Slumlord and colonialist
Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen, chief executives, who are to receive the International ethecon Black Planet Award as representatives for DEUTSCHE BANK on the one hand are driven by the obsession for profit and competition. On the other hand they have used their leeway within this structure only for their profit.
I am here to deliver the diatribe against them, but let me rather call it critique, a radical critique, which reaches to the roots and which, as Marx says, starts with the human. A second note: In Germany we have a racist tradition of calling good things „white“ and bad ones „black“, we have e.g. “white” and “black books” etc. My black friends and I do not like this racist attribution. In any case I suppose that the poisoned and withered Earth will more likely look brown. I thus propose a “Brown Planet Award”.
I. DEUTSCHE BANK and the Global Economic Crisis
From my desk in Frankfurt on the Main I see the twin towers of the European Central Bank (ECB) on the left and the two towers of DEUTSCHE BANK on the right. DEUTSCHE BANK revels in the attention it gets as a cultural sponsor in Frankfurt. They would never have numerous residential buildings evicted with violent police force in Frankfurt only because people could not afford to pay interests on their mortgages. That would be harmful to their image!
In the USA DEUTSCHE BANK has done exactly that. In Cleveland, for example, mostly poorer people, many of them Afro- or Latin-American, were living in about 7.000 houses on inner-city properties. DEUTSCHE BANK had become owner of these estates by obscure legal constructs and evicted the in-habitants, often with police force. In the US subprime crisis soon one out of ten of these houses in Cleveland became vacant, and neighborhoods which once had been considered to be respectable ad-dresses became slums. Looking out of my window today I ask myself where those 20.000 to 100.000 people, who have been evicted by DEUTSCHE BANK in Cleveland alone, live now.
Overall in the USA millions of people were affected, as DEUTSCHE BANK held mortgage-related fi-nancials with a market of more than 25 billion Dollar, and it was “responsible for about 1 million objects of residential real estate.” (According to Der Spiegel 5/2012, 1/30/2012).
In April 2011 the 650-page report by the US-Senate “Wallstreet and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse” revealed that DEUTSCHE BANK was one of the main responsibles for the US housing and financial crises, which, as is known, co-triggered the current worldwide economic crisis.
This report has also documented that, in 2006 and 2007, traders of DEUTSCHE BANK on a large scale sold Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO), which were based on credit packages and infirm subprime mortgages, the risk, defectiveness and partial trashiness of which DEUTSCHE BANK was aware of in detail.
A third of one CDO, named “Gemstone VII” – value: 1.1 billion Dollar – consisted of toxic junk credits. The co-director of the CDO-department wrote in an email in February 2007, “Keep your fingers crossed, but I do think that we might be able to sell that before the market crashes.” – Later it transpired that the bank had speculated simultaneously on price deterioration, non-payment of credit, and on total loss.
In Los Angeles DEUTSCHE BANK grabbed thousands of houses from foreclosures. It let occupied buildings rot to drive off the tenants. In May 2007 the City of Los Angeles sued DEUTSCHE BANK. One City Council member said that DEUTSCHE BANK was one of the greatest “Slumlords” of the city.
Today DEUTSCHE BANK is confronted with a tsunami of claims for damages.
Recently the bank had to put aside 4.1 billion Euros to cover potential liabilities from lawsuits.
What are the allegations?
- DEUTSCHE BANK is accused of having manipulated ISDAfix (the leading benchmark for annual swap rates for swap transactions worldwide).
- It is being investigated because of manipulation of reference rates on currency markets.
- The bank is said to have manipulated Libor, “The London Interbank Offered Rate” (an estimated av-erage inter-bank interest rate). This is a matter of many millions.
- Payment of damages to the heirs of the media tycoon Kirch, possibly up to billions of Euros.
- Add to that: suspected financial manipulations in Italy; accusations concerning a hydroelectric plant in Albania; hundreds of lawsuits because of betting on interest-rates in Germany and Italy; possible tax-fraud with CO2-certificates etc. etc.
II. DEUTSCHE BANK and “National-Socialist”-Fascism
In the city parliament of Frankfurt, behind my back, a plaque listing the city’s honorary citizens is on display. Max Horkheimer cannot defend himself against being placed near von Hindenburg and the Na-zis’ top banker, Hermann Josef Abs. Abs remained chairman of DEUTSCHE BANK until 1967. Even in the early 1990s politicians of all the bourgeois/center-right parties in Frankfurt would bow and scrape to him and seek his “advice”.
The Office of Military Government for Germany/U.S. (OMGUS) was the highest administrative author-ity of the American occupation zone in Germany and the American sector of Berlin in the four years following World War II. One of its focal points was the acquisition of detailed information about the role of German Capital in National-Social Fascism and the connection between corporations and the NS re-gime. The OMGUS-files were used as evidence during the Nuremberg Trials.
In its final report OMGUS recommended the liquidation of three major German banks - DEUTSCHE BANK, Dresdener Bank and Commerzbank – and of the criminal conglomerate I.G. Farben. But the Federal Republic of Germany was needed as a bastion of capitalism in the Cold War. OMGUS was dissolved at the end of 1949. Its files and documents remained scattered for many years. As late as 1985 the complete material was published. Until then DEUTSCHE BANK usually got away with the slogan that they would not have made “any concessions to the Nazis”.
The investigations of DEUTSCHE BANK by OMGUS revealed an exceptional concentration of eco-nomic power – unusual even by capitalistic standards – in the hands of DEUTSCHE BANK and its direct participation in the criminal politics of the Nazi regime.
Capital and state were connected even closer in Fascism. Even before 1933 members of the board of DEUTSCHE BANK supported the Nazis. DEUTSCHE BANK-officials were closely entwined with the NS regime, NSDAP, and SA. Party members and other capital providers as well as powerful representatives of the chambers poured into the board of directors of the bank. One third of the supervisory board members of DEUTSCHE BANK held the title of “Wehrwirtschaftsführer.”
DEUTSCHE BANK supplied the NS-empire with huge funds for war-preparations. DEUTSCHE BANK steered the sectors of industry it controlled into the war.
Fascism and war were great business: any organized labor movement had been smashed, the Euro-pean Jews were exterminated and robbed, communists, socialists, Romanies and Sinti, and homosexu-als were chased and murdered, the countries of Eastern Europe were ransacked, and millions of people were forced into slave labor for the benefit of Germany.
During the war DEUTSCHE BANK became the biggest bank on the European continent. In 1942 it owned about 21 per cent of the total deposits and 18.5 per cent of the total assets of all the 653 com-mercial banks of the Greater German Reich. It maintained an extensive network of offshoots and branch offices in Germany and the occupied countries.
OMGUS made a note of the fact that there was no comparably powerful single bank in the USA, which influenced and directed the economy to such an extent. DEUTSCHE BANK controlled large corpo-rations by huge blocks of voting stock. It controlled, for example, 38 per cent of the shares of I.G. Far-ben, that conglomerate of the chemical trusts Bayer, BASF, AGFA, and Hoechst which operated their very own KZ in Auschwitz, named “Auschwitz III” or “Monowitz.”
Important armament factories were dominated by DEUTSCHE BANK, among them Daimler Benz and BMW, which produced two thirds of all the aircraft engines for the German Air Force. In addition to that there existed an extensive system of criss-crossed entanglements in the supervisory boards. Leading representatives of DEUTSCHE BANK were board members in 379 businesses and corporations. Hermann Josef Abs had a seat on the board of I.G. Farben.
Of course the bank also gained control of the banks in the countries which were invaded by the German “Wehrmacht“, “SS“, and “Einsatzgruppen“, and it played a leading role in the exploitation of humans and looting of resources.
The bank also cashed in on “Aryanization”, i.e. the ransacking of Jewish property in Germany and Europe. How DEUTSCHE BANK took grabbing Jewish banks (like the Viennese Creditanstalt/CA) as granted is documented by the remark of one SS-Obergruppenführer and Reichskommissar: “DB's intent is to rob, has arrived in Vienna with a staff of 20 to take over CA.”
OMGUS recommended that DEUTSCHE BANK should be “liquidated” and that “the responsible per-sonnel should be indicted for war crimes and put to trial“. In future “executive employees“ ought to be “banned from any position of importance or responsibility in the economic or political life of Germany”.
We know that it did not happen.
Quite the contrary: We of Western Germany’s older generation grew up amongst old Nazis and un-der their still powerful influence in many sectors of society. Today’s leaders of DB, Jürgen Fitschen und Anshu Jain, are doing nothing whatsoever to atone for their bank’s crimes during NS fascism.
DEUTSCHE BANK served as “institutional spearhead in the economic penetration of the annexed, oc-cupied and completely dependant countries of Europe.” (OMGUS). And today once again, the “eco-nomic penetration” of our world for its own benefit is its corporate objective.
III. DEUTSCHE BANK after 1945
Today DEUTSCHE BANK is at the forefront of the destruction of humans and nature. That’s its per-fectly normal everyday business.
The productive human creates a product. The capitalist takes possession of the created utility value by exploiting the wage-dependant. The wage-dependant gets exploited by being forced - as a matter of survival - to sell the own manpower at a price that is not determined by the employee itself, and be-cause – based on society’s power structure – the employee never receives wages as high as the true value of the manpower.
The manufacture and utilization of products in capitalism is impossible without accounting, manag-ing, marketing, trading, foreign exchanges, etc. These tasks do not create real value directly, as ac-countants, managers, salesmen, bankers do not produce anything real – despite banks liking to call their services and deals “products” these days – but their tasks are necessary in capitalism. They are the flip side of the manufacturing process.
If the constraints of capitalistic exploitation remain un-grasped, assumptions about the cause of the misery deteriorate into conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism. The conversion of some raw material to an article by some worker is no more than the practical side of the same capitalism which makes a merchant trade and a bank gamble. There is no separation between productive and financial capital. That’s ideology. To get rid of banks, capitalism has to be abolished.
On its raid throughout the world German Capital carries a whole arsenal of economic weapons: commodity futures, speculation in food and the abuse of oilseed and grains for the production of feed-ing stuff and agro-fuels, which cause catastrophic famines in ever new ways. Millions of hectares of forest, savanna, grassland and fertile fields are converted to corn-, wheat-, sugarcane-, canola-, soy-, and oil palm-plantations, the products of which do not end up as food on plates but as fuel in tanks. In 2003, 13 billion Dollar were invested into funds which gamble on agricultural products, in 2008 it was already 260 billion Dollar.
Holding a leading position, German corporations gamble on hunger and death. They speculate with food, pushing the prices up. Thus Allianz invested more than 6.2 billion Euros into such funds in 2011, DEUTSCHE BANK nearly 4.6 billion Euros. In a global market of an estimated 70 billion Euros in speculation with foodstuffs, that’s a share of 14 per cent for these two German banks alone.
The “location Germany”, the German Capital, prevailed as one of the profiteers in the aggravated global competition in the world economic crisis, and not only in EU. Capital manages – thanks to the given power-structure and international division of labor – carry its crises, and the worst effects of its crisis into the world, especially into the continents of Asia, Latin-America, and Africa. Capital forces its way – with economic and, if need be, also with military power – both to enable the sale of goods and to gain unhampered access to natural resources. This is one of the defined goals of the German military, as can be verified in the Bundeswehr’s “Defense Policy Guidelines” of 1991 and 2003.
DEUTSCHE BANK is exploiter of humans, looter of nature, weapons-producer and war-monger. It co-finances war-mongers like the mining-trust Anglo Gold Ashanti in Congo. It co-finances companies that supply the US army with uranium-munitions. The DEUTSCHE BANK-subsidiary DWS has invested into armament factories like the US conglomerate Textron, which is selling cluster-munitions. These weap-ons are outlawed in 100 countries. Cluster-munitions were deployed in Vietnam, Afghanistan, in the Gulf and in Kosovo. DEUTSCHE BANK maintains business relationships with the world’s 16 biggest pro-ducers and financers of nuclear weapons, dimension: ca. 4.6 billion Euros.
So if the goal is to “to overthrow all relations in which man is a debased, enslaved, abandoned, des-picable essence,” (Marx) DEUTSCHE BANK can never be criticized too much.
Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen are responsible for DEUTSCHE BANK and thus are complicit in the colonization of the Earth! Unlike Georg Siemens, chief executives of DEUTSCHE BANK, and agents of powerful German corporations, who side by side with Emperor Wilhelm II traveled to Turkey and Pales-tine back in 1898, these two no longer have to go there to penetrate the Middle East economically.
DEUTSCHE BANK with its subsidiaries and funds is grabbing Earth’s strategic resources. It is destroying Earth and humankind’s livelihood. Landgrabbing in Asia, Latin-America and most of all in Africa – that’s the new colonialism! Still without a Wehrmacht, but not without “Schutztruppen” (colonial armed forces), DEUTSCHE BANK is robbing land, poisoning Eaarth, forcing people into hunger, into illness and death. This is the basis of its profits. Who acts like this is not interested in democratic conditions, but all the more in corrupt dictators and military brass. Anshu Jain und Jürgen Fitschen and all the major shareholders of DEUTSCHE BANK: We want you to have to pay a maximum of penalties and damages! We want your returns to go right through the floor!
And we wish for you, that one day a social revolution may brush aside you, your bank, and the capi-talist economic system, which facilitates your murderous and ecocidal practice.
Thank you for your attention.