Scotland: G8 summit

In the run-up to the G8 Summit, to be held in July in Gleneagles, it is as important as ever to raise the question: how can the world’s problems be alleviated?

Tony Blair and the G8 claim to have the answer. This year the meeting of the rich and powerful will focus on climate change and the destruction caused by poverty and war that afflicts the vast majority of Africans. If the communiqués issued after previous summits are anything to go by, these leaders will continue to conclude that free trade and privatisation will provide the answers. These solutions, despite the group’s pleas, have proven to be useless in the 30 years in which the G7/G8 has existed. In fact they have made things worse and exacerbated the poverty that afflicts over 2 billion people across the world.

This is because the G8 represents the organisation on an international level of the capitalist class, and its solutions reflect the interests of this self-seeking minority. Their "solutions" are in direct opposition to the ending of the poverty, alienation and suffering experienced by the working class and the poor internationally.

This vastly wealthy elite will use all its tools, the media, the armed forces and the police, to protect its wealth and the class system it represents.

War zone

Gleneagles and the surrounding areas will resemble a war-zone in July as the leaders of the G8 demonstrate that their privileged positions will not be relinquished without a fight.

The Scottish press has been full of stories of the "threat to democracy" represented by those seeking to protest. 10,000 police will be on duty in July in Scotland.

The police have asked the Belgium government to borrow their water cannon to assist with "crowd control." Courts are to sit at the weekend to deal with those who may be arrested.

The lengths the state is prepared to go to was shown at the G8 in Genoa in 2001, when one young protester, Carlo Giuliani, was shot in the face at point-blank range from the back of a police Land Rover, and then driven over twice. The media, owned by a small number of wealthy people are determined to provide the capitalist perspective, depict these protesters as "rioters" hell-bent on violence, thereby absolving the police from any blame for such tactics. Despite this threat, many tens of thousands of people and groups will use the G8 summit in July as an opportunity to protest against the gross inequality existing in the world today and demand change.

There will be charities and NGOs, such as Oxfam, using their significant resources to try and lobby the G8 to "make poverty history". G8 Alternatives, a coalition comprised of a broad range of social movements including the SSP and the Scottish Socialist Youth, will provide a significant presence at the July summit. It is vital that these mass protests are used to demand an end to poverty but our movement should also discuss how that is to be achieved.

That’s why International Socialists and the Committee for a Workers’ International who are organised in over 40 countries will be putting forward the case for a clear alternative to the capitalist system – a socialist society democratically planned and based on the nationalisation of big business. The events in July give us the chance to show ordinary people that the only answer to the world’s problems is to make capitalism history and build a socialist world.

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March 2005