What is wrong with the G8

G8 protests in Genoa

- the anti-capitalist struggle continues


Over the weekend of July 19/20/21 tends of thousands of people from all over the world will be in Genoa to protest against the G8 meeting there. Genoa will join Seattle, London, Prague and Quebec as the scene of confrontation between the forces of capitalist globalisation (neo liberalism) and those who believe other worlds are possible.

Make no mistake, in Genoa, as elsewhere two incompatible visions of the world will collide. On the one side are the G8, the most powerful governments of the planet. They are Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Italy, Russia and the United States. On the other are tens of thousands of ordinary people, many of them citizens of these countries.

[In Portuguese]

The G8 summits effectively decide what sort of world you and your children will live in. Behind closed doors decisions are made that mean our environment is sacrificed to profit, our health service is run down and privatised and millions of people continue to die for want of clean water and basic medicine.

The G8 summit will plan directives to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, which impose cuts in education and healthcare through "Structural Adjustment Programmes". According to Trocaire "Sub Saharan Africa still pays US$37 million each day in debt repayments while seven million children die annually as a direct result of the loss of resources through debt repayments". These are the results of the neo liberal (or free market) dictatorship that the G8 is imposing on the planet.

In 1998, that 20 percent of the world's people living in the highest-income countries accounted for 86 percent of total private consumption expenditures while the poorest 20 percent accounted for only 1.3 percent. And things are getting worse, not better, three decades ago the poorest 20% accounted for 2.3 percent.

But this is not simply a case of the people of the rich western countries screwing the people of the third world. The figures demonstrate this also. The United States is the most powerful economic power on Earth. In 1999 Bill Gates had more wealth than the bottom 45 percent of American households. As of 1995 the wealth of the top one percent of Americans was greater than that of the bottom 95 percent. And there also things are getting worse. In 1999 Business Week revealed that top executives earned 419 times the average wage of a blue-collar worker, up from 326:1 in 1998. In 1980, the ratio was 42:1

There will be thousands of anarchists taking part in the demonstrations in Genoa. We say the G8 is at the top of a system of exploitation and human misery, a system whose role it is to preserve. We are not pleading with them to be reasonable. We are saying their world must come to an end! The world's people need an economy based on filling their needs, not on making profits. We need a political system without professional politicians; a federation of self managed communities and workplaces. This is not a demand we make of the G8 - the world we need cannot come from above but must be won through the struggle of all of us below.

Debt relief & Democracy

Polls show huge majorities in favour of debt cancellation. In Britain for instance 69% of the public would have liked to see the government celebrate the Millennium by cancelling Third World debts. In Ireland hundreds of thousands signed a Jubilee 2000 petition for debt cancellation.

While the G8 summit, for PR reasons, talks of poverty relief the reality is that even the limited debt cancellation programs agreed to date have been farcical. The report From Debt to Poverty Eradication revealed that "The total reduction in debt repayments delivered for all 41 countries since the adoption of the HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) programme in 1996 amounted to only US$1.1 billion. In that time, the 41 HIPC countries paid a total of US$35 billion towards their outstanding debts".

This is the reality of the G8. This is why tens of thousands people will demonstrate in Genoa this weekend. But it is also the reality of capitalism. All the G8 countries claim to be democracies, their rulers claim to represent the interests of the population. In reality they represent the big companies based there. These are the companies which not only pay their election bills (George Bush got seventy five million dollars from oil companies towards his election expenses) but who own the mass media. This same media that will tell you that the Genoa protesters are a combination of mindless hooligans or misguided innocents.

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News from Genoa

You can't trust the mainstream Irish media to accurately report what is happening in Genoa.

If you have internet access there are many alternative news sources available. For links to them and background details go to www.struggle.ws/global.html or join the mailing list by sending an email to

global_irl-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Dozens of eyewitness reports, photos, sound files and even video direct from the protesters at

www.indymedia.org/

Events in Dublin

Monday 23nd - Anarchist meeting

Eyewitness report from the Genoa demonstrations

8pm in the Bachelor Inn (upstairs), Bachelors Walk (beside O'Connell Bridge)

Irish anarchists who will have just returned from the anti-G8 demonstrations in Genoa will give an account of their experiences there.

 

Saturday 28th - Irish demonstration

Workshops in Liberty Hall from 11.00, march from outside at 15.00. Organised by Globalise Resistance