New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


A Story and a Book

February 15, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Matt Meyer, Politics

On the Nature of Violence and Nonviolence

by Matt Meyer

Amidst a bombardment of Black Bloc commentary, questions about the militarized nature of tear-gas toting police, and the ever-frustrating all-too-abstract dialogues about the meanings of nonviolence, violence, strategy, tactics, and principles, comes a simple story (and a complicated book) straight out of Occu-politics. First, though, some defining of terms:

Nonviolence (a term some have called ‘a word seeking to describe something by saying what it is not’) is used in as wide a variety of ways as there are flavors of ice cream. For some, it is strategic and revolutionary, for others principled and philosophical; for some it is a way of life and for others a mere tactic. For most practitioners, it is an often-tantalizing combination of the above. Our story will hope to add some clarity.

Violence, as we sadly know too well, goes well beyond war to include domestic violence, random street crime, repression, and even poverty — responsible for more death than most other forms combined. But sometimes, despite this variety, it seems that the images of violence which come quickest to our minds are that of an angry kid with a rock or a gun. Our book will try to turn that image on its head. (more…)

Occupy Prisons

February 14, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Victoria Law

‘We Must Not Turn Our Backs on Each Other…’

by Victoria Law

“Manhandled, arrested, cuffed, searched, and locked away in the Tombs” is how AlterNet described the story of protester Barbara Schneider Reilly, who spent 30 hours in jail after being arrested at an Occupy Wall Street-related protest in October 2011.

Reilly reported: “During the long, cold night in the Tombs, at some point we asked a female officer if we could have some blankets. ‘We have no blankets.’ Some mattresses since we were 12 or so people? ‘We have no more mattresses.’ Some change in exchange for dollar bills so we could call parents and loved ones? (The one public telephone in the cell would only take coins.) ‘It’s against regulations.’ Some soap? ‘Maybe we’ll come up with some soap.’ After no, no, no to every reasonable request, we wound up with a small jar of soap. Distressing is hardly the word for a culture of willful neglect and the exercise of what power those officers held over us for those 30 hours.”

While Reilly’s experience was horrific, it is only a sliver of the atrocities that over 114,000 women in prisons and jails must endure on a daily basis. When the article first appeared, I printed it out and circulated it to several currently incarcerated women and asked how Schneider’s weekend compared to their own realities. (more…)

Collective Radical Imagination

February 01, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Guest Author, Politics

From Building Tents to Building Movements: Reflections from Occupy DC

by Vasudha Desikan and Drew Franklin

WELCOME TO D.C.

“Occupy is not a panacea, but an opening. It will help us clear the way to a more mature political landscape. It has begun to breathe in the many currents of dissatisfaction and breathe out a new radical imagination.”Vijay Prashad

The question of what the “Occupy” movement is has concerned us ever since it spread to Washington D.C. in October of last year. After witnessing Occupy Wall Street’s tremendous growth in New York, we were inspired to see for ourselves the potential for radical mobilization in our city, where the corporate and state arms of global capital meet. The seat of power in the United States, D.C. has a long history as a center for protest, frequently drawing in activists from all over the country. It is also home to 600,000 legislatively and electorally disenfranchised residents, who have been engaged in their own unique struggles. Occupy D.C. had (and in some respects still has) exciting potential to work in solidarity with these community struggles and catalyze radical growth here and around the country. (more…)

A Happy Ending?

January 26, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Economy, Jennifer Browdy

Shades of an American Kristallnacht

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

Watching the spectacle of the Republican primaries evokes deep sadness over the unavoidable truth that now, in the wake of Citizens United, it has become totally legal for rich people to run politicians the same way they might run horses or greyhounds.  Just like that.

Maybe that’s what provides the eerie, zombie-like atmosphere in politics these days. You really have the sense that most politicians, especially the ones at the top echelons of power, are like old-fashioned Kabbalistic golems, animated out of clay by skilled magicians who can control them from afar.

Of course, that’s been going on for a long time.  Remember George Bush, a wind-up man getting remote control instructions through his earphone in the 2004 Presidential debates?

But it’s getting worse and worse.  That’s why I can’t stand to watch Gingrich and Santorum and all the other Republican wax model men mouth their lines on the stage these days.  You know they’ll say whatever they’re told … whatever they think it will take to win. (more…)

Follow the Money

January 19, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Jennifer Browdy, Politics

And Let the Revolution Begin!

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

People in the know always advise us to “follow the money.”

Thanks to the Occupy movement, it’s become plain to a lot more of us that huge amounts of money are concentrated in a very few, very influential hands.  Big business interests control politics at every level, and the name of the game is profit for the top managers and owners, with the bare minimum allowed to “trickle down” through taxes and philanthropy.

Nothing new in that picture.  But there are some provocative new ideas arising about how to change a system that seems so entirely entrenched that most of us don’t even bother to think too hard about alternatives. (more…)

Year in Review

January 04, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, James Russell, Politics

Three Books Encapsulate the Spirit of 2011’s Protests

by James Russell

If 2011 was the year of the protester, as TIME Magazine recently declared, then it was also the year of the protest publication. Before Occupy Wall Street encampments set up in early September, handmade pamphlets detailing protesters’ rights were the primary publication of protests. When at a large-scale action and the activists’ goal is arrest, these pamphlets often appear, replete with legal information.

But with the emergence of Occupy movement, mock newspapers replaced these pamphlets. Publications like The Occupied Wall Street Journal and The Occupied Chicago Tribune served as a chronicle of the various speeches, messages and tactics surrounding Occupy. As reported on The Huffington Post via the Associated Press, some of these items, including the newspapers, are now even being acquired by archives, museums and historical societies. (more…)

Solidify Occupy

December 29, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Economy, Guest Author, Politics

A Suggestion for What’s Next…

by Charles Imboden

September 17, 2011 in New York City marked the beginning of a movement that has spread around the world. Inspired by the people and events of the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement quickly grew to over 2,500 cities in dozens of countries. With slogans including “We are the 99%,” a principle aim of this movement is to highlight the gross economic inequality and increasing austerity measures being taken by governments worldwide, in a context of unprecedented corporate profit and personal wealth of the richest “1%.”

These past weeks have seen the destruction of the Occupy Wall St., Boston, Chicago, Oakland, Los Angeles, and most recently Tucson camps, among others. Now the nascent Occupy movement faces one of its strongest tests. (more…)