Archive for July, 2005

Business as Usual

July 17th, 2005

Business as Usual

The G8 on energy and climate: all talk, no action

At the start of this month, the leaders of the G8 (the eight richest industrialised nations) met in Scotland for their annual get together to discuss issues of common interest. The mainstream media focus was on Climate Change and Africa, but behind the scenes Trade, the Global Economy, and Iraq were also on the agenda. In the run up to the summit, the communique on Climate and Energy – especially – was watered down with each successive (leaked) draft, apparently under pressure from the U.S. administration, and the final document – whilst making broad statements about partnerships and cooperation – utterly failed to include any specific targets or timetables for vital at-source emissions reductions. Campaign groups such as Friends of the Earth, and grassroots groups of protesters gathered in Scotland, were quick to condemn the outcome as a farce – all talk and no action.

Outside of Fortress Gleneagles, protests and creative resistance to the G8′s agenda, and the lack of real action on Climate Change flourished around the world during the summit…

In the U.S. several hundred people, including leaders from faith, student and community groups showed their commitment to getting the US to take action by fasting during the three days of the G8 summit, urging President Bush to make a commitment to reduce global warming pollution, and face up to the reality that 94 percent of the U.S. public support limiting greenhouse gas emissions (University of Maryland poll).

In Scotland, activists shut down main roads leading to the summit on the first day, and on the final day of the summit, a call to action on the root causes of climate change saw a mass blockade of the A74 bridge over the river Clyde in Glasgow (a road scheduled for carbon-guzzling expansion) and an afternoon-long street party.

The G8 outcome documents

Specific documents of interest on Climate & Energy:

Climate Change Chapeau
Climate Change Plan of Action
Global Economy & Oil

Finally, there is loads of independent non-commercial coverage of the G8 on Indymedia

G8 Blockades

July 6th, 2005

Early this morning, activists from Oxford successfully blockaded the main bridge leading out of Crieff, one of small villages close to Gleneagles where delegates to the G8 summit are staying. There have been distributed blockades around the entire region, bringing traffic to a standstill in places.

Numerous reports from the blockades are now up on Indymedia, as are a selection of my photos from the Crieff blockade. That page will be updated with more photos later, when I can get back to my laptop.

Update: According to the end of this Guardian article it appears that another blockade to the South East of Crieff was also successful this morning, substantially increasing the impact of the blockades.

Crieff Blockage Press Release:

6th July 2005

Anti G8 Protesters block bridge in Crieff

Traffic in and out of Crieff has been brought to a standstill early this morning by a group of people protesting about the G8 summit in Gleneagles. A group of people blocked the bridge over the river Earn on the main exit road to the south of Crieff, the A822, by locking themselves onto a piece of heavy metal in the middle of the road.

Leaflets are being given to motorists disrupted by the action to explain the motives being this blockade. The aim of blocking the road at this point is to prevent American delegates to the G8, understood to be staying in accommodation in Crieff, from getting to Gleneagles.

Duncan Locke, a self-employed carpenter from the South of England said, “The G8 is an elite club intent on pursuing their agenda of free trade capitalism across the world, at the expense of people, environment or justice. We took this action to try to send a message of hope to the rest of the world that this situation will no longer go unchallenged. We are sorry to be adding to the disruption to local people caused by the G8. However, the issues we are highlighting are of such fundamental importance globally that we felt honour-bound to take action.”

The first vehicle stopped by the road block was a delegation headed for the summit. Other drivers have been sympathetic to the protesters. One lorry driver commented that the trade liberalization being rolled out by the G8 leaders has led to the situation where foreign workers now do jobs for £3 an hour that local people used to get paid £7 an hour to do.

The action was visited by some Critical Mass cyclists and some people dressed as fairies too!

Are we Corporate Puppets?

July 5th, 2005

At the Make Poverty History march, the speakers insisted that we are dragging the G8 leaders kicking and screaming towards our demands. It seems to me that the G8 leaders are dragging us dancing and cheering towards theirs.

George Monbiot in The Guardian today. Unfortunately he’s right, and I’ve been torn by this for the last few days. The mobilisation and awareness raising that the MPH march created throughout mainstream campaigning groups, churches, NGOs, and youth groups in the UK has been phenomenal, and I find it hard realising that getting people out into the streets saying ‘we want an end to poverty’ can be a bad thing. But there is a problem. Our very presence in Edinburgh, asking the G8 leaders to make poverty history, has legitimised the G8 as an international decision making body. By failing to shout loudly about the fundamental reasons why poverty exists – namely the power of corporations, and the neoliberal policies being shoved down the throats of African countries by eight white men – we left the entire Make Poverty History campaign completely open to co-option by the politicians responsible for perpetuating the structures that keep poverty a reality.

Make Capitalism History

The G8 is not, has never, and will never be about solving the world’s problems, it is an elite club of the eight richest most powerful nations in the world getting together to further their own interests, and the interests of the global corporations to which they are puppets. That’s why thousands of activists are still here in Scotland, not content to march and then go home, but rather determined to shut down the G8 summit.



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