A 19 minute documentary by Alexandra Guité
There exists a misconception in the North that the Argentine crisis of 2001-2002 was a case of the IMF taking Argentina to the cleaners’, encountering little resistance along the way. Seen from up close however, an eloquent and powerful response on the part of Argentine society becomes apparent. This response is so inspiring and could well be exported… or should we say “globalized”?
The Argentine crisis is a striking human story of the perils of globalization. In this country once hailed as the model of capitalism’s triumph, insecurity and overnight poverty quickly became widespread. Those that yesterday had a job, a home, today have only their ingeniosity and political will left to survive and construct autonomous power. Argentines have lost faith in traditional politics and institutions. Most of the society’s pillars have fallen apart. And yet, a large movement of social reconstruction is gathering strength:
The film Piqueteros chronicles the political creativity of the piquetero movement. The piqueteros take their name from the “piquetes” (blockades) which they erect on roads in order to spread their message. This film paints a portrait of the political modalities of this social resistance that goes back to 1995. Filmed mostly at roadblock sites and in shantytowns in Buenos Aires, Piqueteros presents the strategies of social resistance that the Argentine unemployed workers’ movement puts forward in the face of the economic and social collapse. Let’s listen to them propose a different society. A society where thousands of workers take control of their factories, were citizens build roads, organize solidarity communities in the shantytowns, redefine direct democracy to include the active participation of all citizens, imagine a popular government with local autonomy, feed their population, and apply pressure by blocking roads and bridges leading into the cities.
Piqueteros gives us an intimate insight into the lives of inspiring men and women, who dare to hopelessness through struggle and creativity. Two characters, Maru and Darío, who hail from the movements based in Barrios de Pie and Aníbal Verón, are our guides on this visit into the heart of the Argentine resistance.
The film begins with an overview of the origins of the Argentine crisis, before launching into an account of the rich experience of the Piquetero movement, its struggles, and its efforts to build political and social alternatives. The film contains four chapters : methods of organization, political and social demands, police repression, and the tactic of roadblocks. Featuring footage shot by Indymedia Argentina and several Argentine filmmakers, the film presents explicitly the State violence and police repression which the Piqueteros face.
Over a sound track conceived by Federico Dufau, melding popular street slogans with the rhythms of drums, you will witness the crisis in all its immediacy, but more importantly will discover the creativity and the unstoppable solidarity of the unemployed movement in Argentina, and gain insight into the Piqueteros’ rich vision for a new kind of society.
Screened at Montréal’s Ex-Centris cinéma, February 22nd- March 7th.
7e Art/distribution inc