New representations: October, 18th and 20th 2013
Centro Social Autogestionado Tabacalera, Embajadores 53, MADRID
Text: José Manuel Naredo
Artwork: Manuel Alcorlo
The script that sees now the light on the initiative of 15-M has a long history. I wrote the first version more than a quarter century ago, encouraged by my friend Emilio Mateu, professor of viola at the Conservatory of Madrid, for staging by students of a music course that he directed during the summers in Marbella . However, this purpose did not take place since my friend left the direction of the course. I wrote it imagining the chaotic outcome that would lead to moral decay and social tension that began to untie the then incipient speculative boom which was generated in the eighties, after the adhesion of Spain to the EU, and eventually died as a result of the celebrations and megaprojects of 1992. Not even Carlos Solchaga, much less Rato, which were still finance ministers, and Aznar and Zapatero which should be at that time beardless youngsters could have imagined to go so high, or that they would fall so low, as they did. So any similarity between the characters of the script and the protagonists of the current crisis, or the previous one, is purely coincidental.
Seeing that the chaotic end devised on this divertimento enjoyed a pulsating current when the Spanish economy collapsed in 1993, after the first and more modest speculative boom, I decided to give it to the magazine ARCHIPELAGO, of which I was partner-promoter, where it was published that same year (ARCHIPELAGO, 1993, No. 16, p. 101-110). I did it especially considering that reality had acquired with the crisis such markedly surreal tones, that the novel, poetry, music or painting could better capture the socioeconomic brainy essays, I’ve been publishing as an analyst since then in more specialized media (1.) And also because then, as now, I still think the initiative that we were embarked on ARCHIPELAGO – indicated in its subtitle Notebooks of critique of culture -must aim, not only to transcend the obscurantism of academic chapels and scientific specialties, but also that which is derived from the gap between that directed thought that is the science, from the other fields of knowledge, and human feeling. Especially when the dominant political-economic ideology is presented as coated scientific rationality, making the reasons of Machiavellianism and selfishness parcel, abets global injustice that surrounds us.
But the economic crisis that followed the bursting of the speculative bubble of 1992 was short-lived, because the external imbalance was corrected then with three successive devaluations of the peseta, (which accumulated a value drop of around 40%), the adhesion to the euro and the huge drop in the interest rate, which allowed the Spanish economy to undertake a flight forward, triggering the same way a speculative bubble much more important than the former one. The unprecedented intensity and duration of the last housing boom (1997-2007) came fueled by abundant and cheap funding also unprecedented, achieved under the euro, which endured without the bulky external imbalance problems of the Spanish economy. Because after having intended domestic savings to finance the housing bubble, banking in a suicida way, continued financing it to the end with foreign money, without any control whatsoever on the part of governments, nor the theoretical “independent regulator”, said to be the Bank of Spain. The huge private debt incurred by the banks in foreign financial markets to continue funding the bubble – which payment are now demanding the European creditors – is one that has plunged the Spanish economy into a crisis far exceeding previous ones. In a crisis in which it is not possible to escape forward, once closed the resort to further devaluations of the currency and interest rate reductions. Eventually stubborn reality ended up highlighting that, like all speculative game, the housing bubble has been a zero sum game in which gains made by certain persons or entities have to end up paying the other ones. And now debts and the pieces of the feast of gains have to be paid, plus the commissions and royalties associated with oversized infrastructure and real estate investments made for the benefit of a few ones.
Twenty years after the first edition of the libretto, now resurrected, corrected and expanded to its staging, when the crisis has dramatically amplified chaotic outcome that I had once imagined, giving it unusual actuality. I still believe that this is the logical outcome of democratic despotism of capitalism cacique which has continued to rule the country during the post-Franco era. In the text I wrote for the last number of Archipelago magazine when it said goodbye in 2008, I wrote the following poem as an “executive summary” of my diagnosis of the current crisis:
THE CRISIS THAT CAPITALISM WAS PRIMING
with its stark-profit
with your consent rape
the wealth of nature
of the poverty-stricken
those subject to their baseness
of the local bourgeoisie, …
the entire social body.
Chieftaining, privatizing, plundering
deregulating, slauthering, indebted
capitalism has long been feeding
labor unrest, unworthy servility, the state of malaise,
fraudulent business, the tension and violence, the police state
banal consumption, unnecessary wealth, corporate distrust
economic imbalance, the housing bubble and the crisis itself.
Now when it is being elucidated who should end up paying the crisis, I think – if there was any doubt – has been quite clear that the different governments have been basically acting as administrators serving lobbies and private corporations, not as representatives of the population. With the resounding scam of “preference shares” of Bankia, with social aggression layoffs and evictions of social and wage cuts, the looting of privatization, megaprojects and the distributions of “envelopes” and perks among ruling political class, has eroded so much the credibility of the State, its institutions and the “political class”, that it has become questionable for the first time in a comprehensive manner the legitimacy of the system. Which denotes a change of phase or political era in our country since the “political transition”: and it is not a matter of changing this or that ruling political party replacing it with other, but the very system that maintains the current democratic chieftaing ruling.
The 15-M has illustrated clearly the said change of policy phase, with three of his slogans that reflect the three steps in awareness, mentioned above, which shifts the effort to replace certain parties or leaders, by changing the system that promotes and maintains this state of affairs.
One is that which states that “there is little bread for too many sausages” to denounce the scourge of politicians and “Achievers” that facilitate the looting of the public wealth for the benefit of certain business elites. The second is that these politicians “do not represent us”, although they have passed the vote of the minority census enough to allow them to govern. And the third is that which states that “the PSOE and the PP the same shit is,” as evidenced by practices perpetrated by both despotic governments at state, as well as regional and municipal governments, backed by the string of “envelopes” and scandals that have come to the courts. Practices that gave new wings to “political evil of despotism”, “whose purpose – Picavea Macias said in his classic book The national problem, Madrid, 1899 – is enclosed in two lower aspirations: to dominate, not to rule, plunder, not to manage.” It is now time to reviewing the compromise reached by the elites who rubricated the metamorphosis of Franco system into crowned democracy. For it should be noted that the lack of legitimacy of the state as representative of the population, has not invalidated, but reaffirmed the need for a constitutional process that establishes a new institutional framework conducive to a political sanitation, with good practices that help to move the power control and decision-making from the back of political parties to the population.
In this new context of revitalization and radicalization of social protest movements, the script, which was sleeping the sleep of the just ones on the pages of a defunct magazine, has gained new life in the hands of 15-M. The occurrence of Liliana Pineda, backed by the assemblies of this movement, staging it in commemoration of the second anniversary to celebrate the week of May 15 (15-M), 2013, ushered in a new project phase collective sharing.
The original script was notably enriched by the positive interaction with the creativity of professional musicians, the staging, the design and plastic arts, to finally prepare the premiere for next May 19, 2013, at the Community Social Center self-managed Tabacalera Ambassadors street in Madrid. This sharing, includes music, composed and performed by The Solfónica, ie, the orchestra and chorus of 15-M, directed by David Alegre and the staging prepared by an artist as versatile as Octavio Colis , supported in costume design by William Ferreira, as well as in the production, EconomíaSol activists, GT-15-M assemblies, and components of the Ship Trapeze, which sponsors the representation in the building of Tabacalera. This is in addition, of course, to the collaboration of professional and novel artists who play the four individual characters of the play: Marissa Amado (Fairy of Dreams), Ivan Barbeitos (General Officer), Alfonso González (Expert) and Manuel Noya (Treasurer). Finally, my admired painter and good friend Manuel Alcorlo, has taken the initiative to illustrate the libretto with its magnificent drawings. This culminates this show of creativity, so emotional for me, generated around this play which testifies and illustrates the new political era we are living, in which thought, feeling and human behavior intertwine seeking the synthesis that disclosures more friendliness and be enriching for the whole population.
José Manuel Naredo
(1.) My concerns as an analyst resulted in, among other publications, two books on the last two housing bubbles to which I refer:
Naredo, JM (1996) The real estate and financial bubble in the recent economic climate (1985-1995), Madrid, Siglo XXI Eds. and Naredo, J.M. and Montiel, A. (2011) The Spanish property model and its culmination in the case of Valencia, Barcelona, Icaria.