New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


We Have Not Been Moved

October 02, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Matt Meyer, Politics

Celebrations, Resistance, and Us

by Matt Meyer

This week, a project six years in the making — and which many of us hope will have a significant positive impact on US movements for social change — finally shot off the presses. We Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America, which I had the honor of co-editing with Mandy Carter and Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez, is ready for distribution. In thinking about how this fact needs to be celebrated — in addition to the very real, vital and hard work of coordinating speaking tours, loading and unloading boxes, and paying for printing costs — it is hard sometimes to remember how vital celebration actually is, and how very poor the left can often be about positive thinking. We are so mired in the depressing work of fighting against a seemingly all-powerful empire, and in the tedious work of basic survival (sometimes our own, sometimes our organizations), that our output becomes more negative than is healthy for either of those worthy goals. How then to stay positive while not getting distracted from the struggle?

Two short examples came to mind:

The first is from Africa, from a recent book by Albie Sachs, the former political prisoner, former ANC militant based in Mozambique, who had his arm blown off with damage to one eye when a car bomb intending to kill him exploded one day outside his office-in-exile in Mozambique. (more…)

Refusing to Kill

August 29, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Politics

Soldiers Finding Freedom in Resistance to Senseless Militarism

by David Swanson

One of the most inspiring events at the Veterans For Peace National Convention in Miami was a presentation by several veterans who have refused to participate in war.  Typically, they have done this at the risk of significant time in prison, or worse.  In most cases these resisters avoided doing any time.  Even when they did go behind bars, they did so with a feeling of liberation.

Gerry Condon refused to deploy to Vietnam, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, escaped from Fort Bragg, left the country, and came back campaigning for amnesty.  President Jimmy Carter pardoned resisters as his first act in office.  Condon never “served” a day, in either the military “service” or prison.

Jeff Paterson of Courage to Resist refused to fly to Iraq, choosing instead to sit down on the tarmac.  Ben Griffin from VFP’s new chapter in the U.K. refused to participate in our nations’ wars and has been issued a gag order.  He’s not permitted to speak, and yet he speaks so well. Mike Prysner of March Forward and Camilo Mejia of VFP in Miami described their acts of resistance. (more…)

Cynical or Kynical?

July 09, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Devon G. Pena, Politics

Exposing Rightwing Propaganda Through Leftist Humor

by Devon G. Peña

Given recent events in Arizona and Texas, I have been thinking a lot about ideology. So, yesterday I was re-reading the Slovenian social critic and philosopher, Slavoj Žižek considered by many to be the “Elvis of social theory.” He’s good, but I would not deify him.

Anyway, I went back to Žižek’s 1989 book, The Sublime Object of Ideology (London and New York: Verso Books) and found a familiar passage that has been in the back of my mine ever since I first came across the Texas Republican Party Platform and reported it in the piece I did last week on Fear and Loathing in Texas. Žižek makes the following fascinating statement:

“The most elementary definition of ideology is probably the well-known phrase from Marx’s Capital: ‘Sie wissen das nicht, aber sie tun es’ (‘They do not know it, but they are doing it.’) The very concept of ideology implies a kind of basic, constitutive naïveté: the misrecognition of its own presuppositions, of its own effective conditions, a distance, a divergence between so-called social reality and our distorted representation, our false consciousness of it.” (more…)

Preamble to Peace

March 14, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, David Swanson, Politics

The Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities

by David Swanson

PREAMBLE

Whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not self-enforcing,

Whereas statement of the inherent dignity and of the equal and supposedly inalienable rights of all members of the human family achieves little without a struggle against greed, injustice, tyranny, and war,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights could not have resulted in the barbarous acts that have outraged the conscience of humankind without the cowardice, laziness, apathy, and blind obedience of well-meaning but unengaged spectators,

Whereas proclaiming as the highest aspiration of the common people the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want doesn’t actually produce such a world,

Whereas nonviolent rebellion against tyranny and oppression must be a first resort rather than a last, and must be our constant companion into the future if justice and peace are to be achieved and maintained, (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…)

Hard to Describe

January 17, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Christine Baniewicz, Culture, Family, Politics

The Freedom Theatre Honors Political Prisoners with Live Performance

by Christine Baniewicz

The house lights dim around me and I settle into my seat. The theater hushes. Two pools of white light flood onto the stage and the performance begins.

It’s Wednesday in Jenin and The Freedom Theater is packed. Journalists, international peace workers and locals from the refugee camp fill the wooden benches. Today’s Playback Theatre performance, Midnight Raid, is the second in a series of creative responses to the Israeli military’s recent incursions and arrests in the camp.

“Thank you again for joining us,” says Ben. He stands onstage before a line of actors, aged 19 to 25. They are dressed in black. “Today we will honor your stories.” (more…)

Occupation and Liberation

November 28, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Matt Meyer, Politics

Building Sustainable Resistance Movements

by Matt Meyer

Just as police were attacking Occupy spaces in Oakland, Portland, New York City, and elsewhere, and various mainstream (and even some left-leaning) pundits were declaring the demise of the Occupy movement, new initiatives and new life was being breathed fresh into grassroots spaces. In less than one week following the dismantling of several prominent 24-hour occupations, and the arresting of some key activists, substantial achievements were being made. New York’s “flagship site” convened a day-long series of mass, nonviolent direct actions, from a morning civil disobedience at the Stock Exchange, to afternoon “speak-outs” on the trains crossing several different subway lines and many miles throughout the City’s boroughs. (more…)