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Do any Correntians know Italian?

Here's the site of a dissident journalist in Italy. I'd like to read it, but I can't!


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JoeInSF's picture
Submitted by JoeInSF on

Google translation is a good place to start and then have a "human factor" follow-up. Is there a specific article you're interested in? My Italian is fairly functional, especially written Italian.

Fammi sapere che cosa ti piaccia per mi fare.

Submitted by Hugh on

Are there any articles in particular you would like translated? MEMMT = MMT, there seem to be several about the history of the economy (which feeds you) explained by Lollo from my bar. Not sure what you are looking for.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

Fluent written, spoken, read. My native language.

Submitted by lambert on

This article:

From Google, this looks like a real takedown of M5S but from the left. (It seems pretty scatalogical, too).

But (a) I don't know the language well enough, (b) I especially can't assess the political context enough (is this the SWP writing on Ron Paul?), and (c) I would reallly, reallly like to think well of M5S as a political movement...

And almost all the information we have on Italy is from English speaking sources like the Guardian, and so forth, which I find very frustrating. (It's like reading about Thai politics in the Bangkok Post instead of the Thai-language press. Probably accurate as far as it goes, but it does not go at all far.)

Maybe all three of you can join forces in some way....

JoeInSF's picture
Submitted by JoeInSF on

I'm gonna to defer to Rainbow Girl. Native language speaker beats out "fairly good".

Ragazza del'acrabaleno, dimmi se mi vorresti aiutarti.

JoeInSF's picture
Submitted by JoeInSF on

Oops! I guess I should focus on my reading skills in English first. Apologies to Ragazza della Pioggia.

Submitted by lambert on

You can change it yourself. Click on your name, then the edit tab, then fill in the new name, then submit

Submitted by Hugh on

You know, lambert, there is not a lot of substance to Barnard's post. It's not so much a critique of Grillo as a rant against those who voted for him. If I had to summarize his thought, it is that real people are really hurting. Voting for Grillo, a man with no experience managing anything, and a semifascist movement, hoping they will shake things up or bring them crashing down, is irresponsible to the point of nihilism, or as he says a crime, a crime lacking all dignity, a crime of low lifes.

Barnard, however, does not suggest any alternatives. And I have to wonder if he is falling into the elitist trap, that is while elites got us into this mess, only they, or some new version of them can get us out of it.

Submitted by lambert on

If this looks like a resource it's not worth translating, let's not translate it.

Maybe people could poke around on that site and see if there is something better? Came recommended by an actual Italian at NC, and I'm desperate to get some kind of on-the-ground perspective over there.

ekster's picture
Submitted by ekster on

Well, this is absolutely awful stuff, but at least it will save you the trouble of reading the Economist's take on the election ( ...

I don't have a clue who this guy is, but I doubt very much that he is coming from the left. Tells for me include:
- repeated emphasis of the plight of the "entrepreneur"
- repeated execration of the "Untermenschen"
- psychological identification with "the 1%" without realizing what it sounds like
- the fact that the guy can't write. Most of the Italian leftists I knew could argue (with each other, mostly) in paragraphs that sprang from their brains fully-formed, like Athena from the forehead of Zeus ... Compare the number of commas and semicolons in my translation to the number (approx. zero) in the original, and figure how it reads without them ...

I haven't lived in Italy for 20 years, so I really don't know who's who any more, and can't even speculate about context. But I do know garbage when I read it.

A vote for M5S is a crime against our Country. But a crime without even dignity.

Before Christmas I received this mail: “Dear Barnard, I am an entrepreneur up against bankruptcy. I want to thank you now, because I will spend the holidays with my wife and daughters, and then I'm going to shoot myself.”

Ours was a terrible exchange, I felt stabbed through with every word I wrote, my mind burned furiously looking for that point in him which I could strike to stay his hand. I cannot now reveal what I wrote to him. After some days the man responded: “I believe that this evening I'll go home and hug my daughters tight. Thank you Barnard, I believe you are right. Thank you again.” I pray God that that entrepreneur really changed his mind. For those little girls.

Last night I was walking down the street, and had in my ears the desperate voice of a person whom I love, and who is collapsing in body and mind, crippled by this crisis. That sort of voice that starts out dark and monotone, then slowly breaks into a wail, a wail that cries “I too want to die, and to take with me one of those bastards you're talking about!” I had that voice in my ears, and that man in my memory. I have a heart, all this hurts me greatly, but I also have rage, a blind rage at my impotence in the face of these crimes.

The mixing of these two things brought forth in me, last night, the image of that entrepreneur who, on the path of suicide with a pistol in his pocket, meets an acquaintance; who, in turn, perceiving the desperation of the man, inquires about his problem, and he says to him: “I voted for Grillo, you should have voted for him too, he's going to blow everything up, you'll see.” [the word is spacchera', meaning to shatter, but with a connotation of victory over opposition] The entrepreneur looks at him, slowly raises his right hand with the pistol in his fist, stretches out his arm and plants a bullet in his forehead. Then he carries out his final proposition.

I imagined this.

Because there is a limit to idiocy beyond which it becomes a culpability, and not only a culpability, but in the case of the Italian electoral results, it becomes a crime. The Italians who, slipping on the Italian snot of “piove governo ladro” [an adage built on another adage: “governo ladro” is literally “thief government!,” an expression criticizing government corruption / dysfunction and the political class generally; “piove governo ladro” is in turn a send-up of the sort of person who uses it: “it's raining --- fucking government!”], dragged themselves from the bar to the polling booth to vote M5S in the name of an anti-something jizz-fest, are a bunch of criminals. They have consigned hundreds of thousands of persons, devastated in life, the only life they have, and just as many poor defenseless souls --- the elderly, the children --- into the hands of a parafascist movement that doesn't understand democracy, that is possessed by the business of a madman, and that doesn't have the faintest idea how to manage a condominium, to say nothing of a nation. This irresponsibility is a crime against our Country.

I won't appeal to the forest of worthless nutters crowding the internet, those with daddy who pays for their iPhone and new RAM [if he is talking about something other than computer memory here I don't know what it is … I do believe he is talking about computer memory], and who waste their lives at spraying the void into the social networks [sic] about Grillo here, Bersani there. I appeal to whoever understands and “feels” in his or her heart the true human desperation, the true, obscene pain of the economic crisis (the 1% of readers), how much it hurts, how horribly it hurts real people, every day, every night. One can't make a game of this stuff in the name of the modern version of “France, Spain? As long as we eat ...” [a rhyme from the times when Italy was the football of neighboring powers; "we don't care who rules, as long as we eat"] and c'mon, let's give it a shot with this guy Grillo, and awright! A big Fuck You, shit-Political Class! Yeaaaah, now we're going to see!

It's like invading an intensive care unit that's known for being dysfunctional and giving kicks to the respirators, the incubators, the pacemakers with the patients still attached, and tearing down everything, hurrah … and c'mon!

These are crimes.

The Italians are not only the worst people in the world, the smallest and most miserably vile (who in war did the same things as the Nazis, but in miniature, not even the dignity to be bastards in grand style), the most corrupt of all, period, the only nation on the Planet that in one handkerchief of land has produced the three most obscene mafias in the world … they are not only this, but they are often also a bunch of subhumans, Untermenschen [sic], and of this today I no longer have any doubt. They show this in dozens of examples of social existence, dozens. Only an undergrowth of Untermenschen could produce an M5S, in fact, an abomination of the kind has never appeared before in the world, never. The Indians of Latin America, exterminated by the Holocaust of Fascism “made in CIA” [sic], have reacted with immense dignity, with a Morles or a Chavez. The Burma of State terror has its Aung San Suu Kyi. The segregated blacks of America had Martin Luther King. The South African blacks massacred by Apartheid produced Nelson Mandela. We, at the apex of the greatest national crisis since the second world war, and threatened by Powers of an unprecedented magnitude and against which we would need the help of immense abilities, produce the gastric rumbles of Beppe Casaleggio Grillo, and the fanatic sect of decorticated brainy kids with T-shirts in Parliament, no to incinerators, no to debt, yes to bike paths, down with the Political Class and everything will be solved … My God!

No. The Italians have broken through the bottom beneath the bottom of political dignity. The Italians are in great part a bunch of Untermenschen, and so, like those who threw stones from overpasses just to have something to do, these electors of the M5S are criminals without even the dignity of true evil.

ekster's picture
Submitted by ekster on

I should add my assurances that any choice of terms falling short of the mark here really is not due to loss in translation; if anything, I've added refinement just by trying to keep it together syntactically.

Submitted by lambert on

Ruling out is as important as ruling in!

Jessica Yogini's picture
Submitted by Jessica Yogini on

I use Chrome when I read things in languages I don't know. Or even ones I know but read too slowly or not so well. It will offer to translate the whole page. I think the translation is about the same as what Google Translate would give you, just a bit more convenient.
The results are usually intelligible if poorly written. Some of the sentences will be too mangled but I can usually get the gist. This is particularly useful for skimming through an index to see which articles are worth reading.
If you find something you really want to get the exact nuance of, then you can ask Rain(bow) Girl.
One thing to watch out for though. Sometimes Google Translate will get a sentence exactly backwards, by omitting "not" when it should be there or visa versa. So if you get one sentence that seems contrary to the logical flow of what comes before and after, that might be the answer.
It helps if you have some knowledge of the source language - then you can check on things like missing "not" or try to sort out a hideously mangled sentence. In fact for reading, Google Translate is most powerful as a boost for language skills that do exist.
But I have also used it for Farsi during the post-election stuff in Iran a few years back.
Oh, you are needing for Italian, so it should do fairly well, but the farther it gets from English (linguistically) the cruder and less accurate. With Japanese and Chinese, it is sometimes nearly useless.

Jessica Yogini's picture
Submitted by Jessica Yogini on

Speaking as someone who has spent all of 5 days in Italy in her life, nonetheless I would add some context.
I have seen a number of anti-Grillo left articles in recent days. What I can not tell is how much this is motivated by loyalty to the past accomplishments and attempts of the Italian left (which has more to boast about than most any Left; no way to compare with the US). I mean here both organized Left and beyond-party theorizing. And how much is motivated by a genuine recognition of M5S as being bad for the Italian people.
What I am trying to watch is how the new M5S parliamentarians act. I think that will be the tell. Do they act creatively and independently and act in dialog with people in general? Or do they just do what Grillo tells them to? That seems more to the point to me than anything nasty Grillo has said in the past. Some of the references I have seen were to statements as far back as the 80s and another good question is how much M5S is and will be bound by something the leader said long ago.
20 or 30 years ago, I might have taken the verdict of the Italian left on Grillo at face value, but nowadays I can't help but wonder if they have fallen behind. That the impact of globalized production using hyper-low-wage Chinese etc. workers has just too thoroughly shattered the world that the Italian left was a product of.
My best guess is that this has not yet been settled. Not just that you and I don't know, but that the answer does not exist yet.

And Lambert, about Thai politics. You really have to know the details of the King's history that are rarely mentioned in the MSM in the West.

And second, Thai politics may be the most opaque anywhere. Always remember that something might be what it seems to be or it might be something very different. Shadow puppet theater. There was a science fiction writer in the 80s did a space opera kind of thing. Out of print I think. But when I started to read a bit of Thai politics, I realized that that SF book was the best intro to Thai history. It turned out that the "London-born author" was the son of the Thai ambassador to the UK and himself a distant relative of Thai royalty.

Submitted by lambert on

You write:

What I am trying to watch is how the new M5S parliamentarians act. I think that will be the tell. ....

20 or 30 years ago, I might have taken the verdict of the Italian left on Grillo at face value, but nowadays I can't help but wonder if they have fallen behind.

That's how I felt too, on both counts. This is why we need word from the ground, but I don't know how to get it. And don't want to rely on Grillo's blog. I want reporting, assuming it's there to be had. If there is an Italian political blogosphere that would be great....

Submitted by lambert on

It seems that the recommendation I got was not all that good!

But we could be performing a real service by getting word out from the ground in Italy... Especially with all so many Italian speakers, this is amazing!

Jessica Yogini's picture
Submitted by Jessica Yogini on

Bernard tries to bully and hector the reader into believing that Grillo is a hectoring bully. It didn't work for me. Especially since there was not much actual content.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

Paolo Bernard is the man responsible for the appearances of our MMT people in Italy. He's organized it all. He comments from time to time at NEP!

Submitted by lambert on

I read the piece, and it doesn't seem out of line for a rant; and sometimes a rant (gawd knows) is the only appropriate reaction. Yes, perhaps "wanking" is carried through a bit too vividly, and there are the slams against the young. That said, it's clear he's recognizing human suffering.

But WTF, "parafascist"? So then I discover he's the Italian MMT, link, which is all the more curious, because Grillo seems to want money created for public purpose. Granted, that's from 1998. Nevertheless, can anyone imagine a US politician saying anything like that? (I've been told it's "confused." I don't think it's all that confused. I think it builds toward a conclusion by a process of discarding absurdities.

I think the bottom line on "parafascist" is still what the parliamentarians of M5S are doing, and how they are fulfilling their new roles and duties. That's something, however, that we have virtually no data on....

ekster's picture
Submitted by ekster on

I meant to come back to this discussion a lot earlier, but I got completely slammed at work and am still digging out ... if it makes more sense to continue this discussion in a more recent thread, let me know.

The fact that Barnard coordinates MMT activities in Italy earns him a second look. I had a very quick poke around a few more of his postings (I should go through things a little more thoroughly but I want to get at least something posted while I have a minute here). I read his 'about me' page, and one of his conversational pieces on economics, both of which seemed perfectly reasonable. I also read the following article, whose last paragraph seemed worth submitting for your consideration:

p.s. c’è un nuovo partito vincente in Italia che predica l’abolizione di tutto o parte del debito pubblico italiano. Questi capiscono di bilanci dello Stato come voi della struttura proteica dell’amigdala cerebrale, ma ciò che è grave è che abolire il debito pubblico italiano (o parte) significa precisamente tassare il settore privato (te, la tua azienda, famiglia) per la medesima cifra (l’investimento nei titoli aboliti da Grillo e tutti i rendimenti), e penalizzare anche i fondi pensione, se contengono titoli italiani. Have a good day.

p.s. there's a new party triumphing in Italy that preaches the abolition of all or part of the Italian public debt. These people understand as much about State balance sheets as you do about the protein structure of the amygdala of the brain, but what's serious here is that abolishing the the Italian public debt (or part) means precisely taxing the private sector (you, your business, your family) for the same sum (the investment in securities abolished by Grillo and all their yields), and penalizing also the pension funds, if they hold Italian bonds. Have a good day [sic (English), for sarcasm].

So, there's a real criticism of Grillo, and one that I think people here are pretty capable of evaluating.

I'll try to read more and will also look for more bits like the above if you find them helpful.

(I will say that, even if the other pieces I've looked at aren't as bad as the rant that we, perhaps unfortunately, picked for a first look, I still am finding his style of argument to be slapdash and unhelpfully provocative. And certainly a rant has its value, but no matter how upset one gets about things, once you start making wholehearted generalizations about National Character, you've lost me, that's just broken thinking. I really didn't care for that part ...)

Submitted by lambert on

I don't need to be deferred to in the matter of starting a thread. Worth a post, if only to ask the question.