Monday, December 26, 2011

great resource for organizations

if you work with or for an organization that wants to be more multilingual,
check out this fantastic resource by my friend Alice.

if the link above doesn't get you a pdf go here and scroll down to 'interpretation'

Saturday, December 17, 2011

social justice translation by Holdren and Touza

if you were impressed by the translator's notes by them that I posted, you might enjoy reading the full translator's preface and the actual translation

19 & 20: Notes for a New Social Protagonism (available entirely online here)
Colectivo Situaciones
Translated by Nate Holdren & Sebastián Touza
Introductions by Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri

An 18th Brumaire for the 21st Century: militant research on the December 19th and 20th, 2001 uprisings in Argentina

In the heat of an economic and political crisis, people in Argentina took to the streets on December 19th, 2001, shouting “¡Qué se vayan todos!” These words – “All of them out!” – hurled by thousands banging pots and pans, struck at every politician, economist, and journalist. These events opened a period of intense social unrest and political creativity that led to the collapse of government after government. Neighborhoods organized themselves into hundreds of popular assemblies across the country, the unemployed workers movement acquired a new visibility, workers took over factories and businesses. These events marked a sea change, a before and an after for Argentina that resonated around the world.

Colectivo Situaciones wrote this book in the heat of that December’s aftermath. As radicals immersed within the long process of reflection and experimentation with forms of counterpower that Argentines practiced in shadow of neoliberal rule, Colectivo Situaciones knew that the novelty of the events of December 19th and 20th demanded new forms of thinking and research. This book attempts to read those struggles from within. Ten years have passed, yet the book remains as relevant and as fresh as the day it came out. Multitudes of citizens from different countries have learned their own ways to chant ¡Qué se vayan todos!, from Iceland to Tunisia, from Spain to Greece, from Tahrir Square to Zuccotti Park. Colectivo Situactiones’ practice of engaging with movements’ own thought processes resonates with everyone seeking to think current events and movements, and through that to build a new world in the shell of the old.

“If the insurrection in Argentina that began in December 2001 was our Paris Commune, then Colectivo Situaciones fits well in the position of Karl Marx. As Friedrich Engels was fond of saying, one of Marx’s many talents was to analyze the historical importance of political events as they took place. This book by Colectivo Situaciones, written in the heat of action, certainly demonstrates that same talent in full, delving into the complexity of concrete events while simultaneously stepping back to recognize how our political reality has changed.” – Michael Hardt, from the Introduction

Bio: Colectivo Situaciones is a collective of militant researchers based in Buenos Aires. They have participated in numerous grassroots co-research activities with unemployed workers, peasant movements, neighborhood assemblies, and alternative education experiments.

Monday, December 12, 2011

poder o potencia?

from part two of that fabulous translators intro by Nate Holdren and Sebastián Touza (part one here):

... This brings us to a second translation difficulty. Two Spanish words translate as the English word “power”: poder and potencia. Generally speaking, we could say that poder defines power as “power over” (the sense it has, for instance, when it refers to state or sovereign power) and potencia defines “power to,” the type of capacity expressed in the statement “I can.”[2] To continue with the generalization, it is possible to say that poder refers to static forms of power, while potencia refers to its dynamic forms. Potencia always exists in the “here and now” of its exercise; it coincides with the act in which it is effected. This is because potencia is inseparable from our capacity—indeed, our bodies’ capacity—to be affected. This capacity cannot be detached from the moment, place, and concrete social relations in which potencia manifests itself. This is the reason for arguing, in the article we are introducing, that anything said about potencia is an abstraction of the results. Whatever is said or communicated about it can never be the potencia itself. Research militancy is concerned with the expansion of potencia. For that reason, a descriptive presentation of its techniques would necessarily lead to an abstraction. Such a description might produce a “method” in which all the richness of the potencia of research militancy in the situation is trimmed off to leave only that part whose utilitarian value make it transferrable to other situations.

The thought of practices is thought with the body, because bodies encounter each other in acts that immediately define their mutual capacities to be affected. History can only be the history of contingency, a sequence of moments with their own non-detachable intensities. Miguel Benasayag argues that act and state—to which correspond potencia and poder—are two levels of thought and life.[3] None of them can be subsumed under the other. Either one takes the side of potencia or the side of the poder (or of the desire for poder, as expressed in militants who want to “take power,” build The Party, construct hegemonies, etc.).

Potencias found in different forms of resistance are the foundation of counterpower, but both terms are not the same. Counterpower indicates a point of irreversibility in the development of resistance, a moment when the principal task becomes to develop and secure what has been achieved by the struggle (Benasayag & Sztulwark 213). Counterpower is diffuse and multiple. It displaces the question of power from the centrality it has historically enjoyed, because its struggle is “against the powers such as they act in our situations” (MTD of Solano and Colectivo Situaciones, Hipótesis 891 104). To be on the side of potencia is to recognize that the state and the market originate at the level of the values we embrace and the bonds that connect us to others.

Potencia defines the material dimension of the encounter of bodies, while poder is a level characterized by idealization, representation, and normalization. Colectivo Situaciones avoid a name to define their political identity, which would freeze the fluid material multiplicity of militant research by subordinating it to the one-dimensional nature of idealizations. “We are not ‘autonomists’, ‘situationists’, or anything ending with ‘-ist’” they once told us. Identities have normalizing effects: they establish models, they place multiplicity under control, they reduce the multiple dimensions of life to the one dimension of an idealization. They make an exception with Guevarism, because Che Guevara clearly preferred to stay on the side of potencia and opposed those who calmed down concrete struggles in the name of ideal recipes on how to achieve a communist society.[4]

An investigation into the forms of potencia and the social relations that produce it can only be done from a standpoint that systematically embraces doubt and ignorance. If we recognize that the practical thought of struggles is an activity of bodies, we have to recognize as well—with Spinoza—that nobody knows what a body can do. To do research in the realm of potencia—to investigate that which is alive and multiple—militant researchers have to abandon their previous certainties, their desire to encounter pure subjects, and the drive to recuperate their practice as an ideal of coherence and consistency. In this regard, one might say that Colectivo Situaciones seek to concretely embody two Zapatista slogans: “asking we walk,” and “we make the road by walking,” such that, the act of questioning and collective reflection is part of the process of constructing power.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

improve your skills

check out tons of fantastic interpreter training resources here

such as how to take notes for consecutive - something not enough activist interpreters do!

my number one tip: ALWAYS have a notepad on you - you never know when you will have to jump into interpreting in social change settings.

number one sign of an amateur interpreter: they're doing consecutive without a notepad in hand.

(ok, maybe number two after someone saying "she said ...")