Monday 17 June 2013

Storming the gate of the G8

Saturday's G8 demonstration in Belfast proclaimed an alternative message. 

I’m heading off to Enniskillen shortly for the G8 summit where I will be an unwelcome guest at the rich men’s table. Not that I am likely to come within an ass’s roar of that overladen spread through the tangles of razor wire, armed land and water patrols, roadblocks and other emplacements that constitute the security cordon around the usually idyllic retreat on the shores of Lower Lough Erne.
With police predicting that there will only be 1,999 others along with me on the demonstration, I fear my actual presence will be as glossed over as the empty shops in the island town that have facsimile images pasted over their façades to give the impression of a vibrant local economy.
That is why I want to let you know in advance that I will be there to protest against the entire concept of this rich club of eight of the world’s ‘wealthiest economies’.
I want to draw attention to the fact that it is stacking the deck for the restoration of the same failed capitalist system that has brought us austerity, hardship, ruin and service cutbacks affecting the most vulnerable.
I want to notify you that this is the gathering that bestows a blessing on those who are forcing us to pay for the reckless gambling of corporate speculators.
The G8 is the public face of the supreme think-tank of western decadence and among those not deemed suitable to attend are China, India and Brazil or, indeed, any representative of the entire southern hemisphere of Earth.
This is the annual get-together of the forum that has brought us the outworkings of the neoliberal doctrines of rampant greed and the self-righteous imperialist interference that led to bloodbaths in Iraq, Afghanistan and that is now casting its beady eyes elsewhere for rich pickings in the ruins of war.
Bearing along the banner of the Derry NUJ branch.
It would be unforgivable to miss such a gathering almost on my own doorstep. So with a few colleagues, I’ll be hoisting the banner of the Derry and North West Branch of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) at the Enniskillen demonstration.
Our presence, with representatives of other unions and local trades councils, should provide those world leaders with an unwelcome echo of the once mighty union movement that brought working people such benefits as statutory working hours, minimum wages, weekends, paid holidays, sick leave, pensions and other tolerable working conditions.
These are the benefits now being eroded by corporate and state cutbacks and hardship and, perhaps most of all, by a campaign of villification that casts unions as the greedy ‘bad guys’. It surely is no coincidence that since the establishment of the G8 group (as the ‘Group of Six’ or G6) in 1975, the onslaught against organised labour has been relentless and, with strategic buy-offs to promote individualism, the collective power of the majority has been bartered for the interests of the least deserving few.
I’ll be saying all this by my participation in the Enniskillen protest this evening because:
• I’m going there to cause trouble for the conscience of those who think it is acceptable to continue the ways of grab-all greed;
• I am going there to draw attention to the plight of the most vulnerable and the most needy here and around the globe;
• I’m going there to help stir up a wider debate against the cosy consensus that guides our collective thinking on the issues that most affect our lives.
So if you don’t hear from me in the next day to two, look for me among the guys in the orange boiler-suits in the specially erected confinement cells at St Lucia Barracks in Omagh. For the next few days, at least, that will be Northern Ireland’s Guantanamo Bay holding centre!
Tibetan 'troublemaker' walked to Enniskillen to deliver message.
And with thousands of extra police, armed forces and other security personnel drafted in from across the water, a huge security operation around both sides of the border, and the courts geared up for special sittings just to proffer criminal charges against those excercising their democratic right to protest, the scene is set for a showdown. Even so, ‘we few, we happy few’ will be in Enniskillen this evening to challenge the idea that those at the table are the honourable brokers on the fate of this planet and we, corralled outside and as far away as possible, are the ‘troublemakers’!

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