New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
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Archive for the ‘Matt Meyer’

Professor Falcón’s Lessons

March 14, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Family, Matt Meyer, Politics

Solidarity and Camaraderie in a Puerto Rican Context

by Matt Meyer

On Monday, March 10, Puerto Rico’s leading intellectual — sociologist, educator, lawyer, author, organizer, and Independentista — passed away at age 84. A world renowned authority on colonialism, repression, and Puerto Rican history, Dr. Nieves Falcón was founder/director of the University of Puerto Rico’s Department of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, founder of the Committee on Human Rights, president of the International PEN Club, and a member of the International Advisory Board of the Peace and Justice Studies Association. He was also this author’s mentor, godfather to my son, and a great friend; it was an honor to be the only non-Puerto Rican to deliver a eulogy at his March 12th funeral. This essay is based on my remarks that afternoon. (more…)

Life Beyond Icons

February 14, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Matt Meyer, Politics

Two Things We Should Remember about Mandela and Seeger

by Matt Meyer

Whether one talks of and worships heroes who we can only hope to emulate, or of the more literal definition of a religious-based or computer-screen-based symbol to follow, the last weeks have not been kind to progressive icons. Death and dismemberment by mass media has caused the splashing of countless smiling images upon us, but blurred the messages which were central to the lives of dear Madiba and Pete.

If we are going to build vibrant, relevant future movements like the ones those two helped to generate for their times, we had best remember some of these central lessons gleaned from decades of lifelong commitment, growth, and struggle.

Here are just two lessons, common and central to both men, which are too often left way out of the central messaging being spread about their lives: (more…)

Becoming Mandela

December 31, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Matt Meyer, Politics

Media and the Making of Future Madibas

by Matt Meyer

Reading through well over one hundred portrayals of Nelson Mandela, and through the extensive comments made on my own “don’t mourn a myth” perspective which urged that we better understand the contradictions inherent in the man, it is hard not to conclude that few are worth a second look. If we are working towards assembling a collection of remembrances which might further the causes Mandela once championed, this month of memorials makes little contributions. Despite a fairly shallow overview in the New York Times Magazine, author Bill Keller was at least correct that Madiba was no saint, and that – in fact – it was his all-too-common human attributes of anger, aging, inconsistency and such that should make it possible for people to “aspire to his example.” (more…)

Memories of Mandela

December 10, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Matt Meyer, Politics

Let’s Not Mourn a Myth

by Matt Meyer

As the world joins together in celebrating the life of Nelson R. Mandela, South Africa’s “Madiba” who symbolizes freedom and dignity in every corner of the planet, let us not make the too-easy mistake of constructing an icon rather than honoring a man. He was, after all, a rather heroic although complicated man — with almost one-third of his life spent as a political prisoner who refused to bend on his most basic beliefs and strategies yet lived to lead a mass movement of international dimensions which put a number of those beliefs into practice.

The mythology comes when we forget about the complications, smooth over the rough edges which actually make his story most meaningful for those looking to continue building movements for lasting and radical social change. (more…)

Tales from the Vault

October 31, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Matt Meyer, Politics

Occupy Halloween

by Matt Meyer

{Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on New Clear Vision in October 2011.}

For everyone who wants to support the inspiring and growing “Occupy Wall Street,” “Occupy Together,” and “Occupy the Hood” movements but is feeling too busy, too scared, too overwhelmed, too young or too old (even too middle-aged!), too tired, too cautious, too far away from the center of the action, too involved with work or parenting or just trying to survive; for everyone: a simple suggestion…

THIS HALLOWEEN, WEAR A “V” MASK

For Victory & Peace, For Vigilance Against Injustice, For a Vision of a New & Better Tomorrow. (more…)

BRICS and Sticks

October 02, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Matt Meyer, Politics

Deadly Diamonds, Violence, and the Future of South Africa’s Democracy

by Matt Meyer

As the World Economic Forum summit took place in Cape Town in early May 2013, the question of South Africa’s role on the continent and around the globe came into sharp focus. Though the remarks of Zambian Vice President Guy Scott — that South Africa is disliked among Africans for “the same reason that Latin Americans dislike the United States” — were uncharacteristically undiplomatic, many South Africans were forced to admit that Scott’s impression is increasingly on the mark. With South African National Defense Force (SANDF) troops deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the Central African Republic, in Liberia, Ethiopia, Mozambique, the Sudan, Burundi and elsewhere, it is not surprising that some analysts — such as University KwaZulu-Natal’s Patrick Bond — call South Africa’s current position nothing short of “sub-imperialist.”

A year after the headline-making “Marikana massacre” of 34 striking mineworkers, and the publication of anti-arms trade whistleblower Terry Crawford-Browne’s damning book Eye on the Diamonds (Penguin, 2012) — which asserts that South Africa has been complicit in the marketing of “conflict” or “blood diamonds” — the question emerges: on the eve of the twentieth anniversary of the end of apartheid and next year’s South African Presidential elections, what does the future hold for this symbol of continental resistance and revolution? (more…)

Revolutionary Egypt

August 23, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Matt Meyer, Politics

The Worst of Times, the Best of Times…

by Matt Meyer

There is a reason why so many internationalists have had hard times writing clearly about Egypt since the end of June 2013. There is a reason why in English the words “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” resonates so. The cultural chasms and the political complexity of Egypt’s ongoing revolutionary moments will not lend themselves easily to short statements or translated sound bites . . . but we remain distant from, declarative regarding, or dispassionate about these events at our own grave peril. Nothing less than our collective, twenty-first century understandings of such terms as “democracy,” “revolution,” and “violence/nonviolence” are being forged on the streets of Egypt today.

Events are unfolding too quickly for a report from an outsider to be of much use. But hopefully some definitional reflections, from the perspective of an independent solidarity activist/academic committed to revolutionary nonviolence and socialist/anarchist viewpoints, might provide some context for future conversation and work. (more…)