A short note: the background and the first rule are definitely the driest part of our total discussion, and perhaps the least useful. However, it sets the critical framework, which will enable you to understand the rest. In essence – this is the vegetable portion. Dessert comes later.
There are a lot of misconceptions about Saul Alinsky and his now famous Rules for Radicals. The way in which his ‘rules’ are applied in large part today constitutes a bastardization of his original intent, and many of those using his rules are precisely what Alinsky swore he would never be-namely, ideologues.
To truly understand his tactics it is necessary for us to understand at least a little about the man himself. Alinsky (1909-1972) cut his teeth in the rough and tumble 1930’s in Chicago. Coming of age during the Great Depression shaped a great deal of his thinking as it did for so many of those who lived through this most traumatic of times in American history.
By 1939 he had begun to work with Labor to right what he saw as injustices in the ‘back of the yards’ in Chicago made famous by his predecessor Upton Sinclair. Having worked across the nation for the labor movement, he turned his sights on the black, ghetto communities in the 1950’s. Other than his allegiance to labor, he never sought solidarity with any political or religious group, feeling that his independence of thought would be compromised were he to join such organizations with their rigid dogmas.
The original intentions of Alinsky were quite laudable. He saw injustices, and indeed there were many injustices to be sure, and he sought to right them. He saw downtrodden workers and oppressed people, and sought to bring about a social justice with them and for them. Few would have a problem with such goals. I certainly see them as admirable. But as usual in life, things are not quite so simple. What started as a crusade to help the less fortunate somehow morphed into a strategic battle plan to turn the conditions of wealth and poverty upside down, and in the process Alinsky lost sight of any value in the morality of the means involved, and instead espoused only that the ends were worthy of consideration no matter how horrible the process might become .
Many have called him an avowed Marxist or communist, but such characterizations are neither completely accurate, nor are they fully explanatory of the nature of the man and his methods. At times he could wax patriotic in the vein of a Thomas Paine, and just as easily he could seek the overthrow of the Government and the ascension of the underclass to power by any means necessary. Alinsky stated that his philosophy was beyond mere Marxism, but that he sought similar ends is irrefutable.
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The primary document for this post is an article from the left-leaning online newspaper The East Bay Express. They offer what they think is a glowing recommendation of (Anthony) Van Jones, but in the process they reveal a great deal about his radical Marxist beliefs and endeavors. 
On Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 at 12:37 PM Van Jones was announced on the White House Blog as the new “Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at CEQ.” The more popular title ascribed to him today is Obama’s Green Czar. His mission is to lead the Obama Administration in creating an entirely new energy economy and in particular to create and develop so-called “Green Jobs”. The Blog then goes on to describe Van Jones in glowing terms, but never bothers to mention that he is an admitted communist who has spent most of his adult life spreading Marxist ideas.
In what appears to be an attempt to introduce Van Jones on the national stage, The East Bay Express tells the story of a young African-American who grew up in poverty, and sought to effect change,and to bring fairness and fiscal equity to the poor neighborhoods of Oakland, CA. In the course of the story we are informed that Jones chose to go to Yale Law School. What they do not tell us is how a poverty stricken young man such as Jones was able to suddenly attend one of the most prestigious and most expensive places of higher learning in the nation.
Such things probably do not really bother far left online newspapers, but it is stark when in the course of painting Jones’ biography The East Bay Express says,
“Jones had planned to move to Washington, DC, and had already landed a job and an apartment there. But in jail, he said, “I met all these young radical people of color — I mean really radical, communists and anarchists. And it was, like, ‘This is what I need to be a part of.'” Although he already had a plane ticket, he decided to stay in San Francisco. “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.” In the months that followed, he let go of any lingering thoughts that he might fit in with the status quo. “I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th, and then the verdicts came down on April 29th,” he said. “By August, I was a communist.”
According to the article, Jones had been swept up during mass arrests at a celebration of a not guilty verdict for some involved in the Rodney King riots in LA. But prison is the least of the things that jumps off the page. “By August, I was a communist.” To this day, there is no record that Van Jones has ever disavowed those beliefs.
To the contrary, his background indicates a deep rooting in Marist philosophy. In 1994 Jones was a part of the formation of a radical group called ‘Standing Together to Organize a Radical Movement’ (STORM). It is through the document describing this organization that we learn just how deep the roots of Marxism run in Van Jones.
Let me just give you a few quotes from the STORM summation entitled “Reclaiming Revolution”:
- “And disputes – primarily among the three committed anarchists and the six committed communists – had driven many to the more politically experienced and ideologically committed revolutionary Marxists out of the study process.” (p.9)
- “For many STORM members, the integrity of the investigation was proof of the usefulness of Marxist tools (e.g. Mao’s principle of “No investigation, no right to speak.”) in solving real-life problems.” (p. 13)
- “We spent the next six months studying together. We tried to draw out the strengths and limitations of different forms of organizing. We contrasted Alinsky organizing models, SNCC’s grassroots model and Marxist-Leninist methods of mass work. We worked to develop a basic understanding of Marxist and Leninist histories, theories and politics.” (p. 14)
- “Outside of the organization, a group of movement veterans intrigued by STORM’s interest in Marxist politics organized a series of study groups. STORM members, along with other young leftists, thus got a chance to study Marx’s critique of capitalism and revolutionary strategy together with trained communists.” (p.14)
- “All Core Members had to be explicitly committed to revolutionary Marxist politics.” (p. 15)
- “Later sessions covered more “contemporary” issues, including Marxist feminism, transgender liberation, and the Palestinian liberation struggle. We continued to study the Marxist tradition, including dialectical materialism and member initiated studies of Mao’s “On Practice” and “On Contradiction”. (p. 19) 
Make no mistake about it. STORM was the brainchild of Van Jones and this summation represents his thoughts on communism, Marxism, and Leninism. In fact, the words “Marx” or “Marxism” appear 89 times in a document that is less than 100 pages long! The American Spectator says, “He does not appear to have distanced himself from his past communist activities and is now part of the Obama administration’s push to turn Sept. 11 into a National Day of Service focused on the promotion of the radical environmentalist agenda.” 
Along with the American Spectator, WND online offers a link to a document advertising Jones’ anti-American Imperialism rally while the twin towers still smoldered, and thousands in New York still clung to the faint and fading hopes that their loved ones might still be alive. Worse yet, he had already organized a vigil on Sept. 12, 2001. The American Spectator says, “…self-described “communist” and “rowdy black nationalist” Van Jones, held a vigil in Oakland, California, “mourning the victims of U.S. imperialism around the world” on the night after Sept. 11, 2001.” 
All of this would be enough for most fair thinking Americans to believe that such a man does not belong in the highest places of our Government. In fact, how can we expect a Marxist to create private industry jobs? But there is even more to disturb the senses in this appointment.
The New Yorker offers us this window into the world of Van Jones,
“Jones, who is forty, is tall and imposing, with a shaved head and a patchy goatee. He wears rimless glasses and favors dark clothing. On this particular day, he was wearing a black turtleneck, black jeans, black boots, and a charcoal jacket. He was introduced by a community organizer and aspiring rapper, who described him as “a leader with answers,” a “genius from the hood, similar to our own,” and a youthful version of Barack Obama.” 
A young Barack Obama? There are more than passing similarities. The East Bay Express says of Jones,”…and in college had discovered the black liberation theology that reinterprets the Christ story as an anticolonial struggle, he had pulled away from spirituality during his communist days.” 
Where have we heard that phrase “black liberation theology” before? Oh yes, this was the theology embraced by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright as Barack Obama sat in the pews of Wright’s church for some twenty years listening to his hateful, anti-American sermons.
From the book that has made Barack Obama rich, “Dreams of My Father” there is this excerpt:
“To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists.” 
In an Op-Ed for the Boston Globe, David Alinsky, the son of ‘Rules for Radicals’ writer Saul Alinsky says,
“Barack Obama’s training in Chicago by the great community organizers is showing its effectiveness. It is an amazingly powerful format, and the method of my late father always works to get the message out and get the supporters on board. When executed meticulously and thoughtfully, it is a powerful strategy for initiating change and making it really happen. Obama learned his lesson well.” 
So what drew President Obama to appoint Van Jones as his new “Green Czar”? It would seem that they share some very similar and very troubling roots. Both men have shown an interest in:
- Black liberation theology
- Saul Alinsky and his ‘Rules for Radicals’
- Community organizing
It is time that President Obama and Van Jones answer to “We the people”. Van Jones, do you still espouse Marxism? If not, when did you quit believing in it? Mr. President, were you aware that Van Jones was/is a communist? If so, please tell us why you appointed him as your adviser.
1. “East Bay Express | News | The New Face of Environmentalism,” http://www.eastbayexpress.com/gyrobase/the_new_face_of_environmentalism/Content?oid=290098&showFullText=true.
2. “The White House – Blog Post – Van Jones to CEQ,” http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/09/03/10/Van-Jones-to-CEQ/.
3. “STORMSummation.pdf (application/pdf Object),” http://web.archive.org/web/20070719020533/http://leftspot.com/blog/files/docs/STORMSummation.pdf.
4. “The American Spectator : AmSpecBlog : Van Jones and His STORMtroopers Denounced America the Night After 9/11,” http://spectator.org/blog/2009/08/29/van-jones-and-his-stormtrooper.
5. “Obama ‘czar’ on 9/11: Blame ‘U.S. imperialism’!,” http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=108180.
6. “Can a remedy serve for both global warming and poverty? : The New Yorker,” http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/01/12/090112fa_fact_kolbert?currentPage=all.
7. Obama, Barack Dreams of My Father. New York:Three Rivers Press, 1995, 2004
8. “Son sees father’s handiwork in convention – The Boston Globe,” http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/letters/articles/2008/08/31/son_sees_fathers_handiwork_in_convention/.