New Clear Vision


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Archive for the ‘Jerry Elmer’

Remembering the Lawrence Strike

January 09, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Jerry Elmer, Politics

On the Centennial of a Nonviolent and Decisive Workers’ Victory

by Jerry Elmer

January 12, 2012 is the one hundredth anniversary of the commencement of one of the most important labor strikes in American history – the bloody 1912 Lawrence, Massachusetts, textile strike that lasted 63 days. The strike represented the organizing apogee of the radical, syndicalist Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, or Wobblies); the strike has also become associated (albeit erroneously) in popular lore with the slogan “Bread and Roses” (the phrase originated in a poem by James Oppenheim published in 1911, but was apparently never used by the Lawrence strikers in 1912).

On January 1, 1912, a new Massachusetts law had gone into effect that cut the maximum work week to 54 hours. Mill workers’ pay was given out on Fridays, not for the week just ended but for the previous week; thus, on Friday afternoon, January 12, 1912, workers received their pay for the work week of Monday, January 1 through Saturday, January 6. Workers found their pay to be an average of 32¢ short, representing the fewer hours that the mill workers had toiled. (more…)

Remembering Vietnam’s Independence

September 02, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Jerry Elmer, Politics

Sending Greetings to a Determined, Free People

by Jerry Elmer

Today, September 2, is Vietnam’s National Day — the Vietnamese independence day that is the equivalent of our Fourth of July.  On September 2, 1945, President Ho Chi Minh read Vietnam’s Declaration of Independence at Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi.

The opening words of the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence might sound vaguely familiar to Americans:  “All men are created equal.  They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  It is not a coincidence that these words are in the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence.  Ho Chi Minh had lived as a young man in the United States (in New York City and Boston) and had been deeply impressed with the American ideals of independence and freedom. (more…)

A Necessary Good

August 04, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Current Events, Jerry Elmer, Politics

Tim DeChristopher and the Defense of Necessity

by Jerry Elmer

Tim DeChristopher is the environmental and climate-change activist who was recently sentenced to two years in federal prison for an act of public, nonviolent civil disobedience.  On December 19, 2008, DeChristopher disrupted a federal auction in Utah of oil and gas drilling lease rights.  DeChristopher participated in the auction, openly and publicly, posing as a real bidder.  His high bids won rights to 14 separate parcels totaling 22,500 acres of land, for $1.8 million.  DeChristopher had no intention of paying; he had scooped the parcels as a means of making a dramatic public statement about the dangers of climate change. DeChristopher follows a long and noble tradition of civil disobedience that includes other practitioners such as Thoreau, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. (more…)

Finding the Way Forward

May 14, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Jerry Elmer, Politics

Freedom Ride Anniversary Prompts Reflection on Movement Tactics

by Jerry Elmer

This month marks the fiftieth anniversary of the 1961 Freedom Ride. It has been gratifying to see a number of public events commemorating the occasion; too often progressive history goes unmarked and unremarked. For example, George Houser, the last surviving participant in the 1961 Freedom Ride, appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s television program on May 4. Interestingly, some of the recent publicity has identified the 1961 Freedom Ride as the first Freedom Ride. Actually, it was the second Freedom Ride.

The first Freedom Ride occurred 14 years earlier in April 1947.  The reason that some historians get confused is that the earlier event also went by the name “Journey of Reconciliation.”  There were a lot of overlaps between the first Freedom Ride (1947) and the second Freedom Ride (1961). (more…)

Give Process Its Due

May 08, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Jerry Elmer, Politics

Human Rights and Moral Principles Reject Extra-Judicial Killings

by Jerry Elmer

In early 1998, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan), Mary Jo White, convened a grand jury; and, on June 10, 1998, the grand jury handed up a criminal indictment against a certain man who was, then, a fugitive from justice.  The eight-page indictment alleged several serious federal felonies.  Some years later a successor grand jury expanded the original indictment; it grew to 29 pages, and alleged many criminal violations, including capital crimes.  The alleged criminal remained a fugitive.

In August 2010, President Obama came to believe that he knew the whereabouts of the indicted, but untried, man.  The President did not have the fugitive arrested so that he could be tried on the criminal charges pending against him (as the law requires).  Instead, the President resorted to a hit squad — a group of heavily armed men that went after the indicted, but untried, individual. (more…)