What we think Genoa 2001
Another world is necessary
TONY BLAIR denounced the demonstrators outside the G8 summit of world leaders in Genoa last week and claimed the “summit has done much to help the world’s poor”. The leaders of the world’s richest nations boasted they gave 850 million to an HIV fund for Africa.
AIDS claims 6,000 lives a day in Africa and tackling it needs over 6 billion. Britain will spend less on the G8 AIDS fund than it did on cleaning up foot and mouth. Two years ago in Cologne the G8 promised $100 billion in debt relief to the poorest nations. They have only cancelled $30 billion that wasn’t even being paid anyway.
The G8 spent three times the health budget of Tanzania on the summit. The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution says the world needs a 60 percent cut in greenhouse gases in the next 20 years. The Kyoto agreement promised a 5 percent cut but this week’s deal in Bonn promises just a 1 percent cut.
And the US-the dominant member of the G8 and the world’s biggest polluter-refused to accept the agreement. This refusal comes just as more people are dying and being made homeless in India because of floods in Orissa, caused by global warming. Clare Short, who is laughably titled a “development” secretary, tried to discredit the protesters in Genoa by calling them “white, privileged and middle class”.
“Who is better able to speak on behalf of the poor-middle class white people in the North or the elected representatives of the poor of Africa themselves?” she asked. But if the people of the South are so happy with the G8, why were there also protests against them in Nigeria, Peru, Argentina and Brazil last weekend? The truth is neo-liberalism is making the lives of the world’s poor worse, not better.
That is why we must celebrate the deepening and growing movement of resistance and solidarity. French activist Jos Bov said last week, “This movement is unstoppable now in both rich and poor countries. We have seen nothing yet.” George Monbiot wrote after Genoa, “Ours is, in numerical terms, the biggest protest movement in the history of the world. We have a better opportunity for generating progressive, democratic change than at any time in the past 50 years.” The slogan of 300,000 in Genoa was “Another world is possible”. Our task is to make it reality.
“They are going to do nothing on debt and, we are sorry to say, they are doing nothing on education. On health there is no new money.” TONY BURDON, Oxfam
“The leaders are trying to give the impression that they are tackling AIDS when all they are really doing is announcing another false dawn for the poor.” MARK CURTIS, head of policy, Christian Aid
Killed for struggling for it
‘Carlo protested for his ideas’
THE BRITISH media tried to justify the shooting dead of 23 year old Carlo Guiliani in Genoa by printing reports that he was a criminal and a “wild one”. He was no such thing. Carlo’s father, a CGIL trade union official, said this about his son: “Carlo was the exact opposite of what people have written about him. He was a boy of great generosity who was opposed to injustice. He read, he studied, he discussed, and he protested for his ideas. He always cared about others. And he always worked, if irregularly. He worked in the jobs that all young people are forced to take-in the black economy, without any security, without any rights. The press say he had a criminal record. When he was 17 the police misidentified him as a criminal. He was accused of ‘aggression against a public official’. But the judge laughed the case out of court and cleared him of the charges. Carlo didn’t accept the notion that eight leaders of the world should decide the life and deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Here in Genoa you do not need to go far to see the victims of their policies. Come back after the G8 have gone and you will see the desperation of those who are left in hunger, those who are forced to flee their own countries, forced to survive without any dignity in the alleyways that surround the harbour. On Friday’s demonstration Carlo wore a balaclava, yes. But you cannot equate the throwing of a fire extinguisher with a gunshot to the head. There won’t be his liveliness in our house anymore. We won’t hear his jokes about football. And we won’t have our political discussions any more.”
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