New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Just Doing My Job?

October 25, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Erin Niemela, Politics

NYPD ‘Stop-and-Frisk’ Practices Spotlighted in New Documentary

by Erin Niemela 

“I will break your f**king arm off right now,” a New York police officer shouts. “You want me to smack you?” warns another. The exclusive audio is shocking and the first of its kind. It is the only known audio evidence of a NYPD stop-and-frisk in progress, recently released in the documentary The Hunted and the Hated: An Inside Look at the NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy. The audio captures the experience of Alvin, a Harlem teen, who the police claim is being stopped for “being a f**king mutt.” For New York communities of color, the recording represents an every day experience, and it will undoubtedly fuel the stop-and-frisk controversy that has been brewing for several years.  Clearly, the aggressive and even violently intimidating behavior of some NYPD officers cannot be tolerated in a civilized society. Of course, not everyone agrees. The back story only exacerbates the conflict. (more…)

Commons Champion

June 20, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Jay Walljasper

R.I.P. Elinor Ostrom (1933-2012), Advocate for Shared Resources

by Jay Walljasper

Elinor Ostrom, who shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in economics for her lifelong work studying how communities share resources, died June 12. She was 78.

The only woman out of 69 Nobel Laureates in economics honored since 1969, Ostrom taught political science at Indiana University.

In research conducted throughout the world, she increased our understanding of how commons function in a wide variety of communities. Ostrom’s work also debunked the Tragedy of the Commons — the widespread idea that shared resources inevitably end in environmental and economic ruin

This international acclaim for her work was heralded in many developing nations as evidence that their commons-based traditions of cooperation and communal resources was not a violation of basic economic common sense, as many Western economic advisers warned. (more…)

Saying ‘No’ to Militarism

February 24, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

Rejecting the Pervasive Culture of War

by Robert C. Koehler

No mail on Saturday, maybe, but small-town police get armored personnel carriers?

Let’s take a moment — in the context of these bitter times, and President Obama’s recent austerity budget proposal — to celebrate the questions the residents of Keene, N.H., are asking their city council about the kind of world we’re creating.

First of all, the grotesque insult of “austerity” in the shadow of limitless military spending is destroying our national sanity. And the proposed cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, mental health services, environmental cleanup, National Parks programs and even, yeah, Saturday mail delivery are miniscule compared to the unmet social needs we haven’t yet begun to address in this country, in education, renewable energy and so much more. But we’re spending with reckless abandon to arm ourselves and our allies and provoke our enemies, and sometimes arm them as well, creating the sort of world no one (almost no one) wants: a world of endless war. (more…)

A Story and a Book

February 15, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Matt Meyer, Politics

On the Nature of Violence and Nonviolence

by Matt Meyer

Amidst a bombardment of Black Bloc commentary, questions about the militarized nature of tear-gas toting police, and the ever-frustrating all-too-abstract dialogues about the meanings of nonviolence, violence, strategy, tactics, and principles, comes a simple story (and a complicated book) straight out of Occu-politics. First, though, some defining of terms:

Nonviolence (a term some have called ‘a word seeking to describe something by saying what it is not’) is used in as wide a variety of ways as there are flavors of ice cream. For some, it is strategic and revolutionary, for others principled and philosophical; for some it is a way of life and for others a mere tactic. For most practitioners, it is an often-tantalizing combination of the above. Our story will hope to add some clarity.

Violence, as we sadly know too well, goes well beyond war to include domestic violence, random street crime, repression, and even poverty — responsible for more death than most other forms combined. But sometimes, despite this variety, it seems that the images of violence which come quickest to our minds are that of an angry kid with a rock or a gun. Our book will try to turn that image on its head. (more…)

Tangled Up in Blue

November 23, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

Can There Be Solidarity Between Movement Activists and Police Officers?

by Randall Amster

Recent days have seen the increasing use of police violence against peaceful Occupy demonstrators around the country, including the gone-viral merciless pepper-spraying of students at UC Davis as well as that of 84-year-old Dorli Rainey in Seattle, and the critical wounding of Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen at Occupy Oakland. Police often refer to such episodes as “non-lethal intervention” and “pain compliance” intended to make people respond to their demands in particular situations, and more broadly the notion can be expanded as an effective working label for the apparent overall strategy of police in relation to the Occupy Movement everywhere. The basic idea is that if authorities apply enough force, fear will increase and people will stay home rather than mobilize. (more…)

Bring the Heat

October 31, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Current Events, David Swanson, Politics

Occupy the Winter of Our Discontent

by David Swanson

Can occupations survive a winter of global weirding, escalated police brutality, and the corporate media’s venom? Should they?

In some parts of the country there will be no cold weather. In others, police abuses will result in larger occupations, not smaller. And it’s certainly possible that for the first time in recent years an independent progressive populist campaign will survive the enmity of the corporate media.

In other cases, the cold, the communications assaults, fatigue, and the difficulties encountered by activist camps that also become homes for the homeless and the mentally ill may begin to erode the usefulness of encampments. What to do? (more…)

Six Years After Katrina

September 01, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Jordan Flaherty, Politics

The Battle for New Orleans Continues

by Jordan Flaherty

As this weekend’s storm has reminded us, hurricanes can be a threat to U.S. cities on the East Coast as well as the Gulf. But the vast changes that have taken place in New Orleans since Katrina have had little to do with weather, and everything to do with political struggles.

Six years after the federal levees failed and 80 percent of the city was flooded, New Orleans has lost 80,000 jobs and 110,000 residents. It is a whiter and wealthier city, with tourist areas well-maintained while communities like the Lower 9th Ward remain devastated. Beyond the statistics, it is still a much-contested city.

Politics continue to shape how the changes to New Orleans are viewed. For some, the city is a crime scene of corporate profiteering and the mass displacement of African Americans and the working poor; for others it’s an example of bold public-sector reforms, taken in the aftermath of a natural disaster, that have led the way for other cities. (more…)