Socialist Worker

Rage at meeting of G20 leaders

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2139

The world economy is in meltdown and the effects on working people are becoming more stark by the day.

Workers are bearing the brunt as the bosses impose mass job losses.

It is in this context that the G20 leaders from the world’s most powerful countries are meeting in London in April to discuss ways to make ordinary people continue to pay for the crisis.

But activists will be there to demonstrate against them and their plans.

Trade unions, students, charities and community groups have joined together to demand that the G20 leaders break with their current strategy.

They have called a demonstration for Saturday 28 March calling on world governments to “Put People First”.

Millions are sick of the empty promises of leaders who claim to be on their side but care little about their lives.

They continue to side with the banks and throw money after big business, while thousands of people lose their jobs daily and the planet is further destroyed by the carbon emissions they have failed to reduce.

Trade unionists across the country will be central to the protest, which has the backing of the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

The Unison public sector union is calling for a mass mobilisation of its members on the day.


Unison general secretary Dave Prentis called for “a major demonstration of our people in the streets of London on 28 March to call for jobs, people, public services and climate change to be at the heart of plans to deal with the crisis.”

Unite union branches are also building for the demonstration.

Mike Thompson, the Unite branch chair in Leicester, told Socialist Worker, “My branch has always supported the anti-capitalist European Social Forums (ESF), including sending a delegation to Malmo in Sweden last year.

“The discussions at these events show how important it is for workers across Europe to resist the erosion of our rights and conditions.

“Protests at the G20 and the follow up counter-protest at the Nato military alliance’s 60th anniversary parade are a chance for us to put forward a vision of a better Europe and a better world.”

Inequality is hard-wired into capitalism.

And the G20 leaders will not do anything without pressure from below.

The injustice of a system that sees people starving across the world while there is enough food to feed everyone and puts profits before people must be put to an end.

The website for the summit demonstrates that the leaders remain committed to the policies that have got us into the current mess.

It states, “Open financial markets bring important economic benefits and need to be retained.”


Demands to end world poverty and seriously address the causes of climate change are central to the protest. War on Want is one of the organisations mobilising for the protest.

Ruth Tanner, campaigns and policy director at the anti-poverty charity, told Socialist Worker, “Gordon Brown’s prescription of more free market globalisation fails to appreciate the root causes of the present crisis.

“Brown and the other G20 leaders must accept the need for democratic control of the global economy, favouring public benefit and environmental sustainability over unfettered private gain.

“This is why thousands of demonstrators will join a march which demands fair distribution of wealth, decent jobs for all and a low carbon world.”

Students have also been part of the anti-capitalist movement and many groups are arranging transport from their universities to London and then on to the international anti-Nato demonstrations in Strasbourg in France.

Julie Sherry, a student at Glasgow university, said, “We aim to bring the spirit from the student movement and the anti-war movement to the protests and to hold these leaders to account.

“The G20 and Strasbourg demonstrations are an opportunity to link all the struggles together.

“We’re part of a huge movement against poverty and war.

“We need to say loud and clear that capitalism isn’t working.”

The demonstration on 28 March will be followed by a protest called by the Stop the War Coalition on 2 April outside the G20 meeting.

Activists should be booking transport and linking up with local trade unionists and NGOs to get the biggest possible turnout for these vital protests.

Put People First, assemble Saturday 28 March, 11am, the Embankment, London. For more information »

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Article information

Tue 17 Feb 2009, 18:16 GMT
Issue No. 2139
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