New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


From Planton to Occupy

December 07, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, David Bacon, Economy, Politics

Unions, Immigrants, and the Occupy Movement

by David Bacon

When Occupy Seattle called its tent camp “Planton Seattle,” camp organizers were laying a local claim to a set of tactics used for decades by social movements in Mexico, Central America and the Philippines.  And when immigrant janitors marched down to the detention center in San Diego and called their effort Occupy ICE (the initials of the Immigration and Custom Enforcement agency responsible for mass deportations), people from countries with that planton tradition were connecting it to the Occupy movement here.

This shared culture and history offer new possibilities to the Occupy movement for survival and growth at a time when the Federal law enforcement establishment, in cooperation with local police departments and municipal governments, has uprooted many tent encampments. (more…)

Tangled Up in Blue

November 23, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

Can There Be Solidarity Between Movement Activists and Police Officers?

by Randall Amster

Recent days have seen the increasing use of police violence against peaceful Occupy demonstrators around the country, including the gone-viral merciless pepper-spraying of students at UC Davis as well as that of 84-year-old Dorli Rainey in Seattle, and the critical wounding of Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen at Occupy Oakland. Police often refer to such episodes as “non-lethal intervention” and “pain compliance” intended to make people respond to their demands in particular situations, and more broadly the notion can be expanded as an effective working label for the apparent overall strategy of police in relation to the Occupy Movement everywhere. The basic idea is that if authorities apply enough force, fear will increase and people will stay home rather than mobilize. (more…)

Occupy Halloween

October 30, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Current Events, Matt Meyer

A Simple Suggestion for Mass Solidarity

by Matt Meyer

For everyone who wants to support the inspiring and growing “Occupy Wall Street,” “Occupy Together,” and “Occupy the Hood” movements but is feeling too busy, too scared, too overwhelmed, too young or too old (even too middle-aged!), too tired, too cautious, too far away from the center of the action, too involved with work or parenting or just trying to survive; for everyone: a simple suggestion…

THIS HALLOWEEN, MONDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2011, WEAR A “V” MASK

For Victory & Peace, For Vigilance Against Injustice, For a Vision of a New & Better Tomorrow (more…)

Immigration and Solidarity

June 30, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, David Bacon, Economy, Politics

Charting the Growing Ties Between Mexican and U.S. Labor

by David Bacon

One indispensable part of education and solidarity is greater contact between Mexican union organizers and their U.S. counterparts.  The base for that contact already exists in the massive movement of people between the two countries.

Miners fired in Cananea, or electrical workers fired in Mexico City, become workers in Phoenix, Los Angeles and New York.  Twelve million Mexican workers in the U.S. are a natural base of support for Mexican unions.  They bring with them the experience of the battles waged by their unions.  They can raise money and support.  Their families are still living in Mexico, and many are active in political and labor campaigns.  As workers and union members in the U.S., they can help win support from U.S. unions for the battles taking place in Mexico.

This is not a new idea. (more…)

Solidarity on the Border

June 10, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, David Bacon, Economy, Politics

Cooperative Efforts Link U.S.-Mexico Labor Movements

by David Bacon

The growth of cross-border solidarity today is taking place at a time when U.S. penetration of Mexico is growing — economically, politically, and even militarily.  While the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico has it’s own special characteristics, it is also part of a global system of production, distribution, and consumption.  It is not just a bilateral relationship.

Jobs go from the U.S. and Canada to Mexico in order to cut labor costs.  But from Mexico those same jobs go China or Bangladesh or dozens of other countries, where labor costs are even lower.  As important, the threat to move those jobs, experienced by workers in the U.S. from the 1970s onwards, are now common in Mexico.  Those threats force concessions on wages. In Sony’s huge Nuevo Laredo factory, for instance, that threat was used to make workers agree to an indefinite temporary employment status, even though Mexican law prohibited it. (more…)

We Can Do Better

May 13, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, David Swanson, Politics

This World and the World Without War

by David Swanson

The New York Times published an op-ed on May 7th by a professor here in Charlottesville, Va., arguing that celebrating the killing of Osama bin Laden is actually a good thing, because in so celebrating we are building solidarity with those we view as part of our exclusive group. Implicit in this argument is that we can do no better. Bonding over our common hatred of an outsider is better than no bonding at all, and therefore we should rebrand such hatred as altruism. Or so says psychology professor Jonathan Haidt.

And why? Why was putting the Nazis on trial rather than simply putting bullets in their heads not just an unusual occurrence but a physiological impossibility, something that did not occur because it could not have? Why? Because professor Haidt has read some research on ants, bees, and termites. (more…)

Justice, Equality, and a Decent Life

April 26, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, David Bacon, Economy

Decades After General Strike, Bay Area Workers Continue Struggle

by David Bacon

In the 150-year history of workers in the San Francisco Bay Area, the watershed event was one that happened over 70 years ago — the San Francisco general strike. That year, sailors, longshoremen, and other maritime workers shut down all the ports on the West Coast, trying to form a union and end favoritism, low wages and grueling 10- and 12-hour days. Ship owners deployed tanks and guns on the waterfront and tried to break the strike [3].

At the peak of this bitter labor war, police fired into crowds of strikers, killing two union activists. Then workers shut down the entire city in a general strike, and for four days, nothing moved in San Francisco [4]. The strike gave workers a sense of power described in a verse in the union song Solidarity Forever[5]: “Without our brain and muscle, not a single wheel can turn.” (more…)