workers freedom

economics as if workers mattered

Tag Archives: solidarity

ASR 74

cover 74The new Anarcho-Syndicalist Review is on the way to the printer.

ASR 74 (Summer 2018) Contents:

Wobbles: Grand Theft Paycheck, Right to Work, Fare-Free Transit, World Bank Attacks Labor Rights …

International Labor News Compiled by Mike Hargis

Stephen Hawking (1940-2018) And Us  by Frank Mintz, translated by Maria Gil

Immokalee Workers Protest Wendy’s  by John Kalwaic

Israelis Protest for African Refugees by Raymond S. Solomon

ARTICLES: Teachers Rise Up  by Jon Bekken

Notes on Anarchist Economics by Iain McKay

Liberal Illusions & Delusions  by Wayne Price

‘It’s Like A Rainbow’: Australian Political Watermelons by Tony Sheather

Wobblies of the World  Review essay by Jon Bekken

Yours for Industrial Freedom Review by Jon Bekken

The Dead End of Electoralism by Wayne Price

Some libertarian insights on fascism  by Sarthak Tomar

REVIEWS: Overcoming the Politics of Division & Fear Review essay by Wayne Price

Anarchists Never Surrender Review by Iain McKay

The Anvil of War Review by Jeff Stein

Anarchists in the Bavarian Revolution Review by Thomas Klikauer

Bookchin’s Revolution Review by Iain McKay

Left of the Far Left Review by Raymond Solomon

Anarchism in Galicia  Review by Jeff Stein

The Limerick Brigadistas Film review by John Kalwaic

LETTERS: Fighting on Every Front


Building a culture of solidarity against fascism and bigotry

As I write, Spanish riot police are attacking Catalan firefighters as they attempt to protect voters from brutal assaults – hundreds have been seriously injured in a level of state violence against Spain’s citizens not seen since the death of the fascist dictator Francisco Franco. Across the planet, openly fascist and racist politicians are entering government, assaults on immigrants are becoming routine, and workers and their unions are under full-scale attack.

In the United States, armed fascists recently paraded in the streets of Charlottesville, chanting Nazi slogans, threatening Jewish worshippers in a synagogue, attacking African-American clergy, and murdering Heather Heyer, one of thousands who took to the streets to challenge the fascist hordes. In Portland, a fascist murdered two people who intervened when he began shouting racist and anti-Muslim insults at two young women riding a streetcar. In Seattle, on the same day that Trump took office, a fascist shot and nearly killed an IWW member trying to de-escalate a conflict that erupted when her husband began assaulting protesters with pepper spray after warning her not to start shooting until things escalated, so that they could claim self-defense. (Police released the shooter and her accomplice within hours, only bringing assault charges three months later.)

After 50 years of stagnating wages, speed-ups, unprecedented joblessness, and rising despair, people are understandably angry. But rather than focusing that anger on our exploiters and organizing to dump the bosses off our backs, too many are listening to demagogues who urge us to blame workers in other countries, women, and racial or religious minorities. In these dark times, bigots of all sorts are slithering into the open, spewing hatred and fomenting division and fear.

The labor movement has a pivotal role to play in this struggle. The bosses have always tried to divide us, to pit workers against each other to keep us weak. To their shame, some unions have fallen for this. But there is a long tradition of labor solidarity, as well. Before the Civil War, labor reform societies demanded emancipation and the right of all workers to organize. In the 1880s the Knights of Labor welcomed African-American members even in the former Confederacy, though it organized them into segregated assemblies. Even in Richmond, Virginia, the Knights supported African-American workers in their labor struggles. When the Knights held their national General Assembly there, many delegates refused to stay in segregated hotels and Knights officials reaffirmed their commitment to racial equality. (In the aftermath of the Assembly, local membership in the Knights plummeted, whether as a result of backlash against the integrated ceremonies, employer intimidation, or the widespread attack against unions in the wake of the 8-hour day movement and the attack on workers at Haymarket Square.)

Even radical unionists had mixed records. The American Railway Union, while open to workers of every craft, joined the Railroad Brotherhoods in barring membership to African-Americans. The United Mine Workers and the Industrial Workers of the World, however, actively organized African-American workers, recognizing that there could be no progress without industrial solidarity. On the West Coast, IWW organizers challenged longstanding discrimination against Chinese and Japanese workers. In Louisiana and Texas, the IWW-affiliated Brotherhood of Timber Workers organized integrated locals and defied Jim Crow legislation. In Philadelphia, the IWW organized the country’s first integrated longshore union, responding to the bosses’ long history of pitting workers against each other with integrated work gangs and direct action on the job. And when KKK vigilantes tried to break up IWW organizing in the Maine forests in 1924, 200 IWW members patrolled the streets of Greenville to prevent the Klan from carrying out its threats.

As IWW organizer Ben Fletcher noted, writing in The Messenger in 1923,

“the employing class are the beneficiaries of these policies of Negro Labor exclusion and segregation… No genuine attempt by Organized Labor to wrest and worthwhile and lasting concessions from the Employing Class can succeed as long as Organized Labor for the most part is indifferent and in opposition to the fate of Negro Labor.

“Organized Labor can bring about a different situation – one that will speed the dawn of Industrial Freedom. First by excising their Race exclusion clauses. Second, by enrolling ALL workers in their Industrial or Craft jurisdictions… Collective dealing with the Employing Class is the only way by which Labor can procure any concessions from them… It is the only way in which to establish industrial stability … and finally Industrial freedom.”

The Congress of Industrial Organizations heeded this lesson, actively confronting bigotry as it organized workers across ethnic and racial lines, including in the South where Jim Crow laws still prevailed. Despite continuing discrimination in some unions, labor unions offered substantial support to the Civil Rights movement, and to struggles by African-American workers for better conditions. When AFSCME-organized sanitation workers struck in Memphis in 1968, the city hired white scabs in an attempt to break the strike. But local and national unions came to the workers’ defense, as did civil rights activists including Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated while in Memphis to support the striking workers. The strike was settled after a silent march of 42,000 through the streets of Memphis, though shorter strikes were needed to force the city to honor its agreement.

Today the American labor movement is in crisis. Laws restrict unions from engaging in solidarity actions, employing direct action to enforce decent conditions, or even from representing their members at all. Immigration agents seize workers who dare to complain about unpaid wages, and judges allow employers to fire workers for the “disloyalty” of disseminating information about the conditions under which they work. When workers strike, police serve as scabherders – often receiving bonus pay from the employers for their service. Police allow armed fascists to march in the streets, but herd workers into protest pens far removed from the facilities they are picketing.

Many workers are fighting back. In August ILWU Local 10 voted to strike to join protests against a planned San Francisco fascist rally, prompting the fascists to scurry for cover. Following the deportation of a 26-year Teamster member (a Guatemalan refugee arrested during his annual check-in with immigration officials), New York City-based 120,000-member Teamsters Joint Council 16 declared itself a “sanctuary union.” Several unions joined May Day demonstrations across the country in solidarity with their immigrant members, and many unions are providing legal and other assistance to immigrant members.

These are important steps to building a culture of solidarity, and toward acting in our collective self-defense against these attacks not only on our economic well-being, but against our very survival. Bigots, fascists and union-busters have been emboldened by recent events; only our solidarity and our determination can turn them back.


Solidarity knows no borders

A short (24-minute) film chronicling the solidarity of farmers along the French-Italian border who are assisting refugees despite the persecution of the state.

Celebrating International Workers’ Day in Philadelphia

May 1 is International Workers’ Day, probably the most widely celebrated holiday in the world. It’s a day to remember workers’ struggles, to commemorate our martyrs, and to rededicate ourselves to building a world free of bosses and exploiters. It’s hard to imagine a more appropriate – a more urgent – time for this than today.

This year there will be many events across Philadelphia, including a large downtown rally focusing on immigrant workers rights and an evening rally in West Philadelphia. The Caucus of Working Educators (a reform caucus in the teachers’ union) is urging supporters of public schools and their workers (now almost 4 years without a contract or pay raise) to strike on May Day and join a day of protests demanding workers’ rights and support for our children and their schools.

These are the events that I know about:

  • 7:30-8:30 am: Pickets at schools with staff, parents & community in solidarity

  • Unite Here is organizing a rally at the Philadelphia International Airport in solidarity with airport workers fighting to receive what the city has designated as the minimum wage that can be paid to workers employed by government agencies and their contractors. 8:30 AM: gather at the UNITE HERE office (1415 N. Broad) to board the WE ARE HUMAN bus.
  • 9:30 am: Speak Out and Press Conference at PHL International Arrivals Hall, Terminal A West. At 10:30 am they will join Juntos at Dickinson Square Park at 4th and Tasker for an immigrant justice March to City Hall.
  • 10 am: Coalition of Working Educators demonstration, rally & press conference at 440 North Broad (School Reform Commission headquarters), followed by a March to City Hall, where CWE members will be meeting with City Council members and the mayor to demand action on education

  • 12 pm: Un Día Sin Immigrant, Black & Brown Bodies rally at City Hall, sponsored by the Black & Brown Workers Collective and Juntos.

  • 2 pm: Unite Here will send a delegation at LSG Skychefs, 8401 Escort Ave., demanding that they pay the city minimum wage.
  • 4 pm: Picket at the Hilton Penn’s Landing in solidarity with Hilton workers
  • 4 pm: Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Educator Exit Rally Lea Elementary, 4700 Locust St (West Philly)

  • March to Clark Park

  • 5 pm: May Day Rally at Clark Park, 43rd and Baltimore. Speakers, Poets, Drill Teams, Live Music, BBQ, Recognition Awards, Kids Activities and More. Sponsored by PhilaPOSH and the PA Labor History Society, and supported by over 55 area Labor and Allied Organizations.

Anarcho-Syndicalism Today

I will be speaking in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Thursday, Jan. 12.

Anarcho-Syndicalism Today: a presentation by Jon Bekken
at the Democracy Center, 45 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge
Thursday, January 12, 2017 – 7:00 p.m.

Anarcho-syndicalism (also referred to as revolutionary syndicalism) is a theory of anarchism which views revolutionary industrial unionism or syndicalism as a method for workers in capitalist society to gain control of an economy and, with that control, influence broader society. Syndicalists consider their economic theories a strategy for facilitating worker self-activity and as an alternative co-operative economic system with democratic values and production centered on meeting human needs.

Sponsored by the Boston Labor Support Committee

Bribing the bosses

A Bangladeshi garment firm has agreed to stop assaulting union activists, to pay the medical bills of a union leader who was badly beaten by company goons last year, and to reinstate several fired union activists with back pay, the New York Times reports. The firings and beatings at two Azim Group factories in Chittagong were captured on video tape; Azim manufactures garments for North Face, Nautica, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, the Gap, and other brands.

After weeks of negotiations, Azim agreed to halt its gangster-style union-busting (illegal even under Bangladesh law) and recognize the union in exchange for the companies (which say their garments were produced at different Azim Group factories) agreeing to resume placing orders with the company. Azim insists it is paying the medical bills only as a “humanitarian” gesture.

Would a union member caught on camera beating a boss be permitted to resume work if he agreed to pay the medical bills?

Nonetheless, it is a victory of sorts, as decades of anti-sweatshop work have left some contractors unable to turn a blind eye to the abuses that inevitably result from their race-to-the-bottom subcontracting, forcing them to insist at least that workers be able to manufacture their garments without being beaten for their trouble.

Solidarity with workers

Recently a group of Polish Amazon warehouse workers struck against unsafe working conditions and pay issues at two Polish fulfillment centers. The workers are contracted through Manpower, Addeco and other temp agencies.

According to the Polish Syndicalist Union (ZSP), the union the workers are organizing with:

Working conditions are even worse than in other countries. Not only the low pay and long hours. Some Amazon workers, especially those hired by agencies, complain of a number of problems including late payments, incorrect payments, not having the mandatory health insurance payments, etc. etc. There is also the matter of workers in one center having a higher [pay] rate than in the other.

The Polish ZSP Amazon workers have launched an international campaign in support of their effort to change conditions at Amazon in Poland.

In solidarity, the Workers Solidarity Alliance is initiating a support campaign for a North American workers week of action Monday, January 26, through Saturday, January 31st. {}

Support the struggle against abuse and for better working conditions at Amazon Poland!
We call for actions of any kind against Amazon or Manpower work agency. Besides pickets at Amazon or Manpower, we would also appreciate publishing articles or making any leafletting or postering action which would inform potential Amazon customers about the working conditions. We also ask for organizations and individuals to send protest letters.
The agencies Adecco and Randstad are also involved, so they may also be picketed.

ZSP started union activity in Amazon with workers in the Sady and Bielany Wroclawskie fulfillment centers. Some are hired directly by Amazon and others were hired through Manpower, Adecco or Ranstad work agencies.
In December some people started to leave work at Amazon because not only are the working conditions terrible, but there were also problems with incorrect payments. A few people decided to organize. We started with Manpower, since the biggest problems seemed to be for people hired through this agency. We announced a picket at its headquarters on Dec. 16, but before the action, Manpower contacted us trying to get us to call off actions. They paid one of the workers overdue salary. We still went with a picket and have been discussing the issues with them. Some other payments have been made but Manpower has not acted quickly on all the cases. We also picketed Adecco, which also tried to get us to call off actions, but they made payments very quickly and went to Amazon to straighten out the situation. For this reason, we decided to focus on Manpower. However, later we heard of more cases of abuse from the side of Adecco, including not paying the obligatory health insurance payments. So although we originally made the appeal only for actions against Manpower, there are still serious problems with Adecco and Randstad and pickets there would also be welcome. The situation is still developing and we have new information all the time. We expect new problems to appear in January, when workers should get money for December. We believe that the problem may originate with Amazon, but the agencies are still responsible to ensure proper payments.
As more and more complaints are appearing, check for updates and more information here:

Stressful, high-pressure work, non-stop running around warehouse. 10.5 hour shifts – 10 hours of work plus unpaid 30 minute lunch break. No other breaks. Changing shifts, workers have to work 18:30-05:00 half of their working time. Night shifts and Sunday work not paid extra. Salary – about 3 euros an hour gross. The warehouses in Poland serve mostly the German market, but also France and UK. Workers get about a fourth of the salaries in Germany for the same job. Working conditions vary in Amazon but in UK workers make more money at night and in many countries employees have additional 15-minute breaks. Not in Poland. Many workers have to travel more than 1 hour to get to work. Workers in Sady near Poznan are paid more than the workers in Bielany Wroclawskie for the same work.
Workers feel they were misled about working conditions when recruited through Manpower and Adecco. They were led to believe they would earn more money. They are not told that they wouldn’t get extra pay for evenings and Sundays and, according to some workers, they were promised the statutory 20% extra. According to the law, workers should received their salaries no later than on the 10th day of the month after the work was completed, but the payments have been regularly late. For example, both Adecco and Manpower have promised us that some payments for work in October and November would be paid – but only in January.

Workers at Amazon have a communication forum where ZSP union publishes articles about rights at work. We now receive dozens of reports about new problems. Workers did not receive money for time they were at health and safety training or for days when they were employed but Amazon did not assign them work. For some workers this was as long as three weeks. In both cases they are legally entitled to pay.
Workers are forced to move large boxes manually by cart. There have been cases where the agencies have not paid the social security payments /health care so they are not insured in case of injury.

Higher rates of pay for work at night and on Sunday
15 minute paid break
No difference in working conditions for directly employed and agency workers
Equalization of salaries in Sady and Bielany Wroclawskie
Payment for time without assigned work (postojowe)
Payment for health and safety training
Forklifts for heavy weights

Clear explanation of working time and accounting period to workers before they sign contract
Clear pay slips, showing number of hours worked and all deductions
Payments made in full by 10th of the month, in accordance with the law
Payments to ZUS (social security/health care) on time
Payment for time without assigned work (postojowe)
Payment for health and safety training
Money for laundry equivalent (which figures on payslip, but isn’t paid)

Fax/Email To Amazon
An email form will be set up for individual protests at We ask organizations supporting to send letters separately.
Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon:
Director of Operations, CEE, Kerry Person:
Fax: +352 26 73 33 32 or +1 206 622-2405
We support the campaign of the ZSP for better working conditions in Amazon Poland! No to exploitation and taking advantage of cheap labour! Give the workers a break and higher wages!
To Manpower
US Headquarters:
Fax. 1 (414) 319-3401
Warsaw Office Fax: + 48 22 50 40 717
We support the demands of workers in Amazon Poland to receive their payments correctly and on time from your agency!

Amazon locations:
Manpower locations:

All international efforts are initiated and coordinated by the ZSP Amazon workers. Any correspondence should go directly to:

We encourage all comrades to aid this campaign. The Workers have also set up a site with an electronic protest letter:

CNT wins settlement at ISBAN

The National Confederation of Labor (CNT-AIT) has settled its long-running dispute with ISBAN/Santander Bank over the transfer and ultimate dismissal of a CNT delegate who was organizing against subcontracting of information technology services at the bank and pressing for regular employment status for the affected workers. Facing ongoing protest actions in 15 countries and a labor court ruling on the fellow worker’s claim for unlawful dismissal, ISBAN agreed to pay more than a year’s salary in compensation.

International Day of Action in Solidarity with Santander workers

There will be another day of action next week in solidarity with CNT members fighting outsourcing and retaliation against union activity. Santander is a Spanish multinational which bought US-based Sovereign Bank in the depths of the recent recession, using the proceeds from dumping its speculative real estate holdings just before the Spanish real estate bubble collapsed. Fighting such predatory international concerns surely requires international action on our part.
Yesterday I received the following appeal from CNT Isban:
Thursday, 6 March: International Boycott of Banco Santander, Isban and Panel Systems.
http://informaticamadrid.cnt. es/articulo/26-02-2014/6-de- international boycott-Mar- counter-santander-bank-Isban and-panel-systems
Requested Actions:

Two weeks after forming the union section of the CNT-AIT, Santander-Isban dismissed our representative in Isban and subcontractor Panel Systems moved him away from coworkers, but failed to stop our struggle.
Since then they assign tasks that can not be done without providing training, have long periods without doing anything, accuse him of not being productive and violate their schedule,  … Our delegate has also been asked about the numerous flaws that have appeared in office bathrooms and hallways, hinting that he has something to do with what they call “wave of vandalism.”
They have also refused to allow him to work from home (the new worksite is far from his home, and from the facility he was hired to work at), while allowing others to do so, even after suffering a traffic accident “commuting” and without being required his presence in the office at all.
We hope that direct action against these operators serve to force Isban to reinstate our delegate to his original position and the potential spread of syndicalism as a tool for radical transformation of society.
Thank you all for your support … and tell with ours for whatever it takes!
Health and Anarchy!

Association Section on Isban
Union of Telecommunications and Information Services


A rough translation of their leaflet:


In August 2013, the union of the CNT-AIT in Isban publicly denounced the illegal workforce arrangements between Panel and Isban Systems, the computer services division of Santander group.

Isban responded by effectively dismissing the union delegate, who was transferred to Isban’s controlled subcontractor, Panel Systems, in order to isolate him from the workers and allow them to continue exploiting precarious workers through irregular working conditions. Since then, the union delegate has been bullied in an attempt to force his resignation and abandonment of the struggle for the rights of workers.

Federated revolutionary unions in the International Workers Association are responding to the attack, demanding the reinstatement of sacked delegate in Banco Santander Isban, where the multinational maintains its headquarters. The conflict has spread around the globe in 12 different languages.

Isban manages a network of subcontractor that it controls to provide cheap and precarious work for the bank Santander. It has more than 10,000 workers illegally provided by these companies, who may be dismissed at any time without compensation because they are not recognized as employees.

Panel Systems is one of dozens of companies that profit from the illegal assignment of workers to powerful ” customers” such as Isban while destroying stable employment.

Workers fear being left in the street if they protest poor conditions, facilitating acceptance of surrealist work schedules. mandatory overtime and travel – forced to accept whatever work schedule the company demands, at salaries below what is paid recognized employees for the same work.

There have been hundreds of illegal dismissals in the Santander group targeting the most vulnerable, with the complicity of the government and company unions. Meanwhile, the Santander Group’s net profit amounted to 4,370 million euros in 2013, almost double that in 2012.

Santander head Emilio Botin, Rodrigo Rato, Alfredo Saenz, Jose Maria Amusátegui and other senior bank staff have been previously reported, and sometimes convicted, for violating Spanish labor law. But the infamous “Botin doctrine” ignores Santander’s legal obligations and the rights of its workers.

Botin is infamous for his ongoing tax evasion, illegal purchase of banks, the collapse and subsequent rescue of Bankia, huge severance packages to senior management, the case of the Swiss accounts of the Botin family, sale of junk mortgages and bogus securities, evictions and property speculation, charging extortionate interest, shady deals with universities, participation in arms companies and financial management and profiteering from the terrible Spanish prison system. A long list of crimes unpunished to date.

We’re not going to shut up or resign. As long as exploitation and inequality persist we are going to stand up, together, relying on our solidarity as workers in our struggle for dignity and empowerment. Towards Social Revolution.



International Day of Solidarity with Santander Workers Dec. 12

The conflict against Santander Bank-Isban continues to increase with no sign of willingness to dialogue from the company. After the dismissal of Isban CNT-AIT section union delegate, revolutionary unions federated in the IWA-AIT are spreading the message of the workers in struggle and preparing coordinated actions worldwide.

(Note that Santander bought the U.S.-based Sovereign Bank during the financial crisis, and last month rebranded all Sovereign outlets under the Santander name.)

Isban: Missery, slavery and fear

Isban, a computer services company owned by the overpowerful Santander group property of Emilio Botin, is the umbrella company that sustain a network of “cannon fooder” provider companies that act as temporary employment agencies and set cheap and precarious labor.

More than 10,000 employees worldwide are illegally transferred to Isban, so to fire someone they simply inform the temporary employment agencies on duty. (In Spain and many other countries, employees have legal rights against discharge once past a probationary period.) No cost to the bank, of course, as according to them it is not a redundancy but a “project change,”  the agency then either dismisses the worker or transfers them to another “customer” company.

Through this practice millionaires benefit by saving in hiring and firing, while maintaining dozens of companies under their control. All obey its guidelines as none wants to lose a profitable “client.” Some even give up to 100% of its employees to the bank, weaving a network of illegal subcontracting mafia.

The climate of fear and helplessness that Isban workers live is absolute, fearing homelessness if they make even minimal protest. This facilitates the acceptance of surreal working hours, overtime and mandatory shifts, schedules and work schedule as, categories and wages below the roles played and countless more outrages.

Santander Group: Greed, corruption and spoiling

Recently there have been hundreds of irregular dismissals across the Santander group, framed in what workers have denounced as undercover Redundancy Dismissal Procedure. Santander Back-office (SBGM) and Isban CSA services staff have seen their rates reduced to 50% in a few months. In addition, the workers selected to leave the bank have been less “temporary” staff and the most vulnerable. The outsiders (workers illegally transferred), short-time mothers and displaced workers abroad have been the preferred targets for cuts. With the collusion of government and scab unions, massive job destruction comes out practically free for the Santander group.

And all this despite the fact that the Santander Group is not losing money, but rather made a profit of €2,255 million in the first six months of 2013, almost 30% more than in the same period of 2012. An extremely hypocritical attitude clashes with the group advertising image which boast of lifting the country thanks to the trust in people and the future. A future of millions of people led to unemployment and poverty.

It is not the first time the tyrannical methods of the billionaire Emilio Botin are reported, but so far has not been done justice. In 2008 the Supreme Court filed by defects in the process the case against Botin and other bank executives for the irregular buying of Banesto bank. In 2012 the National Hearing filed the famous case of Swiss accounts after the Botin family disburse €200 million to “regularize the situation.”

Recently have uncovered new atrocities committed by this multinational giant as promoting subprime mortgages that caused the current economic crisis. The credit institution UCI, Santander Group, awarded for years unaffordable loans. We were not living beyond our means, the bank was mortaging above our means: to take advantage of defaults after foreclosing and evicting the most vulnerable.

It is curious that in early 2008, when the world crisis was not yet on everyone’s lips, Santander sold almost all its real estate. Even the luxurious Boadilla financial city (bank headquarters with over 160 acres of offices, hotels and even a golf camp) was sold and maintained rented since then. The Botin CEOs knew what they had generated and protected their interests by selling at a good price before the bubble burst.

Other liens have contributed to the growth of the assets of the business group. While the boom brick lasted, the bank provided loans to builders millionaires, some of them involved in the case of urbanism corruption Malaya case. After the fall of the construction sector, the bank foreclosed on their properties, which now are gived to the new generation family who hire their mortgages.

Other notorious case is the extortionate interest charges to college students through Santander Bank accounts that are automatically engaged when enrolling in universities that have agreements with the group. Again Santander uses its position of power to bleed the people that have made them rich.

Last September 17th, Rodrigo Rato (ex-Spanish economy minister) was named international councelor in Santander group. In the past, he was Santander councelor between 2008 and 2010. Then he was named president of Caja Madrid (Bankia). He dismissed after asking the Spanish government for a rescue plan for the savings bank of €6,000 million of public funds.

Rato announced €309 million of benefits for Bankia in 2011. But when he left, Bankia got €3,000 million of losses. He is on trial since July 2012 because of Bankia management and the millionaire losses. Now he comes back to Botin side exploiting the Spanish revolving door system, where politicians easily become businessmen and vice versa.

What’s more, Santander Bank has €96,72 million in arms companies’ mutual funds. The product of this funding is high-tech military weaponry like Leopard tanks, M45, M51, ASMP, ICBM y Minuteman nuclear missiles, Trident and Ohio nuclear submarines, uranium ammunition for Challenger2 and CHARM3 tanks, cluster bombs… Their money is stained with the blood of the wars that kill our people.

Santander Group also promotes the worst forms of torture designed by human beings being in charge of managing the financial movements of correctional institutions and other public administrations. Since 2002 Santander receives profits from the judicial accounts. The payment of penalties fine, bonds, indemnities and salaries of about 50,000 jailers and employees of the judiciary, as well as the money destinated to the prisons in the Spanish State. More than 3 billion euros annually from the business of State torture are managed by Santander Group.

This way, Santander CIOs become accomplices to all the torture and deaths of prisoners in custody in the Spanish State. More than 100 people were killed during the years 2010 and 2011. More than 6.986 cases of torture at the hands of the Spanish State were reported between 2001 and 2010.

The workers’ response

In this anti-workers policy, Santander interests collide now with organized workers. The dismissal of the delegate of the National Confederation of Workers CNT at Isban has triggered the rapid escalation of the conflict, because this violation of freedom will not be tolerated here or anywhere.


Section of Telecommunications and Information Services, CNT-AIT Madrid  isban[arroba]

The CNT has called for the next International day of action against Santander Bank on December 12th. We are asking all our comrades to carry out the following actions, as far as they are able:

– Demonstrations at the doors of Santander Bank, Isban or Panel Sistemas branches.

– Closing accounts of unions and individuals in Santander Bank, informing that the closing is done in solidarity with the Isban workers on fight in Madrid.

– E-mails in solidarity with the Isban workers on fight and claiming for the fired comrade readmission to the following e-mail adresses:;;;;

If there is anyone interested in joining in in Pennsylvania, please get in touch.