G8: Fighting poverty worldwide – interviews at the demonstrations

"The massive protests we saw show that people really do want poverty to end and have an eagerness for another world.

They are sick of the capitalist system but confused about the methods they should use to change it.

"I think a little reform may be gained but look at the outcome of the anti-war protests. The G8 may feel threatened and make some concessions but will not change their minds, as the root cause has not been addressed.

"You cannot get rid of a tree by cutting off its branches. In the same way, you cannot get rid of poverty by cancelling debt. The roots have not been addressed. The inequalities of the capitalist system have not been addressed. And so, the problem, the poverty, will always come back.

"In Nigeria, when we call protests, nothing moves. People don’t go to work and everything stops. Because the state, because the police are so heavy-handed, protests often turn violent and they will use everything they have against the people.

"People still come out to protest though. All over the world it is the same. In Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe, there is the same spirit all over the world that people want to make a change.

"Even though people were so tired they still came and listened to our meeting after the demonstration in Edinburgh (see page six). Our analysis showed how corrupt the sytem is but also showed that another world is possible and that people are ready for change.

“There is a need for good leadership, and our organisation really stood out on the demonstration for being so organised and so different."

What they said…

"The protests are important for creating international links. The only option for making poverty history is to make capitalism history internationally. I have really enjoyed the camp. There is a good spirit of solidarity and internationalism. I wanted to come and help build our Scottish section and make a hearing for the ideas of marxism. I don’t think the bosses will listen to the demo, but it is important to unite and show people how to break the capitalist system."

Bobby Siecker, Netherlands

The atmosphere at the Make Poverty History demonstration was strange, especially considering its size. It was soon clear why the police presence was so low for a march of 200,000 people – most of the marchers walked quietly and threw irritated glances at anyone who tried to make some noise.

It seems that many of the marchers did not have a history of protest or political activism. They had been organised by charity groups who see the march as an act of conscience rather than one of desperate necessity.

Having said that, the International Socialist Resistance (ISR) contingent was a great success. We made ourselves impossible to ignore with chants and banners, and were well received by the majority, despite the levels of hostility towards us from some quarters.

Ellen Buddle, northeast London

"I don’t think the protests will change the outcome of the G8 summit because the G8 leaders already have the power to make a difference but don’t."

Richard Henderson, Morpeth

"I don’t think anything will be achieved by the G8 summit as all the leaders are in the pockets of big business. But the important thing is to come together and convince people of socialist ideas so we can really make a difference."

Young couple from Redhill, Surrey

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July 2005