CNN's Malveaux Tells Van Jones He'd Be 'Good Spokesperson' for Occupy Movement

By noon on Wednesday, CNN had already hosted a Wall Street protester and a leftist "community organizer" to talk about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Anchor Suzanne Malveaux then interviewed Van Jones, former Obama-appointee and Marxist, and told him he'd make a "good spokesperson" for the Occupy movement.

Van Jones, was Obama's green jobs czar before he was booted for a petition he had signed in 2004 demanding investigations into links Bush may have had to the 9/11 attacks. Jones, along with CNN's other guests, supported Occupy Wall Street.

After introducing Jones with a list of his accomplishments, Malveaux gushed "Whoa, Van. And it goes on and on, the list here." At the interview's end, she even plugged for him to have some sort of leadership position in the movement, even though he claimed the protests needed no leader.

"Van Jones, a lot of people think they need a leader. Do you think you might be that guy?" she asked him before he insisted that the movement not be leader-centered. "All right, Van Jones, you might at least be a spokesperson, you know, maybe not a leader, but certainly a good spokesperson for the group," Malveaux cooed.

Jones even predicted that the "99 Percent" movement will become bigger than the Tea Party. "And if you thought there was an earthquake in 2010 when the Tea Party moved into politics, wait until this 99 percent movement moves over into politics. You haven't seen anything yet."

A transcript of the interview, which aired on November 16 at 12:34 p.m. EST, is as follows:

SUZANNE MALVEAUX: Van Jones, he joins us from Washington. He is president and co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, it is a group working to restore good jobs, economic opportunities across the country. He endorses the Occupy Wall Street movement. He worked with the Obama White House two years ago as a green jobs adviser and Time magazine named him one of 100 most influential people in the world that year. Whoa, man. (Laughing) And it goes on and on, the list here.

Van, I want to first of all, thank you for being with us. The mayor, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday, he said this when he evicted the "Occupy" demonstrators. He said "Protesters have had two months to occupy the park with tents and sleeping bags. Now they're going to have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments." So what do they do now to keep the message alive?

VAN JONES, president, Rebuild the Dream: Well, first of all, you know, you can't put toothpaste back in the tube and you can't evict an idea. This movement is about much more than just one park or one tactic and one city. This has become a massive expression of real concern that the economy is just not working for the majority of people. Tomorrow, people think oh well, they can't sleep there, the movement's over. Tomorrow's the second month anniversary.

You're going to have 200 cities with major protests, non-violent major demonstrations. November 17th.org I think shows you this big map. We are in a situation now where this movement is growing. It's not getting smaller and just having one tactic off the table doesn't mean that the concerns have gone away. In fact, the concerns are getting bigger.

MALVEAUX: So how do you focus the group here though? I mean, you talk about it's big, it's expansive, but how do you bring focus to this so that there is some sort of movement and people know how to react to this? I mean, what do people need to do to actually address this Occupy movement's concerns?

JONES: Well, we're now entering, I think, phase two. Phase two, you move from anger to answers. You move from pointing out the problem to pointing out the solutions, and just like with the Tea Party Movement when they first came out, you know, people were kind of concerned, they didn't know what it was about. They pivoted over to politics. What you're going to see now is you have the Occupy movement at the center, that's the beating heart. There's a broader phenomenon around it that is the 99 percent movement. You just heard the SEIU come out today, involved in electoral politics, talk about the 99 percent.

We are going to be recruiting 2,000 candidates to run for office now under this 99 percent banner. You're going to see an evolution now as you go from protests, keep the protests, but now expand into politics. And if you thought there was an earthquake in 2010 when the Tea Party moved into politics, wait until this 99 percent movement moves over into politics. You haven't seen anything yet.
 


MALVEAUX: Well Van, let me ask you this because I know you're working to bring liberal progressive organizations to the table to support the Occupy movement and they've been quite slow, actually, at really supporting this movement. When you see these pictures and when you look at the violence that's happening, the scenes, whether or not you believe that it's the police fault or it's the protesters' fault – how do you make sure this kind of activity isn't – doesn't take over your movement?

JONES: Well, first of all, it's not my movement. The movement belongs to the people who are in it, and this is  –

MALVEAUX: The Occupy movement obviously.

JONES: Exactly, but let me just say a couple of things. First of all, any kind of violence whether it's street violence or police violence, needs to be called out and has been called out and denounced. There's nobody more concerned about that than the people who are down there running the occupations, supporting the occupations.

And I've talked to them, they're very concerned, but I also want to give them a little bit of credit. We're talking about urban America. There's much more violence outside those occupations than inside. They have been working hard to keep them peaceful. And now you're seeing groups step up – the (Unintelligible) Society, NAACP, Dr. King's organization, the SCLC, our group, stepping in to bolster that nonviolent spirit, bringing in trainings, bolstering the trainings that exist there.

This movement has been committed to peace. Again, we're talking about urban centres. There's a lot more violence outside than inside. I think we should give them some credit for having been overwhelmingly peaceful. And most of the people who have been hurt – unfortunately, whether you're talking about the veteran who was put in a coma or the reporters that were hurt yesterday – were hurt by our law enforcement. So we've all got to take a bigger stand for a nonviolent resolution to these problems.

MALVEAUX: Van Jones, a lot of people think they need a leader. Do you think you might be that guy?

JONES: No, hey listen. We've learned that leader-centered movements don't work. This is about a leader-ful movement. It's not leaderless. It's leader centric. It's leader-ful. You're seeing so many now new voices – young people, veterans, clergy coming out and speaking from their heart about saying we don't want the American dream of economic opportunity to be thrown in the garbage can just so the richest people in the world don't have to pay their taxes. We want to have an economy that works.

MALVEAUX: All right. OK.

JONES: For everybody.

MALVEAUX: All right, Van Jones, you might at least be a spokesperson, you know, maybe not a leader, but certainly a good spokesperson for the group.

JONES: There are a lot of us.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center