Permanent Babels representatives in IC/HC etc?

EN Discussions on the politics of Babels, alternative interpretation systems, linguistic diversity and the Social Forums
ES Discusiones políticas sobre Babels, sistemas alternativos de interpretación, diversidad lingüística y los foros sociales...
FR Discussions politiques sur Babels, les systèmes d'interprétation alternatifs, la diversité linguistique et les forums sociaux...
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Permanent Babels representatives in IC/HC etc?

Postby bettina » Mon Jul 03, 2006 12:26 pm

Please read discussion in/Por favor, leer discusión en
Babels Forum Forum Index -> IC/CI - HC/CH - EPA/AEP - Reunión de Lima.


I do agree with the idea of having Babelit@s with experience in the previous SF along with local Babelit@s present as Babels in IC/HAC/EPA/etc. meetings.

However, the proposition of a “permanent group of representatives” effectively means the institutionalization of our network. This will concentrate knowledge (and knowledge is power, as Machiavelli already wrote) in the hands of a few, and consequently the exclusion of other and new members of Babels from the process. It is a way of concentrating decision-making (and, for that matter, funds) we have painfully experienced when participating in the organization of many SFs, and have fought against it. A simple example was the air tickets bought at the last minute, such as happened in Poa and Caracas.

The next step will be the creation of Babels’ department of travel, selection, training, etc., and before we know it, we have become Babels Inc.

Instead of establishing a permanent group of anything, why don’t we concentrate our efforts in how to share the ideas discussed in these meetings, what decisions to make with all those interested, in how to become “we” with the organizing committees instead of thinking “us and them”?

Or is another world possible?

Furthermore, this proposition should be discussed by the whole Babels network, as it will mean a considerable change in our Charter.


Estoy de acuerdo con la idea de haber Babelit@s con experiencia en los FS anteriores junto con local Babelit@s presentes en las reuniones del IC/HAC/EPA/etc.

Sin embargo, la proposición de un “grupo permanente de representantes” significa efectivamente la institucionalización de nuestra red. Eso va a concentrar conocimiento (y saber es poder, como ya dijo Machiavelli) en las manos de algunos y, consecuentemente, la exclusión de otros y nuevos miembros de Babels del proceso. Es una forma de concentrar la toma de decisiones (y, por lo tanto, de los fondos) que dolorosamente vivimos al participar en la organización de varios FS y en contra la cual luchamos. Un ejemplo sencillo es los boletos de avión comprados en el último minuto, como pasó en Poa y Caracas.

El próximo paso será la creación de departamentos de viaje, selección, entrenamiento, etc., y antes de nos dar cuenta, volvimos Babels, Inc.

En vez de establecer un grupo permanente de cualquier cosa, ¿por qué no concentramos nuestros esfuerzos en cómo compartir las ideas discutidas en esas reuniones y qué decisiones tomar con todos los interesados, en cómo ser “nosotros” con los comités organizadores en vez de pensar en “nosotros y ellos”?

¿U otro mundo no es posible?

Además, esa proposición debe ser discutida con toda la red Babels, una vez que eso significa un cambio considerable en nuestra carta de principios.

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Postby steph » Mon Jul 03, 2006 1:50 pm

Hi there
From what I understand, the proposal of having a work group dedicated to attending the international meetings includes turns. So that it would not be the same people attending those reunions all the time. Precisely to avoid having the same faces again and again.

Per se, it rules out any institutionalization of the network precisely because it implies debates and knowledge sharing. At least, that's what I understand from the mails posted on the forum. Maybe people that did attend one or two of these international reunions should step down and train someone else for the next session and there should be a written record of all the datas gathered at those reunions - including the corridors and backstage talks, that are often more important than the formal sessions.

So I don't see how this changes the current Charter in any way. Actually, I understand this work group as a practical way to empower Babels members - and that's an excellent initiative.


J'ai cru comprendre que la proposition d'un groupe dédié au recueil d'info lors des réunions internationales impliquait, d'entrée de jeu, un système de rotation. De façon à éviter que ce soit toujours les mêmes qui participent à ces réunions.

Un tel fonctionnement proscrit le risque d'institutionnalisation du réseau, parce qu'il suppose justement de débattre, d'échanger des idées, de transmettre des infos et de partager les connaissances. C'est ce que j'ai compris des échanges de mail reportés sur le forum. Les babéliens qui ont participé à une ou deux de ces réunions internationales pourraient s'effacer et briefer de nouvelles personnes pour les réunions d'après et on pourrait aussi imaginer un rapport pour rassembler et diffuser les informations recueillies lors de ces meetings - y compris celles qu'on recueille lors des discussions dans les couloirs, et qui sont souvent bien plus importantes que les débats formels.

Alors je ne vois pas en quoi ça change la Charte actuelle. En fait, ce groupe me semble représenter une façon concrète et pratique de responsabiliser les membres de Babels et de mettre en place une pratique d' "empowerment". C'est donc une excellente initiative. changement!


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Postby magicat » Mon Jul 03, 2006 6:02 pm


Há pontos interessantes nos dois relatos: o temor de Bettina, da institucionalização das relações dentro da rede e a concentração de poder em poucas mãos; e segundo Steph, a possibilidade de uma representatividade mais ampla.

O temor de Bettina, é o que já vem acontecendo nos últimos projetos. Onde, em geral, a maioria não participa das articulações políticas, não sabe quanto dinheiro há disponível, ou seleciona atividades. Um exemplo é o próprio Babels Meeting, do qual não há ainda, até o momento, nenhum relatório, sobre nenhuma das conclusões das atividades discutidas em Paris.

Quanto á mobilidade de representação proposta por Steph, creio que aconteceria naturalmente, pois como as pessoas são voluntárias, nem sempre estarão disponíveis para a agenda Babels, ocupadas com sua própria vida profissional. E há tambem a questão geográfica que deveria facilitar nossa presença nos compromissos mundo afora.

O ideal é uma discussão ampla sobre cada projeto. Se todos tem acesso ás idéias, e conclusões do consenso, qualquer um com capacidade de articulação poderá representar-nos bem.


There are interesting points in the two reports: Bettina´s fear about the institutionalization of the realations inside the network and the concentration of knowledge in a few hands; and according to Steph, the possibility of a larger representativity.

Bettina´s fear is what is still happening in the last projects, where, in general, the majority doesn´t participate in the political articulations, doesn´t know how many money is avaiable, or select activities. For instance, the Babels Meeting, from wich, till present, there was no report about the any conclusions of the activicties discussed in Paris.

According to the mobility of the representativity proposed by Steph, I believe it would happen naturaly, cause people as volunteers, not always will be avaiable to Babels agenda, busy with their own professional lifes. And there´s also the geografic question that should facilitate our presence in the appointments worldwide.

The ideal is to enlarge the discussion upon each project. If everybody can reach the ideas and the conclusions of the consensus, everyone with articulation capability, can us well represent.

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Re: Permanent representatives?

Postby Leda » Wed Jul 05, 2006 3:51 pm

bettina wrote: EN
the proposition of a “permanent group of representatives” effectively means the institutionalization of our network.

la proposición de un “grupo permanente de representantes” significa efectivamente la institucionalización de nuestra red.

Echoing Stéph, I have to say that I, too, do not understand the proposal as a "permanent group of representatives". I understood it as a permanent workgroup in charge of political relations with the councils (international and hemispheric). The workgroup would be in charge of tracking contacts, and making sure that known faces are present in relevant meetings, in order for the known faces to introduce (among other important tasks) unknown faces to the members of the councils.
The only way of having a thousand faces representing Babels in all the needed conversations with the councils is to introduce these faces one by one, and to have them introduced by people whom the councils already trust. In other words, it can only be done if we allow people already known by the councils to go to meetings and let themselves be seen again. Trust is built on personal relations. If we want the councils to trust and respect us, we have to build personal relations with them - and that cannot be done if "us" means a vague, impersonal idea of a network.
"The network" does not make politics - people do. And some people do it very well, have a special talent to articulate with the right people at the right time. The permanent workgroup could track all contacts and suggest pairs of representatives and observers to meetings, in a way that would create a rotating system that will multiply possibilities of involvement of babelit@s in the social fora process.
The current proposal - a known face goes to a meeting and introduces an unknown face - is the best (if not the only) I've seen so far to achieve that goal. The "laissez-faire, laissez-passer" system adopted so far (i.e., whomever is close to the meeting goes, and more often than not those "whomevers" do not exist or are not interested - or, worse, have always been the same) did not work in terms of expanding babelit@s political involvement.

Como ha dicho Stéph, yo tampoco entiendo la idea como de un "grupo permanente de representantes". Yo la entendi como de un grupo de trabajo permanente, encargado de saber cuales contactos fueron hechos, y de asegurar que las caras conocidas esten presentes en reuniones relevantes, de manera que esas caras conocidas puedan (entre otras cosas importantes) presentar caras desconocidas a los miembros de los consejos.
La unica manera de tener mil caras representando a Babels en las necessarias conversaciones con los consejos es presentar esas caras una a una, y que sean presentadas por gente en que los consejos ya confían. En otras palabras, solo se puede hacerlo si permitimos que gente ya conocida de los consejos vaya a reuniones y que se hagan ver otra vez. Confianza se construye con base en relaciones personales. Si queremos que los consejos confíen en Babels y la respeten, tenemos que construir relaciones personales con ellos - y eso no se puede hacer si "nosotros" significa una red vaga e impersonal.
"La red" no hace política - personas lo hacen. Y algunas lo hacen muy bien, tienen un talento especial para articularse con la gente cierta en los momentos ciertos. El grupo de trabajo permanente podría acompañar todos los contactos y sugerir pares de representantes y observadores para las reuniones, creando un sistema rotativo que multiplicará las posibilidades de involucramiento de babelit@s en el proceso de los foros.
La propuesta en tela - una cara conocida va a una reunión y presenta una cara desconocida - es la mejor (quizás la única) que he visto hasta ahora para conseguir ese objetivo. No ha funcionado para expandir el involucramiento político de babelit@s el "laissez-faire, laissez-passer" adoptado hasta ahora (o sea, que vayan quienes esten por ahi cerca de la reunion, y con excesiva frecuencia eses "quienes" no existen o no están interessados - o, peor, son siempre los mismos).

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Postby fernanda » Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:57 am

Acabo de ver esto! La propuesta de un grupo de trabajo permanente surgió de largas charlas con varias personas, pero siempre se pensó en un grupo de trabajo permanente, donde lo permanente fuera la función pero NO las personas que integraran el grupo. No sé cómo evolucionó la idea, pero originariamente se trataba de empezar a cumplir con el resto de los objetivos de la carta de principios vigente en ese momento, NUNCA se trató de que se institucionalizara nada... lamento que nos cueste tanto COMPRENDER la esencia de las cosas y perdamos tanto tiempo en la superficie... espero que se trate de un mal entendido y que las cosas se aclaren, porque de veras creo que sería algo MUY bueno para Babels, pero sobre todo, para el FSM.

I've just seen this! The permanent working group suggestion came up after long chats among several people, but we always thought about a permanent working group where the permanent thing would be the function but NOT the people in the group. I don't know how the idea has evolved, but originary it was just about complying with the rest of the aims from the charter of principles as it was at the time, it has NEVER been about institucionalizing anything at all... I'm really sorry that it is that difficult for us to UNDERSTAND the esence of things and we keep wasting time on the surface... I hope it's just a misunderstanding and that things are clear now, because I DO think this would be a VERY good thing for Babels but above all, for the WSF itself.

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