Alberto Artigas

Interviewed August 17, 2017 for Catalunya Barcelona docuseries.

Could you tell us about why there are young people who are fascists or pro-Franco nowadays?

Well, I think that is more of a social matter than anything else.

There are a lot of young people from marginal neighborhoods of, let’s say, a lower social stratum, that…

Don’t have, practically, any way of get ahead in life, and then, those are the ones that

are older, and somehow, they brainwash them, they convince them that…

the, let’s say, fascist doctrine has all the answers, because they have no money:

because of immigrants, because of homosexuals, and so, that’s it.

Also, there are cases of kids that come from wealthy families that had everything in life and…

they end up there, a little bit… maybe to seek out new emotions.

For example, some time ago, I saw that someone had stolen from an ATM, and they set fire to…

to a homeless man, and… and it turned out it was two kids who did not have any type of money issues or anything.

They were two kids from wealthy families that were just partying, and got bored and they said ‘let’s rob this one’.

And… I think that this is a social issue, I mean… also the fact that, eh…

Francoism never arrived to its end, the transition they made, that was, em…

Modernizing Francoism, shaping it with the form of a petty democracy.

And… And also this, this provoked that a lot of elements from Francoism are still in our society.

For example, Fraga, who served as Secretary of Francoism, and…

And then, when the transition arrived, during the democracy, he kept on being Secretary.

And this is what kind of, which causes this, that the Francoism is still here, even among young people.

Could you tell us about ‘the untouchable’ case?

Eh… yes. The untouchable was a girl, I think it was in Murcia, that…

that, according to what tv said, that a right-wing girl, eh…

that anti-fascists gave her a beating-

The story, well, if you get a little bit more into it, it turns out that the untouchable was not a right-wing girl, she was part of a fascist group from Murcia that

beat immigrants, homosexuals, all minority groups.

There even was people that had to go out of school with older people, and I don’t mean girls, I mean

15-year-old boys, and men in their thirties had to go out of school so that they did not beat them up because of the untouchable and her friends.

And apparently, one night, a group of anti-fascists came across her, and they came to blows.

But the account the media gave was, eh… more of ‘oh, poor girl’, they joined a pity campaign, about the extreme left, the radicals… and so, it went like that.

Could you talk about what university students do in Barcelona to pass the time?

Well, at least, what I do is, during the week I go for a beer with my friends from time to time

Sometimes, we go to the movies, but not a lot because it is very expensive, it’s more this spectator’s day which they do once a year, when the ticket costs three euros and so, we usually go.

And also watching movies, tv series, some video games and so.

Then, weekends are more about going out, meeting some friends at home, drinking beers, maybe having dinner, depending on the budget,

and then we go to clubs.

Eh… Well, to a bar and after that, to a club, at least that’s what I do.

I am more into this heavy style, and so, I go to Marina, because there’s all this metal music style and so, but well, that’s it, more or less.

Also, for example, my flat mates, they do different things,

we barely go out together because they don’t like going out.

For instance, there’s one of them who likes going to art exhibitions, she also goes to dance conferences sometimes, because she’s a dancer

I have another flat mate who is more into reggaeton, and so she goes to the Apolo, to this Otto Zutz, and well, not that much to Razzmatazz, but she goes there from time to time.

And there is also this other girl who is not much into going out, but she does go to these open mic bars where people sing… and actually, well,

I’ve been there once or twice and there are always the same people, and they know each other. And that is more or less what we do.

Could you tell us about how the labor world is like for recent graduates?

The labor world… specially for young people is tough…

It is true that, in some fields, informatics, for instance, people do have more options

but a lot of people have to go abroad to find a job.

Even those without studies, people looking for a job as a waiter, or whatever, those jobs that don’t require any kind of… studies, they need to go abroad because here… there is no work.

And I believe this is because, in my opinion, that I have no idea, I believe that is because whith the matter of the real estate bubble, a lot of people drop out of school and started working on it because it was a moneymaker and it was sufficient to lead a comfortable life.

What happened? That people did not study, now they are older, and they have jobs that perhaps, were held before by kids without studies, who were looking for a summer job and so.

And now it is older people who need to support their family with this kind of work, where they don’t make anything at all, not to mention all that people without contracts and working under conditions that are nearly slavery.

Why do you think it is so hard for those with a degree in some fields, such as English Studies, to find a job after leaving university?

I think that is because there is no offer here, I mean… Eh… Wait, I’ll start over.

I think that is because there is no offer here, there is little Government investment and how it helps people to set up a company and so.

And because if I wanted to set up a company, I’d probably need an amount of money that, to begin with, if I have just finished university, I don’t have, obviously.

And… The state doesn’t help with that, then, what do people do? They have to go abroad.

So, if on top of that, being little demand, they don’t try to improve the offer…

Did I said it right or did I messed it up? Okey…

Then I think that’s why, eh… There is no investment in these fields, therefore… Also, Spain is not a country that is culturally… like… eh…

It is true that there is Barcelona, Madrid, where may be more activity, but out of the capitals, there’s almost nothing.

Besides, the English language here is so underrated here, I mean, just to begin with, what you’re been taught at school is a very low level, and don’t… when you finish compulsory education, you don’t have a the necessary level for doing anything at all.

And… And I think it is an underrated language.

For instance, there is also the fact that movies… eh… they are always dubbed, eh…

Everything is so adapted to Spanish, and that is not right, that makes the market so little.

Do you have any friends or any acquaintance that needed to leave Catalonia in order to find a job?

Yes, actually, I have friend from my village that, around two years ago or so, moved to London with an other friend from the village, because they couldn’t find a job here, and they stayed there for a couple of years and I think…

They, I mean, they passed the ESO and maybe a diploma, I think they didn’t, and they couldn’t find a job here and there they find it two months after their arrival, well, no, not even that, on the first month they already had it.

And… it was a job that if you had done it here, you would have made eh… not the half of it, but a quarter part.

Yes, the cost of living… the cost of living was also higher there, but it was worth it.

Eventually, they came back because they missed it here, or I don’t know, I am not sure about why they came back here.

And I also know an other one, we are not such close friends, but he is living in England in a more… in a permanent way.

He comes here from time to time on hollidays and so, but he had his life there because it was the only place where he could find a job on his field.

Could you tell us why young people become independent so late nowadays?

This… eh… I think it is basically because they cannot afford paying for a house, a mortgage, and above all, here in Barcelona rent is too high for one person to be able to live on his or her own.

That’s why, eh… People tend to share a flat but, if it’s not a need, you are not interested at the end.

Because, I mean, you’re not independent after all, no, you rely on other people and you don’t go forward from living with your parents to living with flat mates.

Eh… also, this… eh… it is noticeable… because, eh… with the real estate bubble people could become independent sooner because they gave you the mortgage without taking into account if you were getting paid.

And they gave you a mortgage and you said ‘okey, so put fifty thousand more there and I will redecorate my house and also I can buy the car’

Of course, after that it happened that, it was a hoax, and a lot of people needed to go back home and ran out of money, well, not broke…

They have lost their houses and they have to keep paying the mortgage, which is the most serious part of it.

And now I think they are setting the dation in payment, which is that when you return your house, even if it has lost value, paying the mortgage, but there are a lot of people that is paying the mortgage of a house they don’t own anymore.

And talking about television in Spain, could you tell us a little bit about centralist channels, pro-independence, and how does that go?

Television here in Spain is a little bit… for my taste, a little bit wreck.

That is, there are TV1 and TV2, which go together, at a nactional level.

Eh… Antena 3, Telecinco, Cuatro and La Sexta, which are the youngest, let’s say.

TV1, eh… it goes with what the government says, if the government says ‘go that way’, it goes that way, if it says ‘go that other way’, it goes that other way.

Now here the PP rules, for example, eh… I’m sure they had already a tv serie about the Republic and so, and I’ve heared this, I’m not sure, but they surely told them ‘don’t put this out’, and so they put it away and that’s it.

Then, Antena 3 has always been a little bit more… well… a little bit more right-winger, I mean. A little bit more conservative… eh…

And then, there is Telecinco… and Telecinco, well… eh… reality… reality shows and that, I don’t know how that’s called, gossip shows, Sálvame, all these things, which don’t do anything for television, they exist simply for people to watch them, to watch them so they can think they are doing something when, actually, they are just filling the void in their lives with the great lives that all these minor celebrities have.

After that, there are Cuatro and La Sexta which are a little bit newer.

Cuatro had a little bit more quality, but when the Telecinco group bought it, it went like…

Since the moment when Iñaki Gabilondo left, he stopped presenting the news, that started to decline, now it is exactly the same as Telecinco, all the shows they cannot put in Telecinco, they go to Cuatro.

And La Sexta, which is the… the channel… the most progressive channel, more left-winger, the problem is that the group of Antena 3 also bought it.

And while this group is interested in having it because of audience reasons, they also had to cut the fact of being so left-winger so they could…

Because it is not in their politic interests but they keep it as a little left-winger so they have a wider audience, mainly, which is what they are interested in, in the end.

Then, the catalan television, which is mainly TV3, and Super 3 and 324, which is a 24h news channel, is more or less the same.

They belong to the government and they do as the government says, now the government is setting a pro-independence line, so does TV3.

And I think everything is the same, because, in the end, television here in Spain… even the government’s public television is not here to create cultural nor quality content.

Its purpose is achieving their goals, either economical or political.

An example of this is eh… TV2, they broadcast mass every morning, and they denied broadcasting the Pride Parade because they said that it was not a public interest event.

The fact that in a secular state, mass is considered to be of public interest and a parade that wants to obtain the rights of a minority is not, well, that is a little bit odd, but well, it is like that, and I think that is a little bit what happens with television.

Could you tell us about the existing machismo in the spanish houses, such as woman-kitchen?

Yes… actually, that… sadly, it is still fully integrated in society, yes… You just have to watch a spanish tv serie like ‘Aquí no hay quien viva’ or ‘Aída’, the…

The tipical role of a certain type of woman, even a young one, it’s the one of a woman who is looking for kids or a mother, and she is a homemaker, that is, her duty is cleaning, but has no ambitions beyond the house, and…

The truth is that, eh… Sadly, this is perfectly mirrored in society, because even, even the kids, my grandmother told me this,

for example, my grandmother had seven or eight sons, which is a lot, and a daughter, and her sons never helped her cleaning, setting the table, cooking… and that is why she did everything.

Of course, after that, her daughter didn’t have a job, she stayed in ‘her duties’, and when it comes to my grandmother’s sons, they married women who are in charge of the house and so.

Because, maybe now it’s not that exaggerated but I think it still happens.

Boys are getting used not to do anything and so they are sitting down to a set table, as it is said.

Then, of course, they expect to keep on being like that, they go from living with their parents sitting down to a set table to living with their wife in the exact same way.

It is a little bit like the one who said ‘mum, you’ve been working for me, it is time for you to work for yourself’ when his children are old and they can work for him.

And a little bit, that’s it, I think it is that, a social issue because, em… it is something that has been like that from generation to generation.

Maybe now it is stopping a little, but I think that… this… keps being like that.

What is the meaning behind the Catalan haircut, buzz cut on the sides, and long on top?

For me, the truth is that I find this haircut a little bit ugly, it reminds me of this haircut that was fashionable, that girls shaved one side and the other one remained being long.

This, for what I’ve seen, this started a little bit… in… like anti-fascist groups, maybe punk groups, and also this about the mohican that you said, but…

And after that, it started being fashionable, and when something is fashionable, it loses its roots a little bit.

I mean, the mohican was a recognition, or the bun like that, now that means you’re the coolest, it’s not about recognition against the mainstream, as it is said, now that is being the mainstream.

But this happens with everything, if something, even starting among counterculture, starts being fashionable, it will end up in culture perfectly.

When the counterculture becomes cultural, it converts into culture.

It turns out this is, this happened to my grandmother’s cousin, in her family, they were ‘Reds’ and is was precisely at my village where… where the national army went ashore, that is, when they entered, they went ashore and sepparated Catalonia from Valencia.

And so, when her family saw what was coming, they said ‘we need to go because they’ll get us’, they took a wheelbarrow, they filled it all with things they had, the few things they had, they took the kid, they tied a goat to the wheelbarrow so they had milk for the journey, and they started walking.

But along the road, they were heading towards France by foot, you see… but of course, that was better than being caught, but along the road, they came across all those corpses at the ditch and… and… the image was so dreadful, they could hear the combat from the village and all, they became so frightened on the way, and they said ‘it’s better to be killed at home than being killed on our way there’, and they turned around it the end, and well, they didn’t catch them and that’s it.

But the national army base… a military base at my village because I remember that my grandmother told me that just in front of where they lived, there they were all the Moors that Franco brought from Africa, and they went every morning to my grandmother’s field and took everything they wanted.

In exchange, it is true that sometimes they would give her a little bit of tobacco or food because they did not have any, but it was not an exchange, it was ‘we take this from you because we want to and we give you this because we want to’ and that was it.

Could you tell us a little bit about the differences between university taxes in Catalonia, for example, and a university in Madrid, Basque Country…?

The differences between communities regarding university taxes are very big, that is the truth.

Well, there is also the lab-based weighting factor, that is that a major, let’s say… rocket engineering is more expensive, four times more expensive than a major in history.

Then, that is the degree of lab-based practical work because surely, the cost of studying how to make a rocket is more expensive than history.

But then it is also true that, among communities, the difference can be double.

Maybe a major in Extremadura, for example, is half the price compared to Barcelona or Madrid.

That’s true, there difference is big.

I cannot talk on a concrete examples, because most of my friends are studying here in Catalonia, and those who study abroad, they are not at university or anything, so I cannot really say a lot…