New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Collective Radical Imagination

February 01, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Guest Author, Politics

From Building Tents to Building Movements: Reflections from Occupy DC

by Vasudha Desikan and Drew Franklin

WELCOME TO D.C.

“Occupy is not a panacea, but an opening. It will help us clear the way to a more mature political landscape. It has begun to breathe in the many currents of dissatisfaction and breathe out a new radical imagination.”Vijay Prashad

The question of what the “Occupy” movement is has concerned us ever since it spread to Washington D.C. in October of last year. After witnessing Occupy Wall Street’s tremendous growth in New York, we were inspired to see for ourselves the potential for radical mobilization in our city, where the corporate and state arms of global capital meet. The seat of power in the United States, D.C. has a long history as a center for protest, frequently drawing in activists from all over the country. It is also home to 600,000 legislatively and electorally disenfranchised residents, who have been engaged in their own unique struggles. Occupy D.C. had (and in some respects still has) exciting potential to work in solidarity with these community struggles and catalyze radical growth here and around the country. (more…)

Five Reasons to Serve

January 11, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Economy, Nipun Mehta

What Doing for Others Does for Ourselves

by Nipun Mehta

At the height of the dot-com boom in 1999, a few tech-savvy friends and I walked into a homeless shelter to give without any strings attached. Our motivation?  We just wanted to serve, and quickly discovered that such a practice of selfless giving is something that we all have access to, no matter who we are or what we do.

Our trip to the homeless shelter led to us building a website for them at no charge. That experiment in giving blossomed into an organization called ServiceSpace, which went on to develop and gift websites to thousands of small nonprofits. But the ripples didn’t stop there. ServiceSpace has now evolved into a remarkable incubator for dozens of projects, including an online good news portal, “Smile Cards” that spread kindness, and a gift-economy restaurant in Berkeley and rickshaw in India — all touching millions of people. (more…)

Occupy Love

December 19, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Current Events, Guest Author, Politics

Lessons in Brutality and Compassion from the Protest at the Port

by Rev. John Helmiere

{Author’s note: As my story continues to be read, may we not forget the exploitation of the port truckers and that the kind of violence I experienced is primarily enacted upon people of color.  I appreciate the energy this piece has generated but acknowledge that my social status allows my voice to be amplified.}

Last Monday evening, I was brutally beaten by my brothers on the Seattle Police force as I stood before an entrance to Pier 18 of the Seattle Port, wearing my clergy garb and bellowing, “Keep the peace! Keep the peace!”

An officer pulled me down from behind and threw me to the asphalt. Between my cries of pain and shouts of “I’m a man of peace!” he pressed a knee to my spine and immobilized my arms behind my back, crushing me against the ground. With the right side of my face pressed to the street, he repeatedly punched the left side. I was cuffed and pulled off the ground by a different officer who seemed genuinely appalled when he saw my bleeding face and my clerical collar. He asked who I was and why I was here, to which I replied, “I’m a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe another world is possible.” He led me shaking to a police van where began a 12-hour journey of incarcerated misery. (more…)

Reclaiming Our Humanity

December 05, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Pancho Ramos Stierle, Politics

Finding Shelter from the Storm … and Within Ourselves

by Pancho Ramos-Stierle

The time has come to reclaim our full humanity. It’s time to put our principles before profits. It is time to evict the greed and violence in our communities. It is time to arrest the consumerism and materialism that is destroying the biodiversity of our Planet and the spirit of our society.

Some politicians, in their blindness, would like to criminalize hanging out on the sidewalks. And it is blindness because before “cleaning the streets,” as they say, we must clean first our minds, we must clean our consciousness and heal our hearts. How is it possible that they are spending trillions of dollars to bail out the banks and not the people to provide us with homes, jobs, health care and public education? How is it possible that they are spending billions to develop “safer nuclear weapons,” and they are spending trillions to kill brothers and sisters on the other side of the Planet, and not investing that money to eradicate the physical poverty in our communities at “home”?

I’ve been living without a regular shelter for more than 2 years, and I am one of the 12 million “illegal human beings” in this part of the Planet, but I’d rather have no physical shelter than have no spiritual shelter. (more…)

The Significance of Place

November 29, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Guest Author, Politics

Why Tents (Still) Matter for the Occupy Movement

by Jen Schradie

Last week, I responded to a 4am text and went down to the Occupy Oakland site to support the encampment during yet another raid. I saw the sunrise over various police agencies dismantling Occupy Oakland tents. That evening, I marched back at sunset with other protesters to take back the plaza. The night before, Denver and Portland authorities moved in to take down local occupy encampments, and a swat team stormed an Occupy group’s takeover of an abandoned building in Chapel Hill. The next day, I watched a livestream of the destruction of Occupy Wall Street’s tents.

But protesters have not given up on tents. On the day of a strike at, the University of California-Berkeley in response to police brutality, the Occupy Cal and Occupy Oakland movements converged with a full-sized tent on a large stick as the symbol of the union, and the movement. (more…)

Bench Strength

November 21, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Guest Author, Politics

Public Art Controversy Brought People Together for a Cause

by Kristin Anthony

{Editor’s Note: In Prescott, Arizona, a work of public art created with the participation of over a hundred community members was recently destroyed by local officials in the middle of the night. The controversy set in motion a range of reactions, including the resignation of a city council member and calls for a coherent public art policy. The originator of the art project, which was a mosaic-tiled bench, reflects on the issues and overall experience.}

During my time in Prescott, I had the opportunity to create a community bench as a senior project for Prescott College. I had seen many of these structures in Nepal where there is a deep sense of connection between people and nature.

Enthusiastic to bring this idea to the U.S., I received approval from the Parks and Recreation Department and worked with the city for many months before the bench finally came to life. After eight weeks of work we were asked to stop construction, and three weeks later the bench was torn down. (more…)