Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Anarchy and the G8

Well here comes the G8 again, a meeting of 8 'great' nations who get together to figure out ways to end poverty and hunger... well, at least they COULD get together to end poverty and hunger, but no.
They talk, and eat, and have photos taken together, then talk some more, eat again, another photo shoot and home; all at the taxpayers’ expense. So what do they talk about? Maybe they ARE working to end world hunger? Ah bless, but no.
Most of us will never know what is discussed during these meetings; sometimes they decide to have a particular topic (the host nation’s leader sets the agenda) that is openly discussed with the media, but usually no such transparency exists, and we are just left paying for the grand gala without being let in on the details.
I have a particular nostalgia for the G8 because my experiences protesting against it in 2005 are what made me realise anarchism (as a system of self-government), actually works. I was living in Edinburgh when the G8 was held just up the road in Gleneagles; how could I resist attending the protest?
In the previous year I had attended one of the international protests against the war in Iraq, “no blood for oil” was our slogan and Tony Blair had lied to the international public, stating there was evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This has now been proven to be lies and that liar, that international war criminal was leading the G8 in Scotland.
So, who was invited? Other than the usual suspects the International Energy Agency made their debut at the 2005 G8, an organisation whose mandate is to manage the security of oil supply. Hmmm, I wonder what they talked about... I can only guess, and my guess is oil: who has it, and how they can ‘secure the supply’ (i.e. by force).
Publicly, poverty in Africa was said to be on the G8’s agenda for discussion in 2005, largely due to the international ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign, which culminated in a march of an estimated 225,000 people in Edinburgh. Protesters demanded the G8 ‘Drop the Debt’ crippling developing nations and increase aid, without strings attached.
Most aid given to developing nations goes straight to US/UK-owned contractors anyway (to build infrastructure, for example) and what does go to the countries comes with requirements further tying the country to credit dependence and debt to the G8. Unfortunately ‘aid’ is not a monetary gift from one country to another, it’s a payment for services rendered. See
There was an anarchist campsite at Gleneagles where thousands of diverse people came together to protest the G8. There were people in fairy costumes, skinheads, children, ‘normal’ folks and everything in between. Each area of the camp site had a local meeting to discuss their ideas for protest and camp organisation (feeding everyone, cleanup duties etc.); then the facilitators of each group went to a central tent for a camp-wide discussion of the protest. In this way every person had an opportunity to have their say and each group got to discuss their methods of protest.
Riot police in full riot gear were outside the camp threatening to move in and tensions were high. Some people wanted to go out and attack them, some people wanted a sit-down protest while others wanted to walk among the police handing out flowers. How was this going to work?
Each group discussed their idea and then the group facilitators agreed each protest idea would be put into action in a chronological order starting with the most peaceful and only using violence as a last resort. So the mothers, fairies and children went first, they handed out flowers and the children hugged the legs of the police. It was quite a sight to behold! There were no cameras allowed at the campsite to protect everyone’s identities so there were no pictures taken, but it was beautiful, trust me.
In the end our last resort was not needed and the protest ended peacefully. Protesters were allowed to leave in groups of about 1000; they sent us by train back to Edinburgh to be searched and photographed.
So after the British taxpayers spent a total of £12.7 million for the G8 weekend, what was the result? A handful of promises were made (and mostly not kept) to reduce Africa’s debt, but aid was given to Palestine for ‘infrastructure’ and many trade-inhibiting tariffs and subsidies were reduced, opening the door to more G8-owned corporate organisations. It sounds like the mob G8 just got their way again.
Now eight years later the G8 is back in the UK and although David Cameron is hosting the party this year, I’m sad to say, nothing has changed. At least (I hope) the anarchist protests will continue, so a new generation of people will realise, we CAN peacefully organise ourselves. We CAN co-exist with people from different backgrounds with different agendas. We don’t need these corrupt politicians to lead us, rule us or govern us; we CAN govern ourselves. That is anarchy.

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