By Paco Puche
Booty will be for some merely a type of footwear; For others, it will mean what a group of citizens seize who goes, robs a bank and shares the “harvest”; and for others, more and more, it will be the opposite of the above, what a bank seizes its citizens when they go to request its services and then distribute the benefits.
This polysemic term is perceived differently according to people and circumstances.
Thus, for some it will be merely a type of footwear; For others, for the most part, it will mean what a group of citizens seize who goes, robs a bank and shares the "harvest"; and for others, more and more, it will be the opposite of the above, what a bank seizes its citizens when they go to request its services and then distribute the benefits.
Curiously, this term, seen from its origins, we know that it comes from the French butin and this, in turn, from the medieval German bûte. Coincidences of life.
What we can suspect is that the latter meaning is the one that is being imposed in the collective imagination. And it is not that they believe in the conspiracy theory or in other strange things, it is that everyone already knows that it has been the banks that have received all the public money (from citizens) for their rescue; they, who have been the ones who have caused the disaster. For example, it is calculated at more than 7.7 trillion dollars (1) what the US Federal Reserve has contributed to bailing out banks (more than half of its GDP), and that European banks have received in both In recent years, aid worth 1.6 billion euros, compared to the real economy, which has only received 11.7 billion euros, a hundred times less.
Meanwhile, people lose their houses because they cannot pay their mortgages and do not receive even the slightest help, not even the modest proposal of "dation in payment" is legislated so as not to have to, while losing their home, be persecuted by the bank for life. The sacrosanct Constitution can be changed in a while, but enforcing it is impossible. The articles of rights that recognize that of work and that of housing cause a sinister laugh, they are dead paper.
For this reason, the inverse meaning, the meaning that defines “loot” as that outrage that banks perpetrate on citizens in an institutional way, is the one that deserves to occupy the place of honor in the dictionaries, which is the one it occupies in the mind of the people. The language is the democratic speech, not the imposed norm.
It is surprising that even the OECD, an entity that groups together the 34 richest countries in the world and has an advisory nature, denounces today that the gap between rich and poor has widened and has reached the largest of the differences of the last 30 years, that in 2008. So the crisis has benefited the rich. That is why 15M rightly says: "it is not a crisis, it is a scam." And Warren Buffet, one of the world's greatest magnates, affirms that “of course there is a class struggle. But it is my class, that of the rich, that has started this fight. And we are winning ”.
But can there be good rich people? No, because their wealth is at the cost of poverty, exploitation, plunder, hunger and misery of the many. If there were no maquilas, Zara would not exist. If workers had not been subjected to the asbestos genocide for a hundred years, there would be no Holcim, no tycoon Schmidheiny, and no AVINA. And yes, there can be good rich people, because they cannot prevent the capitalist system from inexorably driving them to the exploitation and misery of the majority. In other words, many of the benefits that the system brings them cannot be avoided. For this reason, to be really good they have to stop being rich, compensating their victims.
The system is thus far worse than the avarice of the rich, Madoff type, or their Calvinistic justifications. Morality (or corporate social responsibility) cannot fix the mess that capitalism has led us to. This is inherently critical and unequal. The crisis is the fault of a system that is inexorably governed by laws and mechanisms that lead to exponential growth that collides with the finiteness of the planet, and to an overproduction in the market, also exponential, which makes food abundant, for example, in the midst of atrocious hunger. Inequality depends on the state of the class struggle, as the rich know well.
José Luis Sampedro, in his conversations with Carlos Taibo (2), tells that back in 1959, in the middle of the Stabilization Plan, the national income fell, which did not prevent the banks, despite the crisis, from continuing to win. A journalist asked a banker from the Spanish Credit Bank: "But hey, Don Pablo, how is it possible that when the country produces less, the banks, on the other hand, earn more?" Don Pablo Garnica, with the most honest truth, answered candidly: “We couldn't help it”.
For all these reasons, the diagnosis of the American historian J. Gora is spot on. He says, “As our current history appears to us full of stupid political measures, greedy financiers, free-market charlatans, white-collar thieves and self-serving politicians, and as banks foreclose on the homes of millions of families, workers lose their jobs and lifetime savings disappear, we understand why the wild career of the outlaw Dillinger so fascinated America in the 1930s. "
In case there were doubts, the big banks, in addition to seizing the collective money and assets, are taking over the governments of the countries. Obama obtained one of the largest contributions to his campaign from Goldman Sachs, a bank that saw its largesse rewarded with placing its relevant executives in key positions in the US economy. Likewise, today we are witnessing how this great bank places its former managers in the front ranks of the governments of Greece and Italy and at the head of the almighty European Central Bank, undeterred. According to many analysts, this has amounted to a covert coup (3). In Spain, the new right-wing government has just appointed a member of the global executive committee of the financial institution Lehman Brothers as minister of economy, which in 2008 led to the largest bankruptcy in history. Marc Roche, a prestigious journalist and London correspondent for the French newspaper Le Monde published in 2010 a book with the significant title The Bank: How Goldman Sachs Runs the World, for which he has received the award given by French journalists to the best economic essay of the year. For more abundance, today we know that in fourteen European countries those responsible for finances come from the banking system. The banking plutocracy outright rules the world.
But let's go down the scale when talking about “loot” and let's say we are talking about Banco Santander, so as not to beat around the bush. The first thing to note is that the man known as Emilio Botín, the public face of the bank, who is still very rich and powerful, barely owns 1.7% of the shares of said bank; about 50% of them are currently held by large North American investment groups. Botín is more of a luxury front man for those other interests. That is why “his” entity has been called the “American Bank of Santander”.
Still, as we said, it has enormous power. For example, as Alberto Montero has precisely documented in his magnificent article (4) “A public danger is on the loose”, for the CEO of Banco Santander, Alfredo Sáenz, the dying socialist government, in a last breath, has generated a pardon for such a character, who proposes to end the Welfare State in a few years, and that in March 2011 the Supreme Court, although reducing the sentence, sentenced him to three months in prison and disqualification from performing banking functions, for the crime of false accusation. In return, he will have to pay a fine of 144,000 euros. Sáenz charges nine million euros a year plus other gabelas, so the fine will be laughable.
But nothing like the following domestic matter explains the immense power of money and its holders. In the book by Juan Torres (5) entitled The financial crisis, we can read: “Whoever has money has power. Power of satisfaction and power of decision. Take an example. As reported by the website El Confidencial on September 21, 2006 during the years 1988 and 1989, Santander handled about half a billion pesetas of black money that came from more or less unspeakable sources of financing ... The Bank gave the treasury false information about 9,566 operations for a value of 145,120 million pesetas. To this end, he did not hesitate to declare deceased persons, non-resident emigrants, elderly disabled people, etc. as holders. "As a result of the discovery of these irregularities, the prosecution requested that the president of Santander, Emilio Botín," a total of 170 years imprisonment and a fine of 7.6 billion pesetas (46.2 million euros) and a civil liability of 14.1 billion pesetas (84.9 million euros), which is damage caused to public finances ”. Well, the newspaper El País reported on May 27, 2008 that the former Minister of Economy, Rodrigo Rato, to defend himself from the accusations of alleged favors, presented a letter from the former Secretary of State for Justice and now Vice President, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, on April 25, 1996, in which she requested that instructions be sent to the State Attorney not to direct any criminal action against the aforementioned bank. Thanks to which its president was not even j judged by those actions ”. No comment.
The plutocracy in Spain also appears from the hand of another large bank, JP Morgan & Chase (6), an entity that according to Forbes magazine is the largest company in the world. Of the Banco Santander shares, at least 20% is in the hands of subsidiaries of this JP Morgan that manage them as investment funds of groups of shareholders and investors. In addition, they own shares in 14 Ibex 35 companies, that is, this bank has great interests in our country and pressures to impose policies favorable to their interests. But it does not appear anywhere, and it is that as Roberto Mazorra (7) says in the Diagonal newspaper as well as “in Greece, Ireland and Portugal they have done it in a notorious way, in Spain it is more subtle and allows its Spanish allies (BBVA , Banco Santander, PP and PSOE) take care of the dirty work "
Capital plan B
Capitalism uses at least four different strategies in its profit-maximizing purpose, which we describe as follows:
Plan A: Continue with business as usual (business as usual): which succinctly consists of the following: buy low and sell high; exploitation and maquila; dispossession and looting of common property; lobbies; cooptation of politicians; favorable laws; destruction of nature and privatizations ...
Plan C: The debt trap and the shock doctrine: what was inflicted on the so-called Third World (8) decades ago and what is being done now in Europe: it is the so-called “structural adjustment, where dictatorially and visibly the big capital (multinationals and finance)
Plan D: Employ brute force. This practice is well known and related in detail by one who says of himself that he was an economic gangster, John Perkins (9), which consists of: either sending hit men and making the resistance disappear (Torrijos), or making a boycott (Cuba ), or in giving a coup (Chile) or in invading the country (Vietnam, Iraq or Libya)
And Plan B: what is the position of green and "friendly" capitalism
This last method is specified in two tactics: one, the so-called “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) of large companies. We will dispatch it quickly with a sentence spoken by one of their qualified representatives. This is the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility of Mapfre (10). He has said in an act of sincerity that he is thanked: "deep down, a good part of what is heard in CSR is rooted in that cosmetic purpose that always accompanies us in the company." Pure facade.
The other tactic is that of legitimizing philanthropy: which is the sum of maneuvers aimed at gaining consensus, legitimizing and legalizing all forms of enrichment, achieving obedience and complicity, advertising its objectives as if they were identical to society and, on many occasions, to grassroots movements and to discredit the alternatives as attacks or as utopian. Because "there are no alternatives" to the market and capital, the end of history has been reached, they say.
But perhaps, when they infiltrate social resistance movements, the goal is much more subtle. As Michel Chossudvsky (11) says: “The complex network of NGOs –including segments of alternative media- are used by corporate elites to shape and manipulate the protest movement (…) the purpose is not to repress dissent, but, for the on the contrary, to shape and mold the resistance movement, to establish the limits of dissent "
Therefore, today, one of the challenges facing the social resistance movements themselves is to unmask and protect themselves from these leaks of big capital, disguised in green, within them. Draw a clear red line. As Galafassi and Dimitriu (12) argue: “Undoubtedly, these business B plans, paid by technicians, intellectuals and certain NGOs (some for salaries and others only for vocation) are the greatest challenge to be overcome by the civil resistance , since at night all cats are brown "
The Hidden Lobby (13)
From all this it follows that the penetration that big capital carries out in social movements responds to a premeditated plan. Indeed, two foundations in a relevant way share the task in Spain and Latin America, they are called AVINA and Ashoka. The first linked to the genocidal asbestos business in the world throughout the 20th century, the second, among other entities of capitalism, especially linked to the JP Morgan bank, which we have already seen how subtly it was being implanted in Spain. To improve their productivity in favor of big capital, both entities have had a strategic agreement for more than 16 years: they share ideology, finances, partners, plans, etc. They are the same. For this reason, the tandem, linked to asbestos for the rest, has been called "The triple A: Asbestos, AVINA, Ashoka", with that name nobody forgets their origins or their links.
That Ashoka is linked to JP Morgan is stated in the BOE (14). There you can read that the President of the foundation in Spain is Carl F. Muñana. From this man we have learned that he is an international investment banker, whose attention is currently focused on the area of innovative social investment strategies, and that a large part of his career was spent as Managing Director of JP Morgan & Co at the head of the portfolio Latin American risk. In addition to these very close ties to JPMorgan, Ashoka has good relations with Goldman Sachs. In fact, in 2005, when the philanthropist began to work in Western Europe, it obtained a contribution from this other large bank of about 10 million dollars, and in 2007 Goldman contributed 1.1 million more dollars for Ashoka to start its ventures in the United Kingdom.
It is thus understood that, having been operating in Spain for only six years, the founder of Ashoka has been awarded the Prince of Asturias for this edition. All quite consistent.
Let's see how these foundations are working in various sectors chosen from among many others.
A relevant case is the attempt to penetrate the educational system and, in general, teaching. On November 29, Rosa Cañadasll, spokesperson for the USTEC union. STEs, denounced in Rebelión, in an article entitled "The company within the school", which tried to carry out "the introduction of entrepreneurship in our educational system" with the program "Catalonia, school of entrepreneurs", for which it is intended instill entrepreneurship in all educational stages. He also denounced that an agreement had been signed between the Department of Education of the Generalitat and the private foundation “Empieza por Educar”.
Ashoka also participates in this infiltration of teaching. Indeed, two of its partners, or social entrepreneurs, Raúl Contreras and Roser Batlle have established an alliance with the entity Fiare, an incipient ethical bank, to bring “financial education to our children and young people” in schools, institutes and universities. , to "empower students and their environments of influence before the financial system" and "to spread the reality of the Fiare project", according to themselves. The final objective of these proposals is "to include elements of financial education in the curriculum of the educational system (...) on an ongoing basis."
The “Empieza por Educar” foundation, according to the aforementioned union, “is chaired by Patricia Botín and endorsed by Banco Santander. (…) The foundation is a subsidiary of the multinational “Teach for All” (entity) in which banks such as JP Morgan participate ”and which is sponsored by multinationals such as Wal-Mart and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. With these wickers it is not strange to know that it is an ultra-liberal entity. The signed agreement allows the foundation, with its own professionals, to take charge of direct teaching during school hours of the ESO students, "in disadvantaged conditions and with learning difficulties", in public centers. Teaching will be given by professionals chosen and paid by the foundation, with the right to stay in the center and to participate in the evaluation of the students. First step for the privatization and devaluation of public teachers.
It should be noted that in Madrid, the struggles of the teachers have managed to stop the implementation, in public institutes, of an agreement with the private foundation “Empieza por Educar” signed by the Community of Madrid, similar to the one agreed in Catalonia.
These initiatives are being dubbed "the spoils of high school."
As for other teachings, Ashoka has entered the private entity called Universidad Rural Paulo Freire, selecting and hiring one of its founders as a social entrepreneur with all the corresponding rights and obligations, with the aim of developing the aforementioned University with funding that you have contributed over the past three years. Through this operation, the aforementioned University has been linked to Ashoka, and as well as for social entrepreneurs it must be difficult to get rid of this contractual commitment, since Ashoka tries to enter into personal life contracts, entities such as the aforementioned Rural University may well dispose of the ties contracted by denouncing the contract, once the financing has been concluded.
In this chapter of teaching and from the perspective of the infiltration of big capital in it, we must highlight the fruitful alliance between the Avina Foundation and the educational entity Entreculturas-Fe y Alegría linked to the Jesuits. Avina has financed this entity significantly, as recognized by the grantees themselves. The origin of the original accumulation of Avina's capital that comes from the asbestos genocide must never be forgotten, so it is reasonable to expect that serious entities financed by these philanthropic foundations not only stop being benefited, but also return the amounts received , once its source is known, to compensate the hundreds of thousands of victims of the asbestos business in the world. Regardless of the compensation that the criminal procedure will impose on magnate Schmidheiny.
It seems that we have deviated from the "loot" issue, but nothing is further from the truth. On the one hand, the mutual relations between JP Morgan, Banco de Santander and Ashoka, and between JP Morgan and Avina and asbestos (“The triple A”) have been well established; on the other hand, The Botín Foundation (which is not the same as the one directed by Patricia Botín, mentioned above) has reached an agreement with Ashoka in its search program for “solidarity talents” as they are called. They will invest, they say, five million euros in this operation until 2015. Entities aspiring to host the chosen professionals and to benefit from this program must be endorsed by the Ashoka organization, as stated by the aforementioned Botín Foundation. Nothing more normal given the good relations of JP Morgan with Santander and Ashoka: they are almost the same thing.
Santander also maintains good relations with Avina. For example, at the Ibero-American Sustainable Development Meeting (EIMA), organized by the Conama Foundation, in Sao Paulo, last October, the Green Economy workshop was hosted by Banco de Santander and Ecodes as one of the coordinators. This foundation was represented by its director Víctor Viñuales in whose curriculum we can see that he is a member of the Greenpeace Council, a member of the INDITEX Social Council and a member of the Avina Foundation's International Bridges Advisory Council, among other titles. We already have Santander and Avina hand in hand.
Finally, and without pretending to be exhaustive (to show a "loot"), we must refer to the relationships and alliances of alternative entities with these conglomerates of power and money. As a further warning.
It is about the appearance of the Botín Foundation together with the Rural Platform and the town of Amayuelas in the realization of the project called Campo Adentro, in the chapter they call "preparatory meeting", within the program of the foundation entitled "solidarity talent". This project also has generous support from the Ministries of Culture and Rural Affairs until 2013 (BOE No. 186, Thursday, August 4, 2011 Sec. III. Page 89530), as well as entities such as the Museo Reina Sofía and the House On. Of course, taking into account the conditions of the Botín Foundation in its “solidarity talent” program, the Rural Platform had to be endorsed by Ashoka, which is otherwise consistent since the President of the aforementioned Platform, until a few weeks ago, He is an Ashoka entrepreneur, and that despite the fact that the aforementioned Platform clearly pretends to be an alternative. These inconsistencies prove how consolidated the infiltration of philanthro-capitalism into alternative social movements is still consolidated in our country, and the lack of internal democracy within them that tolerate this type of dualist representations.
Let's hope that all these demonstrations and warnings will make the social movements regain their radical independence and prevent the institutions of big capital from crossing the red line in the future, especially those that synthesize what we have called "The triple A".
… All this requires a regeneration of all the alternative entities that have agreed with these foundations and their links (Banco Santander, JP Morgan, Fundación Botín, etc.), and an explicit public stance rejecting Avina and Ashoka, as has been already carried out in several Latin American alternative organizations. In Avina's case, the money received belongs to the countless asbestos victims and their families, former victims and those to come in the next thirty years. Justice demands his compensation.
The fight against “triple A”, however disproportionate it may seem, can be won. Waiting for this is justified, especially on a day like today, which invites us to think that larger towers and hotels have fallen.
If we do not publicly reject the "Triple A" and we do not regenerate the alternative movements, we are not credible.
The fact that Billy Wilder, in his memorable 1959 film “Con skirts ya lo loco”, gave the film's gangster the name “Booties” is a mere coincidence…, but for those who believe in morphic resonances it can be very significant .
Nothing is perfect.
Paco puche, December 2011
(1) Gelman, J. (2011) "Those who cut the pizza", in Rebelión, December 9
(2) Sampedro, J.L. and Taibo, C. (2006), Conversations on politics, market and coexistence, La Catarata
(3) Mario Monti, hastily appointed senator for life to take office as Italian Prime Minister, has co-chaired the Trilateral Commission, being a prominent member of the exclusive Billderberg Group of economists and adviser to Goldman Sachs and Coca Cola. Mario Draghi, Governor of the European Central Bank is a former Goldman Sachs executive. Lucas Papademo, Greek Prime Minister, is a former vice president of the ECB and headed the Central Bank of Greece, working with Goldman Sachs to devise complex derivative instruments that would disguise the size of his government's debt and thus allow it to enter the euro.
(4) Montero, A. (2011), "A danger is on the loose", El Obsevador, December 5
(5) Torres, J. (2009), The financial crisis guide to understand and explain it, Attac 2009
(6) JP Morgan & Chase is the huge banking corporation resulting from the merger of the banks founded by John Pierpont Morgan and the Rockefeller family (Chase Manhattan Bank). Despite her enormous power, she has not been able to prevent last February from being indicted by the US Court for alleged complicity in the Bernard Madoff fraud
(7) Mazorra, R (2011), "The American Bank of Santander", in Diagonal, May 17
(8) Splendidly recounted by Naomi Klein (2007) in: The shock doctrine. The rise of disaster capitalism. Paidos.
(9) Perkins, J. (2005): I was an economic gangster. The hidden face of American imperialism Trends.
(10) Mapfre (2008), The new Monday, June 16
(11) Chossudovsky, M. (2010), “Globalists and elites control popular movements”, in http://www.forumdesalternatives.org/…
(12) Galafassi, G. Dimitriu, A. (2007), “The“ B ”Plan of mining capitals”, in Theomai Magazine, nº15, first semester, p.1
(13) Puche, P. (2011), “The hidden lobby”, El Observador, October 13
(14) BOE no. 256, Saturday 25 October 2003, 38226
(15) Web: http://www.philanthropyuk.org/… accessed on December 6, 2011