Crisis, British bankers, and teenagers

United States financial crisis, cartoon

From British daily The Morning Star:

Having a bit of a laugh

(Thursday 16 October 2008)

MANY people might have had a bit of a laugh about Harry Fletcher‘s call for bankers who have been complicit in current financial turmoil to be subject to ASBOs.

Or they might have imagined that the probation officers’ union deputy general secretary was being slightly mischievous.

But the importance of what he was saying only becomes evident when you see how Britain’s poor are treated by the legal system and how they are portrayed in the media and then compare that with the treatment of the bankers.

ASBOs are almost exclusively directed against working-class youth, especially on rundown housing estates where unemployment and general hopelessness have served to alienate them.

The anti-social behaviour that they are accused of is no joke. It often makes life a misery for other residents, especially for the elderly.

But the reality is that an ASBO is awarded without its recipient having been found guilty of any crime and breaking the terms of an ASBO can then lead to a custodial sentence, once again without the formality of a youngster being charged and convicted in court.

How do their misdemeanours of graffiti, shouting abuse and making a lot of noise compare with the very real crimes of the financial bosses who have gambled with people’s money to enrich themselves and then looked to other people to pick up the pieces?

The banking directors who walk away from the wreckage that they create don’t do so with a tag on their leg.

It’s usually with a golden handshake.

And they are still treated in the financial pages of the heavies as respectable businessmen who did well to create “value” when their gambling paid off and who are regarded now as a bit unlucky to have come unstuck.

They are not the unlucky ones. Those who are really cursed by bad luck are the staff working at many of these newly impoverished financial institutions who will pay with their jobs for a crisis that they had no part in creating.

And, while bank staff will find it difficult to find comparable jobs in recession conditions, the fat cats still have their ill-gotten gains to keep them warm and will probably slip back into a boardroom somewhere.

So who are the scroungers? Is it those who cost individual banks billions of pounds and thousands of bank staff their jobs or those left to rot in impoverished communities on benefits or low-paid work?

New Labour pledged, when it won the 1997 election, that it would tackle poverty and hopelessness. It was applauded for promising that it would halve child poverty by 2010.

With one in three children in poverty, it is clear that this target will not be met, so the government has updated the target to abolition of child poverty by 2020. What an exercise in cynicism.

If the government is serious about tackling child poverty, it must increase the national minimum wage to a level that makes a difference instead of insulting the poor and waging war against them.

And it must prioritise construction of council houses and investment in infrastructure to provide many more well-paid jobs instead of casual work and valueless training schemes.

3 thoughts on “Crisis, British bankers, and teenagers


    October 24: March on Wall Street

    Oct 24 March on Wall Street
    Friday, October 24 – 3-6:30 pm
    Federal Hall – 26 Wall Street

    Nationally Coordinated, Local Mass Actions

    October 24 – 27


    endorse volunteer/list local activity
    donate to help with organizing expenses

    The stock markets are crashing, the world economy is headed into a deep recession or even depression, and the U.S. government and its top bankers, along with their counterparts around the world, are giving what’s going to amount to trillions of dollars to bailout the richest 1 percent of the people WHILE DOING NOTHING TO RESCUE ORDINARY WORKING AND POOR PEOPLE!

    We must stand up and say no to this injustice! NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT.

    With that in mind, we are calling for Nationally Coordinated Local Days of Action on the weekend of October 24-27.

    During October 24-27, organize marches and demonstrations in front of banks, especially JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citibank, or at your local Federal Reserve Bank. Organize a teach-in or a public hearing on the Wall Street crisis, etc.


    The following are some of the growing list of emergency measures that people across the country will be raising at protests during the Days of Action:

    * Emergency moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions
    * No budget cuts in education, healthcare and all social services
    * No layoffs, extend unemployment benefits
    * No utility shut-offs
    * Debt relief for students, poor and working people
    * Protect public and private pensions
    * Jobs at a living wage

    We are asking for grassroots, community and youth organizations, trade unionists, anti-racist forces, the anti-war movement and everyone who’s just mad as hell about the “bailout” to both endorse this call, and take ownership of it. Plan actions during this period of time in your cities across the country.

    Partial List of Initiators:

    * Ad-hoc National Network to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions
    * Moratorium Now Coalition To Stop Foreclosures and Evictions (Michigan)
    * Labor/Community Coalition to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions (California)
    * Service Employees International Union, Local 721
    * Latino Caucus, SEIU Local 721
    * Gloria Saucedo, Hermandad Mexicana Nacional
    * NYC Councilmember Charles Barron
    * The Harlem Tenants Council
    * NY May 1 Coalition For Immigrant and Workers Rights
    * Chris Silvera, Secretary Treasurer, Teamster Local 808
    * Brenda Stokely, New York Solidarity Coalition with Katrina/Rita Survivors
    * La Peña Del Bronz
    * Trabahadores Por La Paz
    * Rebel Diaz
    * Queers for Peace and Justice
    * Women’s Fight back Network (Massachusetts)
    * Frantz Mendes, President, USW local 8751 (Boston School Bus Union)
    * Action Center for Justice (North Carolina)
    * FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together)
    * Troops Out Now Coalition
    * …and hundreds more


  2. Hi Kitty, completely off the topic, but I wanted to link to your post on Brilliante awards. I can’t find it anywhere in your archives. Did you delete it? In any event, things are quiet, so I wanted to take time to thank you on my blog. Mostly, I’ve been posting in a hurry and on the spur of the moment. Thanks again.


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