The protests in Scotland over the last week are part of the great cycle of mobilisations against corporate globalisation and war that have characterised the last few years.
It is thanks to them that the G8 leaders are forced to pay lip service to the burning concerns of billions of people across the globe.
So where does the movement go now? Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are clear what they want — the energy and militancy dissipated into safe channels, the idealism of millions used as a veneer for the business ventures of millionaires.
That danger increases when some celebrities and charities take it upon themselves to flatter the G8 criminals, settle for less than half measures and treat a mass movement as their plaything.
Most of those who built the protests in Edinburgh on Saturday and throughout this week rightly want far more.
There are important mobilisations later this year — some local, some international — such as the day of action over climate change in December, an issue scandalously but predictably sidelined by the corporate-friendly G8.
Putting vague pressure on Bush and Blair will not ensure our success. What’s really needed to win change is a global struggle of the exploited against the exploiter.
The G8 summit has shown that the world’s leaders, just like any jumped up manager at work, will respond only when they are forced to.
They need to be hit on every front. Blair and Brown are the apostles of neo-liberalism on every continent.
A blow against them here is a blow for the African farmer resisting enslavement to the exploitative supply chain of companies such as Tesco. A victory against privatisation here is a gain for every shantytown rising up against handing essential services to multinationals.
Every advance for the radical left and Respect shows that those dishing out neo-liberal poison abroad are losing their grip at home. It says there is an alternative.
What the G8 leaders fear above all is the coming together of the feeling of millions with collective acts of revolt to their rule.
That revolt stretches from the Bolivian miners who have risen up, dynamite in hand, against corporate power and its political representatives, through to the popular resistance in Iraq, which is draining US imperial power into the sands.
It encompasses the recent South African general strike and the movements for justice across the African continent. The G8 leaders are busy this week trying to derail those demands. But as the great black poet Langston Hughes once wrote, “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Does it fester like a sore, and then run?... Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?”
Retreat on the cards
A reduced New Labour majority was supposed to mean Blair’s backbenchers would be more likely to bring him to heel.
But in last week’s vote on ID cards, just 20 Labour MPs voted against the government. Most backbenchers ignored appeals to oppose the bill from trade union leaders who, in the main, tell us there is no option but to automatically hand money to Labour.
The campaign against ID cards shows every sign of becoming a beacon of opposition to Blair. It is already sharply posing the need for a left alternative to New Labour — one that has guts.