What future for a successful (eco)revolution?
Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square
Tuesday 3 November, 6pm
At the end of the bloody war that killed one in ten in the tiny South Pacific island of Bougainville, locals were promised a referendum on their independence to be held after 2015. Now, at the threshold of this historical event, we want to retrace the story of “the world’s first successful eco-revolution” (1988-97), which saw the peoples of Bougainville take on Papua New Guinea, Australia and the biggest mining company of the world to defend their land, culture and independence.
After the introduction by filmmaker Dom Rotheroe, we will see his multi-award winning documentary ‘The Coconut Revolution’ (2001, 50 mins) and the update/sequel he shot for Al Jazeera, ‘Bougainville: Reopening Old Wounds’ (2009, 20 mins). The former illustrates the extraordinary story of a people that rebelled against the exploitation of the world’s then largest open mine, and used its ingenuity and natural resources to win an impossible war (e.g. overcoming the blockade by using coconut oil as fuel for their vehicles). The latter, instead, investigates the insidious nature of capitalism and the nature of power, as the victorious Bougainville communities split over the new government’s proposal of reopening the mine to develop their economy.
Finally, we will have the opportunity to ask Dom Rotheroe about his experience in Bougainville, and draw on these extremely interesting documentaries to reflect on the difficulties that even successful grassroots movements have to face when it is time to concretely build the alternative.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/416706068524967/