Many African activists were on the Edinburgh protest. Ken is a student at Imperial College in London, but he grew up in Nigeria where he was involved in struggles against the military dictatorship.
“I hate to see oppression,” he told Socialist Worker. “Today people are trying to make the G8 accountable for their actions. I have seen the impact that the multinationals have in countries such as Nigeria.”
Ken was angry about the G8 leaders’ claim that a lack of “good governance” in Africa is an obstacle to eradicating poverty. “These people should not be allowed to set the criteria for good governance,” he said.
“What Bush did in Iraq — I see that as corruption. The IMF and the World Bank’s idea of good governance is what keeps people in poverty.”
Although happy to march with Make Poverty History, Ken wanted to see more radical action as well. “It’s one thing to make people listen, it’s another to make them act on it,” he said.
“I don’t believe in the G8—it is an illegal institution. We need to be pro-active —using direct action to force them to act.”
And for Ken, like many others in Edinburgh, the system of poverty and exploitation presided over by the G8 is linked to imperialism and war.
“Today the US is sending troops into the gulf of Guinea because they think that they may need access to Nigeria’s oil.”