Cinema, political education, and social change

“Times have changed. It’s not like the Old Days — when we can do anything we want. A refusal is not the act of a friend. If Don Corleone had all the judges, and the politicians in New York, then he must share them, or let us others use them. He must let us draw the water from the well. Certainly he can — present a bill for such services; after all — we are not Communists.”

(Barzini, the Godfather III, Francis Ford Coppola)

The Cinema has a powerful potential to help us understand the World Order in a more subtle and comprehensive way. In the tradition Cinema-politics there are two main currents of thought: the first one argues that the cinema has to be used as a tool for ideological indoctrination, the typical example being the Soviets´ Films; the second one says that the Cinema has to be used just to promote critical thinking through the possibility to share technical concepts with the audience. Probably, the second approach could be the most effective if it´s taking account the postmodern times.

Nowadays, the Cinema has become a useful instrument to create values, maintain cultural hegemonies, impose cultural identities and to further political positions; in fact, as Walter Benjamin said “the nature who speaks to the camera, it´s not the same that one which speaks to the humans ‘eye” and in this line of ideas the the key concept to understand is “abstraction”.

It is important to recognize that neoliberalism’s greatest victory, rather than the destructions of the unions or the privatization of the state, has been the people’s unnoticed indoctrination in its dangerous discourse; it´s big triumph has been the colonization of the human minds (Leftists and Progressive included). The Neoliberalism has managed to build a cultural consensus among the people with the greed and individualism as (anti)values in part because the mass Medias and the Cinema. This postmodern consensus has converted “to liquid”, or casual, most social relations,. According to this ideal everything must be casual, the political struggles are casual, the friendships are casual, and the love and affective relationships are casual (the movie to explore this tension could be “The dreamers” by Bernardo Bertolucci); the world is a big Super Market where all human beings are simply commodities and this ideal could be traduced in pleasure, just pleasure, and nothing more than pleasure, or to put it in North American terms “You Only Live Once (YOLO)”. Thus, the great strategic and tactical mistake kn the Leftist family has been to fail to recognize this new reality. Marx, in a visionary way, on the Communist Manifest also recognizes this Capitalist model characteristic, “[…]These labourers, who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market[…]”. This hegemony could be challenge by a counter-hegemony trough the same cultural device.  As Fidel said, and Gramsci and Buttler understood very well, the main (but not only) political battle is the battle of ideas.

It is imortant to stress the neccesity of “The other” alongside the Cinema speech. Therefore, it will be necessary to review Hollywood films and Cinema Art films. In the Hollywood tradition it is possible to find both hegemony and counter-hegemonic films. For example, “Batman: the dark knight arises” is an interesting movie to understand how the mainstream Cinema works, in this film the popular struggle and the revolutionary ideal are reduced to the Bane character and his movement “The shadow League”, a terrorist organization that pretends to change the World Order through its total destruction. Thus, the implicit message for the audience was, “Hey, be aware of those Leftist and Progressive forces who want to change the social order, because, at the end of the day, they are kind of Banes. Was it a coincidence or an intentional strategy to release this film in the middle of the “Occupy Wall Street” protest in the USA? Another good example of the Hollywood style could be the James Bond movie “Skyfall”. In this Bond film the villain is Raoul Silva (with a fantastic performance by Javier Bardem) a former MI6 agent who worked for M in Singapor. Silva is   a cyberterrorist who is releasing the identities of field agents to seek revenge against MI6. Again, was it a coincidence or not to release this film in moments where Julian Assange and Wikileaks were trying to show the world what the real Imperial political order is?

Despite the huge advantage that neoliberalism has in the cultural struggle our answer, paraphrasing Humprey Bogart in “Casablanca” , is “We will always have Paris” or  “We will always have HOPE!”. So, there are ways for deconstruct Hollywood speeches, to awake our deepest human being essence throught the South Global films (Pontecorvo, Meirelles, Gutierrez Alea), to link the Socialism, Politics and Love through the Ken Loach films, to explore the gender relations and women condition around the Fellini movies, the “Nouvelle vague” French films, and “Lolita” by Kubrick and to understand the aesthetic of the violence through Par Chan-Wook movies.


Reflections on Right to Water in Ecuador

Since the Constitution of 2008 the water acquire a legal status as Human Right, and deserve a constitutional protection as a part of the Nature (1).  Ecuadorian constitution was the first in the world to introduce a Bill of Rights for the nature. In this line, there is several duty that State has to follow to protect and fulfill every citizen needs, as for instance, to granted the communitarian governance of hydric sources, to prevent and response to any pollution on water reserves, to granted that every citizen has access to clean water and sanitation services.

Accordingly to United Nations SG6 until 2030, every society has to granted to their citizens the universal access to clean water and related services. Also is a sensitive goal to granted the protection of every ecosystem related to forest, rivers, and any other source of fresh water. Finally, the UN commitment stress out the importance that International cooperation transfer enough resources and technology to support Global South societies in order to fullfill this goal. (2)

In spite of theses constitutional provisions and the UN development goals there still many challenges to secure the universal access to water in Ecuador. In this sense, a Ombudsperson report suggest to develop public policies toward to reorganize the Institutional framework wich has the responsibility to protect and provide clean water to every citizen, to mitigate the poluttion of rivers by urban consumption, and most important to protect the water sources from extractivism industries. (3) 

One of the main concerns at the national public debate is about the mining activities on Amazonian and indigenous ancestral lands.  So that, there is a tension in how extractions industries operates vis-a-vis indigenous communities rights and needs.   


  1. http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Ecuador/english08.html
  2. http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/es/water-and-sanitation/
  3. http://repositorio.dpe.gob.ec/handle/39000/119



Reflections on the Rohingya case

Since August 2017 thousands of Rohingya members have fled from Myanmar due to deliberately acts of persecution, which roots to an old ethnic conflict where majority of people resisted to recognized that community as a citizen of Myanmar (1). Accordingly, to General Secretary of the United Nations Mr. Antonio Guterres all this situation could be perfectly framing under the legal category of “ethnic cleansing”.  In this post, I would like to pointed out two topics: (i) to relate the cause of this conflict due to material conditions, and (ii) the necessity that neighbours countries recognize the Rohingya refugees under “prima facie” collective process.

The economical roots for this persecution

There is a common explanation to the Rohingya persecution case on arguments where it says that the main causes are just ethnic and historical differences. Yet, there is another way to find the main causes for this conflict in the economical realm.  A research made by “The conversation” base on evidence that shows that religion or ethnic difference are no the only causes for this persecution, and it is important to notice how economical factor has influence this humanitarian crisis (2).  Whereas, there has been a myriad of tensions between different ethnic groups and economical interest around land and extractive natural resources.

This research explains how historically in Myanmar the confiscation of Land has been a widespread practice by the State and Military agents.  This practice works as an effective way to cause desposetion and for fulfil economical purposes in terms to secure extractions industries interests mainly.  So that, it is sensitive to take into account this kind of factor in order to assesses in adequate way the real dimension of the problem.   

This connection between extractive industries, land dispossession and causing social conflicts affecting minorities groups it seems as a trends worldwide, with a harder impact among Global South communities.

The necessity of a prima facie procedural asylum recognition

Another important point to is to advocate for an effective protection responses to the Rohingya humanitarian needs.  International Refugee Law established that the Recognition of Refugee status could be made either individually or in collective way. In this line, it is important for International community to press to neighbour countries in order they offer fair and fast Refugee Status Determination under the institution of “prima facie” process. UNHCR has defined the prima facie process as “[s]situations have […] arisen in which entire groups have been displaced under circumstances indicating that members of the group could be considered individually as refugees. In such situations the need to give assistance is often extremely urgent and it may not be possible for purely practical reasons to carry out an individual determination of refugee status for each member of the group. Recourse has therefore been had to so-called “group determination” of refugee status, whereby each member of the group is regarded prima facie (i.e. in the absence of evidence to the contrary) as a refugee.” (3)

In other words, due to the objective evidence from Country of Origin and massive persecution that are facing Rohingya as ethnic group it is a necessity that their Refugees Status Determination will be determinate in a collective way. Therefore, their basic need could be addressed in a more proper way.


  1.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/11/un-myanmars-treatment-of-rohingya-textbook-example-of-ethnic-cleansing
  2. http://theconversation.com/religion-is-not-the-only-reason-rohingyas-are-being-forced-out-of-myanmar-83726
  3. UNHCR, Handbook and Guidelines on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status under the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, reissued December 2011, HCR/1P/4/ENG/REV.3 (hereafter “UNHCR, Handbook”), para. 44.