Jones’ official title isÂ Special Advisor on Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation for the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
The 41-year-old Yale Law School graduate and civil rights lawyer is also the founder of California’s Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, “a non-profit agency for justice, opportunities and peace.”
Sounds idyllic, but Jones’ past isn’t so pastoral.
The Ella Baker Center was connected to STORM (Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement), a “multi-racial activist collective with Marxist influences” with whichÂ Jones was involved.
In 1992, Van Jones founded another STORM project, Bay Area PoliceWatch, a “hotline and lawyer-referral service for victims and survivors of police abuse.” This is fitting, perhaps, since Jones was himself arrested and detained briefly during a protest after the Rodney King verdict that same year.
Jones told the East Bay Express in 2005:
I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th , and then the verdicts came down on April 29th. By August, I was a communist.
I met all these young radical people of color â€“ 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.
Like a character out of The Big Chill, Van Jones seems to have evolved from radical activist to Establishment insider. Perhaps only a left-wing administration incapable of recognizing irony would put a self-described communist in charge of creating jobs.
Luckily for Van Jones, and Obama’s many other “Czars”, his new job was not dependent upon making it through Congressional hearings.