G8 Summit Rostock
Bosses’ representatives head for June summit
The G8 Summit takes place near Rostock, in Germany, early next month. Huge protests are planned during the week around the Summit.
On 9 May, the German authorities tried to criminalise the protest movement by searching 40 offices and homes of anti-G8-protesters. Furthermore, the Interior Minister announced there will be so-called preventive detention. With these measures, the authorities hoped to discourage people from participating in the protests. But their policies backfired on them. There is widespread criticism of the police actions and, especially among young people, and this has had the effect of bringing more protesters to the streets.
After Angela Merkel criticised state repression in Russia against the demonstrators, last week, during official talks between the EU and Russia, spokespersons for anti-G8 protests replied to her hypocriscy and spoke of Germany moving in the same direction as Russia. Different associations of German lawyers also condemned the German police actions.
In addition to the Wall that has been built, for the sum of 12.5 million, around Heiligendamm, the G8 Summit venue, the German authorities have put a ban on demonstations in the area. This covers between 2 to 6 kilometres around the wall, for the period of the summit (5-8 June) and an area of 200 m around the wall, from 30 May. Even some politicians are questioning the legality of this ban. The authorities are justifying this measure by claiming there is a threat of terrorist attacks (which even sections of German media and politicians say is hysteria).
Angela Merkel is trying to use the G8 summit to boost her profile. She announced she will ask the summit for more financial aid for Africa. The Minister for Development, Heidemarie Wiezorek-Zeul, called on the protesters not to see the G8 as an enemy, because ‚"We are inviting the african countries too".
However, unlike at the protests in Gleneagles, during the 2005 G8 Summit in Scotland, there are much less illusions in G8 empty promises to end Third World debt or to stop global warming.
Below, we carry an article from the current issue of the Socialist, weekly paper of the Socialist Party (England and Wales), which looks at the main issues surrounding the coming G8 summit and the hypocrisy of world leaders, like Tony Blair and Angela Merke.
We will carry more articles on the issues around the G8, and also eyewitness reports of the protests during the first week of June.
One hypocrite, Gordon Brown, will now replace another, Tony Blair, as British Prime Minister! Blair has been recounting his so-called achievements and includes among them his so-called triumph at the July 2005 Gleneagles G8 meeting. He claims to have made massive steps forward towards making poverty history and combating climate change. How has history judged his success?
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, most of the technology needed to stop climate change already exists. However, a UK government report says that the UK is unlikely to meet its target of reducing greenhouse gases by 20% by 2010.
According to the African Progress Panel, headed by Kofi Annan, the G8 are only 10% of the way to their target of boosting assistance to Africa by $50 billion a year by 2010.
Neither Blair nor Brown nor any of the leaders of the G8 countries put a high value on the lives of workers, the poor and the oppressed.
In 2005, International Socialist Resistance (ISR) members from eleven countries joined the hundreds of thousands on the Make Poverty History demonstration in Edinburgh in protest against the destruction of lives across the world and against the devastation of the environment.
As we chanted and marched, we were horrified by the news that Gordon Brown, the New Labour Chancellor (Finance Minister) had joined the demo. What a fraud!
Under his watch as chancellor the number of children living in poverty has increased by 200,000 over the last year! This is a direct result of his policies of privatisation, low pay and cuts in essential services. In Walthamstow, in London, a direct result will be the cutting of all free school meals in the borough!
Blair’s last G8
One of Blair’s last jobs as premier will be to attend the G8 meeting in Rostock, Germany. There he will encourage Angela Merkel, German premier, and other G8 leaders to further take up the Tory policies his government has pursued on cutting wages and services.
With Bush, France’s Sarkozy and other well-known heroes of the fat cats in attendance he will certainly get a warm welcome from the meeting.
However, a cooler reception will greet them from the thousands of youth and workers who travel to Germany to voice their opposition.
Angela Merkel is taking her cue from Blair and Brown on how to treat the democratic right to protest. On top of the enormous wall that has been built to protect the summit, the German police raided the flats and offices of leftwing activists saying they had evidence that a "terrorist organisation" was planning to disrupt it.
Despite this, ISR members and trade unionists will be travelling to Germany to participate in the anti-G8 protests and to raise the ideas of a socialist alternative against the capitalist ideas of the G8.
The bankruptcy of the ideas of the G8 leaders, which put profit first, which put our services in the hands of the market, which aim to divide workers and young people and which lead to poverty, death and destruction have been proved time and again.
We campaign to defend the conditions of working and young people and to fundamentally change the way society is run, taking it out of the hands of the G8 leaders and their fat cat bosses.