New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Roots to Fruits

September 24, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Family, Matt Meyer, Politics

Gandhi, Luthuli, and Contemporary South African Nonviolence

by Matt Meyer

An historic gathering of South African activists, U.S.-based civil rights veterans, Indians involved in various constructive programs, and assorted other internationalists convened in Durban last August for a conference on Roots to Fruits: Nonviolence in ActionSponsored by the Gandhi Development Trust and Satyagraha newspaper, and organized by Ela Gandhi — a lifelong African National Congress (ANC) leader, former Parliamentarian, and grand-daughter of Mohandas K. Gandhi — the three-day event brought together over one hundred educators, students, community leaders, politicians, and religious figures to discuss the future of nonviolence on a global scale. With a wide diversity of viewpoints on the meaning and contemporary significance of nonviolence — from a tactic for militant resistance to a philosophy which sometimes helps adherents tacitly adjust to the status quo — the best part of the gathering was the networking possibilities amongst a strong and energetic grouping of participants.

One poignant moment which spotlighted the occasionally divergent viewpoints began with a talk from Kirti Menon, Registrar of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Speaking as an administrator about the difficulties of balancing individual rights with the need to maintain a calm space for building higher education, Menon — a great-granddaughter of the Mahatma — noted that often “the room for negotiating is so tight that it is like walking through a tunnel.” (more…)

Making Contact

August 03, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Diane Lefer, Politics

How Progressives Can (and Must) Lobby for Social Change

by Diane Lefer

Abbe Land, West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tem, doesn’t want activists to think of “lobbying” as a dirty word. “In the purest form, it’s about educating and helping elected officials understand the issue,” she told more than 100 community members attending the recent workshop, “Your Voice: Learning to Lobby for Social Change,” organized by the Advocacy Committee of the National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles.

“Paid lobbyists can keep knocking on your door till you let them in, keep telling you their side, their side, their side — till it’s possible forget about the other side.” Progressive organizations lobby, too, “to move our agenda forward,” she said in her keynote address, but don’t have the resources to keep up that kind of constant pressure without the help of the individual activist. The role of citizen lobbyist is crucial. (more…)

Assembly Time

January 05, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Family, Kathy Kelly, Politics

Keeping Lit the Fires of Peace, Justice, and Democracy

by Kathy Kelly

Arab Spring, European Summer, American Autumn, and now the challenge of winter. Here in Kabul, Afghanistan, the travelers of our small Voices for Creative Nonviolence delegation share an apartment with several of the creative and determined “Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers” who’ve risked so much for peace here and befriended us so warmly over the past two years.

Our apartment doesn’t have indoor heating or hot tap water. We bundle up, overnight, in blankets, quilts and sleeping bags, and the Westerners, unaccustomed to the indoor cold, wear at least five layers of clothing during the daytime. Tap water is contaminated, electricity shortages are frequent, and internet access is spotty, but compared to those who live in Kabul’s refugee camps, we’re ensconced in plenty of creature comforts. (more…)