Unstoppable challenge to G8 in Genoa
THE build-up for the protests against the leaders of the G8 eight richest countries in Genoa in Italy on 19-21 July is becoming bigger by the day. It is the first chance for Italians to demonstrate against their new hard right government led by Silvio Berlusconi.
Over 500 people attended the first national conference of the ATTAC campaign group against globalisation and financial speculation in Bologna last week. There are three boats from South America going to the protests. Four trains from Rome, carrying 4,000 people, will be heading to Genoa.
Titti de Simone, a lesbian Communist Refoundation MP, has called for all lesbians and gays to demonstrate in Genoa. Thirty leading Italian directors will film the protests to give a voice to people who are ignored by the mainstream media.
"They have to realise the world cannot be destroyed for profit, to take account of the conditions of life in Africa and Asia, of hunger, drought, and the destruction of the polar ice caps," said the veteran director Luigi Magni. "What are we going to do with the world? That's the real question."
Threats from the Genoa dockers to protest at a fascist conference planned for the city last weekend forced the authorities to cancel the conference. The Italian government has been forced to invite Third World leaders to the G8 meeting, such as Nelson Mandela and the prime minister of Bangladesh, to pretend that they are listening to the voices of the poor.
They are also meeting the Genoa Social Forum, which is organising the anti-G8 protests, in an attempt to show concern for social issues. The pressure on the major unions to back the demonstrations and a general strike on 20 July is growing.
At a 10,000-strong concert popular French-Spanish singer Manu Chao said he will be at the front of the march. Don Andrea Gallo, a well known radical priest, said, "I'm appealing to the unions to stop sitting on the fence, which they've done up to now, and join us." Green MP Paulo Cento called the unions' silence "scandalous", while Tom Benetollo, president of the ARCI cultural association, has written an open letter to the unions which says, "Your silence over the anti-G8 initiatives is worrying us."
Thousands of people will also be converging on Genoa from Europe to tell the G8 to cancel Third World debt and put people before profit, including around 5,000 people from Britain.