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Singing the Praises of the Beautiful Banks

The Co-operative bank has had various scandals in recent years, financial and otherwise. The Co-op 'brand' has decided it needs to clean up its image. The result is a current television advertising campaign which is as preposterous as it is insulting to our intelligence. The television ads are voiced by Russell Brand’s former radio show on-air commentator, George The Poet, who utters ponderous platitudes as if these capitalist high-street banks and supermarkets were some kind of socialist utopia. In fact, of course, today’s Co-op bears hardly even a trace of the idealism of the Rochdale Pioneers of 1844. Like the John Lewis Partnership, it has long succumbed to the pressure to act just like any other profit-hungry, hierarchical corporation within a capitalist world.

Editorial: The Whole of Capitalism is Unacceptable

Following the 2010 General Election, the new government published the Conservative- Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement. In this initial policy document were proposals to reform banking, which stated: “We will bring forward detailed proposals for robust action to tackle unacceptable bonuses in the financial services sector...” But what is an “unacceptable bonus”?

Should RBS bank boss Stephen Hester have been forced into waiving all his bonus, worth almost a million pounds? Is it okay that Barclays Bank Chief Executive Bob Diamond is getting a bonus estimated to be around £2million: or should it be less? The total amount of bonuses to be shared out around the City for the 2011-2012 period is £4.2 billion – that’s £2.5bn less than in 2010-2011 but peanuts compared with profits that capitalist firms rake in. Is that still too much? What should the amount be?

Bankers Bonus Bonanza

Pigs, fat cats or scapegoats?

Bankers are unpopular. Not the ordinary bank teller or the back-up IT staff, but the directors and top managers who award themselves huge salaries and big bonuses. They are so unpopular, in fact, that the chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, Stephen Hester, has been forced to give up a bonus of nearly £1m while his predecessor, Sir Fred Goodwin, has been stripped of his knighthood.

Cooking the Books: “We are the 99 percent”

SO PROCLAIM some of those who called for the occupation of Wall Street, explaining: “We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we’re working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent” (

A powerful appeal - the sort of thing we might say ourselves. But who are “the other 1 percent” that are getting the best of everything? According to WeAreThe99percent, “they are the banks, the mortgage  industry, the insurance industry”, by which they presumably mean the rich people who own and control these financial corporations. But is that all of them? Apparently. But if so, this is wrong.

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