The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

The Hypocrisy of Charitable Capitalists

Apr 20, 2020

Translated from Voz Obrera (Workers’ Voice), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active in Spain.

The biggest fortunes and corporations on the planet are making donations to pay for medical supplies around the world: Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, and others.

Spain’s richest man, who is the sixth richest man in the world, donated more than 25 million dollars and 300,000 facemasks. This donation makes him eligible for tax exemptions. Last year his donations concerning cancer saved him well over 100 million dollars in taxes. Meanwhile his company Zara plans to temporarily lay off 25,000 workers and demand a government subsidy. The craziness is that before the epidemic, his company Inditex, which controls Zara, declared net profits of three billion dollars!

Ditto for other companies like El Corte Inglés, Decathlon, Bancos ... the list is endless. When profits are high, fortunes go right into the pockets of the private owners. But when bad times are coming, they want the government to pay unemployment—in other words, working class taxpayers! Yet the wealth these big entrepreneurs and multinational corporations hide in tax havens comes from collective human labor.

Their charitable donations only serve as free advertising parroted by their media companies. Public health experts explain that facemasks are made for single use only, so new ones need to be constantly produced in this situation. The donations are really trivial and not what the health crisis needs.

The real solution would be to convert these companies now to produce what is needed now, such as facemasks, daily necessities, medications, and so on. But for this to happen, companies and banks would have to be expropriated and put at the service of real health needs.

This society permits skyscraping personal fortunes, but at the same time it is incapable of offering miserable little facemasks to health personnel. This is a society that has stopped working and must be changed now.