New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

Love in the End Times

July 16, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Jennifer Browdy, Politics

Tend to the Parts You Can Reach…

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

The political horse race in American politics has begun, with both major Presidential candidates running full-tilt but ponderously towards each other like armored knights on horseback, wielding the lances of millions of dollars’ worth of attack ads and backed up by slick, smart campaign pages.

Meanwhile, it continues to be hot, hotter and unbearably hot here in the Northeast.  It was a blessing to wake up this morning to a brief soaking rain, breaking weeks of drought.

But there is no way to fool myself into hoping that things will go back to normal, weather-wise.

As many people have been saying lately, this is the new normal.

Just as we’ve gotten used to a political climate in which it’s normal for a Presidential candidate to hide his tax returns, refuse to comment on moving his millions into off-shore tax havens, and totally repudiate everything he once stood for in order to lick the shoes of his political bosses, we’re going to have to get used to a climate that lurches from one extreme to another — from blizzards to heat waves, from floods to droughts. (more…)

A Titanic Effort

May 16, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Jan Hart, Politics

Getting Through Cognitive Dissonance and into Action

by Jan Hart

Our lives are no longer as simple or safe as we once believed.

The institutions we trusted to protect us, serve us, and tell us the truth have proven to be unworthy of our trust. Feeling powerless and afraid, we are easy prey for distractions and false prophets. What happened and where do we go from here?

I remember over 10 years ago reacting with my fellow humans in horrified grief when the planes hit the world trade center. In that moment we Americans came together. We wanted to hear from our leaders, watch the news and respond with action. Initially I agreed with the decision to go into Afghanistan to pursue the terrorists and I stayed glued to the evening news. But with the puzzling shift in focus toward Iraq, my intuitive gut began to question. When ‘weapons of mass destruction’ became a familiar phrase and the march to war gathered momentum, it just didn’t feel right. I wasn’t alone. People around the world were against this invasion and in one day of coordinated action 15 million took to the streets in protest. (more…)

Spontaneous Reflection

May 03, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Harry Targ, Politics

How Do We Build Our Movements?

by Harry Targ 

Over the last fourteen months we have observed Arab Spring, the Wisconsin uprising, labor ferment throughout the American Heartland, and the formation of Dream Coalitions. In addition Occupy Movements last fall spread like wild fire all across the country and with the arrival of spring are resuming. Most recently anti-racist mobilizations have occurred in response to the execution of Troy Davis and the murder of Trayvon Martin.

In response, socialist and progressive organizations, single issue groups, political party activists, and visible pundits have called for or organized rallies, marches, conferences and other mobilizations in Washington D.C., Chicago, New York and elsewhere. Grassroots activists, motivated by a passion for change, and sometimes a sense of desperation, are on the move. While these are exciting times for progressives and lifetime organizers, it makes sense to take a deep breath, reflect on the concrete situations of struggle we face, and to ask ourselves how best to channel (and preserve) our energies and resources. (more…)

Diversity Is Strength

April 20, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Joel Olson, Politics

Whiteness and the 99 Percent

by Joel Olson

{Editor’s note: This is one of the last pieces written by NCV Contributor Joel Olson, who recently passed away and left us far too early. This essay, written in October 2011, indicates both Joel’s deep-seated radicalism and his abundant kindness of spirit. As Joel always reminded us with his words and deeds alike, “The only thing that can stop us is us.”}

Occupy Wall Street and the hundreds of occupations it has sparked nationwide are among the most inspiring events in the U.S. in the 21st century. The occupations have brought together people to talk, occupy, and organize in new and exciting ways. The convergence of so many people with so many concerns has naturally created tensions within the occupation movement. One of the most significant tensions has been over race. This is not unusual, given the racial history of the United States. But this tension is particularly dangerous, for unless it is confronted, we cannot build the 99%. The key obstacle to building the 99% is left colorblindness, and the key to overcoming it is to put the struggles of communities of color at the center of this movement. It is the difference between a free world and the continued dominance of the 1%. (more…)

It’s Kicking Off Everywhere

April 10, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Economy, Guest Author, Politics

2011’s Global Protests Didn’t Come Out of Nowhere…

by Anya Barry

It was not sheer coincidence, journalist Paul Mason explains in Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions, that drove people from places as varied as Egypt, Greece, Britain, New York City, and Wisconsin to stand up and speak out against injustice in 2011. Rather, a cascading international financial crisis brought the disconnect between governments and citizens into sharp relief, which ultimately resulted in a massive series of protests in all corners of the map.

Although many reporters have written off the protesters as radicals without any real vision, Mason gets down in the dirt with the people issuing the outcry, serving as an articulate and smart mouthpiece to help the rest of society understand the importance of these ongoing movements throughout the world. As a way of explaining the inspiration behind movements like Occupy Wall Street, Mason quotes Franco Berardi, a contemporary writer who states, “There is only one way to awake the lover that is hidden in our paralyzed, frightened and frail virtualized bodies. There is only one way to awake the human being that is hidden in the miserable daily life of the softwarists: take to the streets and fight.” (more…)

Taking a Stand

April 09, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Jennifer Browdy, Politics

What Will It Take to Accomplish Real Change?

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

Environmental activist Tim DeChristopher and Jamphel Yeshi, the young Tibetan monk who recently set himself on fire, are more alike than might first meet the eye.

DeChristopher, one of the founders of the group Peaceful Uprising, took direct action to disrupt the sale of wilderness to mining companies in a closed Federal auction.  He ended up in prison, but he also did a tremendous amount to raise public awareness about the issue of land sales to corporate industry, and inspired the PeaceUp folks to greater activism.

Jamphel Yeshi also took a dramatic personal action at huge cost to himself — he lost not just his liberty, but his life. He and the 30 other monks who have taken this drastic step in the past have succeeded in letting the world know how deeply the Tibetan people are suffering under Chinese repression, and how passionately they yearn for autonomy to practice their religion and preserve their culture. (more…)

Equal(ity) Time

April 05, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Diane Lefer, Economy

Seeking Unity Across Sex, Race, and Class

by Diane Lefer

In an era when we see the faces of women, people of color, gay and lesbian people and people with disabilities among the 1%,”All the movements we have founded for our liberation are now represented in the establishment,” said women’s rights and anti-racist activist Selma James, “but we are not.”

And we remain unlikely to prevail without unity.

James, born in New York, one-time resident of South LA, veteran of anti-colonial struggles in the Caribbean, and now UK-based, was back in the US to launch her new book, Sex, Race and Class — The Perspective of Winning. As the keynote speaker at the Teach-In, “Sex, Race & Class: What Are the Terms of Unity?” on Saturday, March 24 at the Southern California Library in South LA, she drew on  decades of organizing experience to talk about how to bridge the divide among the different sectors that make up the 99%.

The answer may well be “Money.” Not as the root of all evil, but the source of both autonomy and commonality. (more…)