New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
Subscribe

The Great Mobilizer

August 26, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Erin Niemela, Politics

Hope in the Face of Injustice

by Erin Niemela

The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict recently hosted the James Lawson Institute in Nashville, Tenn. The first event of its kind, the Institute is an eight-day intensive training for North American organizers and activists, hosted by none other than Rev. James Lawson, himself an iconic figure of the Civil Rights movement. I was among 45 applicants afforded the opportunity to attend, notable activists and organizers from a variety of causes and campaigns (all of them far more experienced and courageous than I consider myself, to be sure). What I went there hoping to learn about civil resistance is nowhere near as important as what I actually gained: a profound sense of hope for the future of this world, this powerful group we call the people.

Our teachers included Rev. James Lawson, an instrumental figure in the Civil Rights Movement, Ivan Marovic, a leader of Optor!, the Serbian nonviolent revolution of 2000, and Mary King, an inspirational woman who worked in the pre-eminent Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the Civil Rights Movement. We underwent four 14 hour-per-day trainings, covering historical cases, strategies, tactics, and movement cultures, among other more sensitive topics such as privilege, systemic oppression in movements, sustainability, burnout and dealing with interpersonal conflict. The intensity of these discussions had been set too high and left there permanently with little reprieve, and I found myself asking some existential questions: Who am I? What is my purpose? Where am I going? (more…)

Role Modeling

August 14, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Missy Beattie, Politics

What to Conceal, What to Show?

by Missy Beattie

I think I have a story going. My stream of consciousness is overflowing. With run-on sentences and dangling phrases. Thoughts are tumbling to the pages.

It’s every writer’s dream — a book deal with the possibility of a screenplay. But I don’t know. A friend said drop it, idle the fingers on this one. It’s lurid.

And, well, I’m a peace and justice activist. I aspire to be like Kathy Kelly. I met Kelly at a peace rally in DC and heard her speak about forgiveness. That we must forgive al-Qaeda. I think of these words often — and how often I fail.

Here’s an example, circa 199?: I was waiting, next in line, for a parking space at Baltimore’s Belvedere Square. When taillights illuminated, I hit the blinker and moved to close in. Suddenly, a white Cadillac with a large red bow on its grill shot around my Volvo, claiming the territory. As a tall, blond and tan Barbie clone in a white tennis skirt emerged from the sedan, I lowered the front passenger window. (more…)

It’s the Ownership

July 11, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Economy, Politics

New Book Highlights What We Must Do

by David Swanson

If you’re like me you’ve read several books that list inspiring examples of worker owned businesses and co-ops, suggesting that expanding on such models might begin to right the wrongs of an incredibly unequal society that is growing even more unequal by the day.

The best such collection I’ve found is in a new book by Gar Alperovitz called What Then Must We Do?  This book also offers a powerful argument that radical change is needed, albeit an argument with some possible flaws.  First the inspiring examples:

Workers own and run factories in Cleveland, Atlanta, Washington DC, Amarillo, and many other cities.  Labor unions that once opposed worker ownership, including the Steelworkers and several others, now create worker-owned companies.  Forty percent of Americans are members of cooperatives, including credit unions.  People moved hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, from large banks to credit unions and small banks in 2011 and 2012.  (That should continue!)  Then there are community development corporations and land trusts, alive and thriving.  There are even corporations redesigned, and labeled B Corps, chartered under new laws in 12 states to allow them to legally pursue the social good as well as profits. (more…)

Cognitive Assonance

June 20, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

Congratulations! You’re Being Watched

by Randall Amster

With revelations (yet again) that we are all essentially being watched virtually all the time, we might expect a popular backlash espionajeagainst such a massive and unprecedented intrusion on privacy. Americans may differ on a plethora of political issues, but there’s a common wisdom suggesting broad agreement on core principles such as individual liberty. Alas, widespread pushback against a total surveillance society seems unlikely to emerge, and having the full scope of such a program become publicly known may only increase its acceptability.

Modern America is built on the ethos of the “reality show” — and people want to be watched. (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…)

Resist These Dark Times

May 29, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Family, Kathy Kelly, Politics

Advice from an Afghan Mother and Activist

by Kathy Kelly

When she was 24 years old, in 1979, Fahima Vorgetts left Afghanistan.  By reputation, she had been outspoken, even rebellious, in her opposition to injustice and oppression; and family and friends, concerned for her safety, had urged her to go abroad.  Twenty-three years later, returning for the first time to her homeland, she barely recognized war-torn streets in urban areas where she had once lived.  She saw and felt the anguish of villagers who couldn’t feed or shelter their families, and no less able to accept such unjust suffering than she’d been half her life before, Fahima decided to make it her task to help alleviate the abysmal conditions faced by ordinary Afghans living at or below the poverty line – by helping to build independent women’s enterprises wherever she could.  She trusted in the old adage that if a person is hungry it’s an even greater gift to teach the person how to fish than to only give the person fish. (more…)

Hit and Stay

May 16, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Politics

New Movie Spotlights History of Nonviolent Activism

by David Swanson

The CIA has been so busy consulting on Zero Dark Thirty, not to mention funding Hamid Karzai, bribing Russians, lying about weapons, and conducting humanitarian drone murders, that it didn’t have any time at all to help out with Hit and Stay, and yet arguably the latter turned out to be the better film despite such a severe handicap.  You can check it out at http://hitandstay.com

This is a film about people taking risks to prevent killing rather than to engage in it.  The focus is on the Catonsville Nine action on May 17, 1968, 45 years ago this Friday.  That action, in which activists burned draft cards and apologized for burning papers rather than children, was preceded by the Baltimore Four action of October 27, 1967, in which four activists poured their blood on draft papers.  It was followed by countless other actions, leading right up to the Transform Plowshares action in Tennessee for which three are currently awaiting sentencing. (more…)