Violence And The G8.
Anyone following the mainstream media’s coverage of the anti-G8 demonstrations in Germany this weekend, and at previous G8 gatherings, could be forgiven for thinking that those opposed to the polices of the G8 group of rich nations are nothing but violent thugs, hell-bent on chaos. Very little attention is given to the reasons why some people feel so angry that they revert to violence. Even less attention is given to the murderous violence of the G8 nations themselves, or the destructive policies they espouse. Just as little coverage is given to the overwhelming majority of campaigners who march completely peacefully.
From the television pictures I have seen this weekend, it seems plain that those involved in fighting the Police were numbered in the low hundreds, from a crowd tens of thousands strong. Of course, civilised and non-violent demonstrations are not regarded as ‘sexy’ enough for the BBC’s, ITV’s, CNN’s and SKY’s of this world. I know this well enough from several years of campaigning with Trident Ploughshares, CND, and the Stop The War Coalition. Ask yourself how often the daily actions and arrests at the Faslane 365 actions make the headline news, or how often people like Brian Haw feature prominently on TV? The Easter blockade of Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment I blogged about hardly raised a blip on the mainstream media’s radar. But if we had thrown a couple of Molotov cocktails, or started a riot, you can be damn sure we would have made headline news. It is highly dispiriting when one is involved in a good and peaceful demonstration of one kind or another, only to find that as far as the rest of the world is concerned it did not even happen.
In my opinion it is a terrible indictment of the media that if one mentions the G8, for many people the first thing that springs to mind is the violence of a tiny minority of protesters, whether at Seattle, Genoa, Gleneagles, and now Rostock. This is how the propaganda machine works.
In actual fact, the violence of the G8 protests pales into near insignificance when set against the violence of the G8 nations themselves, whether that be military violence, or economic violence. This is what the mainstream media omit completely from their reports.
The G(reedy) 8 gang of rich industrialised nations represent the rapacious greed and war-mongering we see every day in the world all around us. These self-styled Masters of The Universe are the architects of wars from Afghanistan to Chechnya, and through to Iraq, to name but a few, which have caused the deaths of millions, and the injury and destitution of countless millions more. The G8 are the defenders of a status quo that sees the horrific inequalities in wealth between rich and poor, of a global system that sees half the world living on less than a dollar a day, while, for example, European cows are subsidised to around twice as much. According to UN statistics, somewhere in the world a child dies every 15 seconds due to the lack of clean, safe water. Roughly 30,000 people die each and every day from preventable and easily treatable diseases. And it has not improved much since the inception of this undemocratic club of the rich.
No doubt, in the coming days and weeks, the media will make much of two things, the violence of the anti-G8 demonstrators, and the so-called efforts of the G8 nations to alleviate poverty in Africa and elsewhere.
Anyone who tries to tell you that Putin, Bush, Blair, Sarkozy, Merkel and the rest are committed to Making Poverty History, is a liar and a fraud. They exist to further the interests of their own corporate elites, paying only token lip-service to the urgent demands of the worlds poor. This much is obvious from the record on tackling poverty since 1975, when the first gathering took place.
I was at Gleneagles in 2005, when the the G8, with the conniving assistance of the thoroughly discredited Bono and Geldof, made much of their pledges on debt relief and poverty reduction. Something like $55 million dollars was earmarked for the cancellation of debt to some 30-odd of the worlds poorest states, so long as they met strict conditions. This might seem like a lot of money, but in actual fact, it is very little in the grand scheme of things. The UK government is intending to spend as much as 3 times that figure just replacing it’s obscene nuclear weapons. God alone knows how much has been spent visiting death and destruction on Iraq. And yet, even these meagre commitments have not been met. The G8 does not give a damn about the plight of the worlds poor.
And this is why people are angry. Add to this that peaceful protest receives very little media coverage, and you have to ask yourself, is it any wonder some people react with sticks, stones, and petrol bombs against those who defend these cold, murderous bastards?
The overwhelming majority of the violence, chaos, crime and disorder comes from the G8 themselves. Just don’t expect to be told that on the evening news.