Ramparts: A Barricade Forum is currently seeking contributions for our next themed series, “Architectures of Antifascism.” From the physical structures of antifascist struggle (the barricade, the autonomous zone, the agricultural collective), to digital configurations (the VPN, the net commons, CV dazzle) and spatial language which describes organizational relationships (distribution, horizontality, the cell, the web) how do antifascist entities use and maneuver within space? We welcome text and media submissions which engage the spatial aspect of resistance from the micro-level of design to large-scale configurations of transnational solidarity.
While language is instrumentalized in all facets of life, the hegemonic knots formed by a major language like English offer rich possibilities in deforming and deconstructing it. One way of doing so is through translation. When I begin to think of translation as a refractive prism of language, it becomes a listening form. Translational praxis becomes a practice of listening where no conversation is privileged to a subject. Louis Wolfson, the French schizo-linguist introduced to greater audiences by Gilles Deleuze, had such a revulsion to his mother tongue (and mother) that upon hearing or reading any word in English, he instantly and homophonically translated the words that crossed him into French, German, Hebrew and Russian. For Wolfson, listening carried with it a danger so grave that he had to divest himself from his inheritance altogether.
The act of listening hems the outer limit of the body with that which is beyond it, but which can still be indistinctly heard, and which still affects the body, unconsciously.
The following are four exercises in experimental translation grounded in listening. They are attempts at withdrawing from the imperative of meaning in communication and insisting rather that meaning is always swimming somewhere across the legible surface of words. More importantly, they are practices of delaying the sensible territories of the body to explore the insensibilities that surround it.
May 15, Nakba Day, marked the anniversary of the dispossession and forced displacement of the Palestinian people. Dhikra al-nakba, literally “memory of the catastrophe,” commemorates not only the destruction of a society and loss of home, but also the continuous struggle that Palestinians have since waged for the recognition of their rights.
The current bombardment of Gaza by the Israeli military, which has targeted residential buildings and left scores of Palestinians dead and many more without homes, and the thinly veiled project of ethnic cleansing and land grabbing in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, are not exceptional but rather exemplary of the Israeli settler colonialist state and its apartheid policies. This intensification of the ongoing violence in occupied Palestine underscores the need for vocal and visible international solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Many protests and other acts of solidarity are being planned worldwide in the coming days; you can find partial lists here and here; checking social media of local Palestinian advocacy organizations should provide the most up-to-date information. Tuesday, May 18 has been named a day of action in solidarity with the Palestinian uprising and general strike.
Barricade stands in solidarity with GSOC members and their families who are currently on strike to fight for equitability and standards of care in their working conditions.
After ten months of bad-faith negotiations and stonewalling by the NYU administration, the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC-UAW 2110), NYU’s Graduate Worker Union, has been left no alternative but to strike. NYU has refused to adequately respond to the most pressing matters to rank and file GSOC members, including: a living wage, robust healthcare, childcare subsidies and parental leave, financial and legal support for international students, and stronger workplace health and safety regulations — crucially, protections against power-based harassment and the removal of NYPD from campus.
For a cogent statement of the stakes and of cross-faculty support from the NYU chapter of American Association of University Professors, see here. The NYU chapter of Young Democratic Socialists of America also stands in solidarity with GSOC members and affiliates.
For information about the demands of GSOC related to healthcare, living wage, and workplace safety, seehere. If you are interested in supporting GSOC, please learn about potential actionshere or sign a letter of supporthere. Click here to read GSOC’s response to President Hamilton and Provost Fleming’s offensively misleading email to the entire NYU community, mischaracterizing GSOC’s position. Join the virtual picket line here.
On February 20, 2021, Berliners came together in one of the busiest streets of Neukölln, which is home to a community of migrants hailing from all over the world, but especially migrants from the Middle East and North Africa. Organized by several leftist, anti-fascist, and anti-racist syndicates, people from a range of positionalities came together to publicly remember the nine victims of a far-right extremist attack on two shisha bars in the city of Hanau that took place one year ago on February 19. Long forgotten by mainstream German media, demonstrators marched through the district repeating the names of those killed—Hamza Kurtović, Kaloyan Velkov, Mercedes Kierpacz, Fatih Saraçoğlu, Sedat Gürbüz, Vili Viorel Păun, Ferhat Unvar, Gökhan Gültekin, Said Nesar Hashemi—with righteous anger and intention. In a beautiful speech read in German, English, Arabic, and Turkish, they pronounced the structural nature of the violence against those identified as refugees, migrants, and immigrants in Europe against a dominant narrative that dismisses the Hanau massacre as an Einzelfall, or an isolated incident.
“Widerstand überall! Hanau war kein Einzelfall!” “Resistance everywhere! Hanau was not an isolated incident!”
It is March 12, 2021, and I am riding home to Queens over the pockmarked industrial roads of eastern Mott Haven. I am crestfallen, having just had to tell a regular whom I bring food to that our mutual aid organization is running out of funds to keep up the grocery delivery system we’ve had going now for a year. For a year, we’ve been able to bring groceries and supplies to some of the members of our community most marginalized and most harmed by covid. I’ve been delivering to this individual nearly from the beginning. I always knew the funds would eventually dry up, that the initial outpouring of generosity last April would give way to ennui and normalization. It doesn’t make it any easier. I promise her that I will figure out something, that I will keep visiting and bringing any food I can scrounge up from local food banks and the like, but unfortunately, it won’t be quite as robust.Continue reading “Mutual Aid: A Feel-Bad Story”
This article was originally published in French on Le Monde on March 4, 2021.
Translator’s Note: In the past two months, Emmanuel Macron’s Minister of Higher Education and Research, Frédérique Vidal, has commenced a witch-hunt against French universities. Under the unfortunate title of “Islamo-leftism,” she is attacking academics whose research is located in the field of “postcolonial studies.” The charge against them is that they threaten the unity of French society. Macron is following along the dangerous footsteps of Orban, Duda, and Bolsonaro—to name only a few—in curtailing academic freedom. The text translated below is a petition drafted by academics from the United States and elsewhere expressing their concerns with the steps taken by Vidal.
Bilingual poet and scholar Patrick Sylvain’s book-length collection of English/Haitian Creole poems — Unfinished Dreams / Rèv San Bout — from which the following sequence is drawn “investigates the unrealized personal and sociopolitical aspirations of Haitians, both at home and in the diaspora,” writes Sylvain. The motivating figure that limns and permeates these poetic reflections is the “unfinished.” Through it, Sylvain elaborates a range of historical, political, social, ecological, and formal poetic claims and wagers. The Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) — an impertinent attack on global capital for which, Sylvain explains, the Haitian people continue to be punished — haunts this work, as a paradigmatic forbearer of all that remains to be done. Utilizing a wide array of formal constraints and poetic conceits gleaned from a variety of literary and cultural traditions, Sylvain is writing against enforced and encrusted ideas of prestige and class that obstinately attach to Haitian Creole as a language of aesthetic and intellectual production.
The following poems are interspersed with excerpts from Sylvain’s essay “Bilingual Existence and the Portals of Translation.” Listen to Sylvain reading his poems in both languages on the barricade/ramparts SoundCloud.
More selected poems from Unfinished Dreams / Rèv San Bout will appear in Barricade’s forthcoming Summer 2021 issue, where Sylvain will discuss his poetic engagement with historical and contemporary Haitian life.
Barricade: A Journal of Antifascism and Translation is looking for a page designer to assist with laying out our print copy for the next issue. While it is not a paid position (no positions at Barricade are), we may be able to subsidize the subscription to InDesign for the duration of the project, and you will be recognized in both the online and print versions. The page designer will be responsible for laying out submissions following our established style guide (using templates from previous issues) and will work with our publisher to prepare the final copy for print publication. Candidates will need to have familiarity with InDesign and a strong commitment to antifascism.
This role will require you to be available to work 10 hours per week during May and early June 2021. Your working hours will be largely at your discretion.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and attach a CV if you’re interested.
Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the main part of which proceeded in several stages from 1980 to 1992, the newly minted independent countries were granted the opportunity to try their hands at democracy.
The year 1992 saw the first parliamentary elections in Croatia, which were held in the approximate form as they still are today—i.e., citizens voted to fill the seats of around 150 representatives or deputies to serve in a unicameral parliament, the so-called Sabor. These seats would be re-filled every four years by direct popular vote. The aforementioned number of representatives is the first burning issue regarding the Croatian political system; specifically, for a country that is roughly the size of New York State and whose total population is estimated at just over 4 million, the figure is a tad too high, leaving plenty of room for (or perhaps occasioning) manipulation and corruption.