New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Women, Healing, Autonomy

April 05, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Guest Author

Reclaiming Our Bodies Means Restoring Indigenous Wellness Practices

by Lorena Hernández and Vanessa García

As Mexicanas living in a Western society, it has become very easy for us to observe and realize that women are increasingly losing autonomy over their bodies. Coming from a culture of women that take pride over understanding and healing their own bodies, we have seen a movement away from this ideal.  Presently, we see ourselves and other women succumbing to the Western medicinal and governmental bodily regulations without any resistance.

Recent bills in action have made us wonder, “What is going on with society?” The proposed House Bill 206 in New Mexico “would charge a rape victim who ends her pregnancy with a third-degree felony for tampering with evidence.”(1) This outrageous proposal not only attempts to reduce the seriousness of the emotional trauma caused by rape, but it also undermines the rights of women and the freedom to do lo que se les de la gana (whatever they want), with their own body. How did it become acceptable for the government to mandate corporal regulations? How did we lose autonomy over our own bodies? To fully understand this issue, we need to take a look at the evolution of healing and medicine in Mexican and Mexican-American culture. (more…)

Autonomous Organization

March 06, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Guest Author

Zapatistas and the Struggle for Survival on Planet Earth

by Helen Jaccard and Gerry Condon

After visiting Guatemala for two months, we crossed the border into Chiapas on December 21 — Winter Solstice and the 13th Baktun — the first day of the New Mayan Era.  On that very day, the Zapatistas made a dramatic reappearance.  After four years of silence amid speculation about the status of their movement, more than 40,000 Zapatistas appeared in five towns they had occupied by force nineteen years earlier on January 1, 1994 — Ocosingo, Las Margaritas, Altamirano, Palenque and San Cristobal de Las Casas. Inspiring a profound sense of awe, men and women marched silently together in the rain, wearing ponchos and their trademark ski masks, unarmed, with young children on their backs. (more…)

The Bare Life

March 01, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Devon G. Pena, Politics

Notes on ‘Idle No More’ and the State of Exception

by Devon G. Peña

The Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt made two observations that are useful to fully understand the nature of white settler colonialism and its calculated brutality against First Peoples. The first idea, which of course has been taken up as the point of departure of the work of Giorgio Agamben,[i] is that after the Jewish Holocaust every parliamentary and liberal democracy exists in a permanent state of emergency/state of siege. The second point is that under such a regime, not only is there a suspension of the rule of law, the constituted power of the sovereign is focused on the ability to decide,[ii] and especially to determine who lives and who dies — hence, the concept of biopower as developed by Foucault and his protégés.

The end of the rule of law is surely by now a more familiar condition to most citizens in the U.S. and Canada who are dealing with the collapse of the Bill of Rights in the aftermath of 9-11 and the advent of the never-ending ‘War on Terror’. (more…)

Forgotten History

December 29, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Devon G. Pena

American Violence, from Sand Creek to Sandy Hook

by Devon G. Peña

Je sais bien, mais quand-même [I know very well, but nevertheless…] — Octave Mannoni

The airwaves have been filled with agonizing reflections about the mass murder of innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. There was wall-to-wall cable news coverage, endless interviews, moving eulogies at funerals, and a steady stream of talking head reflection. The public discourse turned on the questions of why and how this mass slaughter occurred.

The liberal response went along the lines of: There are too many assault weapons and high capacity magazine clips; it is too easy for the mentally ill to get weapons; mental health services for the growing at-risk population are inadequate. The conservative line espoused by Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) revolves around the fundamentalist idea that the “only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” So, the Sandy Hook massacre occurred because the principal and teachers were unarmed. We are to fight gun violence with more gun violence. (more…)

A Gospel of Wealth

December 28, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Robert C. Koehler

Making Eye Contact with the Poverty in Our Midst

by Robert C. Koehler

“I’m pregnant,” she said.

Well, OK. She wanted $4. I could have done the “pretend not to see you” thing. Taking that option is part of life these days, especially in Chicago. She’d been standing in the middle of the intersection, trying to get money so that — if she was to be believed — she and her daughter could get dinner at the McDonald’s on the corner. When the light changed, she came over to me. I was out for a walk. It was a beautiful, cold December night.

This is what I’d been thinking: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” It was a quote from one of my favorite writers, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and at times it feels true — such as when I’m walking through my vibrant, unpredictable neighborhood. Suddenly nothing is ordinary or banal, nothing is to be blown off. Oh, the humanity. (more…)

In Defense of Tumbleweeds

October 08, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Walt Anderson

Reflections of Ourselves in Coping with an ‘Invasive Species’

by Walt Anderson

Drifting along, like a tumbling tumbleweed.  That catchy tune warbled by the Sons of the Pioneers somehow epitomizes nostalgia for the Old West.  Never mind that the tumbleweed is a carpetbagger, an interloper, an émigré otherwise known as Russian thistle.  I’ve heard tell that the Russkies sent it here as a kind of biological weapon, a plague on our plains, a prickly infestation designed to lay waste to our grasslands, to overwhelm us with its ability to take any of our attacks against it and come back stronger than ever.  Where is the real truth here?

As an ecologist, I am always suspicious of introduced species.  What are they outcompeting?  What natives suffer at the advancing wave of heavily armed hordes of aggressive Salsola? (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…)