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Beyond Translation, Beyond Empire

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Created on: 7th April 2012

or There is a spectre haunting IOPS - the spectre of Empire

As I have begun socializing IOPS with friends and colleagues, one line of criticism is recurrent. It may perhaps best be summed up in this quote from a mail I received last night:

soy más de praxis que de teoría y creo que siempre tiene que prevalecer la iniciativa local sobre la global (de abajo-arriba y no de arriba-abajo). Es cierto que en los principios de esta organización han plasmado esas ideas, pero lo que me pregunto es cuán práctica pude ser dicha iniciativa, para qué nos sirve por ejemplo a nuestros intereses locales
I'm more concerned with action than with theory, and I believe that local initiative should always prevail above global (grass roots rather than top-down). While it's true that the principles (Vision) of this organisation incorporate these notions, I ask myself to what extent such an initiative can be of use - how it can serve local interests

In conversation with David last week, we touched on this problem when we talked about 15M - but there's the rub. To what extent can IOPS avoid being seen as another US / anglophone-led / Western-values - even, perhaps, arrogant - 'top-down' group? Or, in other words, how is this not just another element of a hegemonic 'democracy'?

  • Design
  • Terminology / Communication
  • Use of Acronyms
  • Use of the Internet

No matter how we set about addressing this, be it from a communications perspective or from a deeper angle, a deeper cut, my sense is that we need to take into consideration that from an inherently privileged position - such as my own - it's painless to join an 'interim' organization. I'm familiar with the tools of how to work within such an organization, I've been taught confidence in my dealings with the inchoate. But when I'm not, and I haven't - what then?

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