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Posted by: Doug Henwood | September 6, 2009

Now accepting apologies

Ha, so Van Jones is out (“White House Adviser on ‘Green Jobs’ Resigns”).

All you people who said I was being too “cynical” in my reading (“Obamamania, a febrile disease”) of Obamamania during the campaign: I’ll be holding an at home today and tomorrow to accept apologies. Line forms just outside the door.

PS: Why did they appoint him in the first place? Did they not get just how relentlessly nasty—and principled, actually—the right-wing is? Did they think they’d be reasonable about the appointment of a former Maoist, even one who’s been running at a blazing speed from that past?

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Responses

  1. I have friends on the left who went door-to-door for Obama. And former Guardian (US leftwing newspaper now defunct) honcho Carl Davidson took me over the coals for criticizing Obama during the campaign. Obama is a real dog. Preaches to black guys about responsibility, but fails to fight for the things that would really help them and every other working person: health care, public employment, prison reform, labor law reform, you name it.

  2. In the absence of any substantial progressive social movements, why should we expect anything different? Obama is merely a reflection of the state of “liberal” America. Liberals still believe in the basic sanctity of markets, limited government intervention, reliance of technocratic expertise, a deep scepticism of grassroots power, and an emphsis on feel good measures and playing nice in the political arena.

    Van is no liberal and ultimately that did him in. I worked with him on a number of projects before he went off to Yale. He had a radical analysis and was a hell of an organizer. But, he did a good job of creating a technocratic patina and embedding himself in the world of do-nothing think tanks and social service agencies. While Obama has a background as a community organizer, I don’t see any signs of administration working with progressive organized constiuencies in ways that would give them real inflience and power in how government opperates. This is true of his relationship to organized labor as well.

  3. “He [Van Jones] did a good job of creating a technocratic patina and embedding himself in the world of do-nothing think tanks and social service agencies.”

    Yes, he was based most recently in Oakland/san Francisco, a typical poverty pimp extracting government grants for programs that did more to pay managers than accomplish anything. He sidled up to Oakland mayor Ron Dellums (who has managed to lose nearly all the respect he piled up, justifiably or not, when he was in Congress).

    Insofar as the grants that fed Jones came from local government, they were funded by property and sales taxes on middle-income people. That’s part of the reason why some of them go right-wing in anger at types like Jones (a six-figure elitist, not even close to seven- or eight-figure rich).

  4. You go, Charles. I ain’t got no brief for right-wing populist nutballs, but until all the corporate liberal hangers-on, lackeys, phonies, and sycophants get out of the way, the already dim prospect of real democracy is stillborn.

  5. A while back I wanted to gather some dirt on Van Jones in the service of illustrating that, whatever his youthful indiscretions, he’s just another garden variety “pwogwessive” foundation-NGO social climber. Being ADD addled I didn’t rise to the occasion and forgot about it. Now it’s impossible to do serious google-based research on the dude, b/c an elementary search turns up 100000 hits on Van Jones the black nationalist and revolutionary communist, courtesy of dittohead dolts. I can think of few other scenarios that attest to just how abject is the political situation in the US.

  6. ld: “A while back I wanted to … illustrate that, whatever his youthful indiscretions, he’s just another garden variety ‘pwogwessive’ foundation-NGO social climber.”

    Like this?

    [Oakland Mayor Ron] Dellums runs up city credit card

    Oakland Tribune, Jan 26, 2008 by Kelly Rayburn


    Transactions listed on Dellums’ [City-paid] credit card bill included:

    – A $2,708 two-night stay for the mayor and two staff members at a Westin hotel in Seattle for another U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in November.

    But Van Jones of Oakland’s Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, who sat on a panel with Dellums on green jobs during the Seattle conference, said such meetings are crucial if mayors are to influence policy on a national level.

    He noted that in a recent debate, Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards, both Democratic presidential hopefuls, argued over who had the better green-jobs program. Clinton mentioned Dellums in particular.

    “It’s these conferences where the best ideas can rise to the top,” Jones said. “That’s certainly what happened in Seattle.”

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4176/is_20080126/ai_n21218369/


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