|Born|| September 20, 1968 |
Jones has been involved in the anti-police movement since at least 1991 beginning in Oakland, California. Since the Biden Crime Bill of 1994, more than 2.5 million black males have been incarcerated under the Democratic party's New Jim Crow regime. Jones referred to Trump's election victory as a "whitelash",, but has since lauded President Trump for taking the initiative on criminal justice reform.
Jones began his Marxist and anti-police activity in 1991 as a founding organizer of the communist revolutionary organization, Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM). The organization had its roots in a group protesting "U.S. Imperialism" during the Persian Gulf War of 1991. The leftist blog Machete 48 identifies STORM's influences as "third-worldist Marxism (and an often vulgar Maoism)."
- Main article : Revolutionary vanguard
STORM considered itself a revolutionary vanguard party. In Marxist thought, a "revolutionary vanguard" are advocates of perpetual revolution. Marxist organizing takes years, and only a few hardcore individuals survive all the failed organizing attempts, such as anti-war movements, anti-police movements, Occupy Wall Street, etc. Most protesters who participate in these causes loose interest after a war ends or an election changes priorities. A cadre of hardcore, trained Marxists however, fight on, waiting until the time is right for a general revolution.
In Reclaiming Revolution, STORM editors discussed their Maoist self-critical evaluation of accusations other groups made  that STORM considered itself the revolutionary vanguard of Marxism. They write,
|“||We did not understand clearly enough the distinction between cadre organization, revolutionary parties, revolutionary organization and vanguard organization.||”|
STORM repented of this grievous Marxist error as a "lesson learned,"
|“||We were a cadre organization that was working to build revolutionary mass organizations and to lay the groundwork for a future revolutionary party (or parties) by building a broad revolutionary internationalist trend.||”|
STORM's error was not being clear to members that they were an "advance guard" organization, and not a "vanguard organization." Jones and Garza had to learn where they fit into the broader, global international socialist struggle.
- See also: Maoism
STORM's own literature describes its "Maoist orientation" which conducted "a group reading of Mao's On Practice and On Contradiction." The group studied Lenin's theories of the state, revolution, the party, and "the political ideas of Mao Tse-tung." STORM's own history further states, "We also pushed at or went beyond the limits of the traditional Marxist canon, studying such topics as revolutionary feminism, the Palestinian liberation struggle, transgender liberation, methods of evaluation, self-care for cadre and revolutionary mass [community] organizing." STORM was extensively involved in the community organizing movement.
- See also: Rectification
Jones writes in Reclaiming Revolution:
We contrasted Alinsky organizing models, SNCC's grassroots model and Marxist-Leninist methods of mass work. We worked to develop a basic understanding of Marxist and Leninist histories, theories and politics. Members also worked to identify the features of the current historical period and discussed what it would take to build towards a revolutionary period.
Outside of the organization, a group of movement veterans, intrigued by STORM's interest in Marxist politics, organized a series of study groups. STORM members, along with other young leftists, thus got a chance to study Marx's critique of capitalism and revolutionary strategy together with trained communists.
This rectification was an important period in STORM's political development and consolidation. All of STORM's members developed a basic understanding of and commitment to revolutionary Marxist politics - with a particular emphasis on the historical experiences of Third World communist movements. Our understanding of these politics and histories, though still relatively crude, was extremely significant in the development of our work. For the first time, STORM had a shared ideological framework, giving us a common basis for developing our political analysis, our structure and our program.
During this time, we developed our analysis of and approach to the current historical period. We came to believe that the central role of revolutionaries today is to help build "resistance struggles" in oppressed communities around immediate reform issues and to use this resistance work to lay the groundwork for the development of a more clearly revolutionary struggle. We called this approach "Moving From Resistance to Revolution." See "STORM's Politics" for a more thorough discussion of these points.
Applying the Lessons of Rectification
We now believed that revolutionary Marxist politics would be central to the development of a successful liberation movement in this country. We also thought that we needed to build an organization that maintained its commitment to these politics.
But our new political commitment to Marxist-Leninist politics raised many questions about our structure and potential for relevance and growth. Most young activists around us - particularly women and people of color - were hostile to revolutionary Marxism. Would new members undermine our new political unity and commitment to red politics? Would there be political differences too large to resolve without divisive struggle and destructive arguments?
Looking around us, we didn't think it was possible to build an explicitly Marxist organization. And after the previous period of division and power struggles, it seemed risky to bring new people into our but recently - and delicately - cohered group.
To deal with these issues, STORM adopted a two-tiered membership structure with a leadership "Core" and a "General Membership." All Core Members had to be explicitly committed to revolutionary Marxist politics. General Members did not, although they could not be hostile to red politics either. Instead, General Members had only to support STORM's Points of Unity, which were not explicitly Marxist.
411: Political Education Committee
In 1998, STORM created 411. For the first time, STORM had a formal committee in charge of providing structured training for both the Core and the General Membership. 411 was also responsible for orienting new members. 411 was important in collectivizing STORM's commitment to Marxist politics.
411 facilitated political education trainings in every membership meeting. It also conducted bi-monthiy weekend "intensives." We began with Marxist "basics," laying a foundation on which to build an understanding of Third World communism. We studied philosophy, wage exploitation, capitalism, imperialism and globalization, Lenin's theories of the state, revolution and the party, and the political ideas of Mao Tse-tung and Antonio Gramsci.
Later sessions covered more "contemporary" issues, including Marxist feminism, transgender liberation, and the Palestinian liberation struggle. We continued to study the Marxist tradition, including dialectical materialism and member-initiated studies of Mao's "On Practice" and "On Contradiction". We also had skills trainings (e.g., revolutionary organizing, self-care for cadre, evaluation). Members were also expected to attend SOUL's Revolutionary Sunday Schools to study the history of Third World revolutions.
STORM's methodological approach to political education was distinct. To make the material more accessible to our members, 411 used interactive methods rather than traditional left study methods like reading and lecture.
In general, members had a low level of discipline with regards to political education. They often failed to read. Attendance at in-depth training sessions, held outside of meetings, was inconsistent. Members were busy in their mass work, leaving little time to schedule adequate training sessions.
We devoted what time we had to learning basic concepts. We rarely got beyond interactive, but often shallow, pedagogical methods and tools. As a result, members often developed only a crude understanding (sometimes not much deeper than a slogan) of complicated political ideas.411 designed these trainings and workshops as introductions to the basics of different political theories. But these introductory sessions were the only spaces within STORM for political discussion. This left more advanced members with virtually no organizational time or space for deeper, more nuanced study or discussion. It also left members with little opportunity to discuss the material's applicability to their mass work. This lack of deeper discussion became a problem for STORM's political development.
Affiliation with far left groups
In the early 2000s, Jones and STORM were co-sponsors of the anti-Iraq War demonstrations organized by International ANSWER, a left wing anti-Semitic front group for the Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party (WWP).
On the night after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks STORM held a vigil in Oakland, California, "mourning the victims of U.S. imperialism around the world." In a document entitled, Reclaiming Revolution: history, summation & lessons from the work of Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement, Jones is quoted as saying,
|“||Anti-Arab hostility is already reaching a fever pitch as pundits and common people alike rush to judgment that an Arab group is responsible for this tragedy...We fear that an atmosphere is being created that will result in official and street violence against Arab men, women and children.||”|
Reclaiming Revolution also blamed the U.S. for 9/11. A passage on page 45 (27 of the PDF file) reads:
|“||That night, STORM and the other movement leaders expressed sadness and anger at the deaths of innocent working class people. We were angry, first and foremost, with the U.S. government, whose worldwide aggression had engendered such hate across the globe that working class people were not safe at home. We honored those who had lost their lives in the attack -- and those who would surely lose their lives in subsequent U.S. attacks overseas.||”|
- Main article: Truthers
- See also: Trump-Russia collusion hoax
2020 Antifa riots
- See also: 2020 Antifa riots
It's not the racist white person who is in the Ku Klux Klan that we have to worry about. It's the white liberal Hillary Clinton supporter walking her dog in Central Park who would tell you right now, you know, people like that, 'I don't see race, race is no big deal to me, I see us all as the same, I give to charities,' but the minute she sees a black man who she does not respect or who she has a slight thought against, she weaponized race like she had been trained by the Aryan nation. A Klansmember could not have been better trained to pick up her phone and tell the police a black man, African-American man, come get him.
So even the most liberal well-intentioned white person has a virus in his or her brain that can be activated at an instant. And so what you're seeing now is a curtain falling away. And those of us who have been burdened by this every minute, every second of our entire lives are fragile right now. We are fragile right now. We are tired. And so I appreciate people who have been reaching out, I've had people reaching out to me for two days now, expressing their empathy and sympathy.My only prayer, look in the mirror at how you choke off black opportunity. How you choke off black dignity. How you behave in ways that make it harder for African-Americans to rise in your profession, in your place of work, on your campus, in your house of worship, and start working on that. Because this is the last domino of a whole series of dominos that have been falling for a long time. And black people have been getting gas lit every time we point this out.
Prison reform advocacy
Van Jones is a longtime advocate of prison reform.
Observer in the Rodney King riots
- See also: 1992 Los Angeles riots
On April 29, 1992, more than a year after the founding of STORM, members of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) looted and trashed the downtown and government districts of Los Angeles, triggering the infamous Rodney King riots. The RCP is known as the premier Maoist party in the United States. During the days immediately preceding the violence, RCP, which maintained close ties to the L.A. gangs known as the Crips and the Bloods, circulated throughout South Central Los Angeles a leaflet featuring a statement by RCP National Spokesman Carl Dix, titled It's Right To Rebel, a quote popularized by Mao Zedong. Encouraged by Dix, RCP activists helped lead the riots that would leave 58 people dead and more than 2,300 people injured.
While studying law at Yale, Van Jones traveled to San Francisco in the spring of 1992 when the leftist Lawyers Committee for Human Rights hired several organizers to be on hand for the trial of policemen charged with the beating of Rodney King. Jones was arrested in the aftermath of the riots. While in jail Jones is said to have experienced a jailhouse conversion to communism although the record shows Jones founded STORM a year earlier as a communist organization. The truthout.org site gave this cover story:
|“||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.... I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th, and then the verdicts came down on April 29th. By August, I was a communist.||”|
Like other associates of Barack Obama, Bernardine Dohrn for example, Van Jones is a lawyer, avowed communist, associated with communist front organizations, and arrested in the aftermath of a deadly riot.
Cop Watch and Ella Baker Center
Jones was appointed by Barack Obama to serve as the Obama administration's "Green Czar". He announced his resignation at midnight, September 6, 2009 after a series of controversies over past inflammatory statements.
In 2004, Van Jones became a founding board member of the Apollo Alliance for "clean energy and green-collar jobs."  p.87 Jeff Jones of the Weather Underground is the New York State director of Apollo Alliance. Anthony Thigpenn, a former Black Panther, is a board member of the Apollo Alliance. Apollo is a secretive alliance of labor, environment, and other left-wing activists that formulated Obama’s trillion dollar “stimulus” plan. Van Jones described Apollo “as sort of a grand unified field theory for progressive left causes.”
|“||I'm willing to forgo the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of radical ends....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.||”|
Early life and career
As a child, Jones considered himself "bookish and bizarre". On his first day at the University of Tennessee at Martin, he decided to change his name to "Van", because "it has a little touch of nobility, but at the same time it’s not overboard."
He has worked as a John Podesta subordinate at the Center for American Progress and sat on the board of an environmental activist group at which a founder of the Weather Underground terrorist organization is a top director.
In the 1990s, Van Jones described himself as a communist in an in-depth interview for the radical publication East Bay Express:
But in jail, he said, "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.'" Although he already had a plane ticket, he decided to stay in San Francisco. "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." In the months that followed, he let go of any lingering thoughts that he might fit in with the status quo. "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."
Although communism is predominantly atheistic (see: Atheism and communism), Jones says he is a "person of faith" and became very upset in an interview when the topic of open atheists having difficulty in American politics was repeatedly brought up. The African-American community has extremely negative views concerning atheism and ostracizes atheists.
- How Van Jones Became a Star of the 2016 Campaign, The New York Times
- Van Jones: Trump vote is a 'white-lash'
- Revolutionaries in High Places- Van Jones, by adamfreedom March 23, 2009.
- Obama File 72 Obama Appoints "Former" Communist To White House "Green Job", Trevor Louden, April 06, 2009.
- Machete 48
- Reclaiming Revolution, p. 10.
- Reclaiming Revolution, p. 40.
- Ibid. Also p. 42.
- Ibid, p. 33.
- Reclaiming Revolution: history, summation & lessons from the work of Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), Spring 2004, p. 23 pdf.
- Ibid, p. 25 pdf.
- Ibid, p.15 pdf.
- Ibid, p. 25 pdf.
- Ibid, pp. 8, 10, 15 pdf.
- "Rectification" is a term used in the communist tradition to describe an organizational effort to get back on track, to rectify past errors.
- ANSWER, Antiwar Rallies and Support for Terror Organizations, Anti-Defamation League, August 22, 2006
- Van Jones and His STORMtroopers Denounced America the Night After 9/11, By Matthew Vadum, AmSpecBlog, 8.29.09.
- Concha, Joe (June 28, 2017). O'Keefe video shows CNN's Van Jones calling Russia story a ‘nothingburger’. The Hill. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
- Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). Retrieved from dicoverthenetworks.org, March 8, 2010. In 1962 a group of Maoist radicals split with the Soviet sponsored CPUSA and formed the Progressive Labor Movement (PLM). By 1966, the PLM renamed itself the Progressive Labor Party (PLP) and joined forces with the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). PLP tried unsuccessfully to take over SDS's National Office, thereby pushing SDS even further to the left toward hard-line Maoism. Opposition to PLP tactics led to the formation of another Maoist faction, the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM). The RYM eventually split into two factions, one the notorious terrorist group Weatherman; the other spawning a 1969 splinter group called the Bay Area Revolutionary Union (RU), co-founded by H. Bruce Franklin, Robert Avakian, and Charles Hamilton, which became the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) in 1974.
- 12 Years After the Riots, Rodney King Gets Along, J. Emilio Flores, The New York Times, September 19, 2004.
- Eliza Strickland, The New Face of Environmentalism, November 2005.
- Community members celebrate The Ella Baker Center’s 20th anniversary
- Our Victories, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
- Will a 'red' help blacks go green?, White House appoints 'radical communist' who sees environment as racial issue, WorldNetDaily.com, April 12, 2009.
- Rebuild the Dream
- Greening the Ghetto, The New Yorker
- The “True Identity” Of Van Jones, Accuracy in Media
- Obama's 'green jobs czar' worked with terror founder Van Jones served on board of activist group where Weatherman co-founder Jeff Jones serves as top director, By Aaron Klein, WorldNetDaily, August 13, 2009.
- The New Face of Environmentalism
- What's The Matter With Van Jones?, video
- Confessions of a black atheist, CNN
- Black Atheists Say Non-Belief Means Cultural Outsider, NPR, May 28, 201012:00 PM ET
- Van Jones, CNN
- Van Jones, KeyWiki
- Obama “Green Czar” Van Jones blames “White Polluters” for steering poison into minority communities
- Reclaiming Revolution manifesto on Archive.org