New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

Immigration and Solidarity

June 30, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, David Bacon, Economy, Politics

Charting the Growing Ties Between Mexican and U.S. Labor

by David Bacon

One indispensable part of education and solidarity is greater contact between Mexican union organizers and their U.S. counterparts.  The base for that contact already exists in the massive movement of people between the two countries.

Miners fired in Cananea, or electrical workers fired in Mexico City, become workers in Phoenix, Los Angeles and New York.  Twelve million Mexican workers in the U.S. are a natural base of support for Mexican unions.  They bring with them the experience of the battles waged by their unions.  They can raise money and support.  Their families are still living in Mexico, and many are active in political and labor campaigns.  As workers and union members in the U.S., they can help win support from U.S. unions for the battles taking place in Mexico.

This is not a new idea. (more…)

Our Moral Obligation to Look South

June 04, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Patrick T. Hiller, Politics

Mexican Civil Society ‘Fed Up’ with the War on Drugs

by Patrick T. Hiller

A new citizen-driven nonviolent reality is emerging in the escalated war on drugs in Mexico. The international perception of present-day Mexico is one of disgust about the escalating violence, thousands of fatalities, mass graves, and militarized approaches to fight the powerful drug cartels. Approximately 40,000 people have lost their lives since Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared the war on drugs in 2006. That is slightly less than the population of Dekalb, Illinois. For a nation with which we are so intrinsically linked, it seems rather significant. In fact, we can speak about a social catastrophe. (more…)

Mexico Goes Back to the Land

February 17, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Ecology, Guest Author

Peasant Farmers Grow Hope, Trust … and Food

by Gustavo Esteva

This is grim news: food prices are reaching record levels worldwide. The thousands of farmers who have killed themselves over the past decade seems to have no precedent. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s director, the goal to reduce the number of hungry people by half will only be achieved in 2050.

In Mexico, this is just another facet of the crisis that started in the 1980s, when the government dismantled its support for peasant farmers. “My obligation as minister of agriculture is to get rid of 10 million peasants,” declared Carlos Hank in 1991. “What are you going to do with them?” a journalist asked. “That is not my area of work,” he answered.

But no one assumed that responsibility. Vicente Fox, former president of Coca-Cola and president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006, used to say “those peasants can be gardeners in Texas.” For him and other policymakers, Mexico had too many peasants; America, their model, was producing food for the world with only 2.5% of the labor force. In 1992 they opened to the private market the land which had been in the hands of peasants since the 1910 revolution. The North American Free Trade Agreement, which came into force in 1994, consolidated this anti-peasant orientation in the name of free market. (more…)

The Moral Economy of Nonviolence

January 21, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Devon G. Pena, Family

Learning Peacefulness from the Zapotecas

by Devon G. Peña

Pundits and analysts have engaged in mostly thoughtful discussions of the social, cultural, and political contexts of the recent mass murder in Arizona. According to Michael Nagler, there is growing recognition of “an apparently forbidden truth: that we bring violence on ourselves when we promote it, glorify it, or legitimize it — as in this case by the extreme rhetoric associated with Sarah Palin and the Tea Party, among others.” Still, for every such in-depth analysis of the issue, there are others content to remain on the surface.

Was the Tucson massacre a form of political violence? Some have argued that it was, by virtue of the fact that the principal target was an elected official. Many on the right, including Palin, have objected to this characterization, arguing that “blaming the right” or any one else is intrinsically unfair and that the mindless crime occurred simply because the perpetrator was mentally ill and unhinged. Since the assassin was ‘sick,’ this cannot be seen as a ‘political act.’ The allegedly deranged mental state of the perpetrator becomes an opening to ‘de-politicize’ the crime. This is, simply put, a ruse. (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…)