El Barro de la Revolución

Video HD — 120’ 8”, Color and sound


Video HD — 120’ 8”, Color and sound

Related Content

→ Solo show at Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo- CA2M, Madrid
→ “El Barro de la Revolución” Interview with Paloma Polo by Miguel Errazu and Alejandro Pedregal.
→ THE EARTH OF THE REVOLUTION: Artist talk with Paloma Polo & Dara Bascara
→ A propósito de “O Quilombismo”. O, ¿cuál es el problema de querer ser radical, pero haber dejado la política de lado?

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What social conditions give rise to political change? This question propelled Polo’s immersion in the revolutionary movement in the Philippines. The work, coexistence, and filmic inquiry she undertook in a guerrilla front were the culmination of three years of research and reflection as she engaged in the political struggles of this country.

For more than five decades, the initiatives directed by communist communities in the Philippines have been neglected, censored, and often violently repressed due to their wilfulness to implement alternate socio-political and cultural modes of existence. The bonds she forged within these communities, and her subsequent commitment and solidarity with their struggle, facilitated her later integration in a guerrilla unit on the basis of her film project.

Building the revolution in the Philippines means growing collectively and singularly. The revolution advances to the extent that revolutionaries cultivate themselves and flourish, managing to effectively transform a common world. The work of the members of the NPA (New People’s Army), the armed branch of the Communist Party, is founded on three main pillars: 1_building up their organs of self-governance (“base building”), 2_ the implementation of agricultural revolution (to different degrees, depending on the region), and 3_military combat.

The ongoing Philippine struggle adheres to the communist tradition and is rooted in the revolutionary liberation movements that have combatted the colonial yoke for centuries. A strenuous revolutionary force emerges from the poorest communities, which are wilfully fighting to eradicate the ills that, from the revolution’s perspective, continue to ravage the country: a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society plagued with capitalist bureaucrats and relegated to a deindustrialization that forces the estate to consume imported merchandise and to continuously exploit cheap labour, while the plunder of natural resources orchestrated by international corporations in alliance with the government is rampant. An intense militarization and state repression render the Red zones almost inaccessible.

The NPA members that are featured in the film are not only guerrilla fighters, they are industrious and active builders of an alternate world, born out of cooperative work. Daily life in the camp is organized around educational and pedagogical projects, which are reinforced by the collective assessments. Their task is mainly pedagogical, but they also serve entire communities as doctors, teachers, researchers, artists, mediators, administrators, farmers… This transformative process, gradually and existentially modelled as it surmounts setbacks and obstacles, can only take place and can only be thought if it is always in the making. In this sense, large swathes of remote rural regions have become a sort of laboratory of life.