New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Autonomous Organization

March 06, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Guest Author

Zapatistas and the Struggle for Survival on Planet Earth

by Helen Jaccard and Gerry Condon

After visiting Guatemala for two months, we crossed the border into Chiapas on December 21 — Winter Solstice and the 13th Baktun — the first day of the New Mayan Era.  On that very day, the Zapatistas made a dramatic reappearance.  After four years of silence amid speculation about the status of their movement, more than 40,000 Zapatistas appeared in five towns they had occupied by force nineteen years earlier on January 1, 1994 — Ocosingo, Las Margaritas, Altamirano, Palenque and San Cristobal de Las Casas. Inspiring a profound sense of awe, men and women marched silently together in the rain, wearing ponchos and their trademark ski masks, unarmed, with young children on their backs. (more…)

The Foodopoly

February 21, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Ecology, Economy, Politics

Too Big to Eat?

by David Swanson

We’ve come to understand that the banks are too big to fail, too big to take to trial, too big not to let them write our public policy, too big not to reward them for ruining our economy.

Why have we come to understand that?

We’ve been told it by a mega media cartel that has itself been deemed too big to fail, too big not to subsidize with our airwaves, too big not to reward with political ads buying back our airwaves in little bits and pieces.

Speaking of which, the buying of elections is moving rapidly in the direction of monopoly ownership itself.

The concentration of wealth and power in the United States over the past half century is not a story of ineluctable forces of technology or progress.  It’s a story of orchestrated corruption.  Some of its key players were born after it had begun.  One of them, the man who was president when some of the worst of the deregulatory legislation was passed, was of course Bill Clinton — who ended welfare as we knew it and recreated it as we wish no one had ever imagined it.  Giant corporations and banks are feeding at the public trough. (more…)

Dropping Like Flies?

February 20, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Devon G. Pena, Ecology

Applying the Precautionary Principle to GMOs 

by Devon G. Peña

We have been hearing a lot of protests lately from the pro-GMO camp about the ‘proven’ safety of genetically engineered foods. The most typical narrative comes in the form of a quote from a 2012 report issued by the respected and highly influential American Medical Association (AMA) and its Council on Science and Public Health. Here’s the proffered quote, which reveals the current dominant discursive frame used in defense of transgenic food safety:

Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years, and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed literature. However, a small potential for adverse events exists, due mainly to horizontal gene transfer, allergenicity, and toxicity.” (AMA 2012:i)

The AMA position has led many defenders of biotechnology to dismiss critics with a wave of the hand and repetition of a statement made by Mark Tester of the University of Adelaide: “If the effects are as big as purported…why aren’t all the North Americans dropping like flies?” (more…)

The Natural World

February 05, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Evaggelos Vallianatos

From Abuse and Fear to Serving the Public Good

by Evaggelos Vallianatos

When I lived in Alexandria, Virginia, my home was near the Holmes Run Creek in the west side of the city. The Creek separated my neighborhood from high rises. It was partly natural and partly a cement ditch. Trees and bushes and flowers and the running water made the Creek beautiful, the only stretch of land that had the appearance of wild nature. I used to bike or walk some of the length of the Creek alone or with my dog.

In time, the Creek became my world, a place I went to reflect, exercise, and enjoy the natural world. I was not alone in appreciating the Creek. From 1979 to 2008, the 29 years I lived near the Creek, I noticed the number of people walking or biking by the Creek increased tremendously. The Creek became our neighborhood, where people visited for enjoyment. (more…)

Hope and Remembrance

January 22, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Ecology, Sasha Kramer

Struggles — and Signs of Possibility — in Haiti

by Sasha Kramer

Dear Friends,

I am writing this letter at 3:53 pm on January 12, 2013.  Three years ago today, Port au Prince was bustling with activity as people spilled into the streets from work and school.  Mothers returned home after a long day of working under the hot sun, fathers greeted their children with tired eyes, neighbors shared warm handshakes and laughed away the day’s challenges.  One hour later the city collapsed and over 300,000 of these mothers, fathers, children and neighbors were lost in an instant. Last night at the stroke of midnight the hills around our house in Port au Prince exploded with voices from the thousands of people attending an all night service in honor of those lost in the earthquake 3 years ago today. What struck me most deeply, was not the despair in the voices, it was the sound of ecstasy, the sound of resilience it was the sound of life. It was as though at the same time as people were mourning their loved ones, they were giving thanks for those who were spared, the were celebrating their strength in surviving, not only the earthquake, but the 3 years of struggle that have followed. (more…)

Scrambling for Relief

January 15, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Current Events, Victoria Law

Community Leads Its Own Efforts in the Rockaways

by Victoria Law

Months before Sandy devastated the Rockaways, tragedy had already struck Rockaway resident Sharon Plummer. While bicycling home from the corner store, Plummer’s 18-year-old son Shawn was caught in crossfire on Beach 29 Street and Seagirt Avenue. He died before reaching the hospital.

“The community was there for me,” Plummer recalled in a phone interview with Truthout. Two days after Sandy, Plummer was there for her community. In the parking lot of a laundromat on Cedar Boulevard, she set up Rockaway Guardians In Memory of Shawn Plummer, a distribution center, giving out water, canned goods, toiletries and baby supplies to hundreds of people each day.

Other residents joined the effort. Rudolph McBeam lives a block from the laundromat. “I just walked over there,” he told Truthout. “There were two other persons. We set up some tables and began to give out things to the public.” Although he has lived in the area for 15 years and has helped set up music festivals on the beach,  “This is my first time being involved with something like this,” said McBeam. (more…)

Twilight of Twinkie Capitalism

January 04, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Devon G. Pena, Ecology, Economy

Transforming the Food System and Honoring Workers’ Demands

by Devon G. Peña

The Twinkie® I will admit is one of those quintessentially ‘American’ foods that I did not get to eat as a child. We never bought junk food in our home and so I was in college before I tasted something that my peers swore was a classic guilty pleasure. I was not impressed when I finally ate one, but then again I grew up savoring pan dulce, including the inimitable pan de semita, from La Superior Bakery in Laredo, Texas. To me, the Twinkie tasted like Elmer’s Glue with sugar encased in a squishy sponge or pound cake. It was too chalky and gooey all at once. Hmm. Must have missed out on the Leave it to Beaver upbringing required, I imagine, to love a quasi-food like that.

[I use the term quasi-food here to refer to what is typically called “processed food.” My choice is based on recognition of the fact that many wholesome and organic foods are processed and so I feel that is an inadequate and misleading concept. For e.g., to produce our farm’s chicos del horno (adobe-oven roasted white flint corn) requires that we process organic heirloom white flint corn in a labor-intensive artisanal practice involving no less than 19 distinct steps. Quasi-food implies that the food is processed through various steps before consumption but also that it incorporates numerous non-food chemicals and additives, thus rendering the product more of an industrial quasi-food item rather than a processed food.] (more…)