New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

Peace Lessons

July 10, 2015 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Politics

New Book Covers Familiar Terrain with Original Perspective

by David Swanson

I just read what may be the best introduction to peace studies I’ve ever seen. It’s called Peace Lessons, and is a new book by Timothy Braatz. It’s not too fast or too slow, neither obscure nor peace lessonsboring. It does not drive the reader away from activism toward meditation and “inner peace,” but begins with and maintains a focus on activism and effective strategy for revolutionary change in the world on the scale that is needed. As you may be gathering, I’ve read some similar books about which I had major complaints.

No doubt there are many more, similar books I haven’t read, and no doubt most of them cover the basic concepts of direct, structural, and cultural violence and nonviolence. No doubt many of them review the 20th century history of nonviolent overthrows of dictators. No doubt the U.S. civil rights movement is a common theme, especially among U.S. authors. Braatz’s book covers this and other familiar territory so well I was never tempted to set it down. He gives some of the best answers available to the usual questions from the dominant war-based culture, as well: “Would you shoot a crazed gunman to save your grandma?” “What about Hitler?” (more…)

The Art of Satyagraha

May 09, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Michael N. Nagler, Politics

Achieving ‘Victory’ With, Not Over, the Forces of Conflict

by David Swanson

Michael Nagler has just published The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action, a quick book to read and a long one to digest, a book that’s rich in a way that people of a very different inclination bizarrely imagine Sun Tzu’s to be.  That is, rather than a collection of misguided platitudes, this book proposes what still remains a radically different way of thinking, a habit of living that is not in our air. In fact, Nagler’s first piece of advice is to avoid the airwaves, turn off the television, opt out of the relentless normalization of violence.

We don’t need the art of war applied to a peace movement. We need the art of satyagraha applied to the movement for a peaceful, just, free, and sustainable world.  This means we have to stop trying to defeat the Military Industrial Complex (how’s that been working out?) and start working to replace it and to convert the people who make up its parts to new behaviors that are better for them as well as for us.

It can seem out of place to shift from a discussion of the world’s largest military to personal interactions. Surely giving John Kerry a complete personality transplant would leave in place corrupt elections, war profiteering, complicit media outlets, and the assumption held by legions of career bureaucrats that war is the way to peace. (more…)

The Carbon Crisis

February 07, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Kent Shifferd

Can We Fix Humanity’s ‘Biggest Mistake’ in Time?

by Kent Shifferd

The great release of carbon-based energy began in the second half of the eighteenth century, prompting the poet William Blake to coin his famous line about “England’s dark, satanic mills.” All history before that was characterized by an organic tool kit. Our technology was mostly biodegradable and not very powerful. Nature was strong — humanity was weak. I am not suggesting we want to revert to that relationship, but did we go in the right direction, and if not, what can we do about it now?

Why was the release of carbon energies humanity’s greatest mistake? The answer is simple; it has led to the severe damage to the biosphere we now see all around us. The biosphere, that thin zone of life that surrounds the earth like the skin on an apple, is the only place in this solar system that we can live and we are utterly dependent upon its natural processes. It provides oxygen to breathe, water to drink, and soil that produces all our food. As everyone knows, it is a vastly complicated, living web whose interconnections we will never fully understand. The release of carbon energy has made it possible for us to recklessly pull apart the strands. (more…)

Walking as a Way of Life

December 13, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Jay Walljasper

A New Movement for Health and Happiness

by Jay Walljasper

Researchers have discovered a “wonder drug” for many of today’s most common medical problems, says Dr. Bob Sallis, a family practitioner at a Kaiser Permanente clinic in Fontana, California. It’s been proven to help treat or prevent diabetes, depression, breast and colon cancer, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, anxiety and osteoporosis, Sallis told leaders at the 2013 Walking Summit in Washington, D.C.

“The drug is called walking,” Sallis announced. “Its generic name is physical activity.” Recommended dosage is 30 minutes a day, five days a week, but children should double that to 60 minutes a day, seven days a week. Side effects may include weight loss, improved mood, improved sleep and bowel habits, stronger muscles and bones as well as looking and feeling better. (more…)

Buy Nothing Day

November 29, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Guest Author

Examining the Issue of Over-Consumption

from Wikipedia

Buy Nothing Day is an international day of protest against consumerism. In North America, Buy Nothing Day is held the Friday after U.S. Thanksgiving (November 29, 2013; November 28, 2014; November 27, 2015); elsewhere, it is held the following day, which is the last Saturday in November. Buy Nothing Day was founded in Vancouver by artist Ted Dave and subsequently promoted by Adbusters magazine, based in Canada.

The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Canada in September 1992 “as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.” In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, also called “Black Friday,” which is one of the ten busiest shopping days in the United States. In 2000, advertisements by Adbusters promoting Buy Nothing Day were denied advertising time by almost all major television networks except for CNN. Soon, campaigns started appearing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Austria,Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, France, and Norway. Participation now includes more than 65 nations. (more…)

Like Bees to Nectar

November 15, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Chellis Glendinning, Ecology, Politics

On the Value of Our Social Movements

by Chellis Glendinning 

(To Elizabeth Hallett, who has devoted her life to social change and caring for the wounded.)

It’s yet another bloqueo, paro y huelga in Bolivia, nary a week passes without one or two or three somewhere in the country. The syndicates, collectives, and communities are in the streets marching, striking, blocking traffic with boulders and tires, hurling rocks at the police, shooting firecrackers, martyring themselves in hunger strikes — causing havoc, threatening the national economy, pushing the blind eye of government to see their demands. All the while, activists, protestors, and anti-globalization visionaries in “advanced” societies are stunned, inspired, awed. And green with envy.

The campesinos and city folk in Cochabamba’s 2000 Water War, after all, put a stop to an already-signed contract with mega-corporation Bechtel to privatize water sources and delivery, while those in the 2003 Gas War in El Alto brought down a government.

Yes, green with envy. (more…)

Something More

October 14, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Family, Missy Beattie, Politics

What Else Can We Do for the Cause of Freedom?

by Missy Beattie

Sunday, sister Laura and I went to a festival a block from my apartment. We walked past the vendor artists, their booths of pottery, jewelry, paintings, and metalwork, and opened our portable chairs near a stage where musicians performed. An event organizer took the mic and said someone mentioned the strangeness of having a festival when the country’s facing so many problems. She’d responded that art makes the world go ‘round.

I sat there, thinking about Herman Wallace and Alfred Woodfox. Actually, I’ve thought of little else for over a week.

Wallace spent 41 years in solitary confinement at Louisiana’s Angola prison. And so has Woodfox. For Wallace, the torture is over. Diagnosed in June with advanced liver cancer, he was freed by a federal judge on Tuesday, October 1st and died three days later at the home of a friend. (more…)