Video abstract – Amy Ritterbusch’s “Empathy at Knifepoint: The Dangers of Research and Lite Pedagogies for Social Justice Movements”

Writing from a space of exhaustion and heartbreak, I reflect on the possibilities and shortcomings of my PAR praxis, both in the classroom and in the streets. I dwell in the complexity of the challenging moments in both spaces and think through ways to move forward, beyond academic survival and toward the possibilities of feeling-thinking for social justice in our daily political selves as activist-scholars. In the era of Trump, Bolsonaro, Duque and others implicated in this derechazo extremo global (global right turn), silence is not an option. Our silence as witnesses of injustice is complicity and the urgency of action, what I and many others in the Antipode community are feeling, can be likened to the sensation when held at knifepoint. Let’s move beyond the silence and attempt to stay present in every opportunity to push justice forward in our daily movements in the classroom, in the streets and beyond, as we feel-think with those we struggle alongside.

Amy E. Ritterbusch, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs; aritterbusch@luskin.ucla.edu

This video abstract has been transcribed and translated by Olivia Miller (UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs; olimiller@g.ucla.edu). You can read the transcript and translation below; access Amy’s Antipode paper, “Empathy at Knifepoint: The Dangers of Research and Lite Pedagogies for Social Justice Movements”, here; and read more about her work here.

Huele el Cambio: Quemando La Torre – Spanish version

Amy Ritterbusch: Sueño con una ciencia pública donde puedo luchar, escribir y soñar junto con mis hermanas de lucha. Sueño en una academia en un activismo, en una lucha por la justicia social que no genera divisiones y competencias y que no depende de la financiación de grandes organizaciones que siempre terminan oprimiéndonos.

Sueño con el momento de alzar mi voz junto con mis hermanas en la academia y donde seamos escuchadas. No escuchadas por títulos o por lo que hemos escrito, sino por lo que hemos logrado en las calles y lo que soñamos hacia el futuro. Es un homenaje sobre todo a mi hermana de lucha y mi hermana del alma que se llama Argenis Navarro Diaz.

Es un escrito que hice desde un dolor, desde una tusa muy grande, desde nuestro movimiento social, lo que era y es un espacio en donde empecé a reflexionar y pensar en acciones aprendidas. Que El Cilencio salga y se pronuncie ella misma frente a la academia y frente a lo que ella ha vivido desde su lucha por la ciencia pública en las calles.

“Ese nombre lo escogí porque fue la única manera de expresar todo lo que sentía.”

Argenis Navarro Diaz: Soy el silencio, soy una base de concreto comparada con la densidad del mar. Soy todo aquello que arrasan las olas para ir diciendo frase a frase lo que nos oprime, lo que nos aísla, pero también lo que nos da fuerza para seguir adelante.

Descubrí por medio de la amistad con mi gran amiga, hermana, compañera, cuñada Amy que la amistad es una base sólida que no tiene rompimiento, no tiene fracturas, no tiene mentiras, pero tampoco es perfecta porque la perfección es una mentira inventada por nuestras mentes para esconder todo aquello que nos hace daño. La amistad se construye por medio de peleas y de sonrisas.

Se construye con un futuro, pero también se trae a recuerdos el pasado y de allí forjamos este lazo que empezó como un finito y ahora es un infinito que comparado con la arena del mar y la grandeza de sus aguas le queda chiquito porque nuestra amistad ha transcurrido día a día, escalón tras escalón, peldaño tras peldaño y se ha construido una red de apoyo que ha arrastrado a tantas personas como lo hacen las olas del mar.

Nos arribaron a una playa llena de conocimientos, llena de mundos, llena de aprendizaje, llena de saberes, llenas de querer buscar más y más lo que queremos encontrar. Hoy somos una gran amistad, un gran lazo que sigue tejiendo redes alrededor del mundo. Sueño con sentarme en el asfalto y poder contar las estrellas en el cielo y darme cuenta que así de grande es nuestra amistad.

Magnífica, inmensa, infinita. Le doy gracias a la vida por haber puesto esta persona tan maravillosa que es Amy en mi vida, pero no solo en mi vida sino en el camino de cada una de nosotras porque nos enseñó a romper ese silencio y a creer en la verdadera amistad.

Huele el Cambio: Quemando La Torre – English Version

Amy Ritterbusch: I dream of a public science where I can fight, write, and dream together with my sisters in struggle. I dream of an academy in activism, in a struggle for social justice that does not generate divisions and competition and does not depend on the funding of large organizations that always end up oppressing us.

I dream of the moment I raise my voice with my sisters in the academy and where we are heard. Not heard because of titles or what we have written, but because of what we have achieved in the streets and what we dream of in the future. It is a tribute, above all, to the sister of my soul and our struggle, whose name is Argenis Navarro Díaz.

It is a piece that I wrote from the pain and overwhelming heartbreak of our social movement, which was and is a space where I began to reflect and think about actions I had learned. May El Cilencio [The Silence] come declare herself before the academy and before all that she has endured through her struggle for public science in the streets.

[Amy reads El Cilencio’s text] “I chose that name because it was the only way to express everything I felt.”

Argenis Navarro Diaz: I am El Cilencio, I am a concrete foundation compared to the density of the sea. I am everything that sweeps the waves to say, phrase by phrase, what oppresses us, what isolates us, but also what gives us strength to move forward.

I discovered through friendship with my great friend, sister, companion, sister-in-law, Amy, that friendship is a solid foundation that has no breakage, no fractures, no lies, but nor is it perfect because perfection is a lie invented by our minds to hide everything that harms us. Friendship is built through fights and through smiles.

It is built with a future, but it also brings back memories of the past, and from there, we forged this bond that began as something finite and now is something infinite, that makes the sand of the sea and the greatness of its waters look small because our friendship has evolved day after day, step after step, and a support network has been built that has drawn as many people as do the waves of the sea.

They carried us to a beach full of knowledge, full of worlds, full of learning, full of wisdom, full of wanting to look for more and more of what we want to find. Today we are a great friendship, a great bond that continues to weave networks around the world. I dream of sitting on the asphalt and being able to count the stars in the sky and realize that this is how big our friendship is.

Magnificent, immense, infinite. I thank life for having put the wonderful person that is Amy in my life–not only in my life but in the path of each one of us, because it taught us to break that silence and believe in true friendship.