New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
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Voluntary Movements

November 04, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Bacon, Economy, Politics

All Over the World, Migrants Demand the Right to Stay Home

by David Bacon

Immigrants, workers, union members and community activists marched on May Day in San Jose. Marchers protested attacks on immigrants, unions and the rights of workers, and called on Congress to pass a just immigration reform.

The United States has become home to a large number of people born outside its borders — there were some 40 million as of 2010, according to various estimates. That was up from approximately 20 million in 1990.

The immigration debate in the United States usually treats the migration of people into this country as something unique. But it is not. The United Nations estimates that 232 million people worldwide live outside the countries where they were born — 3.2 percent of the world’s population. In 2000 it was 175 million, and in 1990, 154 million. The number of cross-border migrants has grown by 78 million people in just over 20 years — enough to fill 20 cities the size of Los Angeles.

U.S. exceptionalism — the idea that this country is somehow unique and different — has no basis in fact when it comes to migration, which is a global phenomenon. And the big questions are why are the number of migrants increasing so rapidly and what should be done about it. (more…)

A Meaningful Future

July 31, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Bacon, Economy, Politics

What Real Immigration Reform Would Look Like

by David Bacon

Oralia Maceda, an immigrant mother from Oaxaca, asked the obvious last weekend in Fresno.  At a meeting, talking about the Senate immigration reform bill, she wanted to know why Senators would spend almost $50 billion on more border walls, yet show no interest in why people leave home to cross them.

This Congressional blindness will get worse as immigration reform moves to the House.  It condemns U.S. immigration policy to a kind of punitive venality, making rational political decisions virtually impossible.  Yet alternatives are often proposed by migrant communities themselves, and reflect a better understanding of global economics and human rights. (more…)

Transgender Migrants

June 14, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Devon G. Pena, Politics

State Violence and Comprehensive Immigration Reform

by Devon G. Peña

“Death is unspeakable. It is silenced by the austere and pious rhetoric of nationalism, ‘honor’, ‘compassion’, and the ‘culture of life’ itself.” — Stuart J. Murray, “Thanatopolitics,” p. 196

“Death is not a biological moment but a political decision.” — Lindsay A. Hall, “Death, power, and the body,” p. ii

Let us never forget Victoria Arellano. She was a 23-year-old transgender immigrant from Mexico murdered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security while in detention in May of 2007. It has been six years almost to the day and no one has ever been charged with her murder or even discharged from staff positions at the Customs and Border Enforcement (CBE) detention center on Terminal Island in San Pedro, California where she was killed. It is ironic that until the 19th century Terminal Island was known as La Isla del Muerto (The Island of the Dead).

I was reminded of Victoria’s death this morning after awakening from a restless sleep. This may sound odd but what woke me up was my inability to stop thinking about the implications posed by the passage of the current Gang of Eight immigration reform packet, as it now seems it might. What will it mean for Mexican and other undocumented immigrants? I am finishing Dispossession: The Performative in the Political (2013), a book in which Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou engage in a lengthy conversation about the conditions and struggles of people who are dispossessed — those who have lost land, property, citizenship, or even a sense of a broader belonging to the world (alienation?). (more…)

A Silver Lining?

June 03, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Winslow Myers

Finding a More Constructive Role in War Prevention

by Winslow Myers

If the brutal and tragic agony of Syria today has one small glimmer of hope, it is that the great powers are completely stymied, blocked, paralyzed in their ability to resolve anything by military action. Were this 1914 and had we possessed nuclear weapons, the Syrian situation might have led to a war that ended the world.

But now we can see the old realpolitik tactics, supplying arms to the son-of-a-bitch that we thought of as at least our son-of-a-bitch, which never really worked anyway, completely revealed in all their emptiness. So why is this a silver lining?

Let us not oversell. The complete inability of tribes and religious rivals to resolve their conflicts in Syria hardly bodes a future without war. History has not ended.  Potentially there are terrible conflicts ahead, especially over scarce resources like water and arable land. (more…)

Taken to Heart

March 27, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Michael True, Politics

War, More War, and Lessons from Vietnam to Iraq

by Michael True

The title of Nick Turse’s brilliant history, Kill Anything That Moves:  The Real American War in Vietnam (Metropolitan, 2013), was a commanding officer’s response to a soldier’s question, “Are we supposed to kill women and children?”

In contrast, an army criminal investigator’s response to a veteran, who revealed that American soldiers were abusing and killing Vietnamese civilians, was: “The United States has never condoned wanton killing or disregard for human life.”

Turse’s readable, indispensable, and, yes, deeply disturbing book may be the most important among thousands of books about the Vietnam war. A major achievement is its explaining how and why “atrocities perpetrated by US soldiers have essentially vanished from public memory.” In authenticity and power, it compares favorably with earlier  accounts, such as Tim O’Brien’s novel, The Things They Carried,” and Bruce Weigl’s poems, Song of Napalm. (more…)

Ever Shocked, Never Awed

March 23, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Economy, Politics

It’s Not Too Late for Reparations and Prevention

by David Swanson

At 10 years since the launch of Operation Iraqi Liberation (to use the original name with the appropriate acronym, OIL) and over 22 years since Operation Desert Storm, there is little evidence that any significant number of people in the United States have a realistic idea of what our government has done to the people of Iraq, or of how these actions compare to other horrors of world history. A majority of Americans believe the war since 2003 has hurt the United States but benefited Iraq. A plurality of Americans believe, not only that Iraqis should be grateful, but that Iraqis are in fact grateful.

A number of U.S. academics have advanced the dubious claim that war making is declining around the world.  Misinterpreting what has happened in Iraq is central to their argument. (more…)

The Future of Politics

November 06, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

The Pragmatics and Challenges of ‘Lesser Evilism’

by Robert C. Koehler 

“I have no secret plan for peace. I have a public plan.”

I listen to these words with fresh awe, 40 years later. They pierce the soul. Once upon a time, presidential politics was this open, this responsive to moral concerns. The speaker, of course, was George McGovern. The words, delivered during the Democratic National Convention in 1972 — and the campaign that followed — represent the political high-water mark of the social change movements of the 1960s.

“And as one whose heart has ached for the past ten years over the agony of Vietnam, I will halt a senseless bombing of Indochina on Inaugural Day.” (more…)