By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
A “Take Back the American Dream” three-day conference in Washington begins on Monday that features Van Jones, the disgraced former Obama Administration “Green Jobs Czar,” a Russian TV star, and a veteran of the Venceremos Brigades to Cuba who works for the AFL-CIO. Such is the nature of the modern progressive movement.
“I think everybody should hold onto your seats,” said Jones on Thursday’s MSNBC program “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell.”
“October is going to be the turning point when it comes to the progressive fight back,” he went on. “We are a part of something called the American Dream Movement. We`re having a huge summit on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Come—you can go to rebuildthedream.com and find out more about it. We are going to build a progressive counterbalance to the Tea Party.”
Once a top figure in a Marxist group called Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), Jones predicts “an American fall, an American autumn, just like we saw the Arab spring. You can see it right now with these young people on Wall Street. Hold onto your hats. We`re going to have an October offensive to take back the American Dream and to rescue America`s middle class.”
The Campaign for America’s Future, sponsor of the conference, depicts the conservative Tea Party as a puppet of corporate interests and protests Wall Street but remains silent about the millions of dollars that Van Jones and other progressive activists have received from hedge fund operator George Soros. Number seven on the Forbes list of the richest people in America, with $22 billion, Soros runs an “alternative investment vehicle” available only to the super-rich which is based off-shore and taps into mysterious sources of cash beyond the supervision of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Indeed, a sister organization of the Campaign for America’s Future, the Institute for America’s Future, has itself received $1.3 million from Soros’s Open Society Institute over the last several years.
Two of the conference organizers, Robert Borosage and Katrina vanden Heuvel, have just written a call to arms in The Nation magazine saying that liberals must exert more pressure on the Obama Administration and they cite the work of the Communist Party USA and other groups in forcing Franklin Roosevelt to the left and expanding federal involvement in the economy in the 1930s.
“The Socialist and Communist parties and Huey Long’s Share Our Wealth movement grew threatening enough to goad Franklin Roosevelt into the second New Deal, including Social Security; the Wagner Act, recognizing the right of workers to organize; and much more,” they say. However, they complain that progressives have spent so much of their time over the last three years helping to pass “the Obama reform agenda” that their message has been “muted.” The conference will be followed on October 5 by a rally on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.
That the progressive movement has embraced Jones, despite his embarrassing exit from the administration, is evidence of how far to the left and how desperate modern “liberal” organizations are.
Jones today serves as the president of the Rebuild the Dream coalition of liberal organizations. His bio says that he is currently a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, another Soros-funded entity, and holds a joint appointment at Princeton University as a distinguished visiting fellow in both the Center for African American Studies and the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
According to his website, he has also returned as a senior policy advisor at Green For All, the George Soros-funded organization that helped make Jones into a national progressive star. Soros money also helped finance the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights when Jones was in charge of that group.
Blogger Trevor Loudon, who broke the story of Jones’s communist background, said he first came across his name in a socialist publication and discovered his affiliation with STORM. He then discovered that the far-left Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), which Loudon considers the Obama administration’s “ideas bank,” had published a piece by IPS staffer Chuck Collins recommending Jones for a top government job. Collins offered “Van Jones, of the Ella Baker Center, to direct the Commerce Department’s new ‘green jobs initiative.’” Loudon added, “I researched Jones again at that point and found he was a fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP).” In the end, Jones left CAP and was appointed as a “special adviser” at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
“It didn’t take more than a few keystrokes to realize that STORM was very influential in the San Francisco Bay Area and had ties to both the Cuban and South African Communist Parties,” Loudon said. “Jones’ group and particularly Jones himself had ties to two former Weather Underground supporters—Jon and Nancy Frappier and the Bay Area branch of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS). Jones was the keynote speaker at a CCDS fundraiser in Berkeley as late as February 2006.”
Loudon’s reporting, picked up by Glenn Beck, then with Fox News, was followed by other embarrassing and damaging revelations from other conservative bloggers. It came out that Jones had called Republicans “assholes” and had signed a letter appearing on the website of 911Truth.org demanding an investigation into whether the Bush Administration “deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war.” The implication was that the al-Qaeda terrorists who hijacked the planes that struck New York’s Twin Towers and the Pentagon were part of a much-larger U.S. Government plot.
On June 20, 2011, attorneys acting on behalf of Jones sent a letter to Fox News demanding that the network immediately cease using six characterizations about Jones and demanding a retraction from Glenn Beck. The letter from Sandler, Reiff, Young & Lamb insisted that Jones had communist or Marxist notions “as a young man” but had backed away “from those views” and is now “pro-market.” The letter also claimed that Jones’s name had been placed on the 9/11 letter without his knowledge and had been removed.
But Jones had said in an “Uprising Radio” interview in 2008 that his goals were a “complete revolution” to “transform the whole society” away from capitalism.
None of this, however, seems to bother the modern-day progressive movement. In a “What people who know Van say” part of his website, John Podesta, President & CEO of the Center for American Progress, says, “Van Jones is an exceptional and inspired leader who has fought to bring economic and environmental justice to communities across our country…[At the White House,] Van was working to build a common-ground agenda for all Americans, and I am confident he will continue that work.”
Podesta, who rehired Jones after he lost his White House job, co-chaired the Obama presidential transition team that filled many administration jobs. The other co-chair was Valerie Jarrett, an Obama adviser who publicly talked about how “we” in the administration had followed Jones’s career and wanted him to serve in the administration.
The new “Contract for the American Dream,” coming as the public is turning on Obama’s big government agenda, is a ten-point program to preserve federal programs and promote more federal spending and involvement in the economy:
- Invest in America’s Infrastructure
- Create 21st Century Energy Jobs
- Invest in Public Education
- Offer Medicare for All
- Make Work Pay
- Secure Social Security
- Return to Fairer Tax Rates
- End the Wars and Invest at Home
- Tax Wall Street Speculation
- Strengthen Democracy
In a YouTube video, Jones led a crowd in the chant “America is not broke” and urged higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy.
Another prominent speaker at the “Take Back the American Dream” conference is Russian TV star Thom Hartmann, who calls himself “America’s #1 Progressive Host” and has a show, “The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann,” which is “produced in the studios of RT TV in Washington, D.C., and syndicated nationally by both RT and Free Speech TV.” RTTV is the American branch of the Russia Today foreign propaganda channel funded by Moscow. One of its correspondents, Katia Zatuliveter, is facing deportation from Britain for being a Russian spy.
Hartmann’s Friday show featured Robert Dreyfuss of The Nation Magazine and Maria LaHood of the Soros-funded Center for Constitutional Rights bemoaning the killing of al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen.
Hartmann, who has interviewed Take Back the American Dream conference co-director Robert Borosage on his RT show, will be broadcasting live from the conference.
Another speaker, Karen Nussbaum, is executive director of the AFL-CIO’s Working America organization. The group claims three million members. During a previous appearance at a Campaign for America’s Future conference, she refused to answer and walked away when questioned about a trip she made to Communist Cuba as a member of the Venceremos Brigades.
A featured speaker, Rep. Barbara Lee, was elected to the National Coordinating Committee of the Committees of Correspondence (the same group Jones spoke to) in 1992, while a member of the California State Assembly. Most, but not all, of the members of this group were active in the Communist Party USA.
Lee argues in her book, Renegade for Peace & Justice, that Fidel Castro’s Cuba has been subjected to “negative propaganda” from the United States.
Several members of STORM visited Communist Cuba, but it is not known if Jones was ever among them.