Van Jones is a frequent target of false, misleading and hateful rhetoric from the far-right.
The truth is that Van is a globally recognized, award-winning pioneer in human rights and the clean-energy economy. He is the bestselling author of two books: Rebuild the Dream, a manifesto on rebuilding the American economy and The Green-Collar Economy, the definitive book on green jobs.
Van has served as the green jobs advisor to President Obama’s White House, a distinguished fellow at Princeton University, a senior fellow at the Center For American Progress and a senior policy advisor at Green For All. He is currently the President of Rebuild the Dream, a platform for bottom-up, people-powered innovations to help fix the U.S. economy.
Below are the most common lies told by the right wing about Van – and the real truth.
LIE: Van is a “Communist.”
TRUTH: Van Jones is a leading champion of free market solutions and American innovation.
His award-winning work is rooted in pro-business, market-based ideas. His bestselling book, The Green-Collar Economy, makes the case that government should make it easier for private sector innovation.
He has become a champion for strengthening the American economy, our energy security and creating jobs.
He has forged successful partnerships with green businesses and served on the board of a national business association.
Van’s single reference to being a “communist” in his 20′s is from this 2005 article in the East Bay Express.
Van has discussed the political views he has held in the past a number of times in interviews. Grist interview (3/25/2010):
Q: Are you a communist?
A: No, I’m not. That’s the plain reading of the article everybody points to, where I talked about how those ideas were part of my past. I gave a speech at the Network of Spiritual Progressives in 2005 where I talked about the fact that I literally, physically burned out on the politics of outrage and confrontation. For the better part of a decade, I’ve been the No. 1 champion of free-market solutions for poor people and the environment. I have a best-selling book and hundreds of speeches and interviews that attest to that.
That said, I’m never going to apologize for my passion for the underdog, in this economy and the next one. The government has a role to play. It’s got to get on the side of the problem-solvers. The big polluters still get all the breaks; that’s got to stop.
“Some people experimented with drugs and alcohol, I experimented with world-views and philosophies and I was an angry young guy, I was on the left side of Pluto. The great thing about America is, you can think whatever wacky thing you want to think, and you are free to change your mind once you get older.”
LIE: Van is 9/11 Truther.
TRUTH: Van Jones believes that the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our nation’s soil were carried out solely by Osama bin Laden and members of Al Qaeda.
He never saw, signed, or endorsed any statement indicating otherwise.
Six years ago, a group claiming to represent 9/11 families asked for his support and then attached his name to abhorrent language that they never showed him.
LIE: Van is a “racist.”
TRUTH: Van has spent his entire life opposing racism.
Every organization he has founded has included people of ALL colors – including African-Americans, Anglos, Asian/Pacific Islanders and Latinas/Latinos. He has a rare and proven track record of building bridges across lines of race, class, gender, age, faith, ability and sexuality.