New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


The Beloved Community

November 29, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Randall Amster, Windy Cooler

Strengthening the Ties that Bind in an Era of Alienation

by Randall Amster and Windy Cooler

As we move into the winter of 2012, the days are getting shorter and the sociopolitical realities put before us seem, in some ways, to be darkening by the minute. How is it that we do not know how to live in the world, in those ways that have sustained and advanced the human experiment for eons? Today we have reactionary, regressive policies masking as “progress,” replacing the reciprocal bonds of authentic community with the wafer-thin ties of social networking and, in the process, turning our alienation and dysfunction into a nouveau spectacle. During the recent Israeli assault on Gaza, for example, a reporter for the Jerusalem Post actually asked residents in fear for their children’s lives if anyone could give an interview about how the shrieking sirens were affecting pets. It is so taboo to speak of what really matters with the people who matter that we have to be encouraged to do so. (more…)

Environmental Antiwar Movement

September 27, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, David Swanson, Ecology, Politics

Add Your Voice to Preserve Cultural and Biological Diversity

by David Swanson

Events in South Korea are putting U.S. and international environmental groups into coalition with antiwar groups, and in rare opposition to one of the most environmentally destructive forces on earth: the military industrial complex.

Normally, this doesn’t happen.  Typically, civil liberties groups oppose the detention and torture and assassination that come with military spending, but not the spending and not the wars.  Typically, anti-poverty and pro-education groups lament the supposed lack of funding, but avoid all mention of our dumping 57% of federal discretionary funds into war preparation and war.  Typically, for environmental groups, our top consumer of oil, producer of superfund sites, and poisoner of the earth is off-limits.  We oppose pollution, but not pollution in the cause of killing people more quickly. (more…)

Charting the Course

September 19, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Economy, Jan Lundberg

Social Awakening Depends on a Balance of Activism

by Jan Lundberg

Our tall ship inches toward Copenhagen where it will dock near Christiania, the semi-autonomous village in the Christianshavn quarter. Apart from the job of getting the engineless ship into port where we deliver 8,000 bottles of French wine, there is much for an ecological and social activist to reflect upon.

Sometimes when Nature’s energy is high on the sea, with a fury, or when we are in the tender embrace of the water, air and sun that calms and becalms us, we get a slightly new perspective on our place on the planet. I should not have to add: that place is not about money or other narrow goals.

That this crew is a tight community is food for thought. Besides the imperative of cooperation for survival, it is simply easier and more natural to operate within a collective. Yet, in that situation one still finds oneself in serious personal contemplation on one’s intentions, dreams, and grappling with vexing questions about modern living. (more…)

A Mother’s Day Manifesto

May 11, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Family, Windy Cooler

Promoting Personal and Communal Responsibility

by Windy Cooler

“Bite this stick,” the doctor might have said as we birthed our children a hundred years ago. The grunting,  whimpering, sobbing, pleading, sweating, stinking, bleeding nudity of motherhood channeled into that sweet gag, silent, as the towels mount to soak up all of the  nasty animal we are as we labor with the promise of life. Bite this stick.

To date, my most popular blog entry (Of Mice and Moms), is one in which I refuse the bite the stick. It is  vaguely about Mother’s Day and it is, honestly, the kind of screaming that does not produce life. Birth is a channeling of the pain, down, not up into the air,  pushing through it, sinking, a kind of focus that for all the animal smell, is what is truly animal. But the response from other mothers, and even fathers,  people in general, to my scream was huge.  I was a little taken aback. We are angry. We are sad. (more…)

Partners in the Freedom Struggle

March 23, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Matt Meyer, Politics

Why Nonviolent Activists Should Follow John Brown

by Matt Meyer

“The lack of historical consensus regarding John Brown,” asserted longtime labor, racial justice, and international activist Bill Fletcher, “speaks to the ideological confusions we continue to face.” Fletcher — a columnist for Black Commentator, Senior Scholar for the Institute for Policy Studies, and former president of TransAfrica — noted that John Brown was anti-slavery, but not just that; he was anti-racist, but there were others at the time who were anti-racist as well. As Fletcher suggested that Brown’s difference was his dramatic defense of enslaved Africans, people he actually befriended and liked, he summarized the dividing line question which still remains: “Was Brown a terrorist or was he engaging in an emancipatory practice?”

This year’s Left Forum — the annual coming together of a broad spectrum of left and progressive intellectuals, activists, academics, organizations and the interested public, the largest in the US — was a different one than usual for me. Award-winning and beloved science fiction writer and old buddy Terry Bisson asked me to join his panel on a favorite topic of ours: the legacy of abolitionist John Brown. (more…)

‘Ordinary’ Thoughts

March 15, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Matt Meyer, Politics

On Solidarity and the Fight Against Fascism

by Matt Meyer

“In our struggle against Zionism, racism, and all forms of colonialism and imperialism, there is no place for antisemitism or the vilification of Jews, Palestinians or any people based on their religions, cultures, nationalities, ethnicity or history. At this historic junction — when the need to struggle for the liberation of Palestine is more vital than ever and the fault lines of capitalist empire are becoming more widely exposed — no anti-oppressive revolution can be built with ultra-right allies or upon foundations friendly to creeping fascism.”

So opens the statement Not Quite ‘Ordinary Human Beings’ — Anti-Imperialism and the Anti-Humanist Rhetoric of Gilad Atzmon, which was written by people from across the United States and Canada concerned about the attention within progressive circles being afforded someone openly attacking left-wing anti-Zionist Jews as being essentially the same as any anti-Palestinian Zionist. My own concern was magnified by the fact that this individual was doing so in the name of support for the just Palestinian struggle for peace and freedom. As an activist who has long struggled against racism (in and out of the “movement”), against imperialism and colonialism, I found it surprising and disappointing that some of my comrades and colleagues would give extra voice to someone with fairly open ties to positions more normally associated within the right-wing of the political spectrum. (more…)

The Personal Is Political

January 27, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Family, Politics, Windy Cooler

What’s Alinsky Got to Do with It?

by Windy Cooler

This Sunday, at the Friends Meeting I attend, I shared a long, rambling account of my personal soap opera, which is what I call it, my life, my relationships, when I am not willing to be vulnerable about it all, but I still need to vent, and well, my reality, when I am, when I am willing to share.

Short non-vulnerable version: there is a divorce, there is another long-term romantic relationship gone bad, so bad in fact I have begun describing my feelings around it as a “deranged ghost that lives outside of my body” as I search and search myself for any truth to which I can hold — to hang my feelings of love — then there are are things like a diagnoses of PTSD, which I suffer from, and for good reason, and my struggling to finish a degree program in which I am writing a thesis on solidarity behavior while I struggle with a general grumpiness about solidarity in my life and the unnerving prevalence of a philosophy of personal liberation in our culture that says, wrongly, it is actually a philosophy of community. (more…)