MAKE SURE you are in Edinburgh on Saturday 2 July and the days afterwards, because it is going to be a major event which will see huge numbers march to demand that the G8 leaders act over debt, aid and trade.
In Manchester last Saturday around 600 people gathered at a Motiv8 4 G8 event organised by several of the groups active in the Make Poverty History campaign. Hundreds more had to be turned away.
The discussions showed the determination to win change, and the thirst for debate.
The participants gathered round 35 large tables, each seating up to 15 people. After introductory talks they discussed issues such as the world trade system, debt, how to organise, and how to get as many people as possible to Edinburgh.
A typical discussion would start with one person saying that perhaps all trade barriers should be swept away so that Third World countries could have access to Western markets.
Then someone else would say this ignored the power of the West and that the answer was allowing poorer countries to put up barriers to protect their own industries.
Then a third person would talk about the power of individual buying decisions and a fourth about the power of the multinationals and the World Bank and the need to change the whole system. And so it would continue.
Carla Tucker, Mykla Reilly, Louise Reynolds and Farheen Kutuvudin from Loreto College in Manchester were some of many present who were preparing to go to Edinburgh.
“We want to show our support for action over issues like debt and improved aid,” they said. “We have a peace and justice group at our college, which takes 16 to 19 year olds. The G8 demo is a big priority for us. Politicians talk about change, but we want to see it happen.”
Mike Burgess from Penrith said, “I have been on three big anti-war marches in London in the last two years. That experience has changed how I think about the world and my view of the numbers of people it is possible to mobilise, if we go about it the right way.
“I see much more clearly the links between Bush, the multinationals, war and the suffering of Africa. Many of us are schooled in the anti-war campaigns, as well as movements like the Jubilee anti-debt campaign.
“I’m a bit impatient with anyone who thinks the way forward is to be polite to the politicians, or who wants to limit the scale of the Edinburgh protest.”
Claire from Manchester said, “I am involved in a local group which brings together asylum seekers and people in the community. We are using the run-up to the G8 as an educational process, by holding banner-making workshops where we discuss slogans and the sort of demands we want to raise.”
In the region covered by Saturday’s conference there is transport coming from Leeds, Keswick, Workington, Penrith, Carlisle, Barrow-in-Furness, Lancaster, Burnley, Fylde Coast, Wrexham, Kendal, Preston, Rossendale Valley, Bolton, Bury and Chester—as well as Liverpool, Sheffield and a number of areas in Manchester.
Newcastle activists announced that the Jubilee Debt Campaign in the city had booked 40 coaches.
Participants at the conference were anxious to get solid organisational networks out of the day.
Towards the end several groups from Manchester pushed their tables together to organise transport, street stalls, films and gigs.
The introductory speaker on the Edinburgh protests, Marjorie Clark, an area coordinator from Christian Aid, repeatedly said that it was not just about the 2 July demonstration but the events that followed.
Edinburgh can be a mass, radical outpouring of anger about a world of poverty, famine and war. The message from Saturday is that we all have to work to make that happen.
Phone Socialist Worker on 020 7538 0828 for details of transport from the areas mentioned
Diary of the week
Iain Ferguson, from the G8 Alternatives group, told Socialist Worker about the events in Scotland
- It all starts with a welcoming rally on Friday 1 July.
- There will be the Make Poverty History demonstration on Saturday 2 July.
- The G8 Alternatives summit will be held on Sunday 3 July. Speakers include George Monbiot, Trevor Ngwane from South Africa, Dita Sari from Indonesia, Susan George, and Ken Wiwa from Nigeria.
- On Monday 4 July there will be a protest at Faslane nuclear base and on Tuesday 5 July a demo at the Dungavel asylum seeker detention centre.
- On Wednesday 6 July there will be a major demonstration at Gleneagles where the G8 summit will take place.
We are arranging places to stay for people.
For more information go to www.g8alternatives.org