Tuesday, April 3, 2012

  • Van Jones on Trayvon Martin, Racial Violence and Why Obama Ignored Race Issues for Two Years


    As thousands of people across the country call for justice in the case of Trayvon Martin, we’re joined by Van Jones, longtime anti-police brutality activist and co-founder of ColorOfChange.org, which aims to strengthen Black America’s political voice. He describes fearing for his own safety while wearing a hoodie and discusses the state of race relations under President Obama. "This kind of hits close to home for me. I’m an African-American father. I’ve got two little black boys," Jones says. "How am I going to protect these young guys? I mean, do you have to dress your kid in a tuxedo now to send them down the street?" Jones says the moral voice of the black community on race went silent after Obama was attacked for his response to the 2009 unlawful arrest of Harvard University Professor Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr., and hopes the Trayvon Martin case "opens the door for the kind of grown folks’ conversation we thought he was going to be able to lead when he was a candidate—well, that he did lead when he was a candidate, that hopefully we can see now going forward." [includes rush transcript]

  • "Rebuild the Dream": Ex-Obama Adviser Van Jones on Life Inside White House, Right-Wing Smear Attack


    Forced out of his job as White House special adviser on green jobs by a right-wing smear campaign, Jones has just become the first former Obama official to release a book. It’s called "Rebuild the Dream," and its release comes on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination. Obama appointed Jones as an adviser in 2009, but he resigned his post after he came under an attack spearheaded by then-Fox News host Glenn Beck. He writes about the experience in his new book and describes his unusual history as both a White House insider and an outside agitator for grassroots change. "I'm probably the only person in American life who was a grassroots outsider, who became a White House insider — I was there for six months — and then I became a grassroots outsider again," Jones says. "What I saw when I was there, and after, is this massive misunderstanding between the insiders in that building, the insiders in D.C., and the outsiders that help to elect those folks, and huge missed opportunities for positive change." Jones also outlines strategies for the future. [includes rush transcript]

  • "Two Sources of Power": Van Jones on Need for Obama Re-election, Building Occupy-Like Mass Movements


    We speak with former White House adviser Van Jones about what role the Occupy movement can and should play in re-electing President Obama. He says one reason he launched his Rebuild the Dream campaign last summer was to recognize economic issues not being effectively addressed by progressives. "We’re very good on issues around the environment, race, gender, immigration, sexuality. ... But there is a hole in the donut on the economy. And the Tea Party was just driving through that hole in the donut every day." Responding to concerns that he and others may "co-opt" the Occupy agenda, he says the movement speaks for itself, and argues his campaign can allow "the entire 99 percent" to join the conversation that Occupy began. [includes rush transcript]

  • "The Fight Is Never Over": Van Jones on Keystone XL Pipeline, Green Jobs and MLK’s Legacy


    Van Jones, former green jobs adviser to the White House, responds to Obama’s recent support for TransCanada to build the southern leg of its Keystone XL oil pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas, despite his earlier rejection of the project after large civil disobedience protests by environmental groups. "The lesson here is the fight’s never over," Jones says. "We’re going to be circling each other for a long time in this country, until, frankly, the 350.org generation and a lot of the young people in [the] Occupy [movement] are of a certain age where they’re just running the country." He adds that some 2.7 million green jobs have been created during the Obama administration. As the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. approaches, Jones reflects on the ongoing fight for social and economic justice. "What we’ve got to be able to do is continue to fight for the values that we believe in long enough for the demographic change to make those ideas the permanent governing majority." [includes rush transcript]

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