New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Living, Loving Meaningfully

August 21, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Politics, Windy Cooler

The Revolution Will Not Be Anti-Social

by Windy Cooler

I have been ruminating lately on how much I am looking forward to school starting up again for Ob, my six year old son, because of how deeply I enjoy my time with other parents picking up their kids after school; how meaningful, powerful, and frankly, political, much of that time is.

Most of us are women. One is a grandfather and one is a stay at home father, married to the only woman he ever dated. We are very different people, religiously, in age, in personality, in class background and country of origin, to some extent, racially. We talk about everything and we have a huge impact on each other’s lives.

We jokingly call ourselves, after the suggestion of one of us, a poet and homeschooling mother, the “Playground Coven.” I usually write for activists, and I am doing it here, despite myself. I think of us sometimes, in that light, as a kind of Bughouse Square. (more…)

Affluence Out on a Limb

August 10, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Economy, Jan Lundberg

An American’s Letter from Europe

by Jan Jundberg

The time for a revolution of a deeper sort comes when the imbalance of unequal sharing of the land and its resources reaches the ultimate crisis point. People don’t want to contemplate this, but at least the unprecedented socioeconomic disintegration ahead will be the portal to achieving real sustainability.

This will occur despite any redistribution of present wealth through compassionate reforms or wrenching de-classism. For the hour is too late ecologically. This applies to the entire modern industrialized world.

A great measure of middle and working class affluence has brought European nations together. Rather than serving lofty goals of advancing civilization and peace, it was more to convenience the region’s powerful corporations and increase Europe’s bargaining muscle for importing energy. Digging deeper into the seamy side, the elevated material life was accomplished largely by borrowing money and wasting material resources (albeit only half as recklessly as the U.S., per capita). The come-down will be far more painful and chaotic than what has been glimpsed, such as the Spanish miners’ objections to their getting squeezed. The bright side is that the failure of affluence — of the post-war European Dream — will give way to strong local economics and bioregional power. (more…)

Beautiful Trouble

May 30, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Ecology, Economy, Politics

Let’s Activate and Innovate, Before It’s Too Late

by David Swanson

Now here’s a book that’s meant to be used: Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution, edited by Andrew Boyd and Dave Oswald Mitchell.  The subtitle should be “Try this at home — but innovate!”  Instead it’s “From the people who brought you the Yes Men, Billionaires Against Bush, etc.”

Beautiful Trouble is a terrific addition to Gene Sharp’s catalog of nonviolent tactics, less comprehensive, more up-to-date, more U.S.-centric, and focused on the artistic and the entertaining. When someone whines about what they can possibly do if it’s really true that voting won’t fix everything, hand them this book.  When someone proposes violence as the only serious option available, hand them this book.

Here is a guide to activism that focuses on the serious moral case for fundamental change and on making it fun as hell.  Here is a sophisticated tool for shaping strategies that are both uncompromising and welcoming of newcomers.

The book is divided into five sections: Tactics, Principles, Theories, Case Studies, and Practitioners.  The section on Tactics is far and away the best, with some of the inspiring tactics further developed in the case studies.  While the book looks like a reference designed to be searched as needed like an encyclopedia (tons of pull quotes and text in cute little boxes, as if laid out for someone with a four-second attention span) it actually reads very well as a book if you focus on the largest font size and just read it straight through. (more…)

Multigenerational Justice

May 04, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Family, Politics, Victoria Law

Toward the Quiet Creation of an All-Ages Revolution

by Victoria Law

It is Sunday afternoon. My daughter and I are at home. I am on my (borrowed) laptop in the kitchen, revising chapter forwards for Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind, an anthology on how to support parents and children in social justice movements that I am co-editing with the amazing “grandma of mama zines” China Martens. Garlic bubbles away into broth on the stove, filling the kitchen with warmth (and a very savory fragrance).

In the other room, my 11-year-old daughter is on her dad’s computer and on the phone at the same time. She is on a conference call/computer chat with the folks planning childcare to talk about the Big Kids’ track for this year’s Allied Media Conference. I am, thankfully, not part of the efforts to coordinate either the Kids’ Track or the Big Kids’ Track, but I do wonder how the conversation is going. I can hear my daughter’s fingers strike the keyboard as she enters her ideas into their group chatbox, but I hear her voice much less often.

While puzzling over how to succinctly sum up the gist of each chapter, fittingly on how movements and communities and individuals have supported the children and caregivers in their midst, my thoughts drift back to the event I attended last night: Angela Davis’s talk about prison abolition and a conversation between her and Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was allowed to call in to the event for an all-too-short fifteen minutes. (more…)

It’s Kicking Off Everywhere

April 10, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Economy, Guest Author, Politics

2011’s Global Protests Didn’t Come Out of Nowhere…

by Anya Barry

It was not sheer coincidence, journalist Paul Mason explains in Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions, that drove people from places as varied as Egypt, Greece, Britain, New York City, and Wisconsin to stand up and speak out against injustice in 2011. Rather, a cascading international financial crisis brought the disconnect between governments and citizens into sharp relief, which ultimately resulted in a massive series of protests in all corners of the map.

Although many reporters have written off the protesters as radicals without any real vision, Mason gets down in the dirt with the people issuing the outcry, serving as an articulate and smart mouthpiece to help the rest of society understand the importance of these ongoing movements throughout the world. As a way of explaining the inspiration behind movements like Occupy Wall Street, Mason quotes Franco Berardi, a contemporary writer who states, “There is only one way to awake the lover that is hidden in our paralyzed, frightened and frail virtualized bodies. There is only one way to awake the human being that is hidden in the miserable daily life of the softwarists: take to the streets and fight.” (more…)

Nonviolent Nigeria

February 03, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Matt Meyer, Politics

The Roots (and Routes) of Resistance

by Matt Meyer

It is tough now to believe: Chidi Nwosu was murdered just a little over one year ago. He was hardly the first prominent Nigerian human rights leader to be assassinated, nor was he the last before the Occupy Nigeria movement of 2012 began taking to the streets, forming a new, nationwide emphasis on the need for sweeping economic and political change in one of the most populated and resource-rich corners of the planet. Nwosu, founder and president of the Human Rights, Justice and Peace Foundation (HRJPF), was a friend and colleague of the secular pacifist War Resisters International — but his death was anything but nonviolent. Tortured in his home while his wife and young daughter were locked in an adjacent room, he was shot in the head and dragged around the house as a symbol of what happens to those who dare take on questions of police misconduct, government corruption, and an end to rule by multinational corporations. It is no coincidence that this killing took place a short time after a major conference had been held (with Nwosu as central organizer), linking the issues and calling for a “total cleansing” of the Nigerian scene. (more…)

Follow the Money

January 19, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Jennifer Browdy, Politics

And Let the Revolution Begin!

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

People in the know always advise us to “follow the money.”

Thanks to the Occupy movement, it’s become plain to a lot more of us that huge amounts of money are concentrated in a very few, very influential hands.  Big business interests control politics at every level, and the name of the game is profit for the top managers and owners, with the bare minimum allowed to “trickle down” through taxes and philanthropy.

Nothing new in that picture.  But there are some provocative new ideas arising about how to change a system that seems so entirely entrenched that most of us don’t even bother to think too hard about alternatives. (more…)