New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Piece of Mind

October 23, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Missy Beattie

Reflections on Disturbance, Disorder, and Daily Coping

by Missy Beattie

My name’s Missy and I’m a piñata of anxieties. This is what I’d say if I were in a support group.

Yes, I’m thinking still of Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox. Over the weekend, I received an email from Hans at Angola 3 News. He’d read my article about Wallace and Woodfox. When I checked Tuesday’s email, I had another from him with photos from Wallace’s memorial and a link to this site. Among the images is a picture of a mural and banner on a bike path, a bike path just a few blocks from my apartment. Mid-morning, I ran in place in front of the banner, staring at these words: HERMAN WALLACE R.I.P. FREE ALBERT WOODFOX.

Last week, I sat in my doctor’s office and told her about Wallace and Woodfox. Wallace’s words in the hours before he died, “I am free, I am free.” Told her Woodfox was allowed to say goodbye to Wallace, who was freed by a federal judge, but then Woodfox was returned to solitary confinement. Has been in solitary confinement for 41 years. In other words, tortured. (more…)

Out of Control

March 12, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Angola 3 News, Culture, Politics

An Interview with Author/Activist Nancy Kurshan

by Angola 3 News

Author and longtime activist Nancy Kurshan’s new book, entitled Out of Control: A Fifteen Year Battle Against Control Unit Prisons, has just been released by the Freedom Archives. Kurshan’s book documents the work of The Committee to End the Marion Lockdown (CEML), which she co-founded in 1985 as a response to the lockdown at the federal prison in Marion, Illinois. It quickly turned into a broader campaign against control unit prisons and human rights violations in US prisons that lasted fifteen years, until 2000.  The following excerpt from Out of Control details CEML’s origins:

(beginning of direct quote)

I had been living in Chicago for about a year when I heard the news that two guards had been killed by two prisoners in the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, 350 miles south of Chicago. Although it was an isolated incident with no associated riot conditions, the prison was immediately placed on lockdown status, and the authorities seized on the opportunity to violently repress the entire prison population. For two years, from 1983 to 1985, all of the 350 men imprisoned there were subjected to brutal, dehumanizing conditions. All work programs were shut down, as were educational activities and religious services. (more…)

Shards Two

November 16, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Family, Mary Sojourner

Ruminations on Memory and Loss, Pleasure and Pain

by Mary Sojourner 

When I was twenty-seven the world broke into particles: the shimmering leaves of the elm became lozenges of gold; the color red leaped out from everything I saw; corners, then curved edges seemed to seize my perception so that I had to lift my thinking above them. I was certain I was going crazy. I was raising three kids on my own and there was no time to go crazy.

Twenty years later, I was reading a novel when I found myself wondering how I knew the meaning of the word “cedar”. Did I see a picture of a tree? Did I sense associations? How did I know what each letter was? For months, I surfed above the ruminations, forced myself to speak and to understand what was said to me. I knew I wasn’t crazy, but I was terrified it was the beginning of dementia.

In late November 2008 I walked with my grown son across a Mojave desert playa. He talked about a friend of his. I had never met the man. Suddenly I wondered how I experienced the man. Did I imagine him visually? How, in fact, did I experience anything someone said to me. Again, I forced myself above the loop delay in my mine and pretended I was listening as I always had. (more…)

The Invisible War

October 29, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Diane Lefer, Politics

New Film Focuses on Combating Military Sexual Trauma

by Diane Lefer

After The Invisible War,  a documentary about sexual assault in the US military, screened Thursday evening, a woman stood up from the audience to say she had just celebrated her 80th birthday and that, as a young woman, she’d been raped by a stranger. She wanted everyone to know that today she’s a happy person. Yes, she said to loud applause, “it is possible to heal.”

Healing, being able to move forward with their own lives, is surely what everyone wishes for survivors of sexual violence. But as documentary producer Amy Ziering suggested to the audience during the post-film discussion, in the military, it’s a lot harder to recover if you are far from home, have no support, are called a liar and threatened with retaliation or even death if you tell, and surely worst of all, have to report to your job the next day to the very person who raped you.

Kori Cioca was stalked and harassed by her commanding officer in the Coast Guard for weeks before he attacked her. (more…)

The Batman Massacre

July 24, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Michael N. Nagler

Tell Me When You’ve Had Enough…

by Michael N. Nagler

I want to make an offer to my fellow Americans who are, like myself, reeling from the worst “random” shooting the country has ever seen. My question: Have you had enough? Because if you have, I can tell you how to stop this kind of madness. I know that’s a bold claim, but this is not a time for small measures.

We cannot fix this tomorrow, because we didn’t cause it yesterday. We have been building up to this domestic holocaust since — to take one milestone — television was made available to the general public at the conclusion of World War Two.

If you are still with me, you are prepared to believe that it was not a coincidence that this massacre took place at the scene of an extremely violent, “long-awaited” movie. Psychologists have proved over and over again that — guess what — exposure to violent imagery produces disturbances in the mind that must, in course of time, take form in outward behavior. (more…)

Cooperative and Capable

April 17, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Guest Author

Community Resilience in Natural Disasters

Peace researchers Dr. Diane Bretherton and Anouk Ride say evidence indicates most people, when facing a natural disaster, are cooperative, altruistic, and resilient.

If you watch the news, particularly news about foreign countries, you could easily believe that natural disasters are followed by looting, crime and individualistic behavior to survive. However, research from six different countries indicates when facing a natural disaster most people are cooperative, altruistic, and resilient.

If you face a natural disaster, you will most likely turn to your neighbors and your community for help, advice and to help others you see as suffering more than yourself. This is a natural response to survive, to cope psychologically with the chaos and loss of control experienced in a disaster, and to rebuild communities. This behavior is far more common than generally assumed by the authorities and media commentators — who predict crime, competition and opportunism.

Initially we wanted to find out why some communities seemed to cope better than others with natural disasters. With local researchers in six countries, we talked to people who had survived tsunami waves higher than multistory buildings, droughts that lasted for years, earthquakes that crumbled entire villages. (more…)

Works in Progress

February 02, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Family, Robert C. Koehler

Participating in Our Lives and Histories

by Robert C. Koehler

I’m sitting in my daughter’s Baltimore apartment thinking about works in progress. This city is a work in progress and its pockets of vibrancy delight me, partly because, like my own hometown, Detroit, it is too frequently written off in the national mindset as broken, dying — above all, an undesirable place to live.

My apolitical thought on this rainy January afternoon is this: Shatter in your own mind the prejudgments of popular culture, the grinning media dictates of who or what is in and who or what is out. Shatter also any notion of what you can and can’t do.

My daughter the artist. I spent the day at the art school she attends, sat in with the students doing oil painting – painted my first egg. The experience was a stunning exercise in the observation of light and shadow, and the instructor joyously allowed me to be a beginner. I was able to participate.

The physicist David Bohm and others have used the term “participatory consciousness,” which I take to mean the awareness that no truth is complete or solid or locked into place without us. (more…)