Sunday, October 17

In defense of the left caviar

Those who spend the day watching over the lives of others point out that the left that they call caviar is hypocritical because it does not live under the same conditions that it denounces as bad. But this would only make sense if Más Madrid were proclaiming the virtues of being poor and had among its aspirations to become a mendicant order, like the Franciscans or the Dominicans, who claim the spiritual value of poverty. It is not the case. It is curious because it is a speech that is launched from people like Rocío Monasterio, who lives in a large case of various heights, or from Ayuso, who spends his holidays in the mansion of his friend Nacho Cano in Ibiza. But for them none of this would be a contradiction because their proposals do not seek to end inequality, but to expand it, on the other hand, it would do it for that left that seeks to improve people’s lives.

So, where does this discourse that signals a supposed incongruity come from and what is it looking for? According to this idea, if you are not poor you cannot oppose poverty, if you do you are a hypocrite. Is there hypocrisy in being willing to pay more taxes to reduce imbalances? The hypocrisy would really lie in opposing inequality without being willing to pay the taxes that fight it. The true hypocrisy is the one practiced by the Hispanic liberal, who spends the day extolling the virtues of the market, but then only knows how to live on inheritances, the BOE or public salaries.

Under the accusation of hypocrisy, what his speech really seeks is to perpetuate the state of things and protect a series of interests against the possibility of modifying the relations of power and wealth. The oligarchic right seeks to shield the private monopoly on caviar and prevent its access from being democratized. What bothers Monasterio and Ayuso is that we want caviar for all the people of Madrid and they want to monopolize all the caviar for themselves and their friends. They represent the cynical belief that the world is populated only by wolves facing each other and where only the (supposedly) fittest can survive. The story is not new, in fact, it goes back to the 19th century, but today it takes shape under the tinsel of big words like freedom and autonomy. They think that inequality is a symptom of progress, while we are convinced that a society progresses with equality. They are convinced that the economy must be improved in order to live better later; we are convinced that living better is what allows the economy to improve. It is in the little things, in everyday life, where the great things, the great changes, crystallize.

Faced with his passion for inequality, it is only possible to vindicate his passion for equality, freedom and diversity. We do it because we believe in a safe, fair and cohesive society that also knows how to take advantage of all the potential that inequality discards. It cannot be that having rich parents is particularly important in reaching the top of the wealth distribution, it cannot be that the wealth of the richest 20% of Spaniards is more than 28 times greater than that of the poorest 20%. Inequality kills, inequality limits freedom and puts a burden on the economy. Inequality is a solvent for democracy.

We defend freedom of choice. Freedom to decide to terminate the pregnancy, to choose a dignified death, not to take a garbage job, to breathe clean air, to choose affordable rent, and freedom to choose quality healthcare and public education. Letting family doctors escape en masse, closing health centers, or preventing abortions from being performed in public hospitals, is this not curtailing the freedom of choice that Ayuso and his heroes talk about so much? We defend the freedom of choice in the face of scare or death, in front of him or you eat Telepizza, or you do not eat, in front of him or you have a private health insurance, or you have to wait in time. What Freedom of choice do our youth have when their housing policy forces them to live with their parents or to leave their entire salary to pay the rent? Freedom of choice disappears when all that remains is private choice. We see it in the lack of public places in nursery schools, nursing homes or vocational training. It is a clear example of a predatory state at the service of private intervention: they sink the public sector to open the market and then the investment funds seek business in VET in the face of the escalation of demand and the scarcity of places. They speak of the social demand for concerted or private options after curtailing public options. They speak of a lawsuit that they create after destroying through underfunding and aggressive budgeting what belonged to everyone. Reducing public investment forces, who can, to put money from his pocket in private. Thus they create the market and extract income from citizens at the cost of public disinvestment.

We defend the economic freedom of the individual, and that is why we believe in fair and progressive taxes as a basis to guarantee the autonomy of people. While his model considers that the public must function as charity for the poorest, we understand that the public must be a universal and quality right for all people, regardless of the money they have. We defend the public and equality, but not as an administrative protection or uniformity but as the necessary condition for the individual and collective development of people. The freedom of one is not built against that of the other, but in cooperation with others. In order to defend the freedom of the individual, freedom must first be guaranteed to all individuals, because if freedom is privatized, what happens is that along the way, people are deprived of their freedom. Only those who are equal to each other are free.

We defend that money is better in people’s pockets instead of the rentier and unproductive economy, private policies or regressive subsidies to employers. How much basic income could be paid with all the direct and covert aid that the private sector receives unconditionally? Why is public money going to be better in the automobile sector than in the pocket of the Spanish? Without fair and progressive taxes, how much does healthcare, education or medicine cost? It would be unaffordable to have to pay out of pocket for what we all share together. Taxes are like the mask in the middle of a pandemic: by paying them we protect ourselves and help others. Defending taxes is the best way to monitor their use and the well-being of each one.

We defend the right to time, but not to lose it in a traffic jam as Ayuso likes, but to dedicate it to family, friends, to cook, train, read, relax or play sports. The Greek word Skholè, from which the word school derives, means leisure and free time and designated the condition of citizens who were equal to each other because they have the possibility of escaping and dedicating themselves to study. Free was the one who had time to escape. How could mathematics be born in Egypt? Thanks to the existence of leisure. What do names like Darwin, Smith, Proust, Woolf, or Aristotle have in common? Free time. Political regimes are defined by how they distribute time between the different parts that make up society. The civilizational advance and innovation cannot be understood without the democratization of time and the possibility of getting bored. Why is it only going to be the heritage of a few instead of a right of all people? How many ideas, creativity and potential are lost in uncertainty and precariousness due to the lack of a guaranteed own time?

We defend the right to live well. Living well cannot be a goal, it has to be a starting point. Only in this way can it be guaranteed that anyone, regardless of where they were born and have the parents they may have, is on an equal footing to be free. The right to breathe clean air, to have a health center, a quality education, to have access to a healthy diet, for anyone to access a nursery school, to affordable housing, to work less, to move in a different way and to reduce travel. Living better is not only fairer, more pleasant, healthier and more satisfying, it is also more efficient and cheaper: living poorly is very expensive.

Faced with his galley mentality, his conformism and accepting that life has to be stressful, we do not resign ourselves, we do not conform, we do not accept what there is as the only thing there can be. Quite contrary to the social Darwinism they defend, civilization is born from a very different paradigm: free time and mutual support. The anthropologist James Suzman, highlights that the discovery of fire freed the time that later allowed the development of language, culture, music and art. Anthropologist Margaret Mead explains that the first sign of civilization is the healing of a femur because someone cared for the person who fractured it. Paraphrasing the poem that later became the motto of the striking textile workers: we want caviar for all and roses too.

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