It was Mark Twain who said that a banker is a man who lends you an umbrella when it is sunny and demands it back when it starts raining. Albert Rivera is a banker, one of those who has never seen the inside of a dole office and who has a private pension plan: it was wonderful to hear him say this with a grimace and gritted teeth: he knows this is something that sets him apart from the people. We have no proof if he was among those who conned people into buying preference shares and got them to sign abusive clauses that caused their entire life savings to disappear, but at the same time, we can’t imagine him disobeying the direct orders of an unscrupulous superior. Rivera is one of those who jump when the boss says jump and who bite when the boss says let’s bite.
Albert Rivera is a conjurer, a con artist. He is the door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman from the 1950s, the trader in hair restorers, the trafficker of illusions. He personifies the paradigm of the American dream and the self-made man who is delighted to meet himself: the last soldier of the West who will liberate us from Bolivarian obscurantism, the final frontier between constitutional order and the barbarism of those tatty hordes who clamour for justice and burn with a desire for vengeance. The sensible change, the quiet man who loves his work, the man who sells you a bag of sand in the middle of the desert and who, like God, is omnipresent and wants to be everywhere.
He says he is against animal abuse but he is also into bullfighting. He says he is against Francoism and on the side of the memory of its victims, but there he is alongside those who refrain from condemning the dictatorship. He says he is with the worker and the middle classes, but he moves like a fish in water among the big firms of the IBEX 35 (indeed, he has no problem putting out his hand for them to fund his elections campaign). He says he is with the victims of gender violence, but he wants to eliminate protection for women and positive discrimination. He says he is on the side of the evictee, but he is the seller of preferential shares to whom the Banco Popular lends four million euro so he can put his face on buildings in the purest Kim Jong-un style. Rivera is moderate, well-dressed, well turned-out. He’s the ideal son-in-law dreamed of by the president of Iberdrola. The entrepreneur who advertises self-help books that offer individual solutions to problems that are collective. Smile or die. Be positive, make an effort. Rivera is the coach, the ass-kissing worker who never goes on strike and who worries more about the bosses than about his colleagues. Rivera is an upstanding man on the side of order. Progressive nouveau-riche when it comes to morals, he is one of those who politely says hello to the gay couple next door and who buys furniture in IKEA, but profoundly conservative when it comes to economics: I don’t care who you sleep with but don’t go on strike because a country moves forward on hard work and tightening one’s belt. And complying with the Troika. He is the repellent slicked-back kid who always snitched to the teacher when some rebel would draw an enormous penis on the blackboard. The lieutenant, the right hand man of the class bully. Always on the side of the powerful: the eternal foreman.
But there is more. Then there is Inés Arrimadas.
Inés Arrimadas is the clever girl, the Spanish girl next door, the cosmetics advert that promises eternal youth through expensive creams and unguents: the western burka and any roofer’s summer night’s dream. Arrimadas is the posh gal who turned up to college in a gleaming Golf GTI whilst you had to hunt out coins around the house so you could catch the metro. She was the one who every day would eat in the cafeteria, the one who always went to the most exclusive parties, the one who seemed straight out of the 90s -Beverly Hills 90210 to be precise- and looked with contempt at your Nirvana t-shirt and your bleached hair (you’ll upload those photos some day) whilst she backed her folders with photos of Take That and New Kids on the Block. The popular girl who never asked the loan of a euro to have a coffee; the girl who you would never have asked for a euro to make photocopies. The one who when she finished her career did a master’s that cost €8000 whilst you looked down the dark corridors of the private firm or red-in-tooth-and-claw exploitation amid plastic hamburgers, plastic fries and papier-maché payslips.
We know who they are. They are the pop right-wing, the cool conservatives, the reactionaries we all know who traded daily mass and the eagle of St John the Evangelist [a Francoist symbol] for the Benicássim festival and a song by Russian Red. Why is it that when Iglesias goes to El Hormiguero [live Spanish TV variety show] Pablo Motos [the presenter] turns into an incisive journalist who questions everything but by contrast when Rivera goes along he gets the red carpet treatment and they laugh at all his jokes? Basically, because Pablo Motos is paid four million euro a year and he sets about defending his class interests tooth and nail. How does one live on €300,000 a month? Who lives in Alice’s Wonderland, Mr Motos? I have to take my hat off to Pablo Iglesias’s infinite patience. When for the third time Mr Motos were to ask me with the face of a madman “but where do you plan on getting the money for all these proposals?” I would have said to him without a blink: from your goddamn fat current account you fucking ruling class clown. It would have been fantastic. But that’s why I do rap and Pablo does politics. The truth of the matter is that millionaires like Pablo Motos don’t like to pay taxes and that’s why they get all nervous when we remind them that we’ve had enough of the tax burden of this country falling on the workers and not on big businesses and millionaires.
I’m sick of moderate people, of sensible people, of all these dullards who lost their ability to dream, of these soothsayers. They say that hope makes for a good breakfast but a bad supper. Do you know who says that? The same people who always eat out in five-star restaurants. I believe we need madmen. And madwomen. Sanity is utterly boring, predictable and we know where it leads: unemployment, cuts, precarity….
Let us dream. Let us be mad. Let us be Quixotes.