New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Unpleasant Truths

October 17, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Victoria Law

Following Hunger Strikes, California Reconsiders Solitary Confinement

by Victoria Law

“Tell us the truth, even if it’s not pleasant,” State Assembly member Tom Ammiano told California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials, advocates, formerly incarcerated people and family members.

On Wednesday, October 9, the California legislature’s Public Safety Committee held the first of several hearings about the use of solitary confinement in California’s prisons. These hearings were prompted by a 60-day hunger strike that rocked California’s prison system this past summer.

On July 8, 2013, over 30,000 people incarcerated throughout California refused meals. Hunger strikers issued five core demands: (more…)

A Unique Struggle

August 02, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Devon G. Pena, Ecology, Politics

Farmworkers in Washington State Mobilize for Dignity, Rights

by Devon G. Peña

Burlington is not a very old city center and got its start in 1902 as a logging camp. Today the small town of 8,380, located in the  Skagit River watershed north of Seattle, does count with a prosperous fruit and vegetable agricultural industry. Of course, the industry relies on mostly migrant families for farm labor. This is especially the case during harvest work and strawberry crops present an opportunity for workers to seize the current condition of ‘labor scarcity’ and high demand for skilled pickers during harvest time to organize for their workplace rights. And that is exactly what has happened in the State of Washington, and not in the Yakima or Wenatchee valleys but on the western side of the Cascades where peri-urban farming is increasingly big business. (more…)

Remembering the Lawrence Strike

January 09, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Jerry Elmer, Politics

On the Centennial of a Nonviolent and Decisive Workers’ Victory

by Jerry Elmer

January 12, 2012 is the one hundredth anniversary of the commencement of one of the most important labor strikes in American history – the bloody 1912 Lawrence, Massachusetts, textile strike that lasted 63 days. The strike represented the organizing apogee of the radical, syndicalist Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, or Wobblies); the strike has also become associated (albeit erroneously) in popular lore with the slogan “Bread and Roses” (the phrase originated in a poem by James Oppenheim published in 1911, but was apparently never used by the Lawrence strikers in 1912).

On January 1, 1912, a new Massachusetts law had gone into effect that cut the maximum work week to 54 hours. Mill workers’ pay was given out on Fridays, not for the week just ended but for the previous week; thus, on Friday afternoon, January 12, 1912, workers received their pay for the work week of Monday, January 1 through Saturday, January 6. Workers found their pay to be an average of 32¢ short, representing the fewer hours that the mill workers had toiled. (more…)

Solitary Figures

December 02, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Current Events, Politics, Victoria Law

Continuing the Struggle Against Extreme Isolation and Sensory Deprivation

by Victoria Law

Last month, prisoners across California ended a nearly three-week hunger strike. The strikers, who numbered 12,000 at the strike’s peak, had five core demands:

1) Eliminate group punishments for individual rules violations; 2) Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria; 3) Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons (2006) regarding an end to long term solitary confinement; 4) Provide adequate food; and 5) Expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite SHU inmates.

The strike, the second three-week hunger strike to rock California’s prison system this year alone, was called by men in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) of California’s Pelican Bay State Prison. (more…)

Strike Zone

October 14, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Family, Politics, Victoria Law

Hungering for Justice in the Crime-and-Punishment System

by Victoria Law

“This is what democracy looks like!” These days, when you hear those words at a protest, whether officially permitted or not, you know that the police are seconds away from pulling out their plastic handcuffs and pepper spray and getting ready to pack their paddy wagons.

On October 5th, near the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway, I heard that chant as the police closed in on a group of protesters attempting to breach the barricades blocking Wall Street. Knowing that arrests and violence were soon to follow, my daughter and I turned and left. We circled around to Zuccotti Park where we stayed for an hour and a half until police arrived on horseback and motor scooters and began closing the protesters in with metal barricades.

If this is what democracy looks like, at least there are numerous cameras to record the ways that the police and the city treat the 8,000 to 12,000 people exercising their democratic right to protest. (more…)

Hungry for Justice

July 27, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, David Swanson

Judging Society by Its Prison System

by David Swanson

Prisoners risking death by refusing food in the Pelican Bay supermax, and those hunger striking in solidarity in prisons around California, are a judgment of our sickness. “The degree of civilization in a society,” said Dostoyevsky, “can be judged by entering its prisons.”

Civilization is something we no longer seem to aspire to. The United States locks up more people and a greater percentage of its people than anyone else. We lock them in training centers for anger and violence. We subject them to rape, assault, humiliation, and isolation. We throw the innocent in with the guilty, the young with the old, the nonviolent with the violent, the hopeful with those who’ve lost all interest in life. (more…)