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Van Jones takes a page out of "Rules for Radicals" too

Posted on August 31 2009 2:25 pm
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Van Jones: yet another Alinskyite in the Obama administration

Van Jones: yet another Alinskyite in the Obama administration


For the past several days, FOX News’ Glenn Beck has been exhorting his viewers to lay aside their ideologies and ask themselves, with open minds, whether what they are witnessing in the Obama administration is congruent with what they would expect of a President governing from somewhere near the center of the political spectrum rather than from the extreme left. A key figure upon whom Beck has focused his attention is Van Jones, Obama’s “Green Jobs Czar.”

Jones is one of approximately 32 czars whom Obama has appointed thus far. These czars have been described as “super aides” who work across agency lines to push the President’s agenda, and who have the power to shape national policy. Most significantly, a majority of czars can be appointed without confirmation hearings or Senate approval; thus they (and the President) are insulated from accountability to Congress. Such an arrangement threatens to increase the power of the President beyond what is Constitutionally mandated. Even lifelong Democrat Senator Robert Byrd has said the czar system “can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances.”

If we look at Van Jones’ background, it is difficult to believe he would have been approved for a cabinet post by the Senate. If we are correct in making that judgment, does it suggest anything about the President’s motives for having appointed Jones as a czar rather than as a member of his cabinet?

Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat, or something else, consider a few salient facts about Van Jones and ask yourself, does it make sense to have such a man serving in a high government post?

When Jones was a student at Yale Law School in the early 1990s, he was an angry black separatist and an admirer of the Black Panthers — a lawless pack of drug-dealing thugs, pimps, rapists, extortionists, and murderers.

“If I’d been in another country, I probably would have joined some underground guerrilla sect,” Jones 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.”

By the late Nineties, 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 with roots in the antiwar movement.

Marx, Lenin, and Mao: icons of Van Jones and his comrades

Marx, Lenin, and Mao: icons of Van Jones and his comrades

In 2000 Jones campaigned aggressively against California Proposition 21, a ballot initiative that established harsher penalties for a variety of violent crimes and called for more juvenile offenders to be tried as adults. Jones’ efforts incorporated a hip-hop theme that aimed to attract young black men clad in such gang-style garb as puffy jackets and baggy pants, who would call attention to the alleged injustices of the so-called “prison-industrial complex.” But infighting and jealousies between various factions of Jones’ movement caused it ultimately to fall apart. “I saw our little movement destroyed over a lot of sh**-talking and bullsh**,” said Jones with his trademark eloquence.

What happened next was immensely significant: After the demise of his anti-Prop 21 movement, Jones decided to give his political tactics a thorough makeover. Specifically, he toned down the overt hostility and defiant rage that he previously had worn as badges of honor, and he began to present himself publicly as a more moderate figure. “Before, we would fight anybody, any time,” he said in 2005. “No concession was good enough; we never said ‘Thank you.’ Now, I put the issues and constituencies first. I’ll work with anybody, I’ll fight anybody if it will push our issues forward…. I’m willing to forgo the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of radical ends.”‘

Adds Jones: “I realized that there are a lot of people who are capitalists — shudder, shudder — who are really committed to fairly significant change in the economy, and were having bigger impacts than me and a lot of my friends with our protest signs.”

Jones’ new approach was modeled on the tactics outlined by the famed radical organizer Saul Alinsky, whose blueprint for social upheaval and revolution eschewed any form of confrontational defiance that might scare off and alienate average Americans.  Instead he stressed the need for revolutionaries to mask the extremism of their objectives and to deceitfully present themselves as moderates until they could gain some control over the machinery of political power. In a 2005 interview, Jones candidly stated that he still considered himself a revolutionary — just a more effective one thanks to his revised tactics.

The Alinsky method of “community organizing” for revolutionary change was the most formative tactical influence on Barack Obama during his years as a political neophyte. Distancing himself from the likes of the unrepentant terrorist William Ayers and the Black Liberation Theologian Jeremiah Wrighta pair of America-hating socialists with whom he had cultivated very significant personal and political alliances – Obama campaigned for President last year as someone who would not dream of appointing anyone with a track record as radical and volcanic as that of Van Jones. Yet he did precisely that, once he was safely ensconced behind his desk in the Oval Office.

David Horowitz recently exposed, in painstaking detail, Alinsky’s philosophy and tactics — and their relevance to the Obama administration — in an important series of NewsRealblog posts archived here.

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