New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Cure for War

June 19, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Politics

Historical Activism Provides a Good Place to Start

by David Swanson

Erin Niemela’s recent proposal that we amend the Constitution to ban war is provocative and persuasive.  Count me in.  But I have a related idea that I think should be tried first.

While banning war is just what the world ordered, it has about it something of the whole Bush-Cheney ordeal during which we spent years trying to persuade Congress to ban torture.  By no means do I want to be counted among those opposed to banning torture.  But it is relevant, I want to suggest, that torture had already been banned.  Torture had been banned by treaty and been made a felony, under two different statutes, before George W. Bush was made president.  In fact, the preexisting ban on torture was stronger and more comprehensive than any of the loophole-ridden efforts to re-criminalize it.  Had the debate over “banning torture” been entirely replaced with a stronger demand to prosecute torture, we might be better off today.
(more…)

Toward a Maroon Society

June 12, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Fred Ho, Matt Meyer, Politics

Working Together to Build a New World

by Fred Ho, with Matt Meyer

{MM: The following piece was written by a founder and a supporter of the organization Scientific Soul Sessions, a majority oppressed nationality revolutionary group. Wrestling with the question of white membership, they have been engaged in recent struggles which have revealed how pervasive, entrenched and odious “whiteness” is even in these contexts. This article was penned in the course of those struggles.}

“Anti-racist whites” are against some of the right things, but what are they for? As we fight for a society of more than just tolerance and “equality” but for true justice and liberation, our goal is to escape the Matrix of the current systems. Like the historic maroons of the past, and the contemporary political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz who continues to resist from behind enemy lines, we must build for a Maroon militancy that fully rejects the shackles of the past as we build for a new tomorrow.

“Anti-racist whites” may believe in color-blindness, but we know that this is an impossibility in American society. Any obfuscation that believes that a “post-racial” society can be achieved simply by ignoring or eradicating the notion of “race” is fundamentally mistaken about the roots of racism and the function it serves: the social reproduction of assimilation (and therefore control) within the American Empire. (more…)

Sins of Omission

June 11, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, David Swanson, Politics

Three Things Young People Should Know to Save the World

by David Swanson

Of course, old people should know these things too, and some small percentage does know them, but energy seems better invested in trying to teach them to young people who have less to unlearn in the process…

1. Obedience is extremely dangerous. 

This seems like it must be either wrong or misleadingly incomplete.  And that would be true if we were talking about children.  If a two-year-old is about to run in front of a car, please do yell “stop!” and hope for as much obedience as possible. But I’m talking to young people, not children.

When you grow up, your obedience should always be conditional.  If a master chef appears to be instructing you to prepare a revoltingly bad dinner but wants you to obey his or her instructions on faith, you might very well choose to do so, considering the risk to be tolerable.  If, however, the chef tells you to chop off your little finger, and you do it, that will be a sure sign that you’ve got an obedience problem. (more…)

A Meditation on Cities

June 06, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Economy, Jan Lundberg

Potential and Reality at the End of Growth

by Jan Lundberg

On a rainy day in Berlin there’s wonderful reason to be indoors on the Internet or writing a song. I didn’t manage any time in nature due to the weather, so I Imagetook my meditation break outdoors on a crowded but peaceful, umbrella-crammed street. Not surprisingly, a thought came to me.

Incidentally, my essays in the past year have almost all come from brief meditation sessions I’ve done daily amidst natural or quasi-natural surroundings. With a secret aid I have my own ritual, the subject of an essay itself someday. It makes city dwelling easier for me. (more…)

End of the Line

May 17, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Devon G. Pena, Ecology

Communities of Color Cope with the Brunt of Petrochemical Waste

by Devon G. Peña

The East Side of Houston, Texas is known as el barrio de los pobres — the poor people’s neighborhood. Historically, the residents here have been predominantly African American but more recently many of the neighborhoods have been settled by Latina/o immigrants, most of them Mexicans who have joined some of the older Chicana/o families with roots in the area dating back 3-4 generations.

The East Side is also ground zero in any ‘toxic tour’ of Harris County. In fact, the area is the urban center for the region’s petrochemical industry. It is not unusual to see homes surrounded by tank farms; schoolyards, playgrounds, or athletic fields located next to fractionating towers and smokestacks belching black smoke or burning-off excess chemicals and gases. These are iconic fence-line communities. The East Side is currently home to four major petrochemical plant complexes: Valero Refinery, Texas Petro-Chemical, LyondellBasell, and Goodyear Tire and Rubber. (more…)

Organize Some More

May 15, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Angola 3 News, Current Events, Politics

Russell Shoatz Files Lawsuit Against Long-Term Solitary Confinement

by Angola 3 News

Last week, on Wednesday, May 8, lawyers for Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz filed a federal lawsuit regarding his placement in solitary confinement for over 22 consecutive years. The written complaint, directed at Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary now clockJohn Wetzel and the Superintendents of SCI-Greene, where Shoatz was last held, and SCI-Mahanoy, where he was transferred to on March 28, 2013, states that this “is an action for injunctive, declaratory and monetary relief for violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.”

Last month, when a 30-day action campaign was launched calling for Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz’s immediate release from solitary confinement, the campaign promised to file this litigation if Maroon had not been transferred into general population by the morning of May 8. On Thursday, May 9 the lawsuit was announced at a press conference was held in Pittsburgh, outside the City-County Building. (more…)

Challenging the Test

May 10, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, David Bacon, Politics

Teachers in Oaxaca Resist the Standardization of Education

by David Bacon

Recently an American Federation of Teachers resolution declared that U.S. public schools are held hostage to a “testing fixation rooted in the No Child Left Behind Act,” and condemned its “extreme misuse as a result of ideologically and politically driven education policy.”  AFT President Randi Weingarten proposed instead that “public education should be obsessed with high-quality teaching and learning, not high-stakes testing.”   In Seattle teachers at Garfield High have refused to give them.

Many Mexican teachers would find these sentiments familiar.  The testing regime in Mexico is as entrenched as it is in the United States, and its political use is very similar — undermining the rights of teachers, and attacking unions that oppose it. (more…)