Over 220 people attended a meeting in Conway Hall in London on Tuesday of last week to kickstart Globalise Resistance's mobilisation for the G8 summit in Genoa, Italy. Everybody who was there is planning to travel to Genoa on 20-22 July to protest at the summit, where leaders from the world's eight richest countries will gather.
Protesters are demanding the cancellation of Third World debt, and for the people of the world to be put before the profits of the multinationals. The US and Britain had just carried out their barbaric bombing of Iraq, so the evening kicked off with a speech from the Mariam Appeal, which campaigns against the bombing of Iraq.
Candy Udwin, the Socialist Alliance candidate in Camden in London, spoke about building the protest by connecting it to the numerous local and national struggles against the effects of neo-liberal policies like PFI schemes. 'Seattle was successful. It showed we can stop the free market plans of our rulers. Let's get to Genoa and do it!' said Anna Braga from the Green Party. Chris Nineham from Globalise Resistance said that they were liasing with the Contra G8 group, the protest organisers in Italy, to get information about the planning of the blockades and other actions.
A short discussion about Genoa raised a number of issues around the protest, which were then raised in the seven workshops that followed. They included fundraising, publicity, media work and transport, plus liasing with the groups planning May Day protests.
The groups reconvened to let the meeting know what each had discussed. It was decided to meet again in three weeks, and also to hold regular organising committee meetings with two people from each subgroup. A brilliant start to what will be a brilliant protest.
Material for these actions is available on the website www.resist.org.uk
Tap a mood
The last week at University College London (UCL) has proved that Globalise Resistance is turning into a movement that is alive and real. Last Monday Globalise Resistance was a loose but small coalition. We started a petition against GlaxoSmithKline, and by the end of the week the group had grown into a list of over 200 people.
This movement is massive. We must tap into it, mould it and benefit from it, but we must not attempt to dominate it.
Waiting since 70s
Forty people turned up to the Manchester planning meeting for Genoa. 'I've been waiting for something like this to happen since the 1970s,' said Jean, a pensioner who had travelled from Lancashire for the meeting. We discussed our upcoming protests against the GlaxoSmithKline drugs company and the Gap clothes store. People are really keen to do big stunts.
The meeting split into smaller groups to organise the protests and our travelling arrangements to Genoa. Everyone agreed that we want to establish Globalise Resistance as a group and begin fundraising. Things are rolling.
The £5.32 billion profits from death
The giant drugs company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) made £5.32 billion profits last year-around £14 million a day-while millions of AIDS victims across Africa and Latin America cannot afford to buy its AIDS treatment drugs.
GSK has refused to allow local manufacturers to make cheap copies of its drugs. Its sales of AIDS drugs rose to £1.15 billion last year. Only £114 million came from countries outside the US and Europe. Drugs companies are pushing ahead with their court case on 5 March against the South African government, to stop the production of cheap drugs to help AIDS victims.
Protest outside GlaxoSmithKline
Monday 5 March, 8-10am Great West Road, Brentford, Middlesex Syon Lane station, regular trains from Waterloo station
For more information contact Globalise Resistance on 07956 681 328
'Winds of change'
'The more I find out about what's going on in the world, the more I want to do stuff about it,' said Sonya, a young film assistant. Sonya was one of around 300 people who attended the fiftieth anniversary conference of War on Want, the campaign group against world poverty, in London last Saturday. They came together to discuss how to eradicate world poverty and regulate the free market.
'Over the last 30 years people have tried to reconstruct the world on the basis of the 19th century and allowing the free market to rule,' said Larry Elliot, the economics editor of the Guardian. 'This system is unsustainable. Out of the wreckage of the old system we can start to see the emergence of the new. Something out there is changing fundamentally. The winds of change are beginning to blow.'
Campaigners then broke up into a number of workshops to join lively debates and discussions on regulating the capitalist system and supporting workers' movements in the South of the world. At the final session of the day Clare Short, New Labour's international development secretary, argued that globalisation was reducing world inequality. She said people who protested against global institutions such as the WTO and IMF could destroy poor people's hopes.
Her defence of the financial institutions shocked many people in the audience. They did not fall for her arguments about globalisation benefiting the poor. The best answer to Clare Short is for as many people as possible to protest against the G8 in Genoa in July.