New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

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…)

Food Sovereignty and the End of Obesity

March 10, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Guest Author

America’s Paradox: Getting Heavier and Growing Hungrier

by Kat Asselin, Kendra Broadwater, and Mollie Tarte

In a world of climbing food costs, media outlets are predicting the downfall of Americans increasingly subject to the diseases of obesity while concurrently talking about the epidemic of food insecurity that has only worsened in the decades since the so-called Green Revolution.

Obesity is clinically defined as a body mass index in excess of 30, but other studies and models suggest that there is genetic diversity in body types and a strong correlation with century-old dietary practices and co-evolution of human bodies and heritage cuisines. Over the past 30 years, the proportion of obese adults has climbed in most states, in some cases from less than 10% to more than 30% today.  The attention given to the ever-expanding American waistline has been impossible to ignore.

You can even see this drama unfold on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) website. (more…)

Shoulders to the Wheel

February 11, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Ecology, Randel Hanson

Laying the Foundations for Sustainable Local Food Systems

by Randel Hanson

How do you create a locally harvested food system for a city of 100,000? This question is being asked presently in a seminar, in Duluth, Minnesota and the broader western Lake Superior region, as well as in many other cities across the United States. It was also an urgent local question a century ago.

Indeed, across the U.S. at the onset of the 20th century, public and private concerns were scrambling to get a handle on the haphazard ‘system’ that transformed nature into edible human culture within the rapidly urbanizing America. This was a chaotic, wasteful, and powerfully transformative period, with rural populations shifting into cities as the primary engine for economic activities turned from agrarianism to industrialization. The rapid growth of industrial cities forced an emerging ‘municipal responsibility’ for the various inputs and outputs of urban life. Public and private city planners in the late 19th century began to reflect upon and intervene into this laissez faire urbanization, including how to procure ample food of adequate quality and cost to citizens. In short, it became quite apparent that leaving the issue of food to the market was wholly inadequate to the demands of society from any number of perspectives. (more…)

Dreams of the Local Commissariat

January 28, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Devon G. Pena, Ecology, Economy

Walmart, Food Deserts, and Genuine Sovereignty

by Devon G. Peña

Let us begin with a “defining moment,”  courtesy of the Oxford World Dictionary:

Commissariat (kɒmɪˈsɛːrɪət)

Definition: chiefly Military department for the supply of food and equipment.

Origin: late 16th century (as a Scots legal term denoting the jurisdiction of a commissary, often spelled commissariot): from French commissariat, reinforced by medieval Latin commissariatus, both from medieval Latin commissarius ‘person in charge’, from Latin committere ‘entrust’

How does this relate to the news cycle? Well, on January 20, Walmart announced plans to reformulate the ingredients of their in-house or private brand processed foods. An estimated 60 percent of the company’s annual grocery revenues are currently tied to the sale of processed food items. It is therefore expected that this formula change will place pressure on other private suppliers to follow suit. (more…)

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