Color of Change = Color of Progressive Thugs

Color of Change (COC), a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization founded in 2005 by James Rucker and Van Jones, should more appropriately be called “Color of Progressive Thugs.”

Rather than openly debate issues to promote its progressive views, COC’s modus operandi is blackmailing companies and suppressing free speech. It takes pride in threatening and bloodying opponents, organizing hate-filled protests, hurling lies and spouting racist demagoguery – anything to demonize, silence, and destroy its targets.

COC is one of the core organizations of the progressive infrastructure in America.1 Rucker was previously Director of Grassroots Mobilization at, a progressive organization launched in 1998. Van Jones openly declared in 1992 he was a communist, although later renounced his stance. In 1994, he helped set up “Standing Together to Organize a Revolution Movement (STORM), which “held study groups on the theories of Marx and Lenin and dreamed of a multiracial socialist utopia.”2

President Obama appointed Van Jones as White House Special Advisor for Green Jobs but was forced to resign months after his radical past was made public. He no longer works for COC.


Blackmailing Companies

COC launches racial-driven attacks against top-brand American companies that fund conservative organizations and advertise on conservative media programs. If a company refuses to withdraw its support, it’s besieged with protesting phone calls and smeared on social media as racist and harming black people.

COC has organized demonstrations at shareholder meetings and company headquarters, as well as placed attack ads on black-demographic radio stations – all designed to sully a company’s reputation as racist. To end the malicious attacks and protect their brand names, companies usually surrender and terminate their financial support for the business under attack.


Suppressing Free Speech

A COC’s stated mission is to challenge the “legitimacy and influence of right-wing voices.”Among its attacks, COC mounted a campaign to shut down a Fox News program hosted by Glen Beck, to force ABC to fire Andrew Brietbart, remove Pat Buchannan from appearing on MSNBC, and stop CNN from hiring Bill Bennett. From COC’s point of view, conservatives voices represent “inaccurate, dangerous and racist arguments.” COC also targeted Fox News, alleging it “attacked black people, leaders, and cultural institutions.”

COC’s campaign against Beck began after he alerted the public to Van Jone’s communist/progressive background. COC dispatched letters to companies that advertised on Fox during Beck’s program, demanding they withdraw their ads because of “Beck’s racially divisive rhetoric.”



Color of Change currently receives about $1 million annually in grants from progressive foundations and unions. The largest contributor is the Kellogg Foundation, which has provided $2.6 million to date.

George Soros’ foundation, Open Society, has contributed $400,000. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), AFSCME, and United Food and Commercial Workers union have also contributed to the organization. In 2016, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation gave a $500,000 grant to COC.

1) See Democracy Alliance list of core progressive infrastructure in America (see Progressive Infrastructure).
2) “The New Face of Environmentalism,” East Bay Express, November 2, 2005.

Sabotaging America’s Democratic Process

Presidential nominating conventions are an integral part of America’s democratic system. It’s how political parties select a candidate for president, a process that should be celebrated, not destroyed.

So what did COC do? They sought to financially sabotage the Republican Convention in 2016 because Donald Trump, in their opinion, voiced “violent rhetoric, racially-charged imagery, and the dissemination of paranoid, widely-debunked conspiracy theories that embolden white supremacist hate groups and encourage hate-crime.”

COC targeted 30 American companies that in recent years had helped fund presidential nominating conventions, demanding they “end their sponsorship of a Trump-led convention.”

COC said, “When corporate dollars are used to fund a platform [Republican Convention] for a demagogue who promotes a violently anti-Black message that company is just as culpable as the person shouting.” COC threatened companies, declaring they could “kiss their multi-million dollar diversity marketing campaigns goodbye,” if they continued their sponsorship of the convention.

An online COC petition displayed a coke bottle with the tag “Share a Coke with the KKK.” The company soon after raised a white flag. It had contributed $75,000 to the convention and declined to make further contributions even though if gave $660,000 to the Republican convention in 2012.

Wal-Mart, also intimidated by COC, reduced its support from $150,000 in 2012 to $15,000 in 2016. Hewlett-Packard, which donated funds and computer equipment in 2012 declined to make any contribution to the Republican convention.

COC Blackmails ALEC Sponsors

Color of Change targeted the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), claiming it was racist because it supported legislation opposed by progressives.

ALEC is a non-profit, bi-partisan, organization, founded in 1973, which exchanges ideas, policies, and laws among state legislatures so they can learn from one another about what works – and has failed – in other states. ALEC addresses a wide range of issues. Recent topics include:

  • Cronyism in the management of pension funds
  • Regulating drones
  • Resources to optimize Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs)
  • State economic competitive index
  • Best practices to lower incarceration rates
  • Expanding patient access to address opiate addition

COC objected to ALEC disseminating information on voter ID laws and the Stand Your Ground law. Rather than debate these issues in state legislatures, COC sought to shut down ALEC by blackmailing its sponsors.

COC smeared ALEC as a “dangerously influential, secretive right-wing policy promoter” responsible for the passage of “dozens of laws that threaten black people’s livelihood and well-being.” It set up meetings with companies that provide funds to ALEC and threatened to undermine their product brands if they refused to put a stop to their financial support.

Joining COC in the mob attack on American companies were the National Urban League, NAACP,, AFL-CIO, Common Cause, and Service Union Employees International (SUEI).

As a result of the blackmail tactics, Rashad Robinson, head of COC, said “we forced over one hundred corporations to exit ALEC,” including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Mars.