Sunday, July 10, 2005

Monbiot on the G8, the bombings in London and the Make Poverty History campaign

Transcript from Democracy Now:
... we were also very successfully articulating our dissent from the line taken by Bob Geldof and Bono and the other leaders of the G8 and of the Make Poverty History campaign, which has been quite extraordinary and exceptional in many ways. They have managed to mobilize billions of people around the world, and push the issues of Africa and poverty to the very top of the political agenda.

But those of us, the many thousands of us who met in Edinburgh and then at Gleneagles in order to protest against the G8 Summit drew a very sharp distinction between what we were doing and what we felt that Bono and Geldof were doing, which was protesting to ask the G8 Summit for favors, to beg, as we saw it, for a few more crumbs from the rich man's table. And in doing so, we felt that they were fetishizing the power of the G8 leaders. They were saying, you have the world in your hands, and you must now use this power to save that world from itself. Of course, what they weren't talking about was saving the world from themselves, from the G8 leaders and the disastrous policies they're pursuing in Africa and elsewhere.

And we were -- we felt and had expressed very strongly that the Live 8 and Make Poverty History campaigns in many ways were taking us back to an Edwardian era of tea and sympathy, that they were replacing our political campaigns with philanthropic campaigns. And they were handling the G8 leaders as if they were the potential saviors of the world, while completely ignoring and sidelining the harm that they were doing...

He highlights how the terrorist attacks in London have interrupted the potentially progressive movement to get the G8 leaders to confront the very real problems of the environment and global poverty. I wonder if these important issues will end up back on the agenda or if they will be sidelined as they were after 9/11.

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