Wednesday, December 7


With the arrival of urban tribes, neighborhood gangs lost their local identity and were absorbed by more global identities. It happened with the arrival of the eighties, when heavys, punks, rockers Y mods they ended the pimp “traditionally enrolled in a gang.” This is how Iñaki Domínguez tells it in his new essay that has just been published by Akal with the title “Macarrismo”.

It is an anthropological study that completes his previous work, the successful “Intersecular Macarras”, where Iñaki Domínguez reviewed the different aspects that made up the phenomenon called quinqui. In this new essay, he takes us back to the golden age of urban tribes, when cities like Madrid or Barcelona were plagued with identities imported from Anglo-Saxon culture.

In Madrid back then it was very typical to see territorial confrontations between rockers and mods. One of those clashes ended with the murder of the rocker Demetrio Lefter, a young man who ended up stabbed at the gates of Rock-Ola, a temple of the Movida Madrileña that, after the event, would close its doors forever.

It happened in March 1985, and the murder of Demetrius fulfilled what the French historian René Girard called a sacrificial victim; the victim who serves as a scapegoat to close a historical cycle. The event would mark the end of the Movida Madrileña and the end of the urban tribes as they were known until then. Because then others came like bakalas, skinheads and rappers; tribes with aesthetic attributes that come to be subliminal political messages. In the same way that rockers and mods put into practice the class struggle in the streets of that time, the new tribes will register new political orders to give continuity to the aforementioned struggle.

Iñaki Domínguez’s essay has multiple readings. One of them exemplifies how fiction nurtures reality. Movies like West side story or Stray dogs once conditioned the young gang members, in the same way that Quadrophenia will condition the urban tribes of the eighties, being rockers and mods fighting tribes; Currelas and posjos, rich and poor that were left to stick in the seaside town of Brighton.

On the one hand, the mods, that is, the posh, with their scooters Italian-made, their parkas and shoes polished with the shoe polish of privilege. On the other side were the rockers with their big motorcycles and their greasy toupees, clad in proletarian leather.

Drugs cannot be lacking on either side. While the beers and the privy are bargaining chips in the circles rockers, the lollipops are in the ranks mods. Music becomes another differentiating attribute, since rock’n roll on one side has little or nothing to do with soul music on the other.

With these things, when our country embraces the so-called democracy, the gangs turn into tribes and the class struggle starts up until what was planned happens: a corpse ends the historical cycle. It is then when the class struggle takes on another aesthetic aspect, another political order lived in the body, to put it in the manner of Terry Eagleton in his essay “Aesthetics as Ideology”, one of the books that Iñaki Domínguez has used to mount this “Pimp”.

The essay ends with a very successful reflection on current aesthetic codes. The ripped pants and the disheveled appearance in current fashion obey an economic order marked by the elites who come to convey the slogan: “Being poor is cool.” With this, precariousness acquires a commercial value, that is, if you are poor you do not have to worry, you do well, you are fashionable. Do not complain.