Momentum is growing for the protests in Scotland against the G8 summit in July. More and more groups are backing demonstrations, events and discussions.
The Scottish Trades Union Congress is supporting the Make Poverty History demonstration on 2 July and the demonstration at the G8 itself at Gleneagles on 6 July.
The Unison union’s Scottish section, which organises 150,000 workers, has passed a motion to back the G8 protests and initiatives such as the alternative summit to the G8 which will bring together activists and campaigners from across the world.
Michael Macneil, secretary of Unison’s Scottish International Committee, said, “The alternative summit follows on from the European Social Forum last year.
“We want to ensure that the maximum number of people are able to take part in a range of peaceful protests.
“We want a new global deal to tackle issues of debt relief, trade negotiations and development funding.”
James Main, a Glasgow electrician and Scottish Unison steward, explains, “The backing of our union has given the members the opportunity to raise the G8 demonstrations at their branch meetings, to organise transport and support for the G8 Alternatives activities.
“It would be good to organise a joint meeting with unions across Europe on an issue such as pensions, which affects all workers.
“I would definitely encourage everyone who can to come up to Scotland and make their voice heard.”
The National Union of Teachers has called for as many of its members as possible to make it to Edinburgh for the Make Poverty History demo on 2 July.
Meetings to organise for the G8 are already taking place in universities throughout Scotland, with hundreds of students who haven’t been involved in politics in the past taking an active part.
Lucy, a student at Edinburgh university said, “We held a meeting about a month ago entitled ‘Why should we oppose the G8’. Around 200 people turned up to hear the arguments from Colin Fox and Mike Gonzalez of the Scottish Socialist Party and others.
“It was a great turnout, with lots of people there who had not been to a political meeting before. We discussed world events, the environment and civil liberties—all reasons to oppose the G8.
“Almost everyone at that meeting signed up for more information, and we have had three more organising meetings since. We are coordinating accommodation and trying to mobilise people in Edinburgh to get to Gleneagles.”
Young people care
It’s not just students in Scotland who are organising for the protests.
Students Against Poverty was set up in Belfast. It has grown quickly and hopes to get around 100 young people over to Scotland for the G8 events.
A representative said, “We also felt that it was important to attend the G8 Alternatives summit, as the student voice, often ignored, needs to be heard.
“We have organised meetings to discuss matters such as war, poverty and free education, doing away with the myth that young people do not care about politics in the world.”
The media portrayal of the G8 protests can be very one sided. So this year the NUJ journalists’ union is helping to fund an alternative media centre.
Pete Murray, a member of the Scottish executive council of the NUJ, said, “The journalists around the G8 will basically be embedded. They will only see what the government wants them to see.
“That’s why an alternative is really important. It will allow reporters to see the plurality and diversity of what is going on.
“And it’s also important that the alternative reporting is taken seriously. That’s why it needs NUJ support and funding, and the involvement of experienced working journalists.
“The alternative media centre will not only provide the physical access that journalists need, but also the information about what is happening around Scotland.
“We are also hoping to run a workshop at the G8 Alternatives summit about public service broadcasting and funding.
Edinburgh in July will be alive with protest and debate. Make sure you’re there.
For details of the demonstrations and alternative summit go to www.g8alternatives.org
For transport from London and the mobilisation against the G8 go to www.resist.org.uk
For details of the Make Poverty History campaign events go to