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Edition #9
Rio de Janeiro, 2006

By Lana Hosser

We interviewed Luciano Vianna of the PLOC Party

From the beginning to today

Band from Guarulhos that has been shaking up the Brazilian metal scene

The decade that changed the world

Carlota Joaquina feelings...

Combating cultural puritanism

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“DKANDLE weaves swirling multi-colored vibrant unearthly soundscapes, blending fuzzy and reverberating Shoegaze textures, mesmerizing Dream Pop meditations, sludgy Grungey tones and moody Post-punk strains, heightened with soul-stirring lyricism and pensive emotive vocalizations”

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Originally published in the special edition "The 60s: The Decade that Changed Everything" of Veja magazine

From 1960 to 1969, on every continent, in almost all 145 countries with various political systems, the world witnessed the rebellion of young people. The headlines, alongside wars and even more than sex, spoke of the odyssey of 519 million discontented youths.

According to Marshall McLuhan, these young

people, mutants of the new "planetary oral and

tribal era produced by mass communications,"

represented one-sixth of the Earth's population.

They were both myth and demystifiers of society:

consuming and consumed, contesting and

contested. They fought with all their might to

destroy the old and impose the new. It was a

period of struggle and rejection, both peaceful

and violent.

The youth revolt of the 1960s transcended mere psychological motivations (no longer a "teenage crisis") to encompass new sociological elements and become a social problem. From one day to the next, "our hope for tomorrow" decided to make the present their own. They argued it was necessary to stop being objects of history and become its subjects. From an eternal romantic and symbolic threat, they became destroyers of the established and revered: values and institutions, ideas and taboos. With the urgency fueled by their temporary condition and the courage of their age, they confronted prevailing morality and ripped up the cobblestones to use them to tear down the structures of society, be it capitalist or communist, opulent or impoverished.

Another face of youth was emerging clandestinely,

covertly, more difficult to notice and to repress

than the face of overt violence. It didn't yet 

have a proper name and was seen as an offshoot

of the previous years' beatniks. Gradually, some

clues surfaced. A 1960 survey revealed that four

out of five Harvard University students considered

traditional religions to be devoid of metaphysical

content and unhelpful in their search for truth.

 

A year later, Timothy Leary, a psychology

professor at the same university, continued his research on a type of Mexican mushroom with hallucinogenic properties (mescaline) after experimenting with it. He applied 3,500 doses of the drug to 400 student volunteers seeking mystical experiences. Leary and his assistant Richard Alpert transitioned from mescaline to LSD, an even more potent substance and acronym that would become synonymous with a

significant portion of the youth culture in that decade. The

number of "initiates" skyrocketed in a short time, and within

universities, one could already vaguely perceive those with

disheveled hair and unkempt clothes. These young people

differed from the others. They loathed violence as much as the society they increasingly sought to distance themselves from. Rejecting religion but seeking God through Eastern mysticism, their numbers grew rapidly. By 1962, the LSD symbol was already recognized in major American universities by the students, though not by the authorities or the public.

The scandal would only explode when Timothy Leary, expelled from Harvard, appealed to the

courts and complained, in the name of science and democracy, of the right to continue his

experiments. In less than a week, a confused America and soon the world became aware of

the "psychedelic" phenomenon. Leary was arrested and confessed to having already applied

LSD to more than a thousand people, half of whom were religiously trained, including 69

Protestant ministers or Catholic priests. Of these people, 75% acknowledged having reached

an intense religious mystical state, and more than half claimed to have had the deepest and

most real experience of their lives.

The "psychedelic revolution" was the path that much of the youth was choosing or would choose. From the middle of the decade came the explosion of flower-power hippies, devotees of LSD and Cannabis. But, in parallel, a problem would take on international proportions also from the years 65-66. Every day, in various countries - from Brazil to Japan, from the United States to Czechoslovakia - students replaced the routine of classes with the routine of strikes, demonstrations, protests and occupations of universities. Their political organizations multiplied and clashes with the police became frequent. Common protests gave the same meaning to demonstrations in various parts of the world: the demonstrations were against the Vietnam War, against racism, for peace, for the underdeveloped.

Through a vast variety of forms, youth sought to break with everything: with the university, with the family, with art, with parties. What was new began to have a value in itself: tradition

had to be destroyed. One word went around the world in this furious storm of denial:

contestation.

More than the young, the world had changed. Industrial society was advancing,

breaking principles, modifying relationships and living conditions; the media broke

regional values and introduced a uniform, borderless culture. In the face of values

such as love, freedom, justice and brotherhood, a new reality emerged - consumption -

establishing its own values: efficiency, success, competition. More effectively than

sociology in its quest to shape youth, large commercial organizations discovered the full potential of consumers in young people: in just forty years, the number of young people under 24 would double. An entire production line - records, clothes, shows - was designed from them for them. The characters that young people transformed into idols (from the Beatles to Che Guevara), precisely because they had challenged the system, were returned to them, commercialized: Mao fashion, shirts with Che's face, Beatles posters. Consumption transformed the contestation of it into a profitable consumer product.

A new dynamic emerged. Young people challenged society and society consumed the challenge. A desperate search for affirmation to make their negation valid began to be carried out in all fields - in fashion, painting, cinema, and especially in music. Their colors screamed as much as their sound, aggressive and agonizing. The romantic nightclubs gave way to discos where everything moved, especially the light and the bodies. The "rock'n'roll" of the 50s was rejuvenated by Chubby Checker's "twist", then by the "jerk", "frug", "monkey", "surf", "let kiss", "drag", all short-lived, where only the gestures and names varied. Dancing became the most imperious and exclusive form of expression. In Tokyo and New York, São Paulo and Paris, discos and musical groups multiplied, as well as in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia. Everywhere, the Beatles. To these rhythmic extroversions, the retreat into drugs was opposed. The search for "trips", escapes and "self-knowledge" intensified vertiginously.

 

It was pointed out as a sociological singularity of youth the fact that, being essentially transitory, it did not constitute a social category. But young people were increasingly grouping together in clubs, nightclubs, and gatherings. The insistence on appearance (dress, hair), on the typical gesture (own language, dance) was already considered as a first step towards becoming a social category. The large gatherings - such as Woodstock, where hundreds of thousands of people gathered to talk about peace, music and to live days of complete freedom - demonstrated the deep sense of community that was forming among the young people of that decade and the mystical understanding of themselves as a separate group: an "us" in open opposition to "them". "They" are the adult world of parents and their impotence in living the values they preach. "They" are also the social systems incapable of filling the void between ideal and reality. The realization of the failure of the civilization created by previous generations - of wars, social injustices, violence, oppression - and the contemplation of the amorphous mass of cases, files and numbers in which man is sometimes transformed by consumer society, exploded in the consciousness of the young people of the 60s, who began to deny all the visible manifestations of this civilization.

To withdraw or to participate in the destruction of society: this was the choice they faced. Withdrawal was the hippie response. More than 400,000 young people in the USA alone turned their backs on society and set out in search of other truths. The hippies marginalized themselves and attempted a revolution of morals and customs. Young people in socialist countries demanded political freedom, while those in the industrialized countries of the West contested the consumer civilization that alienates man. In the third world, the struggle was for economic freedom.

"Do you know what's happening?" No, nobody knew. Obsolete forms of struggle were unearthed (stones, barricades, clubs), temples of knowledge like the Sorbonne were invaded, idols of other generations like Sartre and the historical communist Aragon were booed, cars were set on fire, theaters were taken over. Imagination had seized power. All official and traditional values were written in

quotation marks and provoked laughter. The streets were renamed by hundreds

of euphoric youths who chose the new names with applause: Red Orient Street,

Heroic Vietnam Street, Guevara Street. Red and black flags fluttered over

austere monuments and covered historical relics. Love and politics began to be

made on the streets.

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