New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Lowest Common Denominator?

January 17, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Firmin DeBrabander, Politics

It’s Baked into Democracy’s Design

by Firmin DeBrabander

The Tr$mp victory, and the general disaster for Democrats this year, was the victory of ignorance, critics moan. Writing in Foreign Policy, Georgetown University’s Jason Brennan called it “the dance of the dunces” and wrote that “Tr$mp owes his victory to the uninformed.”

New York Times columnist Neil Irwin noted the unprecedented list of inexperts and political novices filling out Tr$mp’s administration. These include Chicago Cubs owner Todd Ricketts as deputy secretary of the Commerce Department. Irwin observes that “the Tr$mp transition’s news release announcing the appointment cites the Ricketts family’s success in building the Cubs into a World Series winner.” This has led to a steady stream of apocalyptic warnings from Irwin’s colleague, the esteemed economist Paul Krugman, who, among other things, has declared that this is “How Republics End.” (more…)

Lessons from Tahrir

January 28, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, David Swanson, Politics

Give Me Liberty…

by David Swanson

I still want Dirty Wars to win the Oscar, but The Square is a documentary worth serious discussion as we hit the three-year point since the famous occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo that overthrew Mubarak — in particular because a lot of people seem to get a lot of the lessons wrong.

I suppose some people will leave Dirty Wars imagining that we need clean wars, whatever those would be.  But too many people seem to be drawing from The Square lessons they brought with them to it, including these: Thou shalt have a leader; thou shalt work within a major political party; thou shalt have an identifiable group of individuals ready to take power.  I don’t think following these commandments would have easily changed the past three years in Egypt; I don’t think they’re where Egyptians should be heading; and I’m even more confident they’re blind alleys in the United States — where they serve as supposed remedies for the supposed failings of Occupy. (more…)

Saving Seeds

October 18, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Devon G. Pena, Ecology, Politics

Free-Market Fundamentalism versus Food Democracy

by Devon G. Peña

People frequently ask me why I save seeds. I reply, “Because I want my corn to dance.”

When I am not teaching at the University of Washington, I work on a 200-acre flood-irrigated farm that also serves as the home for my family’s foundation, The Acequia Institute. We run the farm as an almunyah, which is essentially a private, non-profit “agricultural experiment station”. We serve acequia farmers who are among the oldest family farms in the United States, dating back to well before the arrival of the Spaniards in 1598.

As an experiment station we take our business of preserving and protecting plant genetic resources very seriously. Without the diversity of seeds developed by native farmers, the traditions of sustainable agriculture as we know it today would not exist. (more…)

Revolutionary Egypt

August 23, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Matt Meyer, Politics

The Worst of Times, the Best of Times…

by Matt Meyer

There is a reason why so many internationalists have had hard times writing clearly about Egypt since the end of June 2013. There is a reason why in English the words “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” resonates so. The cultural chasms and the political complexity of Egypt’s ongoing revolutionary moments will not lend themselves easily to short statements or translated sound bites . . . but we remain distant from, declarative regarding, or dispassionate about these events at our own grave peril. Nothing less than our collective, twenty-first century understandings of such terms as “democracy,” “revolution,” and “violence/nonviolence” are being forged on the streets of Egypt today.

Events are unfolding too quickly for a report from an outsider to be of much use. But hopefully some definitional reflections, from the perspective of an independent solidarity activist/academic committed to revolutionary nonviolence and socialist/anarchist viewpoints, might provide some context for future conversation and work. (more…)

Heralding Whistleblowers

July 25, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, David Swanson, Politics

Bradley Manning Awarded a Peace Prize — Will More Follow?

by David Swanson

U.S. whistleblower and international hero Bradley Manning has just been awarded the 2013 Sean MacBride Peace Award by the International Peace Bureau, itself a former recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, for which Manning is a nominee this year.

A petition supporting Manning for the Nobel Peace Prize has gathered 88,000 signatures, many of them with comments, and is aiming for 100,000 before delivering it to the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo.  Anyone can sign and add their comments at ManningNobel.org

The International Peace Bureau (IPB) represents 320 organizations in 70 countries.  It was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1910.  Over the years, 13 of IPB’s officers have been Nobel Peace laureates. See ipb.org

The Sean MacBride prize has been awarded each year since 1992 by the International Peace Bureau, founded in 1892. Previous winners include: Lina Ben Mhenni (Tunisian blogger) and Nawal El-Sadaawi (Egyptian author) – 2012, Jackie Cabasso (USA, 2008), Jayantha Dhanapala (Sri Lanka, 2007) and the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (2006). It is named after Sean MacBride, a distinguished Irish statesman who shared the 1974 Nobel Peace Prize, and is given to individuals or organisations for their outstanding work for peace, disarmament and human rights. (more…)

Global Rescue Plan

July 04, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Economy, Politics

Daring to Dream of a Just and Peaceful World

by David Swanson

When the wealthy nations of the world meet as the G8 or in any other gathering, it’s interesting to imagine what they would do if they followed the golden rule, valued grandchildren, disliked unnecessary suffering, or wished to outgrow ancient forms of barbarism, or any combination of those.

The United States alone is perfectly capable, if it chooses, of enacting a global Marshall plan, or — better — a global rescue plan.  Every year the United States spends, through various governmental departments, roughly $1.2 trillion on war and war preparations.  Every year the United States foregoes well over $1 trillion in taxes that billionaires and centimillionaires and corporations should be paying. (more…)

Revolutionary Maroons

June 27, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Fred Ho, Politics

Coming to a Class Struggle Theater Near You…

by Fred Ho 

Today I will address how all the traditions of supposed mass-organizing and revolutionary strategies heretofore practiced by almost the entirety of who would be self-identified as “the left” must be transcended and replaced with both a different revolutionary vision and method as to ending industrial-patriarchal-capitalist imperialism.

All revolutionaries in the Euro-centric tradition have believed that the struggle for reforms (usually considered mass organizing) are not ipso facto reformist, but can be struggled for in what has been conventionally touted as via a “revolutionary way.”  Simply, reformism is the reliance upon the system — whether electing different politicians, changing laws or allocations of funds and resources more favorable to the masses.

Our presumption of the importance and reason for why reforms must be fought in an anti-reformist, or revolutionary, way has been for two purposes: (more…)