New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

The Ghost of Excepted Labor

September 29, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Devon G. Pena, Economy

An Undocumented Multitude Resists Further Demonization

by Devon G. Peña

Reports from across the country over the past year continue to confirm the damaging economic effects of policies adopted by some twenty states (and counting) that have passed and adopted extremist anti-immigrant legislation (e.g., Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Oklahoma, Georgia, Alabama, etc.). Civil rights lawsuits and Justice Department actions against these “exceptional” laws also continue to unfold.

As predicted by myself, and in numerous other sources including studies by academic organizations cited in the May 2010 NACCS Letter to Governor Brewer on SB1070, these unconstitutional state laws are “political play,” but they have exacted fairly immediate economic damage on capitalist interests, especially in the agribusiness sector. Farmers and large growers are particularly vulnerable to the effects of laws that demonstrably interrupt or eliminate the availability of the largely undocumented workers that harvest our food crops. (more…)

Arizona Burning

September 22, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Politics, Roberto Rodriguez

After Five Centuries, Indigenous Knowledge Is on Trial

by Roberto Rodriguez

Justice. That’s a word not normally associated with Arizona. With Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his military tank still on the loose, this will not be changing anytime soon. In Arizona, Arpaio is colorful, but he is actually the least of them.

Just recently, Sen. John McCain decided to blame “illegal aliens” for the state’s forest fire outbreaks. Aided and abetted by the media, the senator’s irresponsible accusations, after touring the 500,000-acre Wallow fire, set off a contagion of wind-aided hate and fear. This month, two cousins were arrested for setting that fire. They were not aliens of any kind. The senator has issued no retractions. (more…)

Fighting the Firings

August 31, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, David Bacon, Economy, Politics

Communities Push Back Against Workplace Audits and ‘Silent Raids’

by David Bacon

When the current wave of mass firings of immigrant workers started three years ago, they were called “silent raids” in the press.  The phrase sought to make firings seem more humane than the workplace raids of the Bush administration.  During Bush’s eight-year tenure, posses of black-uniformed immigration agents, waving submachine guns, invaded factories across the country and rounded up workers for deportations.

“Silent raids,” by contrast, have relied on cooperation between employers and immigration officials.  The Department of Homeland Security identifies workers it says have no legal immigration status.  Employers then fire them.  The silence, then, is the absence of the armed men in black.  Paraphrasing Woody Guthrie, they used to rob workers of their jobs with a gun.  Now they do it with a fountain pen. (more…)

Our Moral Obligation to Look South

June 04, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Patrick T. Hiller, Politics

Mexican Civil Society ‘Fed Up’ with the War on Drugs

by Patrick T. Hiller

A new citizen-driven nonviolent reality is emerging in the escalated war on drugs in Mexico. The international perception of present-day Mexico is one of disgust about the escalating violence, thousands of fatalities, mass graves, and militarized approaches to fight the powerful drug cartels. Approximately 40,000 people have lost their lives since Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared the war on drugs in 2006. That is slightly less than the population of Dekalb, Illinois. For a nation with which we are so intrinsically linked, it seems rather significant. In fact, we can speak about a social catastrophe. (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…)

Arizona’s Two Futures

March 21, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Joel Olson, Politics

Youth Movements Confront Legislated Intolerance

by Joel Olson

As spring heats into summer in the desert, two Arizonas fight for supremacy.  One, lodged in power in the Arizona State Capitol, drafts anti-immigrant and “fiscally responsible” bills with glee. It is old, it is white, it is dour and narrow.  The other protests these bills from outside the capitol walls.  It is young, it is largely brown, it is hopeful but angry, and it aims to clash with the old Arizona.  And last Thursday it earned its first victory.

The day before that, a hundred youth from six weeks old to drinking age marched on the Capitol to protest a rash of anti-immigrant bills that, if passed, would have made Arizona’s notorious SB 1070 look like an act of charity.  These five bills challenged the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship and would have required every member of official society — from nurses to teachers to school secretaries to doctors to employers — to check a person’s immigration status before healing or educating or hiring them. (more…)

Mobilizing Against an Epidemic of Fear

February 08, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Guest Author, Politics

The Moral Obligations of Civil Disobedience and Universal Rights

by Jenny Passero, Meredith Holladay, and Sara Turcios

In order to set the tone for overcoming fear and promoting just alternatives, we open with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “When injustice becomes the law, then civil disobedience is a moral obligation.” This quote is equally fitting as a response to the current political manipulation that is occurring in the Arizona State Legislature, with several Republican anti-immigrant proposals including: House Bill 2561 and Senate Bill 1309, as well as House Bill 2562 and Senate Bill 1308, which contest birthright citizenship.

This legislation is being used as a political tactic intended “to attract a legal challenge that could eventually lead to the U.S. Supreme Court reconsidering whether the 14th Amendment truly grants citizenship to such children.” (more…)