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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Obama File 83 Obama's Man Van Jones-Many Roads Lead to Cuba, Communism

Obama file 82 here

Two big questions hang over President Obama's radical "Green Jobs Czar" Van Jones.

Is he still a communist?

Is he a security threat?


Many have assumed that Van Jones' committment to communism ended when the organization he helped to lead STORM (Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement) dissolved in 2002.


Yet a 2004 treatise Reclaiming Revolution: History, Summation, and Lessons from the Work of Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement written and endorsed by a majority of former STORM members makes it clear that most ex STORMers are still committed to the revolutionary movement;

From page 49.

When the last sixteen STORM members decided to dissolve, each committed as an individual revolutionary to helping this emerging trend continue to consolidate.

Some are building organizations in working class communities of color...Some are promoting revolutionary ideas. Some are developing revolutionary cadre...

Some are finding other ways to serve the people
.


Most former STORM members are still active in San Francisco or New York. The STORM created or staffed organisations Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, POWER, SOUL, FIERCE, War Times and Women of Color Resource Center all all going strong and are still receiving mega-bucks from multiple left wing foundations.

All these organizations are still networked with former STORM associates such as Harmony Goldberg, Raquel Lavina, Maria Poblet, Adam Gold, Cindy Wiesner, Jason Negron-Gonzales, Mei-ying Williams or Steve Williams active in one group while serving on the board of another.

Most former Bay Area STORMers are working closely with cadre from the Communist Party USA offshoot Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS).

Van Jones himself has long worked with people from the CCDS orbit including Betita Martinez, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Linda Burnham, Max Elbaum, Felicia Gustin and Bob Wing.

In February 2006, just over three years after STORM folded and just over three years before being appointed to his White House position, Van Jones was keynote speaker at a Committees of Correspondence fundraiser in Berkeley.

The second annual CCDS and Kendra Alexander Foundation Banquet will take place on Sunday, February 19 at the Redwood Gardens community room in Berkeley with Van Jones, a pioneering human rights activist known as a steadfast opponent of police brutality and mass incarceration, as keynote speaker.

Jones is now working to create environmentally friendly, "green-collar" jobs for formerly incarcerated persons.

The banquet is titled "Towards Building a Progressive Majority" and benefits the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and the Kendra Alexander Foundation. The Foundation was named in honor of the visionary leader of the Committees of Correspondence.


Maybe Jones didn't realise he was addressing a Marxist-Leninist function? Maybe he thought it was a Rotary or PTA group?

Of even more concern are the close ties between STORM , the Bay Area CCDS, foreign communists and Cuba.


Venceremos Brigadistas entering US from Canada

According to "Reclaiming Revolution" page 37 several STORM members traveled to Cuba in 1999 as part of the notorious Venceremos Brigades.

One of the most formative "political education sessions" of this period was a group trip to Cuba in the summer of 1999.

Several STORM members participated in the Venceremos Brigade to see and support one of the world's few surviving socialist states.

Members came back with a heightened understanding of both socialism and capitalism and a stronger commitment to red politics.


As STORM seldom exceeded 20 members, it is very likely that Van Jones, as a leader of the organisation was on that, or another, Cuba trip.

Surely a good question for some enterprising journalist?

Three STORM leaders also travelled to South Africa in 1998 for the South African Communist Party conference.

It is woth remembering that the Venceremos Brigades were founded in 1969 by Students for a Democratic Society radicals Carl Davidson and Tom Hayden.

Davidson and Tom Hayden take credit for having launched in 1969 the "Venceremos Brigades," which covertly transported hundreds of young Americans to Cuba to help harvest sugar cane and interact with Havana's communist revolutionary leadership. (The Brigades were organized by Fidel Castro's Cuban intelligence agency, which trained "brigadistas" in guerrilla warfare techniques, including the use of arms and explosives.)


Incidentally Hayden and Davidson were two of the five founders of a new organization in 2008-Progressives for Obama. Davidson has a personal history with Obama when they worked together in the Chicago New Party and in anti Iraq War activism.

STORM associate Mei-ying Ho traveled to Cuba with the 2004 Venceremos Brigade. Now married to another STORM associate Steve Williams, Mei-ying Williams is involved with the Women of Color Resource Center where she works with Linda Burnham and well known radical and CCDS leader Angela Davis.


Steve Williams, who has been to South Africa, Cuba and Venezuela, now runs POWER-People Organized to Win Employment Rights. He worked on the organizing committee of anti Iraq War magazine War Times with Van Jones, Betita Martinez, Linda Burnham, Max Elbaum, Felicia Gustin, Bob Wing and Adam Gold in the early 2000s.

In July 2009 Steve Williams represented POWER at the CCDS National Convention in San Francisco.

According to Carl Davidson-elected as one of CCDS's four new co-leaders at the conference;

The panel featured responses to the "Democracy Charter" by Bill Fletcher, Jr., editor of Black Commentator, Michael Eisenscher of US Labor Against the War, Jacqueline Cabasso from Western States Legal Foundation, Frank del Campo from the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, and Steve Williams of People Organized to Win Employment Rights. Bill Fletcher, Jr. cast the Charter as a political and social guide for mass struggle."


Jacqueline Cabasso is a Communist Party USA supporter, Bill Fletcher Jr is with Democratic Socialists of America and was with Davidson and Tom Hayden one of the five key founders of Progressives for Obama.

The conference attracted several international guests;


Helmut Scholz of Die Linke, Germany; Chris Matlhako of the Communist Party of South Africa, and Angela Davis of CCDS.

International guests included Chris Matlhako from the South African Communist Party and Marcos Garcia from the Venezuelan Embassy in DC gave a picture of protracted battles against neo-liberalism and their efforts to build and maintain unity on the left in their countries.

Helmut Scholz, a leader of Die Linke (The Left Party) of Germany, described the unity efforts between groups in East and West Germany that brought together its forerunner, the Party of Democratic Socialism, made up of the former East German Communists, and groupings of Left Social Democrats from the West. Their common task now, he explained, was making sure the burden of the capitalist crisis was not placed on the working class.

Jackeline Rivera, an FMLN deputy to the legislature of El Salvador, was warmly received. She revealed how, in their recent electoral victory, the FMLN saw two left groups break away, and the national unity efforts that followed.

Solidarity messages to CCDS were read ot from Cuba and Vietnam and "The Internationale" was sung.


Carl Davidson is of course also a big fan and promoter of Van Jones' work.

Van Jones associates Linda Burnham, Bob Wing ,Betita Martinez, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Linda Burnham, Max Elbaum, and Bob Wing are all veterans of the Venceremos Brigades or multiple trips to former East Bloc countries.

Jones' friend and ally Betita Martinez was an early Cuban visitor;

In 1959, three months after the Cuban Revolution claimed victory, Martinez went to Cuba to witness a successful anti-colonial, socialist struggle. This trip to Cuba had a profound impact on her.''

In addition to Cuba, Martinez later traveled to the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, Vietnam (during the war) and China to witness and observe how people were implementing socialism.


Another close ally, Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz , worked in Cuba with the Venceremos Brigades and with other revolutionaries including the Students for a Democratic Society and its terrorist offshoot the Weather Underground. She also worked in London in the 1960s with the South African Communist Party controlled African National Congress.

Not to mention over a hundred trips to Nicaragua, mainly in Sandinista times.

There is also another Cuban connection that is possibly even more concerning.

When Van Jones ran the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the organization was very close to another Bay Area institution-DataCenter.


Founded by Jon Frappier, a former supporter of the Weather Underground Organization, Datacenter is essentially the intelligence hub of the US left.

The Oakland California based organisation provides strategic information & research training to communities advocating for dignity, justice & civil rights."

According to a history published on DataCenter's website;

1977
DataCenter—an activist library and publication center—is founded in affiliation with the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) by Jon Frappier, Fred Goff, Loretta & Harry Strharsky and 40 dedicated volunteers.


Further DataCenter activities included;

1979
Establish Corporate Profile Project for clients such as United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations & customized research service for immigration attorneys representing Central Americans seeking political asylum.

1980
Publish press profiles, The Reagan File, on Ronald Reagan and his policies on labor, El Salvador, foreign policy, and military policy in Asia.

1983
Expand Search Service to include corporate accountability research to support community, labor, and corporate campaigns and political asylees from all over the world.


Incredibly DataCenter also admits to being an "information" gatherer for Cuban "institutions".

1991
Launch the Cuba Project/Conexiones to respond to information needs of institutions in Cuba & facilitates information exchange between U.S. and Cuban colleagues for the next ten years



DataCenter's ties to Jones' Ella Baker Center are close. Diana Frappier who helped Jones establish and run the Center is believed to be a relative of Jon Frappier.

Celina Ramirez worked as a Policy Director at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, 2006 and in 2006-2007 served on the DataCenter board.

In 2002 DataCenter celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a gala celebration honoring;

Youth United for Community Action, Southwest Organizing Project, and Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Youth Force Coalition for their Books Not Bars campaign

This is the environment Van Jones sprang from. These are his "roots".

Has Jones abandoned the values he held and the people he worked with up until a few months ago just because he now has more power, money and influence?

Working in the White House is (or should be) a high security job.

Van Jones now has access to all sorts of high level information and gossip.

He has President Obama's ear on economic and social matters that could dramatically effect the US economy and eventually US military power and security.

Let's just hope Van Jones has abandoned his core convictions and past associations in last 6 months shall we?

After all the Obama White House claims to have extensively vetted all appointments-so he must be OK.

Obama file 84 here

8 Comments:

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Any ideas?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

what news organizations in the US have read this blog?

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Chuckjones said...

You mention Bill Fletcher, Jr. as editor of Black Commentator and with Democratic Socialists of America. He works at a much deeper level within the extreme left in the US. He’s perhaps the most public member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization – freedomroad.org (try searching his name on their website). FRSO is Maoist and supports violent revolution and a separate independent homeland for blacks within the boundaries of the current US. FRSO has worked quietly within the larger ‘progressive’ movement by infiltrating left leaning organizations. They try to control the direction of the movement behind the scenes. Fletcher was one of the founders of Progressives for Obama.

12:51 AM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Thanks Chuck-I think we have talked before?

Perhaps we should talk again.

10:58 PM  

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