Spanish activists raise money to sue bank boss at center of financial crisis

A group of Spanish activists organized under the #QuerellaPaRato ("Lawsuit for Rato") hashtag, have raised a large private fund to pay for a civil action against Rodrigo Rato, the disgraced former chairman of Bankia, one of the banks at the heart of the Spanish financial crisis. The activists also plan on paying private investigators to amass as dossier detailing Rato's wrongdoings in the hopes that Spain's prosecutors will bring criminal charges against the banker.

In the first 12 hours of the campaign, organisers reported that dozens of Bankia shareholders, as well as former employees, agreed to testify against Rato in a lawsuit. According to a survey by Spanish paper El País, 91% of respondents want an investigation of Rato's management of Bankia...

"Bankia did not last even two years; how is it that Rodrigo Rato leaves his position, hastily and receiving millions in compensations without anyone in an institution having asked nothing before, without anyone asking for an explanation, and nobody asking for an investigation? The Spanish political class is complicit in covering up anything that could have happened, and even more troubling, will continue to do so."

Demanding #QuerellaPaRato (via Techdirt)

Top RBS bankster's compensation in visual context


Dunchead of amazingstuff.co.uk sez, "RBS boss Stephen Hester has accepted his bonus of £963,000 on top of his annual salary of £1.2 million. RBS is 80% owned by the UK taxpayer. This image represents his annual income as 2.2 million pixels, comparing it in 'income parade' style with other taxpayer-employed workers."

RBS boss Stephen Hester's annual salary and bonus represented in pixels (Thanks, Dunchead!)

Who's occupying Wall Street, and why is the NYT only interested in the kooks?

Writing in The Nation, Allison Kilkenny offers an angry rebuttal to Ginia Bellafante's NYT article on the Occupy Wall Street demonstration, which paints the protesters as "scatterbrained, sometimes borderline-psychotic transients." Kilkenny attended the same demonstration, and while she also saw "super-loud and eye-catching" demonstrators, she mostly found herself talking to everyday people who'd lost everything, like Matthew, a 40 year old father of two: "My home has been seized, I’m unemployed, there’s no job prospects on the horizon. I have two children and I don’t see a future for them. This is the only way I see to effect change. This isn’t a progressive issue. This is an American issue."

While the left loses the valuable organizational mechanism of unions, the right has gained corporate masters like the Koch brothers to disseminate millions of dollars into astroturfing campaigns to organize and destroy on their behalf. While the left makes signs, the right has already deployed troupes to scream at town hall events.

These are the kinds of massive oppositional forces activists find themselves facing these days: an incredibly oppressive police state and a corporate cash monster bearing down on them from the right. Meanwhile, their union support army is either in retreat or preoccupied fighting other battles on other fronts in Wisconsin or Ohio, or one of the other forty-eight states where anti-union legislation was introduced this year courtesy of ALEC, a front group that serves as proxy for corporate interests.

Instead of bemoaning the fact that protesters haven’t arrived in matching uniforms with a coherent PowerPoint presentation, these are the issues we should be addressing. Of course the majority of Zuccotti Park occupiers are young, brash and lost. They’d have to be to do something like this, and risk getting hypothermia for the chance to be ignored and belittled by the media. Young people are always the first ones willing to risk comfort and security for the romantic vision of a better tomorrow.

(via Reddit and Beth Pratt)