This year’s G8 summit will be held in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, on 17th – 18th June. This gathering brings together the heads of government of eight of the world’s largest capitalist economies to discuss how they can further the interests of those they represent – the super-rich, big business and the bankers.
The G8 leaders represent governments which are attacking the living standards of ordinary people. They are determined to make ordinary workers, young people and the middle class pay for a crisis which we did not create in order to fund the bail-out of the bankers and speculators. Their austerity agenda is killing the economy and created mass unemployment across the globe, especially amongst young people. While the super-rich continue to get richer, billions of people on our planet subsist on less than $2/day.
Collectively, the G8 governments are responsible for inaction on climate change which threatens our environment and humanity’s future. For them, the profits of the oil corporations come before our planet. In 2001, the G8 issued a communique promoting hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’, a dangerous method of extracting gas which can contaminate water supplies. Multinationals and many local politicians are salivating at the thought of bringing this process to Fermanagh, against the wishes of local communities.
The G8 and the capitalist system it represents is intimately bound up with war and the suffering it brings to people across the globe. Member governments have directly engaged in imperialist campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Mali, to name but a few. Some back the Israeli state’s oppression of the Palestinian people. Meanwhile, they fund and arm dictatorial regimes around the world.
Wherever they go, the G8 are correctly met with protests by trade unionists, socialists, peace activists and environmental campaigners. We cannot allow them to use Northern Ireland as a stage on which to pose for the cameras and make empty speeches about peace and prosperity without opposition. Join the protests against the G8 and help to send a clear message to the world – we reject the G8′s agenda and these criminals are not welcome here!
Who are the G8?
Obama – Warmonger in Chief
Thousands of civilians have died in his drone strikes in Pakistan and other countries. Obama has continued the occupation of Afghanistan. He broke his prison to close Guantanamo Bay torture camp and has imprisoned Bradley Manning for exposing US war crimes.
Cameron – Thatcher’s heir
Cameron’s Tory-led government is driving a brutal cuts agenda which is devastating working class communities across Britain and Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, they are defending their banker friends at every turn. Cameron’s cuts to benefits – including the hated bedroom tax – and attacks on NHS are aimed at smashing the welfare state.
Merkel – Architect of Austerity
Angela Merkel is ideologically committed to the agenda of austerity across Europe, aimed at driving down the living standards of the working class. She has demanded that workers and young people in Greece and other countries be ground into the dirt, rather than make the bankers pay.
Putin – Elected dictator
Putin presides over an institutionally corrupt regime run by parasitic oligarchs. The state machine intimidates and harasses those who speak out. Recently, members of punk band Pussy Riot were given long prison sentences for performing a song which criticised Putin.
What about the ‘benefits’ of the G8?
There has been a concerted propaganda campaign in the media to convince us that the G8 visit is a good thing. We are being told that it’s going to boost our economy, attract inward investment and tourism and put Northern Ireland on the ‘world stage’. How many times have we heard the same hot air before? Working class communities are still waiting for the ‘peace dividend’ promised 15 year ago!
The reality is that the austerity agenda the G8 represents is gutting the economy, locally and globally. The Assembly Executive is taking £4.3 billion out of our economy in cuts. Investment has collapsed because companies aren’t convinced they can make large enough profits. Tourism here has collapsed because people simply have less money to spend. The Lough Erne resort where the summit will be held in an example of this. It went into administration and was closed down. It’s now being temporarily re-opened with staff re-employed on lower wages! Any money the G8 summit brings in will be outweighed by the massive security bill.
No money for healthcare – £30 million to protect the G8!
Fermanagh will be turned into a militarised zone in the run up to the G8 summit, causing huge disruption to the lives of ordinary people. Thousands of police officers are being brought into the area, as well as the army. Water cannon will be on stand-by and the Policing Board has authorised the purchase of drone spy-planes. While the politicians are closing schools and slashing the health service, no expense is being spared to protect the likes of Cameron and Putin.
There has been a conscious attempt by the police, politicians and the media to intimidate people out of exercising their right to protest against the G8. This has went hand-in-hand with an attempt to smear those who oppose the G8 as violent thugs and to connect us to dissident republicans. This is an inaccurate character assassination. We are seeking to peacefully protest. Those involved in violence will be inside the G8 summit!
Join the socialist opposition!
The G8 represent the capitalist system which sees our globe dominated by a tiny, super-rich elite. This system breeds poverty, war, environmental destruction and division. We stand for a socialist world, where the massive wealth which exists would be taken into public ownership and used democratically to provide a decent life for all. The Socialist Party is seeking to build a political force which unites workers and young people from across the sectarian divide to fight for our common interests.