Like most people, I was surprised and disappointed that Van Jones resigned from his post as Special Adviser for Green Jobs at the Council on Environmental Quality under President Obama’s administration. Jeff Chang has the best background summary post I’ve seen online. It is no doubt that the Right appears particularly scared when African Americans earn positions of power, particularly when those figures are able to combine the goals of environmentalism with those of social justice.
If “green jobs” can be painted as “communism” these days (as Glenn Beck has done with Jones), then we have entered a bizarre rhetorical era indeed. Anyone who has read Jones’ NYT bestseller, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems, or seen an interview with him knows he is an ardent Capitalist with a capital “C”: his goal is to use capitalism to save the environment. It’s pretty straightforward. So, I wonder what this resignation will mean for the future of this part of the environmental movement? Will this embolden more radical voices to remind the Right that Jones is not the voice of radical environmentalism? Or will this temper all of us to settle for more piecemeal compromises?