The persecution of Van Jones and the struggle for democracy

The circumstances that led to the resignation of Van Jones should be strongly protested. Mr. Jones was a victim of the current racist and red baiting attack aimed at bringing down the Obama administration.

Jones was targeted after calling attention to Beck's labeling of the president as a racist who "hates white culture."

It's not good that the likes of Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh could succeed in forcing the removal of one of our country's best experts on green jobs and environmental racism.

Van Jones's departure is a set back for the Obama administration and a real loss for the country. Only those who believe environmental racism doesn't exist or that government should play no role in creating green jobs could think otherwise.

Capitalism is a cult-like religion to such people. George Soros called them capitalist "fundamentalists."

To them the concept of people before profits is "sacrilege". Their survival-of-the-fittest corporate mentality makes them opposed to economic and social justice for all.

Sadly this brand of conservative extremism and market fundamentalism now has unchallenged control of the Republican Party. The GOP has become more like a cult than a political party - a cult in search of a personality to blindly worship.

That a cult now runs the Republican Party in no way diminishes the danger and should not be treated lightly. It remains extremely powerful and influential with wide corporate sponsorship and media influence.

It employs the Big Lie with unique skill: the bigger and more outrageous the tale, the louder and shriller the amplification, the more people they think will believe it. "Obama is Hitler," "socialism is fascism," government by definition is tantamount to dictatorship.

Make no mistake: at the heart of right-wing propaganda is deep-going anti-communism and racism; the evil twins of the most reactionary sections of big capital.

The question has to be asked: why such Joe McCarthy like hysteria in conditions of relatively weak and disorganized left? Given the degree of the economic crisis and the growing left leaning radicalization process in which broad sections of the people particularly youth view socialism favorably, perhaps they seek a preemptive strike.
It should be remembered that none other than Vito Mussolini came to power in Italy in similar circumstances in the sense that the left was weak, the working-class movement disorganized, and the crisis great.

What did Jones do to earn the wrath of the bigots? First he dared to frontally challenge their mouthpiece Glen Beck. Second, he signed a petition to thoroughly investigate the role of the Bush administration in the 9/11 attack. Arguably this was the straw that broke the camel's back. However, in this writer's opinion there are too many unanswered questions about the role of the former administration. More minor concerns were names given to Republicans by Mr. Jones that may not have been appropriate coming from a member of the Obama administration.

However given some of the vile obscenities used by the Bush administration this too has to be kept in perspective. In comparison Jones's remarks were mild.

Lurking behind all of the charges was the environmentalist's work with a socialist-oriented group in the ‘90s, an association deemed unacceptable by the far right.

It is a setback that in today's circumstances a principled struggle was not made on this important question, one which is vital to US democracy. Over a decade ago the AFL-CIO and other organizations got rid of anti-communist clauses creating an atmosphere where socialist and communist trade unionists once again work alongside others and win union elections. The result has been a boon for labor.

In the US Senate, Bernie Sanders a democratic socialist elected as an independent from Vermont is a voice of principle and reason on behalf of poor and working people.

US democracy can only gain from those who believe in socialism playing a role in public life including in high office.

Jones is an expert in his field and was an excellent addition to the administration. He is a fighter and the Obama administration needs more fighters in its ranks because the other side is playing hardball.

Needed today is a strong voice against the right coming from inside and outside of the administration.

If that doesn't happen the health care fight could be lost and it won't be a loss for Obama only. It will be a loss for the American people most of all. It will be a loss for the left in a special way.

If they can force Van Jones to resign who will be next?

It's time for action. Contact your representative and let them know what you think. Support the local demarcations candle light vigils, demonstrations and house gatherings being sponsored by Move on and Organizing for America. The right wing is already planning a Washington demonstration.

It's time to plan a large demonstration in Washington specially around health care reform before the vote. That would be a strong way to send a message: "Don't mess with our health care reform."

 

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