According to some, Van Jones is a “racist, radical communist who believes 9/11 was part of a conspiracy involving the U.S. government.” So then, what is Jones doing giving a talk in Santa Barbara this Saturday night entitled “Green for All: The Next American Economy?”

Jones is radical, but only if you consider an innovative economy, human rights and the middle class radical.

In his definitive work The Green Collar Economy published in 2008, Jones seeks to remedy the dilemma between our widely deteriorating economy and the looming ecological crisis. Based on government and private investment in quality green jobs, energy independence and a radical reduction in pollution, he explains how we can massively improve the health and security of our families, neighborhoods, economy and nation.

In March 2009, Jones was appointed by President Obama as Special Advisor for Green Jobs, where he helped oversee $80 billion in green spending as part of the recovery efforts. In the same year, TIME magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Six months later in September 2009, Jones resigned from his White House post.

On April 12, 2009, the conservative website WorldNetDaily published an exposé on Jones that labeled him “an admitted radical communist and black nationalist leader.” The Washington Independent counted 14 episodes throughout 2009 where Fox News show host, Glenn Beck warned his viewers about Jones, calling Jones a “self-avowed communist” and “a convicted felon.” In 2009, WorldNetDaily also published an article that claimed Democrats were trying to introduce a bill to the House of Representatives, H.R. 645, that created detention centers that “could be used as concentration camps for political dissidents, such as occurred in Nazi Germany.” Glenn Beck is also the guy who, in 2009, said that he had deciphered a secret code that was proof President Obama was trying to create an “oligarhy,” which he spelled out in that manner on his on-set blackboard (Mr. Beck, it’s “oligarchy”).

For some, Jones is simply terrifying — he wants to make Wall Street and the super-rich pay their fair share, cut corporate welfare for military contractors, big agriculture and big oil and maintain employee bargaining rights.

Citing a vicious smear campaign waged against him and Republican calls for his resignation, Jones decided the individual attacks on him were too distracting and divisive in a time where focus and cooperation were essential to dealing with the much larger and historic issues facing the country.

Jones is out of the White House — a huge and unfortunate loss for all of those who embrace thoughtful change. Fortunately, it takes a lot more than ridiculous commentators and old-order politicians to bring down a man like Van Jones.

In truth, Jones fights daily for the vitality of our planet, jobs for the low and middle classes and restoration of the American economy everyone depends on. As the co-founder of three non-profit organizations, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a senior policy advisor at Green For All and a distinguished sitting fellow at Princeton University, Jones is not looking to slow down any time soon.

The inspiring Van Jones will discuss healthy and innovative ideas on how “we can turn TO each other and not ON each other” in this time of great change at the Marjorie Luke Theatre in Santa Barbara this Saturday at 7 p.m.

Cedar Fremont is a fourth-year history major. For a complete list of references, visit