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Archive for the ‘Current Events’

Reflections on Ferguson

November 26, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

Cover of Darkness, Rays of Light

by Randall Amster

The announcement arrived at the telegraphed moment, conveniently scheduled for prime time in most zones. A decision said to shed light on a matter of national importance is revealed only after dark, with the lede buried under a pile of prosecutorial dereliction. When the decisive words newfergseasonsare finally uttered, they echo with unintended irony as a broken system delivers its own self-indictment: “No True Bill.”

We’ve been here before, far too many times. Anguish fills the air, slowly replaced by tear gas and smoke. Rage smolders from the friction of perpetual despair, finally igniting fires that engulf a handful of structures. People are urged to lodge their complaints but keep their place, to express their views but only from the sidelines, to follow the rule of law but relegate their quest for justice. The convenient spectacle of “violence in the streets” obscures the perpetuation of “structural violence” everywhere. (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…)

Remembering Mandela

December 06, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, David Swanson, Politics

What Didn’t Kill Him Made Him Stronger

by David Swanson

Nelson Mandela’s story, if told as a novel, would not be deemed possible in real life.  Worse, we don’t tell such stories in many of our novels.

A violent young rebel is imprisoned for decades but turns that imprisonment into the training he needs.  He turns to negotiation, diplomacy, reconciliation.  He negotiates free elections, and then wins them. He forestalls any counter-revolution by including former enemies in his victory.  He becomes a symbol of the possibility for the sort of radical, lasting change of which violence has proved incapable.  He credits the widespread movement in his country and around the world that changed cultures for the better while he was locked away.  But millions of people look to the example of his personal interactions and decisions as having prevented a blood bath.

Mandela was a rebel before he had a cause.  He was a fighter and a boxer.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu says that South Africa benefited greatly from the fact that Mandela did not emerge from prison earlier: “Had he come out earlier, we would have had the angry, aggressive Madiba. As a result of the experience that he had there, he mellowed. … Suffering either embitters you or, mercifully, ennobles you.  And with Madiba, thankfully for us, the latter happened.” (more…)

Who Should Decide?

November 07, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Peter G. Cohen, Politics

Congress Is Making a Critical Decision

by Peter G. Cohen

The Pentagon is lobbying the Congress to provide funds for the “Modernization” of the B-61 gravity  bombs now stored in Europe. Making this bomb more accurate and more “useable” will cost an estimated $8.1 billion through 2024. At the same time, many experts File:B61internals.pngand some European nations would like to see the bombs withdrawn from Europe.

“I would never have thought those silly things would still be there in 2013. I think they are an absolutely pointless part of a tradition in military thinking.” said former Dutch Prime Minister, Ruud Lubbers, to Time Flies, a National Geographic Television documentary. In 2010 a parliamentary resolution called on the Dutch governments to inform the United States that its nuclear weapons were no longer required for Dutch security. (more…)

Piece of Mind

October 23, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Missy Beattie

Reflections on Disturbance, Disorder, and Daily Coping

by Missy Beattie

My name’s Missy and I’m a piñata of anxieties. This is what I’d say if I were in a support group.

Yes, I’m thinking still of Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox. Over the weekend, I received an email from Hans at Angola 3 News. He’d read my article about Wallace and Woodfox. When I checked Tuesday’s email, I had another from him with photos from Wallace’s memorial and a link to this site. Among the images is a picture of a mural and banner on a bike path, a bike path just a few blocks from my apartment. Mid-morning, I ran in place in front of the banner, staring at these words: HERMAN WALLACE R.I.P. FREE ALBERT WOODFOX.

Last week, I sat in my doctor’s office and told her about Wallace and Woodfox. Wallace’s words in the hours before he died, “I am free, I am free.” Told her Woodfox was allowed to say goodbye to Wallace, who was freed by a federal judge, but then Woodfox was returned to solitary confinement. Has been in solitary confinement for 41 years. In other words, tortured. (more…)

Called to Act

October 21, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Laura L. Finley, Politics

In Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples

by Laura L. Finley

Last I heard, contracts negotiated between two consenting and capable parties are supposed to be binding, with repercussions if one party violates what has been agreed upon and codified into a legal document.  That is, of course, unless it is the state entering into such agreements with indigenous peoples. Then these legal documents are little more than lip-service, or so it seems, based on the actions of the U.S., Canadian, and other governments who have and continued to trample the rights of indigenous peoples with impunity. Instead of being held accountable to the legally binding agreements they have signed, these governments continue to deprive indigenous peoples of their land, their livelihoods, and their cultures. Worse yet, they have the gall to point the finger at indigenous peoples and their allies who resist this continued destruction of their land and resources, calling them the criminals. (more…)

Rationality Shutdown

October 11, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Economy, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

Power Flows with Daunting Slowness…

by Robert C. Koehler

In an agony of stupidity, the government shuts down.

Only some of it shuts down, of course. The part that stays open is the part that’s at war. “Those of you in uniform will remain on your normal duty status,” the President said. “The threats to our national security have not changed, and we need you to be ready for any contingency. Ongoing military operations, like our efforts in Afghanistan, will continue.”

As I once observed, there’s no such thing as a relaxed nation. It can shut down what it does right, if clumsily, like feeding people, educating them and helping them through difficulty, but it will only shut down its predatory sense of identity in a state of total defeat by a bigger predator. Not letting that happen is its endless obsession. (more…)