New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

Memories of Mandela

December 10, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Matt Meyer, Politics

Let’s Not Mourn a Myth

by Matt Meyer

As the world joins together in celebrating the life of Nelson R. Mandela, South Africa’s “Madiba” who symbolizes freedom and dignity in every corner of the planet, let us not make the too-easy mistake of constructing an icon rather than honoring a man. He was, after all, a rather heroic although complicated man — with almost one-third of his life spent as a political prisoner who refused to bend on his most basic beliefs and strategies yet lived to lead a mass movement of international dimensions which put a number of those beliefs into practice.

The mythology comes when we forget about the complications, smooth over the rough edges which actually make his story most meaningful for those looking to continue building movements for lasting and radical social change. (more…)

All the Right Enemies

January 20, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Guest Author, Politics

Farewell to the Utterly Unique John Ross

by Frank Bardacke

John’s gone. John Ross. I doubt that we will ever see anyone remotely like him again.

The bare bones, as he would say, are remarkable enough. Born to show business Communists in New York City in 1938, he had minded Billie Holliday’s dog, sold dope to Dizzy Gillespie, and vigiled at the hour of the Rosenberg execution, all before he was sixteen years old. An aspiring beat poet, driven by D.H. Lawrence’s images of Mexico, he arrived at the Tarascan highlands of Michoacan at the age of twenty, returning to the U.S. six years later in 1964, there to be thrown in the Federal Penitentiary at San Pedro, for refusing induction into the army.

Back on the streets of San Francisco eighteen months later, he joined the Progressive Labor Movement, then a combination of old ex-CPers fleeing the debased party and young poets and artists looking for revolutionary action. For a few years he called the hip, crazy, Latino 24th and Mission  his “bio-region,” as he ran from the San Francisco police and threw dead rats at slumlords during street rallies of the once powerful Mission Coalition. (more…)