[OPE-L] The World Bank and the Dutch Socialist Party compared

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Sat Jun 09 2007 - 19:17:39 EDT

Sameer Dossani comments:

"Wolfowitz got a salary 29% higher than that of his predecessor, James Wolfensohn. Even accounting for cost of living increases, his salary of over $390,000 (Wolfensohn got $302,000) is excessive. And that's not counting all the money he will now get in severance pay. Wolfowitz's contract allows for extremely generous compensation in the event of early termination. It states: 

"At the end of your term, or if your service is terminated by the Executive Directors, or if you resign or die in Bank service having served for at least one year under this agreement, The Bank will pay a termination allowance. The termination allowance will be an amount equal in amount to your salary for one year, minus the amount of any income you receive from regular and continuous employment of not less than six months' duration during the year following the end of your service." 

We know that Wolfowitz has earned $390,000 a year, so that's the amount of the bonus that he's already getting. There are also rumors of a side letter (not in the publicly available contract) that guarantees him yet another year's salary as compensation if he stays on beyond the two-year mark. While those following the story have been unable to confirm the existence of such a letter, it hasn't been publicly denied since the rumor started about a month ago. 

Wolfowitz's suspicious departure date - over a month from his resignation, even though he can't effectively participate in any management decisions - is sure to add fuel to this rumor's fire. Whether Wolfowitz is getting $400,000 or $800,000 out of the deal, this is a travesty and reflects an institution that offers its staff (not just its president) luxurious salaries and benefits while the number of people globally without access to basic services like clean drinking water, access to lifesaving medicines and adequate nutrition continues to rise. Visitors to the World Bank's headquarters in Washington are greeted by the words: "Our Dream is a World Without Poverty." Perhaps it should read: "Our Dream is a World Where Our Staff Live in Luxury" ."

Full text: http://paul-wolfowitz-news.newslib.com/story/3325-3240847/

Here in Holland, the Socialist Party to which I currently belong has long ago rejected a World Bank approach, and yet it is the best funded political party there is in the country except for the Christian Democrats. Already in 2004, SP assets exceeded those of the Labour Party and Liberal Party, and in 2005 party assets increased to about 4.5 million euro. What is the secret? 

Party representatives in parliament, provincial councils and city councils are required by party statutes to transfer ALL their earnings from political functions to the party account, in return for which they receive a modest salary and compensation for expenses. Parliamentarians earn over $7500 euro a month, but get paid a salary from the party of about $2288 euro a month. Ewout Irrgang MP, the economic spokesman of the party, quipped "you can buy a suit with it, no problem". 

In this way, 25 SP parliamentarians plus fraction chairman Jan Marijnissen supply nearly 1.7 million euro to the party coffers per year. SP city councillors get no financial compensation at all from the party, except expenses incurred on political business, and contribute an estimated 3.7 million euro annually. Provincial councillors together contribute around 720,000 euro. 

The total revenues supplied by the 512 SP political representatives to party coffers is estimated at 8.1 million euro. The total annual income of the SP per year is estimated at around 12 million euro, this includes the annual contribution of ordinary SP members (52,085 members contributing at least 20 euro a year, i.e. somewhat over 1 million euro a year), and state subsidies (about 3 million euro). Under Dutch law, the state subsidies are based on the number of parliamentarians and the number of registered party members, as well as granting provisions for the party research institute and youth organisations.

The party also owns a party headquarters in Rotterdam and at least ten other buildings, paid out of member contributions, together worth an estimated 2.5 million euro. (Source: De Pers http://www.depers.nl/, 16 April 2007, p. 1, 4; calculated by De Pers from data supplied by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, a book on the SP by Rudie Kagie, and the annual SP accounts - note: this article leaves out the party fraction in the European parliament, who fall under the same rules). The Party financially supports 200 Internet websites, as well as running a medical centre and helplines.

If Americans want to see an alternative to a corrupt "fight against the poverty" from which the "fighters" enrich themselves, well here's an alternative to consider. Of course realistically I cannot not say that the SP is 100% free of corruption incidents - in Amsterdam a while ago, there was a case of a couple representatives in Zuideramstel district, who engaged in financial irregularities (apart from their unconstructive, unduly abrasive political style, it turned out they had rented out social housing illegally to students at double the price, completely contrary to party policy), but they exited from the party, to form their own party. 

The SP is very strict in these matters, because the party knows just how important it is to ordinary working people, who constantly see functionaries being paid exhorbitant compensations, often for doing very little other than warm a seat and "being there". Some party members also regard the rules as too strict, insofar as they feel councillors should get more compensation for the work they do. As against that, the year-long cadre trainings and many other educational activities/services/publications are free of charge, or heavily subsidised by the party. Party members can have free access to the party's internet provider services to members, except for the telephone link. http://www.international.sp.nl/ http://www.sp.nl/ If the SP has a real problem, it is that the sheer numbers of people who have joined as financial members vastly exceeds the formation of strongly committed, politically skilled party cadres - this problem is being addressed in part through the expansion of the party education programmes.


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