Friday, September 11, 2009

Democrats v. Republicans v. Greens: Van Jones

So much has been written about the saga of environmental activist Van Jones, that there is little that I can add. At the top of the California Greening blog my friend, Wes Rolley, has written "Greens come from many backgrounds. There are more than a few who were, like myself, once Republicans and who left that party... or rather found that the party left them. Right now, having found a political home with the Greens, I want to make sure that the Green Party of California does not leave me. I am too old to go through this again." So true. The Van Jones saga is painful for me personally because even though I do not know Mr. Jones well, I have followed his career and read his writings with great interest, because his path has been so similar to my own.

Accordingly, I will here just post links to my favorite commentaries about the firing of Van Jones by the cowardly Obama Democrats and conclude after the jump with the full text of a powerful statement released by the Green Party.

Dumping Van Jones: Why Give In To Republicans' Tantrums? by John McWhorter, posted on the web site for (of all media) The New Republic.

Meet the Real Van Jones by Judith Lewis published as an Op-Ed in The Los Angeles Times.

Obama Has Fed His Green Jones to King CONG by Harvey Wasserman posted on Common Dreams.


For Immediate Release:
Thursday, September 10, 2009

Top Ten Reasons Why Van Jones Should Give Up On Obama and the Democratic Party, Come Home to the Green Party

WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders invited Van Jones, who stepped down recently as President Obama's advisor on Green Jobs, to abandon the Democratic Party and "come home to the Green Party."

Greens called Mr. Jones, who resigned last Saturday after coming under rightwing attack, the best of what the Obama Administration had to offer America, but said that Mr. Jones' principles were bound to clash with President Obama's capitulations to corporate lobbies and to 'blue dog' Democratic and Republican ideologues.

"The Green Party invites Van Jones, with his decades of experience working for justice and the environment, to join a political party that embraces and defends that agenda and the people who work for it -- the Green Party. Like the Greens, Van Jones sees green jobs and a healthy environment as interconnected pillars of a sustainable and just economy. We encourage Van to bring that agenda into the electoral arena as a Green Party member, leader and possible future candidate, either nationally, statewide in California, or locally in Oakland, his home," said Mike Feinstein, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and former Mayor of Santa Monica, California.

Greens offered 'Top Ten reasons why Van Jones should give up on President Obama and the Democratic Party, and come home to the Green Party"

  1. The Obama Administration's failure to defend Mr. Jones recalls similar retreats by the Clinton Administration, when Bill Clinton allowed Republicans and some Democrats to bully him into removing Assistant Attorney General nominee Lani Guinier and Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders. The targets tend to be Black -- consistent with Republican fury over the election of Barack Obama to the White House.
  2. The extremists who sought Mr. Jones' removal see their action as part of a wider plan to derail measures against global warming and block greens jobs programs: see "How Van Jones Happened and What We Need to Do Next," by Phil Kerpen, Fox Forum (Fox News), September 5 ( They smell blood, and the Obama Administration and Democratic leaders are cowering.
  3. Van Jones is a national leader for human rights, public health, and the environment. As 2004 Green presidential nominee David Cobb said, "The Democratic Party is the graveyard of progressive ideas." These ideas -- including green jobs, the 'Green For All' agenda (, and other ideas expressed by Mr. Jones -- are thriving in the Green Party.

  4. Among Greens, Mr. Jones need not play down his activism on behalf of the lives and well-being of Black Americans. He will not get called "reverse racist" of "anti-white" by Greens for addressing persistent racial disparities in economics, employment, health, treatment by the justice system, the response to Katrina and post-hurricane rebuilding, etc. The Green Party shares Mr. Jones' goals of racial justice.
  5. Among Greens, Mr. Jones will not get scolded for calling former President George W. Bush a 'crackhead' in the context of Mr. Bush's obsessive devotion to industries that are feeding America's addiction to fossil fuel energy.
  6. Among Greens, Mr. Jones need not apologize for questioning the behavior of the Bush Administration in connection with the 9/11 attacks. (See
  7. Mr. Jones has called for an end to coal energy, while President Obama continues to repeat the myth of 'clean coal.' Mr. Jones' analysis of the global warming threat and the need for conservation and a green economy are reflected in the Green Party's platform and principles. (See also
  8. If the epithet that Mr. Jones used to describe Republicans was offensive, imagine the words people will use later this century, when the effects of global warming have grown more severe, to describe Republican (and Democratic) officeholders from 2009 who refused to take necessary action to curb global warming's advance.
  9. The media have given Glenn Beck and the 'Tea Party' crowd generous coverage. (Compare the minimal and dismissive reporting on the hundreds of thousands of Americans who protested the Iraq War in 2003.) Republicans have benefited from the current political paradigm, which places extreme Republicans like Mr. Beck at the right end and 'moderate' Democrats like President Obama at the left end of the spectrum of allowable debate. Van Jones is a target for the same reason that former US Representative (D-Ga.) and 2008 Green presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney and others have been dismissed and ridiculed -- because they offer ideas unacceptable to media dominated by corporate interests. The emergence of the Green Party is key to overturning this paradigm, changing the political landscape, and expanding the public debate.
  10. The Green Party sees no reason to appease Republicans, Fox News, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Democratic leaders, or others who've used their power to serve corporate elites, to the detriment of working people and America's future. Greens call Van Jones too important for America to disappear from the public forum.

"As a Green, Van Jones can be a strong national voice for justice and the environment, independent of the constraints of the Democratic Party hierarchy, the corporate lobbies that pull their strings, and the right-wing appeasement and selling out of grassroots social movements that appears to be their strategy," said Marian Douglas-Ungaro of the DC Statehood Green Party and the Green Party Black Caucus.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Alex, I'm glad to see that you and Wes support the idea of drafting Van Jones. I don't want to repeat the comment I just left on Wes' post, so suffice it to say that we could really use some help spreading the word. Would you be willing to help us build the Draft Van Jones for governor of California facebook page, by sending invites, alerting email lists, and generally telling your friends in CA and elsewhere?