<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
 English | Español November 18, 2017 | Issue #29


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In the Shade

Between the buildings of Paulista Avenue, Narco News publisher launches an invisible attack


By Karine Muller
Reporting from São Paulo, Brasil

March 24, 2003

“Because every person that, looking in their own interior, finds out what was mysteriously hidden inside, is a shade eclipsing any form of society that can exist under the Sun.”

– Renzo Novatore, in Appendix C of Temporary Autonomous Zone by Hakim Bey, *extra citations

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL, MARCH 16, 2003: Artists, intellectuals, journalists, activists, anarchists and other possible concepts that exist to name creative souls, circulated through the halls of the SESC convention center, the Japan Foundation, and the Casa das Rosas next door, in the festival called Mídia Tática Brasil (Tactical Media Brazil).

Al Giordano delivers the closing keynote speech at the Mídia Tática convention in São Paulo

Among the organizers of this experiment were Ricardo Rosas, Tatiana Wells and Giseli Vasconcelos, who believe in “do it yourself” based production. They took over the three spaces from the 13th until the 16th of the month giving voice, according to them, to all who have been excluded from the media: disfavored classes, minorities (racial, sexual, etc), alternative communities, political dissidents, street performers, among others. Al Giordano was one of the guests for this dinner and in a salonchingón** like atmosphere, he spoke about the revolution against media.


Ricardo Rosas
Photo D.R. 2003 Al Giordano
The publisher of Narco News started his speech “The Masses vs. The Media: from May of 1968 in Paris to April of 2002 in Caracas to the Immediate Present” quoting Raoul Vaneigem’s book The Revolution of Everyday Life, now translated to Portuguese and published by Conrad Press. According to him, this is book is an authentic jailbreak. “This is a wonderfully dangerous book. After I read it, I quite my job as a political reporter in Boston and left the United States.” he said.

This is the first time Al Giordano lands in Brazil. During his first stroll down Paulista Avenue, he saw the TV towers on the top of the high buildings and he noted: “Here is located the ‘seat’ of power, in this avenue where thousands pass by, workers, poor people, the masses.…” This is a very relevant comment to begin the mapping of his political impressions of the country, as we verify at the end of his speech.

Continuing his speech to the Mídia Tática audience, Giordano made a reference to the carioca cartoonist Latuff, who was present. Latuff created the Zapatista Art Gallery, an Internet web site that publishes cartoons in solidarity the Mexican guerrilla struggle. Virtual friends for years, Giordano and Latuff met in person during the festival.

From Raoul Vaneigem, the gringo, as Giordano sometimes calls himself, goes back in time to Paris 1968, where the young actress Judith Malina, part of the Living Theater, a New York group, was present. She is the only dissident who was in France during those days that Giordano later had the opportunity to know, interview, and become friends with. “I can confirm that Judith Malina still exists,” he affirmed. “This is what the great revolutionary told me about May 68.”


Tatiana Wells
Photo D.R. Al Giordano 2003
And he follows his speech under attentive curious eyes, telling Judith Malina´s version of what really happened at that moment in France. According to him, she and the immortal Julian Beck, together with other Living Theater members, were exiled from the United States in Paris during the spring of 1968. These people were part of what Felix Guattari called the “America of Nomadism”.

“On the night of May 10th, barricades went up on many of streets of Paris and other parts of France,” continued Giordano. “Tensions on University campuses had exploded. And all these radical theater people, Judith, Julian and their friends, of course wanted to participate. What do we do? they said. We are actors we are dramaturges, if the revolution is here, then what is our role in the revolution?”

And the Narco News guy continued the history about how the revolutionaries took over the Odéon Theater, transforming it into a “People’s parliament”, in the middle of that Paris storm. He quotes Guy Debord of the Situationist International, the SI, who wrote that May 68 in Paris was not a mass strike, but a wildcat strike, with the participation of some working class segments not led by union leaders.

His speech follows with an effort to define The State, advising all the anarchists to know what it is: “The State is now larger than governments. The State has become privatized and globalized.” And to illustrate that better, he makes a long pause and asks – is he joking? – the participants if anyone has marijuana to smoke there on the stage with him. As no one said anything he concluded: “See? Government sucks. Do you mind if I smoke a cigarette?”


Giseli Vasconcelos
Photo D.R. 2003 Al Giordano
When one talks about the State, inevitably, we end up talking about the concept of anarchism. And Giordano gives his concept: “Anarchism, for me, is not about punk rock, tattoos, or nose rings… even though I like those things. It’s about what I don’t like. It’s a negation.” And he concludes, “The state has always been a tyrant, a bully. Tyranny is the genetic code of the state… I don’t accept the power of the state over me.”

Al Giordano ends the May 1968 journey, mentions the New York punk explosion of 1975, talks about the capitalist interests at the Universities and follows with his speech*** concluding that, “nostalgia is another form of depression,” as Abbie Hoffamn told him when he was 20 years old. And he goes to Caracas, April 2002, where Blanca Eekhout, 32 years old, one of the Graduates of the Narco News Authentic School of Journalism, that took place in Mexico last February, was present and made history. Blanca works at Catia TV (a community TV in Caracas) and when faced to the big media-manipulated lie about president “Chávez’s resignation,” she along with the masses, the people, took over a Public TV station to tell the truth: Hugo Chávez had not resigned.

Beyond revolutionary, Blanca is a member of the Venezuelan people who touches Al Giordano’s spirit. Almost at the end of his speech at SESC, he said he was very happy to be in Brazil. And, one day before that, in a boteco (like Paulistas call the cheap bars), or like he would say referring to Simón Bolívar, somewhere in this country called América, Giordano was moved by an authentic member of the Brazilian people: Mestre Laurentino.

This 77-year-old musician, wearing colorful clothes and rings, came from the northern part of the country to the concrete of São Paulo to express his art to the inventors of Mídia Tática. Genuine, pure, sincere, his music had been recorded by many great talents such as Gilberto Gil, Tom Zé and Paulo Moura. Proudly, the mestre told the authentic journalist that his biggest hit is “Lourinha Americana” (American Blondie), recorded by Mundo Livre S/A., that speaks very badly about the gringos. And after that he offered a private concert with his harmonica to all those present. Giordano applauds.


Latuff, revolutionary cartoonist
Photo D.R. Philip Rothberg 2003
After talking to media “tacticians” about Narco News as a “War Machine,” the publisher invited everyone take part, but giving a warning about the current optimism that he felt from the young Brazilians. “You have the same optimism that Venezuelans had in 1998. The only reason why power pretends to support Lula is because it was caught when they tried to take Chávez out of power,” he highlights. “Lula and Brazilian democracy only survive because Chávez and the Venezuelan democracy are taking the blows of the empire.” And he warns: “If someday, they try to threaten your democracy, remember that the seat of power is on the TV towers.”

To complete, Giordano, now almost a Paulista, already very comfortable, says: “Power is located in the means of communication. So, when the revolutionary moment comes, where will we go to?”

The Mídia Tática Festival is over. The Casa das Rosas, a house of the beginning of the 20th century built by rich families, that sheltered part of the event, is running the risk of becoming… a bank.

Giordano questions, but the revolution is right here, right now. It can be a matter of perception, he doesn’t mind. Judith Malina, Raoul Vaneigem, Blanca Eekhout, Mestre Laurentino, Latuff, the Media Tacticians, the Paulista Avenue buildings with their TV towers, the anarchists, the artists, the authentic journalists and Al Giordano are all part of this Deleuzoguattarian Nomadic War Machine.

Their shade is can be found on Paulista Avenue, in São Paulo, in Rio de Janeiro, in Mexico, in New York… in América. They move towards revolution´s lighthouse, attacking and retreating… invisible under the dark and silent sky.

* Hakim Bey is the author of the classic book TAZ: Temporary Autonomous Zone, a reference for anarchists, academics, musicians, hackers, poets, activists, rave organizers, and the so called communication guerrillas.

** Salonchingón is a reference to an immedia hall that is being considered for the students of the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, and that soon is going to be online for discussions.

*** It is not this reporter’s intention to reproduce Al Giordano’s speech at the closing of the Mídia Tática Brasil. I invite you, kind readers, to give a look at his speech that will be published here on this website in English, Portuguese and Spanish in the coming days. There you can read more about Judith Malina, Guy Debord, the SI, Blanca Eekhout, anarchism, Nestor Makhno, Narco News and more.

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America