New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Nabi Saleh’s Tears

January 31, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Christine Baniewicz, Culture, Politics

Reflections on a (Literal) Toxic Mix…

by Christine Baniewicz

I lean against the walls of a small bathroom in Nabi Saleh.

Someone knocks on the door.

“Just a minute.” I sniff and spit into the toilet. Alright, enough. I emerge.

I arrived in Nabi Saleh an hour ago with my colleague, Sarah, and a few students from Jenin. The journey took two hours.

“I hope they don’t spray the water,” I said.

Talib turns to face me. Morning sun bounces off his aviators as behind him, steam rises from a paper cup of coffee.

“The shit water, khara.”

“Ah, yes,” says Talib. “The shit.” (more…)

Occupy Love

December 19, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Current Events, Guest Author, Politics

Lessons in Brutality and Compassion from the Protest at the Port

by Rev. John Helmiere

{Author’s note: As my story continues to be read, may we not forget the exploitation of the port truckers and that the kind of violence I experienced is primarily enacted upon people of color.  I appreciate the energy this piece has generated but acknowledge that my social status allows my voice to be amplified.}

Last Monday evening, I was brutally beaten by my brothers on the Seattle Police force as I stood before an entrance to Pier 18 of the Seattle Port, wearing my clergy garb and bellowing, “Keep the peace! Keep the peace!”

An officer pulled me down from behind and threw me to the asphalt. Between my cries of pain and shouts of “I’m a man of peace!” he pressed a knee to my spine and immobilized my arms behind my back, crushing me against the ground. With the right side of my face pressed to the street, he repeatedly punched the left side. I was cuffed and pulled off the ground by a different officer who seemed genuinely appalled when he saw my bleeding face and my clerical collar. He asked who I was and why I was here, to which I replied, “I’m a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe another world is possible.” He led me shaking to a police van where began a 12-hour journey of incarcerated misery. (more…)

The Significance of Place

November 29, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Guest Author, Politics

Why Tents (Still) Matter for the Occupy Movement

by Jen Schradie

Last week, I responded to a 4am text and went down to the Occupy Oakland site to support the encampment during yet another raid. I saw the sunrise over various police agencies dismantling Occupy Oakland tents. That evening, I marched back at sunset with other protesters to take back the plaza. The night before, Denver and Portland authorities moved in to take down local occupy encampments, and a swat team stormed an Occupy group’s takeover of an abandoned building in Chapel Hill. The next day, I watched a livestream of the destruction of Occupy Wall Street’s tents.

But protesters have not given up on tents. On the day of a strike at, the University of California-Berkeley in response to police brutality, the Occupy Cal and Occupy Oakland movements converged with a full-sized tent on a large stick as the symbol of the union, and the movement. (more…)

Occupy Your Life

November 25, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Jan Hart, Politics

What Are YOU Doing to Live Well and Contribute to the Cause?

by Jan Hart

The Occupy movement is alive, credible and growing in the United States and the world. International in scope, the Occupy movement began just a few months ago in New York City, followed by San Francisco.  A few weeks later the protests had spread to 95 cities across 82 countries and over 600 communities in the U.S. Ordinary people are standing up to a system that they feel is unequal and unfair. The recent eviction at Zuccotti Park serves only to make the movement stronger. In a world where the wealthy elite, the 1 %, have all the power and control, 99 % of the people feel powerless to effect changes that would make their lives better. (more…)

Our Overripe Moment

October 10, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Economy, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

“The Future is Calling and Has Some Serious Concerns — Please Pick Up”

by Robert C. Koehler

It’s a Sunday afternoon, five-ish, the sun is sinking and a chill is in the air. Ah, Chicago, vibrant with culture, crime and capital, but sort of dead at this hour of the ebbing weekend. I’m downtown and I’m not sure if the future is calling, but my heart is pounding as I walk west on Jackson to LaSalle, in the shadow of the great edifices of capitalism.

At 230 South LaSalle, in front of the Federal Reserve Bank, about a hundred people are gathered in informal clusters. Signs abound, some in people’s hands, others propped against the curb or a wall: “Trillions are missing from the Department of Defense.” “Wall Street needs adult supervision.” “I am Troy Davis.” “Sick and tired and denied all benefits. I am the 99%.” Written in orange chalk on the sidewalk: “If Iceland can let banks fail so can we.” (more…)

Occupational Therapy

October 06, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Ecology, Economy, Politics, Randall Amster

Americans Finally Join the Wave of Healthy Global Protest

by Randall Amster

“Hello, you’ve reached the people of the United States of America. We’re away from our desks right now, and perhaps for good — so instead of leaving a message for us, we encourage you to take your messages directly to the halls of power for their consideration. If you require immediate assistance, do not ask the agents of governments or corporations, but organize in your own communities instead. For directory assistance, get out in the streets and talk to others concerned about the direction of the nation and world. To be connected to an operator, follow the protest signs and/or the smell of teargas in the financial districts across the country. And if you should become disconnected … we are very happy to welcome you home to the movement!”

Our “interesting times” just got much more interesting. Is it actually possible that the “sleeping giant” that is the American people is finally beginning to join the rest of the world and show a genuine pulse? To be sure, we’ve been pretty well shell-shocked on these shores in the new millennium, and overall we’ve been less directly impacted by the ongoing effects of “The Age of Austerity, Degradation, and Warfare” than many others. Our lives of relative privilege in the U.S. also mean that we have farther to fall, and indeed many are finally feeling the fuller brunt of the crisis. Is it too late? Definitely not. Do we need to act immediately? Unquestionably, yes. (more…)

Protest, Don’t Parade

September 05, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Politics, Robert Reich

Workers Deserve a Better Deal for Labor Day

by Robert Reich

Labor Day is traditionally a time for picnics and parades. But this year is no picnic for American workers, and a protest march would be more appropriate than a parade.

Not only are 25 million unemployed or underemployed, but American companies continue to cut wages and benefits. The median wage is still dropping, adjusted for inflation. High unemployment has given employers extra bargaining leverage to wring out wage concessions.

All told, it’s been the worst decade for American workers in a century. According to Commerce Department data, private-sector wage gains over the last decade have even lagged behind wage gains during the decade of the Great Depression (4 percent over the last ten years, adjusted for inflation, versus 5 percent from 1929 to 1939). (more…)