Thursday, February 25, 2010

Van Jones Returns To Public Life and the National Fight For Jobs, Freedom, and Environmental Justice

Van Jones in August 2009

Ethan Miller/Getty Images


Van Jones is a real leader, a real activist, a real intellectual, a real organizer, and most importantly A REAL FIGHTER FOR JUSTICE, FREEDOM, AND EQUALITY--which of course is precisely why he is no longer working for the government. But that's no reflection on Van who sincerely thought he could contribute something important, necessary, and useful to Obama's administration despite its obvious limitations and their cowardly failure to properly support and protect him from vicious attacks, libel, and slander orchestrated by the lowly likes of far rightwing media cretins like Glenn Beck. It is however a serious indictment of a government and generally reactionary political system that fears the kind of intellectual and political honesty, integrity, vision, and genuine independence that Jones represents and epitomizes in his work and life. It's good to see Mr. Jones up and fighting again. We really need him.


February 24, 2010

Former Jobs Czar Lands at Think Tank
New York Times

Van Jones, the charismatic advocate for environmental jobs who resigned from a White House post last September over a number of controversial past statements, has found a new job with the Center for American Progress in Washington.

Mr. Jones served in the Obama administration after years as a community organizer and “green jobs” activist in the San Francisco Bay Area. He will lead the center’s Green Opportunity Initiative, which will help promote investment and employment in clean energy and environmental restoration projects, officials there said.

Mr. Jones became a focus of criticism for conservative politicians and media figures over his signing of a petition in 2004 questioning if the Bush administration had allowed the terrorist attacks of September 2001 to provide a pretext for the war in Iraq.

He also used a vulgarity to refer to Republicans just before being appointed to his White House job last year and had been an outspoken supporter of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is on death row for the killing of a police officer in Philadelphia.

John Podesta, the president of the Center for American Progress, called Mr. Jones “a pioneer in the effort to promote a clean, sustainable economy that works for all Americans.” He said the focus of his work at the center would mirror what he did at the White House and earlier in California — to help find environmentally friendly jobs for minority and low-income communities.

Mr. Podesta was White House chief of staff for former President Clinton and is a close adviser to President Obama. His center is something of a shadow Democratic cabinet and policy shop.

Mr. Jones had been a senior fellow at the center for 18 months before his brief White House stint last year.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will honor Mr. Jones with its President’s Award at its annual Image Awards ceremony on Friday, the group said.

Benjamin Jealous, the N.A.A.C.P. president, called Mr. Jones “an American treasure.”

“He is quite simply one of the few Americans in recent years to have generated powerful new ideas that are creating more jobs here,” Mr. Jealous wrote in a column published on

He added that Mr. Jones might be “the most misunderstood man in America.”

“He resigned from the White House last year after some sought to discredit him for missteps, such as political statements made years ago,” Mr. Jealous wrote. “However, we can never afford to forget that a defining trait of our country is our collective capacity to practice forgiveness and celebrate redemption. This is a nation built on second chances.”