New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

The Abandoned Class

October 26, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

Demanding a Change of Course for the Common Good

by Robert C. Koehler

Will Occupy Wall Street hold together long enough to cut to the deep chase?

Will it find a voice to articulate not merely the pain of the struggling middle class but the endemic unfairness and racism of inescapable poverty? “Everyone is important,” read the sign of an elderly protester. My God, what if it were true? What if we could see, in the desperate thrashing of the abandoned class, everyone’s future, that of the 99 percent and that of the 1 percent?

Let the Occupy movement become such a merging of voices that it reaches and changes the rigged game of American democracy and puts the collective failure of the system, in all its manifestations — from environmental collapse to our doomed wars and the hubris of empire to the violence in our streets — at the forefront of our media and our consciousness. Let the movement be the first tremor of a new awareness that dehumanizes no one. (more…)

Balm the Suburbs

June 01, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Economy, Jay Walljasper

Creating Community Wherever We Are

by Jay Walljasper

In a surprise, the Washington Post ran an article defending suburbs from the usual charges of being white, wealthy, boring, selfish, right-wing, and environmentally-abominable places.

More than half of Americans now live in suburbia, including most subscribers, so it’s no surprise the newspaper would take an opportunity to reassure its readers that they live in perfectly fine communities.

The surprise was who wrote the article: William Upski Wimsatt, a champion of hip hop culture who grew up on Chicago’s South Side and in 1994 published a book titled Bomb the Suburbs.  Wimsatt took pains to explain that “bomb” was youth culture slang for graffiti, but he left little doubt about his feelings toward the ‘burbs. (more…)

Educating for War No More

May 23, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Harry Targ, Politics

Resisting Militarism in Our Schools

by Harry Targ

I have been thinking a lot lately about “ideological hegemony” — how and why we think about the political world in the ways we do. I do so not to add another layer of theory to an already complex set of arguments about economics and politics. Nor am I interested in immobilizing political activists. Rather, I think progressives need to think about how to challenge the ideas that most of us are supposed to accept and believe.

Of course, the primary public institutions that transmit ideas and ways of thinking to people, from the start to the end of their educational careers, are schools. Our friends on the Right know how important it is to shape schools at all levels. Early in this century I remember hearing Rush Limbaugh say on one of his radio programs that “the only institutions we do not yet control are the schools.” With this as a goal, just the other day we read stories about Koch brothers’ money financing faculty positions at Florida State University in economics (presumably Marxist or structural economists need not apply). (more…)

Of Humans and Rights

May 20, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, David Swanson, Politics

Let’s Celebrate Life and Liberty, Not Death and Dehumanization

by David Swanson

U.S. newspapers sometimes print what they call the total death count from one or more of our wars, and all the dead who are listed are Americans.  They aren’t all the Americans.  They don’t include contractors or suicides or various other categories of dead Americans.  They certainly don’t include those who died for lack of basic needs while we dumped half of our public treasury into wars.

But they also don’t include anyone from that 95% of humanity that’s not from the United States.  In our current wars, well over 95% of the dead, even in the short-term, are from the countries where the wars are fought.  Some get labeled combatants and some civilians, but they’re all left out of most body counts, and when they are counted they are counted low.  Our government pretends not to count them at all, and only thanks to Wikileaks do we know otherwise, that the military has counted some of them. (more…)

Corruption and Class Struggle

January 13, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Current Events, Economy, Joel Olson, Politics

What It’s Really Like to Live in Arizona

by Joel Olson

With the passage of the notorious anti-immigrant bill SB 1070 last spring, the outlawing of ethnic studies as of January 1st, the gutting of the school and university systems, the collapsed housing market, the high unemployment rates, and now the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, you might be wondering what it’s like to actually live in Arizona right about now.

In short: it ain’t easy. But it helps to put Giffords’s shooting in historical perspective, which is defined by two things in Arizona: corruption and class struggle.  And ironically, this perspective gives me hope about the radically democratic future of my home state.

Arizona’s economy was founded on the Five Cs: copper, cotton, cattle, citrus, and climate (tourism). These Cs were controlled by big mining and agricultural interests and real estate developers. Corruption was commonplace as they manipulated the political system for their benefit. A group of these capitalists, called the Phoenix 40, controlled state politics until the 1970s, when the political establishment opened up some. But even after their rule, the state capitol has always been a place to lie, bribe, and scam your way to what you want. If the names Don Bowles, Evan Mecham, AZscam, Fife Symington, or the Keating 5 (which included Senator John McCain) mean anything to you, then you know that corruption is as plentiful as the parking here. And I haven’t even mentioned Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio or State Senator Russell Pearce, the tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum of racist nativism. (more…)