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From Marx to Martinis: Heard the one about Spain's former far-left leader who opened a bar?

From Marx to Martinis: Heard the one about Spain's former far-left leader who opened a bar?

The cocktail list reads like a who's who of left-wing politics which would surely please any die-hard enemies of capitalism.

Take your pick from the Marcos Margarita, the Fidel Mojito, Ché daquiri, Mandela Zulu, Gramsci Negroni, Evita Martini, Pasionara Puerto de Valencia, First We Take Manhattan, Durruti Dry Martini and the Ludmila Vodka.

This drinks list is the work of none other than Pablo Iglesias, the former leader of the Spanish far-left party Podemos, who has decided to turn away from politics to open a bar.

But he could hardly leave is political roots behind; it is called La Taberna Garibaldi, in reference to the battalion which defended the Spanish Republic from General Francisco Franco's uprising during the 1936-1939 civil war.

"Taverns are the last bastion of the working class", as the Czech-Austrian Marxist philosopher Karl Kautsky said is one of the signs on the bar, which is expected to open next week in the Lavapies area of Madrid. 

When Podemos started in 2012, this party which started as a protest movement re-wrote the course of the country's political history when it did away with the two-party system which dominated this young democracy. 

In 2019, Pablo Iglesias signed a coalition deal with Spain's Socialist leader and then caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
In 2019, Pablo Iglesias signed a coalition deal with Spain's Socialist leader and then caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. - Paul White/The AP. All rights reserved

Serving the people, serving drinks

Over a decade later, perhaps tired of the polarisation of Spanish politics, Iglesias has chosen to take a different course to fight for the rights of the workers: through drink.

The bar will also offer social and cultural evenings perhaps with Iglesias holding forth on the benefits of socialist life.

For the bar to survive in the capitalist world of modern day Spain, it will have to turn a profit, of course.

Either way, Iglesias would not be the first politician to duck out of the hassle of trying to make the world a better place and opt for an easier life.

Ed Balls, the British former Minister of State for Children, Schools and Families, left politics and appeared to the nation's delight on Strictly Come Dancing, a television show in which famous people try to prove they can dance.  He now presents Good Morning Britain, a daily television programme.

Ed Balls and dancing partner Katya Jones appear at the BAFTA awards in London, May 14.
Ed Balls and dancing partner Katya Jones appear at the BAFTA awards in London, May 14. - Joel Ryan/Copyright 2017 The AP. All rights reserved.

Perhaps morning television is not without its stresses, but it's far removed from the rough and tumble of the Houses of Parliament.

Others, of course, have opted to take the other route - going from unusual jobs into the front line of politics.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known by her initials AOC, is an American politician and activist for the Democrat Party.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asks a question during a House Oversight subcommittee.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asks a question during a House Oversight subcommittee. - Jacquelyn Martin/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved.

She used to be a bar tender and had to get up to catch the train to work at 6am where her employers insisted her appearance was a plus.

Equally, Sarah Wiener - who was known as the Jamie Oliver of Germany - gave up the life of a celebrity chef to enter the distinctly less glamorous climes of the European Parliament.

Green MEP Sarah Wiener first became famous as a restaurateur and celebrity chef.
Green MEP Sarah Wiener first became famous as a restaurateur and celebrity chef. - AP2009

Wiener is a member of the Green Party and is helping to steer through the European Union 'Food to Fork' initiative to make agriculture more sustainable.

Whether there is a relationship between politicians and drinking or eating culture is a matter of debate but it seems quite an open door between the two worlds of politics and gastronomy.