New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Joel Olson, 1967-2012

March 30, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Family, Joel Olson, Politics

Mourning the Loss of a Colleague, Comrade, and Friend

We are deeply saddened by the loss of esteemed activist, writer, scholar, and NCV Contributor Joel Olson, who passed away while on sabbatical in Europe.

Joel was Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he specialized in political theory. A noted expert on racial politics and extremist ideologies, he was the author of The Abolition of White Democracy (University of Minnesota Press, 2004) as well as numerous articles and reviews. Joel was working on a second book, entitled American Zealot: Fanaticism and Democracy in the United States, at the time of his death.

During the 1990s Joel was involved with the Love and Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation and later went on to form Bring the Ruckus! He was a well-known figure in the anti-racist and pro-immigrant movements in Arizona, working with grassroots groups including Copwatch and the Repeal Coalition. (more…)

For Earth’s Sake…

October 21, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Ecology, Mary Sojourner

Leave It in the Ground

by Mary Sojourner

I was half-way through writing this post when I realized I was weary — not fading light weary or tired from a life suddenly too busy — but weary from revisiting yet again a potential atrocity motivated by nothing but greed and political ambition. I’m seventy-one. I was forty-six the first time my friends and I took action to stop uranium mining on sacred lands around the Grand Canyon.

It was 1986, a gorgeous day on the south rim of the Canyon — brilliant sunlight and clear turquoise sky, ravens spiraling down to circle the trees. My friends and I pulled on white radiation suits and gas masks. We linked hands and stepped across the main road in Grand Canyon National Park. A few dozen people waved banners and sang. There was a human raccoon and a human raven laughing up at the scrawwwking birds. A bright red banner read: Uranium? Leave it in the Ground. (more…)

Deepening the Time Scale

September 28, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Walt Anderson

An Evolutionary Puzzle in Southern Arizona

by Walt Anderson

Though each organism is inherently a time traveler, its genes a partial chronicle of its evolutionary history, we may be the sole species to be able to reflect on that deeper history.  People with deep imaginations can visualize the ape in our behaviors, the prototypical vertebrate in our embryos, the symbiotic merger reflected in our mitochondria.  Some can look at a hillside and envision it as a product of tectonic upheavals, erosional incisions and depositions, the lithification that turned sediment into rock that has weathered into a substrate supporting juniper, cactus, and spiny lizard.  With some training, there is hope for those of us who don’t normally see so well.  Our temporal blinders may be lifted, our spirits uplifted by the joys of discovery and insight.  Informed imagination — that greatest of time machines — can take us further toward understanding the Sky Islands than mere physical descriptions ever will.  Join me, then, for a little time travel, not to see it all (who has time?), but for a sample of how informed imagination works… (more…)

Arizona Burning

September 22, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Politics, Roberto Rodriguez

After Five Centuries, Indigenous Knowledge Is on Trial

by Roberto Rodriguez

Justice. That’s a word not normally associated with Arizona. With Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his military tank still on the loose, this will not be changing anytime soon. In Arizona, Arpaio is colorful, but he is actually the least of them.

Just recently, Sen. John McCain decided to blame “illegal aliens” for the state’s forest fire outbreaks. Aided and abetted by the media, the senator’s irresponsible accusations, after touring the 500,000-acre Wallow fire, set off a contagion of wind-aided hate and fear. This month, two cousins were arrested for setting that fire. They were not aliens of any kind. The senator has issued no retractions. (more…)

Saving Sacred Spaces

August 25, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Ecology, Economy, Randall Amster

Make Some Noise to Ward Off an Avalanche of Avarice

by Randall Amster

You might not be aware of this news from northern Arizona, since the reporting of it in the media has been less than robust, but in recent weeks there have been dozens of arrests at the Snowbowl ski expansion site in the San Francisco Peaks, just outside of Flagstaff. Following years of rancorous public debate and coming on the heels of circuitous court proceedings, the developers of the site have begun excavation in order to expand the slopes and lay a pipeline for the bringing of wastewater to make artificial snow on the mountain.

Can you say, “yuck” (expletive implied)? Shortsighted thinking, combined with unaddressed health risks and insufficient environmental impact assessments, threatens to turn these Sacred Peaks into yet another sacrifice zone for the sake of a buck. This is “dirty money” in every sense of the phrase, from digging into the home of the native kachinas to trampling on the integrity of the earth beneath our feet. (more…)

From Sacrilege to Sacredness

August 19, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Current Events, Ecology, Mary Sojourner

What’s the Big Deal About Snowmaking?

by Mary Sojourner

This is not the first time I’ve traveled up this mountain.  My once-lover Dark Cloud and I hiked, camped and made love in these old Ponderosa and Fir forests.  My road buddy Everett and I crawled into a little cave in this mountain to drink water from an icy spring that tastes of volcanic rock.  I’ve danced on the thick mat of pine needles under a New Moon and followed my son up Bear Jaw trail until I had no more breath.

I would tell you that this mountain that the settlers named the San Francisco Peaks is tethered to my heart if I didn’t worry that you would then dismiss my words as those of a wannabe flake. (more…)

Arresting Developments

August 19, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Current Events, Ecology, Klee Benally

Direct Action to Protect Holy Peaks Continues

by Klee Benally

On Saturday, August 13th 2011, after a prayerful gathering on the Holy San Francisco Peaks, my friends Mary Sojourner, Rudy Preston and I were arrested by “law enforcement” agents for standing against desecration and eco-cide caused by the Arizona Snowbowl ski area. Since June 16th, 26 arrests have been made during protests when Snowbowl started its current desecration of the Holy Peaks.

As a Snowbowl-hired excavator operator tore into sacred earth, plants, and boulders to extend the wastewater pipeline trench further up the Holy Mountain, 40 people gathered in prayer in a meadow directly across from the excavation. At times, bulldozers and the excavator were no more than 200 feet from the gathering, so the machinery made it nearly impossible for elders to speak. The noise completely disrupted statements and prayers made by those in attendance. (more…)