They promised them prosperity in exchange for obedience and they complied. But the reality they found was very different: a future with few exits. Violeta Serrano (León, 1988) belongs to that ultra-prepared generation that decided to emigrate with the 2008 crisis and look in other corners (her in Argentina) for what she could not find in her country.
"Flowers in the trash" (Ariel) is a story as a biographical essay. The adventures of this writer, her journey from Madrid to Argentina and her return in 2017 exemplifies the experience of many other young people, children of democracy and with baby boom parents, with a lost paradise on their backs.
“We had been told that we could be happy, and it was true. Only that the way was another”. He believes that the answer lies within themselves. "Let's not expect anything from anyone. Let us make the present all our heritage”.
What is the biggest scam your generation has experienced from society?
That has been the first shield of the fall of the social contract. Each generation is supposed to get better and with us it was not like that. I divide my generation between the privileged and those who fell off the wagon. I could include myself among the first because, in the end, I ended up at the University, with great teachers and an infrastructure.
"No car, no house, no paid vacation, no love in the bones," you say. Is that the robot portrait of millennials?
Yes, that's how I see it. That idyllic image of "I can choose" was instilled in us. It was enough to go to your professional desire and the rest would come by itself. When we grew up everything was going smoothly, not like in our parents' generation...
You say that your grandmother saw one of her children die for not being able to feed them
Exactly, I think my generation suffers from a lack of memory. You have to have that perspective to come back, because not doing it is very dangerous.
Complaining is a vice?
Unproductive complaining is useless, it completely fucks up the system.
When was the first time you left and why?
Well, I came from a remote town in León, I come from abandoned Spain. At the age of seventeen I land in Barcelona, then I spend a year in France (where I am an emigrant from the south and someone tells me “don't come to take our jobs away”) and then I go to Argentina.
She has always felt very connected to university life. From the UAB you are a member of the anarchist movement. What did you learn at that time, what criteria did you change?
I studied Hispanic and French Philology and Contemporary Literature, with an extraordinary award. Three runs, and it was worth nothing. But I learned from the anarchist movement, “La Rosa de foc” stuck with me and that freedom is the maximum expression of order. I believe in it. Well, at twenty-five I thought: I'm going where culture is an engine.
What does he owe Argentina?
Very much. To begin with, the possibility of having become an adult, emancipating myself (something impossible, even today, for my friends). Then the opportunity. My first day was in a famous bookstore (it no longer exists, a pity) called "Classic and modern", created by Asturian emigrants. Part-time to get papers, I was illegal. Then everything went rolling...
Does European arrogance hurt?
Much. Sometimes Latin America is viewed with contempt. But if it is the cultural communities that are growing! They are the ones with projects. I would ask for more respect from old Europe.
If you were a mother now, would you recommend that your child work toward a college or vocational degree?
I am not, yet, but I believe that everyone has the right to enrich themselves culturally, if they wish, from the university or from any other place. Let's not depreciate other formations. Because I know writers who work cleaning the Buenos Aires subway. Others are taxi drivers...
He uses many quotes heading the chapters of his book. From C.Tangana to Marina Garcés or Gilles Lipovetsky. Which of them would he stay with?
Well, there was a time when I was a punk. Doesn't look like it, does it? So, as a tribute, I keep the quote from the “La Polla Records” song, “Jodiana”, pure evocation. Should we be an object of consumption? Let's turn it around.
He says that he never wanted to work eight hours a day out of obligation... I guess no one.
Eight hours a day doesn't matter to me, as long as it's in my field; actually you are much more when you go for free. What I can't stand is signing, I think it's a shared generational trait.
He insists that young people only have yourselves to, let's say, "save your ass." With what instrument will you be able to get out of this quagmire?
Nobody is saved alone. And less in this capitalist system. The technological networks that were supposed to save us have screwed up our lives. Because if you continue in your bubble, how do you build community?
Have you ever had to “lower” your resume to get a simple job? In order not to be discarded by her “too prepared”.
It didn't happen to me personally, but I know a very cultured friend, with a spectacular resume, who when she wanted to start working in one of the big bookstores in this city, received this response: "you are so good that, as soon as you can, you will go and leave us" . They didn't take it from her.
"Low wages and shitty contracts." Does the young man have to resign himself or rebel against it?
It is the State that must be there, must innovate. You have to get into your head that they don't come looking for you at home, you have to go out, but you need institutional help. And about the self-employed, let's not even talk about it, that's a yoke...
Who do you trust politically?
You know how this goes, with politicians: one day you fall in love with one and the next day he breaks your heart. But put to vote, well, better one that bets on the minimum wage, right? In terms of leadership, I believe in those who do not go to the clash, to the anger, the transversal ones. Right now Yolanda Díaz gives me confidence, but she already knows… “right now”.