Founder, Rebuild the Dream
What He's Done Even before the explosion of the Occupy movement, Jones created a new grassroots organization designed to channel the anger and the energy of progressives who organized under the Obama banner in 2008. There's "no superhero, no single leader, no messiah," says Jones, a veteran community organizer who served as Obama's "green-jobs czar" before he was targeted by Glenn Beck. "Just the American people standing up for the best values of the country." What's needed now, he insists, is not budget slashing and tax cuts for "job creators," but the kind of investments in working families that made America great after World War II. "The private sector already imposed an austerity program on the American people," Jones says. "That was the crash. We don't need a public austerity program on top of a private austerity program."
Admirers Say "He is one of his generation's most eloquent spokespeople about social justice," says Al Gore.
Enemies Say "There will be chaos in the streets," Beck warned of Occupy Wall Street, "and then Van Jones will appear with his nice little organization that looks far more reasonable." The White House has also dissed its former star: "Van Jones," Vice President Joe Biden sniffed recently. "Whoever he is."
Gives Us Pause His tendency toward strident rhetoric, and his partnership with MoveOn.org, may limit the breadth of Rebuild the Dream's appeal.