100,000 on the way to Genoa
ITALIAN NEWSPAPERS are predicting that the demonstration outside the G8 summit of world leaders in Genoa in July will be at least 100,000 strong. The G8 meeting, which takes place on 20-22 July, brings together leaders of all the main industrialised countries. They will discuss Third World debt and try to smooth the way for more trade liberalisation.
The protests are demanding the cancellation of the debt and that people's priorities should come before profit. Activists across Europe are organising for Genoa. There is a good chance to win significant working class support for the demonstrations. The Genoa Social Forum (GSF) met last week. It is an umbrella group of over 170 organisations which is coordinating the protests.
About 250 people gathered in a dockers' union social centre in Genoa. They were mostly from Italy, but included some 60 delegates from other countries. There were representatives from several Italian trade union groups, including the main electricians' union, which is backing the protests. Also present were environmental campaigners and Genoa mobilising groups from Germany and Greece. Anti-debt campaigners were represented from across the globe.
From the beginning of the meeting it was clear that the protests in July will be massive and that, while people will protest for many different reasons, there is a strong feeling for unity in action. Activists from across Europe told of an excitement in their countries for going to Genoa. Delegate after delegate said their contingents would be much bigger than those that went to Prague last September.
Globalise Resistance in Ireland expects to send over 200 people from Dublin. Thousands are expected from Greece and Germany. The French ATTAC group expects to bring at least 10,000, and there was great support for the train from Britain.
The possibility of a right wing coalition led by Berlusconi winning in Sunday's Italian election meant that many Italians were concerned the protests would be met with bans and repression.
But others argued that the protests were a real chance for the left in Italy to send a powerful message to whoever forms the government. There are four main events to counter the summit in Genoa. The first is a week long Social Forum with speakers from across the world, where activists and campaigners will gather to discuss the ideas and politics behind our movement.
On Thursday 19 July a mass protest for immigrant rights will march along the "exclusion zone" imposed by the Italian authorities around the conference hall. Much of Genoa's immigrant community lives within this area. There will be direct action protests on 20 July. Because these will occur on a weekday, a number of speakers raised the possibility of winning strike action. This idea went down well because the idea of unity between workers and direct actionists was a key theme of the conference.
The march on Saturday 21 July will be huge. The initial route of the march was to be away from the G8. But it quickly became clear that everyone wanted to get as close as possible to allow people to show their anger. Vanya, an activist from Slovenia, said the protests should disrupt the G8's peace in the town and "inform the local people that they themselves are paying for a meeting that has huge material, human and moral costs for civilisation".
- Martin Empson
Globalise resistance national conference sunday 13 may
Globalise Resistance, the British-based activists' organisation which has been prominent in recent protests, will hold its first conference this weekend. There will be speakers from the French ATTAC group and Trident Ploughshares.
The conference will discuss the lessons of the May Day protests, organise to get as many people as possible to Genoa for the G8 protest, and debate other campaigning issues.
Globalise Resistance is laying on a train to get people from Dover to Genoa. Tickets are available for 120. Hurry now to book. Contact details above.