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On to Gleneagles: March to the G8

category international | summit mobilisations | news report author Monday July 04, 2005 11:19author by rory hearne - IAWM Report this post to the editors

Report on the G8 alternatives summit

Protests against the G8 are often portrayed as being just protest events with little in the way of serious alternatives being presented. However over 5,000 people attended the G8 Alternatives conference in Edinburgh yesterday to discuss the causes of poverty, environmental destruction, racism and to debate the alternatives to the present neo-liberal capitalist system.

Rory Hearne
Irish Anti War Movement

The mood was very upbeat and defiant with Walden Bello (Philipines activist with Focus on Global South stating “yesterday the mood was mellow, today it is militant. We should not trust the G8 and their promises. They ‘pledged’ to help the Tsnuami victims yet only 10% of what was pledged has been delivered”. Susan George (ATTAC France) said “we have come along way since Seattle and this movement is becoming a new actor in history, it is becoming a key historical subject just like the proletariat was in Marx’s theory. We must build this movement together, we can do it. We did it in France with the no vote”. The final rally made the call for as many people as possible to get to Gleneagles to “make the G8 History”.

The demonstration on Wednesday is a historic event. It was initially banned by the Scotlish parliament and six Scottish Socialist party MSPs have been suspeneded because of their protests against the ban. However now the march has been given the permission to go within 500m of the hotel where the G8 will be. Those of us who have been involved in the global justice movement since Seattle and Genoa will be there again at Gleneagles saying loud and clear that until the G8 are history poverty and war will be with us forever. This movement is growing and deepening. Bono and Geldof did well to help the mobilisations and get new people involved but now is the time to put the G8 on trial. The G8 are not on our side. This movement is about building a new power that can force the G8 aside and create a completely different world without war, poverty, privatisation and racism. The G8 alternatives Summit was an excellent representation of the diversity and unity of the global justice movement. Here are just some of the diversity of speakers and views.

Speakers included prominent authors and global justice activists like George Monbiot, Bianca Jagger, Caroline Lucas, Rosie Kane, George Galloway, Susan George, Haidi Guiliani, Walden Bello and many more.

Many speakers spoke of the need for the global justice movement to avoid becoming just a PR tool of Blair and Brown. They stated clearly that Brown and Blair are not our friends but our enemies. Any debt relief and aid offered will be used to deepen the project of neo-liberal globalisation in Africa. This will worsen the situation the poor further. Therefore we will be marching on Wednesday up to the Gleneagles hotel not just to make poverty history but to make the G8 History.

George Galloway from the Respect coalition said “Bono and Geldof are not our leaders and neither are Browno or Blairof, we will not allow our movement to be hijacked and anesthised and shepherded into a false consensus. We need to refocus between now and Wednesday on the real issues. We need to be clear in the way the leadership of Make Poverty History have not been clear. It is a deception that Blair and Brown can be the saviours of Africa. If Bob Geldof really wanted to help the people of Africa he would stand on the steps of Downing St and he would tell the poor of the world to say to banks and global leaders, ‘We no longer have any debts, we have paid you over many times, we don’t owe you (the G8) any money’.
Some issues have been wiped off the agenda by the focus on poverty. One is the presence of the mass murder George Bush in Scotland on Wednesday. We would be guilty of a dereliction of duty did we not do our best to turn Scotland into a cauldron of anger against this killer. We have won a historic victory to get the right to march on Wednesday. The whole world will be watching Scotland and we will be there”.

Another key issue was the question of charity or solidarity with Africa. Trevor Nwagne of the African Privatisation Forum said “we must strengthen the social movements in the South and not offer our charity but our solidarity. Our enemy is one, by fighting your own governments you are helping your brothers and sisters in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We must be careful not to support African heads of state. Most if not all African governments are neoliberal-they stand with Bush against the masses. Our challenge is to build the power of the oppressed and ordinary people. There can be no accomodation between us and Blair and Berlusconi. Just as we fought and defeated slavery, colonialism, and apartheid we can defeat their system of neo-liberal capitalism.”

Scottish Socialist Party MPs were suspended from the Scottish Parliament for protesting for the democratic right to protest to Gleneagles. Frances Curran one of those MPs also spoke.

Caroline Lucas (Green Party MP) said “we must all pay attention. The danger is that we are all taken in by the spin. The danger is the political campaign of the global justice movement is turned into a philanthropic movement giving legitimacy to the powerful instead of denying the legitimacy of the powerful. The media was full of Hyde Park when there was more of us marching in Edinburgh.”

Bianca Jagger said “100,000s, indeed millions have taken part in the movement against poverty. Suddenly today we are being told we have accomplished a great deal. What have we accomplished? $440 bn of debt relief with conditions attached that will impoverish these countries further. Is that what we were fighting for?
I was born in Nicaragua. Ive been a human rights campaigner for 20 years. I know what it is to see a child die because they don’t have the money for drugs. Blair is not one of us. Let us regain our campaign, lets ensure the real issues are addressed by the media. Hardly any of the speakers at the rally yesterday were shown on TV. Our protest was not linked to the concerts because we were talking substance not just soundbites.”

Live 8, Bono, Geldof and MPH have pleaded and asked for the G8 leaders to take action. Due to the pressure of the campaign they offered some debt relief. But Bush and Blair have lied over Iraq. Why should we trust them on this? The people that can make poverty were on the streets of Dublin and Edinburgh. They are the workers fighting privatisation of our public services, the peasants occupying land in Brazil, the Bolivians forcing the nationalisation of their resources, the French who voted no to the EU constitution. Our movement will not end after Wednesday. These protests are just one more important and historic step towards bringing about a world without war, where people and the environment come before the profits of western multinationals. We appeal to all those who marched on the MPH events. Stay involved. Support the struggles for justice at home. On September 9th we will be surrounding the Dail for action on aid, on the 24th we will be in Shannon protesting against complicity with the illegal war in Iraq.
Gordon Brown said ending poverty will take a lifetime. We cannot wait that long.

Rory Hearne is attending the protest in Edinburgh. He is on the steering committee of the Irish Anti-War Movement. Contact or 086 1523542 for info.

author by .:.publication date Mon Jul 04, 2005 13:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

and the day before and the day after.
210,000 a week.
840,000 a lunar month.


here's a guide to who's who? at the G8UK from the BBC-
the BBC have decided that the black block era began in Germany by the way.

author by BTpublication date Mon Jul 04, 2005 13:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Even as normally acerbic a character as Jon Snow of Channel 4 News declared that there was no need for journalism to challenge the basis on which MPH had been built because the organisation lay "beyond contention" - something which he wouldn't say about, for example, Christianity, the armed services, the National Health Service or any other institution or idea which comes to mind.

Thus, the difficulty which has emerged in estimating the role of MPH is that while its stated aims are radical and challenging - which is why hundreds of thousands of idealists have rallied to its flag- its ambience, approach and associations are anything but.

As transmitted to the public, its demands have become virtually indistinguishable from the policies of the British government - which is how come the spin-doctorate thought they'd get away with casting Brown as Mandela.

Related Link:
author by Duke Lanepublication date Mon Jul 04, 2005 14:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Your opening statement contains this quote:

"Any debt relief and aid offered will be used to deepen the project of neo-liberal globalisation in Africa. This will worsen the situation the poor further."

If you really believe that, then logically you are against the aid and debt relief for Africa that may be announced at this summit.

Is that really your position? Are you going to start a campaign to reinstate the debt? Are you going to run a campaign to cancel the aid?

The fact of the matter is that Bono, Geldof, and the British Government ARE trying to make a difference for the better, and they will be remembered for it, if they succeed.

author by ...publication date Mon Jul 04, 2005 15:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

if the aid has strings attached that cause even more economic problems and poverty in Africa (as has happened in the past) then eveyone should be against it.

author by JOEpublication date Mon Jul 04, 2005 17:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Rory Hearne is attending the protest in Edinburgh. He is on the steering committee of the Irish Anti-War Movement. [And is editor of Socialist worker] Contact or 086 1523542 for info. BTW, historic, what makes it any more historic than numerous past demos. OK I disagree with MPH but that made history being the largest demo ever held in Scotland. I bet you hundreds of thousands attend selling one million copies of SW. 5000 my arse.

author by New deal for the deadpublication date Mon Jul 04, 2005 18:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Surely it would be better for Tony to shut down G8, and use the money that he's spent on winning, dinning, accomodating and protecting wealthy heads of state, and paying the Met thousands to bully a load of school kids, and give this money to the african poor instead.

Its costing the british government millions to host the G8, and probably millions more to repair the damage to Edinburgh once the Anti G8 party kicks off.

author by Tom - n/apublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 17:09author address Irelandauthor phone Report this post to the editors

I was at the g8 alternatives in Edinburgh and I can confirm that there were certainly at least 4,000+ at the alternative summit. It was well organised and very informative. Well done. I can't understand the person above- who just seems like a sore individual who'd rather just bitch than be constructive.

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