New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Common Cause

January 29, 2015 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

Healing the Criminal Justice System

by Robert C. Koehler

“It’d be really hard to have a higher recidivism rate than we have in Cook County.” Maybe this is the place to start a brief meditation on changing the world, or at least Chicago . . . known to some of its residents as “Chiraq.”

commoncauseThe speaker is Elena Quintana, executive director of the Adler Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice, which, in partnership with Roosevelt University’s Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation, recently completed a study on Cook County’s dysfunctional juvenile justice system.

What we’re doing isn’t working, justice-wise, order-wise, sanity-wise. The state of Illinois is bankrupt and yet its jails are full to bursting, at a cost, per occupant, equal to or greater than the cost of luxury suites at its ritziest hotels. And 90 percent of the teenagers who enter the system come back within three years of their release. This is no surprise: The system is a spiral of entrapment, especially for young men of color. (more…)

Piece of Mind

October 23, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Missy Beattie

Reflections on Disturbance, Disorder, and Daily Coping

by Missy Beattie

My name’s Missy and I’m a piñata of anxieties. This is what I’d say if I were in a support group.

Yes, I’m thinking still of Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox. Over the weekend, I received an email from Hans at Angola 3 News. He’d read my article about Wallace and Woodfox. When I checked Tuesday’s email, I had another from him with photos from Wallace’s memorial and a link to this site. Among the images is a picture of a mural and banner on a bike path, a bike path just a few blocks from my apartment. Mid-morning, I ran in place in front of the banner, staring at these words: HERMAN WALLACE R.I.P. FREE ALBERT WOODFOX.

Last week, I sat in my doctor’s office and told her about Wallace and Woodfox. Wallace’s words in the hours before he died, “I am free, I am free.” Told her Woodfox was allowed to say goodbye to Wallace, who was freed by a federal judge, but then Woodfox was returned to solitary confinement. Has been in solitary confinement for 41 years. In other words, tortured. (more…)

Sacred Activism

July 10, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, John L. Murphy, Politics

Occupying Spirituality, Evolving Dharma

by John L. Murphy

Two books appearing this autumn connect “sacred activism” with principled, peaceful opposition to the dominant political and economic — as well as religious — system. Two years after Occupy Wall Street and hundreds of encampments and a few strikes, while the American prominence of the movement has faded, worldwide if scattered resistance continues. Focusing on domestic possibility, Matthew Fox and Adam Bucko in conversation relate their stories and create an agenda in Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation (Berkeley: North Atlantic, Sept. 3, 2013). Jay Michaelson shares their ideal, if from an arguably more specific perspective, as his title Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment (Berkeley: North Atlantic, Oct. 15, 2013) indicates. This review explores their intersections, and summarizes their visionary themes, beginning with the Occupy book. (more…)

Power to the Peaceful

November 16, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

Holding Space as OWS Camps Come Under Assault

by Randall Amster

As the Occupy Movement gains strength and garners worldwide support, the predominant anti-OWS tactic of authority is becoming clear: decimate as many Occupy camps as possible, in the hope that this delivers a fatal blow to the movement’s momentum. It is an outmoded, heavy-handed tack, one that starkly illuminates the gap between the casual brutality of the 1% and the core aspirations of the 99%.

And it will ultimately fail.

At each turn, the sweeping of the encampments — many of which have become little “utopian experiments” in themselves and working models for an alternative society — has only served to galvanize the resolve of Occupiers and drive even greater numbers out into the streets and parks. Mass arrests aim to make activists pay a personal price for their open defiance, but they also yield greater degrees of movement solidarity and radicalize demonstrators across generational and cultural lines. (more…)