilla sect," he reflects. "But as it was, I went on to an Ivy League law school…. I wasn’t ready for Yale, and they weren’t ready for me." …

During his years at Yale, Jones served as an intern with the San Francisco-based Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights (LCCR), which views the United States as an irredeemably racist nation and “champions the legal rights of people of color, poor people, immigrants and refugees, with a special commitment to African-Americans.”

Jones says he became politically radicalized in the aftermath of the deadly April 1992 Los Angeles riots which erupted shortly after four L.A. police officers who had beaten the now-infamous Rodney King were exonerated in court. “I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th,” says Jones, “and then the verdicts came down on April 29th. By August, I was a communist.”

In early May 1992, after the L.A. riots had ended, Jones was dispatched by LCCR Executive Director Eva Patterson to serve as a legal monitor at a nonviolent protest (against the Rodney King verdicts) in San Francisco. Local police, fearful that the event would devolve into violence, stopped the proceedings and arrested many of the participants, including all the legal monitors. Jones spent a short time in jail, and all charges against him were subsequently dropped.

Recalling his brief incarceration, Jones says: “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.”

After leaving Yale in 1993, Jones relocated to San Francisco, where he helped establish Bay Area Police Watch, a hotline and lawyer-referral service that began as a project of LCCR and specialized in demonizing local police. In 1996 he founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which, claiming that the American criminal-justice system was infested with racism, sought to promote alternatives to incarceration…

By the late 1990s, Jones was a committed Marxist-Leninist-Maoist who viewed police officers as the arch-enemies of black people, and who loathed capitalism for allegedly exploiting nonwhite minorities worldwide. He became a leading member of Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), a Bay-Area Marxist-Maoist collective that was staffed by members of various local nonprofits, a number of whom had ties to the Ella Baker Center. STORM would grow in influence until 2002, when it disbanded due to internal squabbles…

In the early 2000s, Jones and STORM were active in the anti-Iraq War demonstrations organized by International ANSWER, a front group for the Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party. STORM also had ties to the South African Communist Party and it revered Amilcar Cabral, the late Marxist revolutionary leader (of Guinea-Bissau and the Cape Verde Islands) who lauded Lenin as “the greatest champion of the national liberation of the peoples.” (In 2006 Van Jones would name his own newborn son “Cabral” — in Amilcar Cabral’s honor.)

During his tenure with STORM, Jones collaborated on numerous projects (including antiwar demonstrations) with local activist Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez, who served as a “mentor” for members of the Ella Baker Center. Martinez was a longtime Maoist who went on to join the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS), a Communist Party USA splinter group, in the early 1990s. To this day, Martinez continues to sit on the CCDS advisory board alongside such luminaries as Angela Davis, Timuel Black (who served on Barack Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign committee), and musician Pete Seeger. Martinez is also a board member of the Movement for a Democratic Society, the parent organization of Progressives for Obama. Martinez and Van Jones together attended a “Challenging White Supremacy” workshop which advanced the theme that “all too often, the unconscious racism of white activists stands in the way of any effective, worthwhile collaboration” with blacks.

In 2005 Jones and the Ella Baker Center produced the “Social Equity Track” for the United Nations’ World Environment Day celebration, a project that eventually would evolve into the Baker Center’s Green-Collar Jobs Campaign — “a job-training and employment pipeline providing ‘green pathways out of poverty’ for low-income adults in Oakland.”

Soon after attending the Clinton Global Initiative in September 2007, Jones launched “Green For All,” a non-governmental organization “dedicated to building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty … advocating for local, state and federal commitment to job creation, job training, and entrepreneurial opportunities in the emerging green economy – especially for people from disadvantaged communities.”

Said Jones: "There is a green wave coming, with renewable energy, organic agriculture, cleaner production. 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. Look at Marin; they’ve got solar this, and bio this, and organic the other, and fifteen minutes away by car, you’re in Oakland with cancer clusters, asthma, and pollution."

In 2008 Jones published his first book, The Green Collar Economy, which focused on environmental and economic issues. The book received favorable reviews from such notables as Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi, Laurie David, Winona LaDuke, environmentalist Paul Hawken, and NAACP President/CEO Ben Jealous…

In late February 2009 Jones spoke at a Washington, DC event called Power Shift ’09, which was billed as the largest-ever youth summit (attended by 12,000 young adults) on climate change… Among Jones’ comments were the following:

    * "We have to create a green economy. That’s true. that’s true. But we have to create a green economy that Dr. King would be proud of. We have to create a green economy that includes everybody, that has a place in it for everybody…. But the challenge is, will you settle for eco-apartheid?"

    * "Now I’m gonna tell you this: All that clean coal stuff … We could have clean coal. I’m for clean coal. But I’ll tell you what. If we’re gonna have clean coal, let’s have a couple other things…. We could power the country with clean coal, or we could have unicorns pull our cars for us … Equally fictitious, equally fantastical, equally ludicrous. You know, so, we could have the tooth fairy bring us our energy at night. I mean, equally ludicrous. There is no such thing as a tooth fairy. There is no such thing as unicorns. And there is no such thing as clean coal, so let’s be clear about that."

    * "When we talk about ‘Green for All,’ ‘Green for Everybody,’ where was it written that only men could put up solar panels? Where was it written that only men could manufacture wind turbines? If the green economy has the same sorry track record of sexism; if women in the green economy are making 70 cents to the dollar, just like they’re doing in the pollution-based economy, something’s wrong with our movement…. We need to have gender equity in this movement."

    * "What about our Native American sisters and brothers?… They told us a long time ago that this was sacred land…. [They] were pushed and bullied and mistreated and shoved into all the land we didn’t want, where it was all hot and windy. Well, guess what, renewable energy? Guess what, solar industry? Guess what, wind industry? They now own and control 80 percent of the renewable energy resources. No more broken treaties! No more broken treaties! Give them the wealth! Give them then wealth! Give them the dignity! Give them the respect that they deserve! No justice on stolen land! We owe them a debt!"

    * "What about our immigrant sisters and brothers? What about people who’ve come here from all around the world, who we’re willing to have out in the fields with poison being sprayed on them, poison being sprayed on them because we have the wrong agricultural system. And we’re willing to poison them and poison the earth to put food on our table, but we don’t want to give them rights, and we don’t want to give them dignity, and we don’t want to give them respect. We need to get down on our knees and thank these Native American communities. But also the Latino community, Asian community, and every other community that’s willing to come here and help us out, ’cause we obviously need some help. We need some wisdom from someplace else. ‘Cause what we’ve come up with here don’t make no sense at all."

    * [W]hat about our sisters and brothers that are in prison right now? What about the formerly incarcerated? We need to have a green economy that doesn’t have any throw-away species,… resources,… [or] any throw-away people either."

    * "If all you do is have a clean energy revolution, you won’t have done anything…. If all we do is take out the dirty power system, the dirty power generation in a system, and just replace it with some clean stuff, put a solar panel on top of this system, but we don’t deal with how we are consuming water, we don’t deal with how we are treating our other sister and brother species, we don’t deal with toxins, we don’t deal with the way we treat each other; If that’s not a part of this movement,… this is all you’ll have: You’ll have solar-powered bulldozers, solar-powered buzz saws, and bio-fueled bombers, and we’ll be fighting wars over lithium for the batteries instead of oil for the engines, and we’ll still have a dead planet. This movement is deeper than a solar panel! Deeper than a solar panel! Don’t stop there! Don’t stop there! No, we gonna change the whole system! We gonna change the whole thing! We not gonna put a new battery in a broken system, We want a new system. We want a new system."

On March 10, 2009, President Barack Obama named Jones to be his so-called “Green Jobs Czar.” Jones’ formal title is “Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation” for the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

In a July 2009 interview with Newsweek magazine, Jones said he could not explain exactly what a “green job” is: "Well, we still don’t have a unified definition, and that’s not unusual in a democracy. It takes a while for all the states and the federal government to come to some agreement. But the Department of Labor is working on it very diligently. Fundamentally, it’s getting there, but we haven’t crossed the finish line yet."

    Mr. Obama sure can pick them.

    This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, September 1st, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

    20 Responses to “Musings From Our ‘Green Czar’ Van Jones”

    1. proreason says:

      Well, he’s certainly the right color.

      Just seeing him up there makes me want to give him some money.

      From the clip:

      “fundamentally, you in the Bay Area were right”.

      Don’t worry about that little toe-stub with the budget. Don’t worry that 80% of the country is profoundly opposed to the politics of the Bay Area. Don’t worry that 90% of people recoil from the perversions that are not just everyday occurances in San Francisco, they are CELEBRATED perversions.

      What is it about Black men, aging White women and perverts of all colors that makes them think their fantasies must supercede what overwhelming majorities favor?

    2. Colonel1961 says:

      ‘Pollution-based economy’ – what a useless idiot. No wonder GoBama’s approval ratings are sinking faster than the Titanic…

    3. Liberals Demise says:

      I am convinced now!!



      IN 2010 and especially 2012!!

    4. bill says:

      Go GREEN recycle Washington … Priceless.

    5. mbabbitt says:

      Green is the new Red (as in Red Communists). Green is the catchword for every imagined unfairness to any imagined minority or aggrieved victim group or nonpersonal entity (i.e., the earth). It is a subterfuge for initiating the failed systems of the past: collectivism, communism, socialism. It’s scary how a good intentions of people (to be responsible for one’s life’s output) can be used to push a radical economic and social agenda.

    6. VMAN says:

      Why is it that these tools can’t see past race or gender? And they call us racists and sexists. I take that back they are color blind. All they can see is red.

    7. caligirl9 says:

      This “green czar” is quite well qualified for the job.

      No academic background regarding biology, environmental science, ecology. Just a history of rabble-rousing and agitation. But he’s as qualified as our community organizer prez. No one should be surprised.

      Being stuck in the Bay Area, all you hear is “green” this and that. I’m sitting her editing a paper about how “green” integrating bicycling and commuter rail can be. So compelling! I try to minimize my impact on the air, on my consumption of fossil fuels, recycle plastic and paper and electronics, etc. But I don’t want some nutcase telling me I HAVE to do it.

      • VMAN says:

        Exactly! We all care about the environment but when these idiots tell me what I can and cannot do I want to go out and burn a huge pile of coal.

    8. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/01/12/090112fa_fact_kolbert?currentPage=6

      ….About five years ago, Jones, thinking about the notion of “disposability,” proposed that the Ella Baker Center broaden its agenda. His new idea was for a program that he named “Green Jobs, Not Jail.”

      …. You can even start retrofitting buildings. But if I go there and the people who are doing the retrofits are just the people who used to have jobs anyway, and they’re mostly all one color and mostly all one kind of people, then I’m not going to be satisfied…”

    9. beautyofreason says:

      “No more broken treaties! No more broken treaties! Give them the wealth! Give them the wealth! ”

      Whine whine whine sob sob sob, divide people into groups based on sex or race and continue the blame game in perpetuity. I’m pretty sick that the descendants of Caucasians are continually loathed for the actions of slave owners 140 + years ago. Isn’t that historical – based prejudice a form of racism itself? I don’t blame modern Mongolians for the atrocities of Genghis Khan nor modern Italians for the Inquisition.

      “Give them the wealth” is just short for advancing communism. Ignite social groups to believe they are still deprived and that everyone must have equal earnings in order to be fair. Use this anger as a wedge to introduce a form of government that is tyrannical but pretends to be stepping up for the racial / gender interest groups. Kind of like when China enforces the one child policy through mandatory sterilizations and abortions of the Han but allows some rural ethnic minorities to have more than one children as a “symbol” of Chinese tolerance. Ha.

    10. MinnesotaRush says:

      This guy freely admits he’s an enemy of our Republic:

      “says Jones, “and then the verdicts came down on April 29th. By August, I was a communist.”

      Then leave!

    11. terika says:


      2010 & 2012 !!!!

      Let’s Roll

    12. terika says:


      LIGHT THE NIGHT ON 9 / 11

      Light candles & have your American Flags waving at your own Town Halls, Plazas,
      places of worship, main town gathering places, or even your front porches ~

      West Coast, East Coast, in between and beyond ~
      Let’s help light the way for our 9 / 11 angels so they know WE shall NEVER FORGET !

      at 9:11pm on 9 / 11 !!!!

      (even though the atrocities occurred in the morning, the candles will shine brightest at night!)

      Across the country – Everyone get out to your town plaza, major meeting places – and light up the night so bright that you can see every star on every flag that the folks have brought with them !!!!

      We canNOT allow these Leftists to USURP 9 / 11 !!!

      We can light the way for our 9.12 travelers (how encouraging!)

      Even all you lucky people who get to make it to D.C. for 9.12 ~

      Wherever you are on 9 / 11 night PLEASE CONGREGATE BY 9:00pm
      and LIGHT YOUR CANDLES @ 9:11pm !!!

      Unity country wide !

      Not all of us can make it to D.C.,

      but we can show our support and unity

      via the millions of candles lit to honor our lost heroes,
      and encourage those who march in our stead.

      God Bless the U.S.A.

      (no, I am not a corporation, astroturfer… but a concerned single mom out in good ol Nor Calif who just can’t afford the trip. We must get our country back, as it is probably the only thing we will
      be able to afford to leave our children).

    13. canary says:

      On Glen Beck he showed footage of Van Jones in approx Mar 2009, giving a smiliar speech, but instead he was yelling (in rev wright style) saying things implying theats against white people. The windy areas suitable for wind turbines, apparently, belongs to other minorities, before America. That we are giving jobs of growing things to immigrants is poisoning them. Guess he forgot about the minority children slaves at the WH plantation working in soil with human feces. That rev Lowry that gave his yellow man, red man, will gain power, is also signs of an agenda to seek revenge against whites. Beck said he had some more important new to report, but felt it would endanger his family to report it. He also had a guest that taped the NEA propaganda on Obama’s follower’s violating the law and using the arts to promote Obama propanda. NEA said this is just the beginning, and directed Obamies to make a “stink” several times. It is art for advertisements to put on face-book, such as pushing health care,

    14. Yarddog1 says:

      That a President of the United States would appoint such a despicable person to any government job is certainly a testament to Obama’s true agenda. There should be no doubt in any American’s mind that this country is indeed in deep trouble.

      • proreason says:

        There is a glimmer of hope.

        These people are really really stupid.

      • canary says:

        Sounded like everyone in the room was stupid. I thought it was fake laughter like they used in the old TV days. Only got through half of it.

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