[-empyre-] eje Sur-Norte - translation of BH by BH

Ana Valdés agora158 at gmail.com
Tue Mar 20 11:26:32 EST 2012

Dear Lucio, dictatorships are never clear to understand or can control the
whole spectrum of social life. I was in Baghdad last year attending a
journalist conference, in the middle of the Green Zone, and the most Iraqui
people we met, translators, high educated people, many of them had spent
some years in prison for resisting Saddam, missed Saddam.
They told us under Saddam there was a totalitarian and horrible system but
it was possible to find some small pockets of air to make forbidden things,
to dream about another ideas.
But now it was enough to walk the street and you could be gunned down
because someone didn't like your face or your clothes or your surname.
Brazil had people as Augusto Boal, Paulo Freire and Darcy Ribeiro thinking
at the same time, amazing intellectuals and artists...
And Caetano and Chico Buarque singing and performing and Niemeyer building
and Jorge Amado writing and Lygia Clark and Helio Oiticica.
And it´s so interesting the relation between the Ulm School and Brazil and
One of my favorit artists and intellectuals is the Argentinian Tomás
Maldonado, he is born 1922, a wonderful mind. He worked inside the Ulm
School for many years.

On Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 12:46 AM, Lucio Agra <lucioagra at gmail.com> wrote:

> Just to add one or two infos that turn the things discussed here more
> complex: one of the intelectuals who was responsible for a straight
> connection between Sao Paulo and Ulm School in Germany, Decio Pignatari,
> poet (also one of the creators of concrete poetry), McLuhan translator to
> Brazil, once wrote a short essay called "Teoria da Guerrilha Artistica"
> (Theory of Artistic Guerrilla) once wrote to a newspaper in the 60s then
> reprinted in a book of the beginning of 70s (when dictatorship was at its
> high).
> best
> Lucio Agra
> 2012/3/19 Brian Holmes <bhcontinentaldrift at gmail.com>
>> Hello Alicia and everyone -
>> On 03/15/2012 04:19 PM, Alicia Migdal wrote:
>> -- "There is a global agenda of thought that does not have to be the
>> agenda for Latin American intellectuals. When the map of Europe changed so
>> drastically after the fall of really existing socialism, it seemed as
>> though the imperial North ceased to look enviously on the South, and its
>> liberal intellectuals ceased to take us an occasion for their anti-systemic
>> ideas. But all this is a new kind of optical illusion, because the empire
>> acts by way of economics and doesn't need to disembark its troops on
>> foreign soil to organize the process of expropriation. As we all know."
>> Its incredibly interesting to read this kind of reflection, when one
>> lives in the North without feeling entirely well-adapted to the surrounding
>> environment. Based on my experience as a North American I agree with you
>> entirely: here in the US, Latin America seems to have disappeared from the
>> map. There is a strong presence of people from Mexico as immigrants - which
>> is super-important and I don't want to minimize it - but as far as the
>> richness and complexity of Mexican politics and culture, forget it, almost
>> nothing is said. And even less about the Southern Cone. (Oh, I'd better
>> correct myself on that one: I read somewhere that Buenos Aires is now the
>> trendiest city in the world for kids who want to go out clubbing on the
>> cheap.)
>> -- "Let's say that we Latin Americans have ceased to be present as a
>> problem for the cogitations of the liberal intellectuals of the North.
>> Guerilla wars, dictatorships and civil resistance were left by the wayside
>> with the redemocratization of the Southern Cone and with a map that became
>> increasingly more progressive or at least, increasingly without
>> authoritarian governments. There was an unthinkable change in the origins
>> of certain Latin American presidents: a worker, a woman, an indigenous
>> person, a former priest, a former guerilla fighter, another woman."
>> I have a friend who is no more than thirty years old, an impressive woman
>> who works with prisoners (whom we have a lot of in the US). She's also
>> working with others to put together a whole program of cultural activism
>> around the memory of the torture of black citizens by the police forces of
>> Chicago (where I live). Just to say that I am not poking fun at this woman,
>> not in the least. To make money, she teaches art (when she can: almost all
>> the professors are now temps). The other day she told me that, "even though
>> I'm not qualified for this," she's teaching a class in "guerilla art."
>> What's meant by this phrase is apparently non-conventional ways of
>> expressing oneself, improvised interventions in the street and that sort of
>> thing. I asked her if it had ever occurred to her to present to the
>> students the biography of a more-or-less famous guerrilla fighter, maybe
>> Douglas Bravo or someone like that. "What a great idea!" she replied. In
>> effect, current social conditions are such that she had not really thought
>> about the proper sense of the word guerrilla.
>> --"It is as though some people only feel an interest for the perception
>> of others during times of explosion and crisis. But the current
>> characteristic of empire with respect to the slow-burning zones of the
>> planet is to work precisely with low-intensity conflict, generating it,
>> while at the same time removing us from the panorama of what's
>> 'interesting'."
>> Speakng seriously, you're completely right from the imperial viewpoint
>> which is the one held by the majority. But I also want to tell you that for
>> those few people who are attentive to Latin America there is really a lot
>> of interest for what is happening now, and even for the last fifteen years.
>> From this minority perspective, Latin America is at once the laboratory of
>> democracy and the only place on the planet where there has been a
>> philosophical and practical renovation of leftist thinking. What's more,
>> this current interest seems to me to be less inspired by ideology and
>> romantic-revolutionary passion than it was in the past. I personally spent
>> a month in Argentina last year, for the first time since 2005, and the deep
>> changes I could see in the political discourse, the economic analysis and
>> the forms of popular mobilization seemed to signify a real effort to
>> achieve social equality under the difficult conditions of global so-called
>> "free trade". Despite all the criticisms that one can and should make of
>> the Kirchner governments. Among the US students who are starting to
>> mobilize against the privatization of the universities there is also quite
>> widespread awareness of the Chilean student movements, with lots of
>> curiosity and admiration. For years there have been discussions for and
>> against what's happening in Venezuela, sometimes even nuanced discussions.
>> And then, among the "veterans" of the antiglobalization movement - who are
>> often also the "fresh start" of the Occupy movement - the fact of speaking
>> Spanish, of spending time in Latin America and of learning about the
>> geopolitics of the Southern Hemisphere appears - at least according to the
>> sporadic contact I have with these kinds of people - to be something almost
>> necessary, an integral part of life for those who respect others as human
>> beings. I don't want to exagerate anything, the situation on the
>> macropolitical level is exactly as you say, but I just wanted to add that
>> nonetheless, there are a few of us in the US who do pay attention to the
>> high degree of political and also cultural invention that is presently
>> emerging from many Latin-American societies.
>> Excuse me for all the mistakes of spelling and grammar and whatever else
>> there must be in this message, but I wanted to write it in Spanish for
>> obvious reasons. It is a pleasure to read you in your own language and
>> thanks for your reflections.
>> Brian Holmes
>> ______________________________**_________________
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> --
> www.myspace.com/lucioagra
> http://contemporaryperformance.org/profile/LucioAgra
> Se vc tem urgência de falar comigo, me ligue no celular! É mais rápido!
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