A week of protests against the responses of the G20 countries to the global financial crisis are taking place in London and across the country by civil society groups and start today with the “Put People First” march from the Embankment to Hyde Park.
Some sections of the media are presenting the protests as confrontational and hyping up the belief that bankers and other city workers lives will be in danger next week on the 1st and 2nd April. Bankers are being told to “dress down” so they don’t appear as wo/men in suits and pregnant women are being told to stay at home. The protests haven’t even started and already people are being demonised and accused of violence after Royal Bank of Scotland ( RBS) boss Sir Fred Goodwin home was attacked.
The Metropolitan police’s response towards this weeks protests by grassroots movements and civil society groups, has been inflammatory and confrontational. With the aid of the mainstream media the police are acting as provocateurs. One example sited in today’s Guardian is that Climate Camp wrote to the Met on the 10th March and are still waiting for a response. The quote speaks for itself:
Met warns of G20 clashes and says officers ‘up for it’ …Protest groups raise concerns as thousands set to march
The same media posing as critics of the greedy “scumdog millionaires” bankers and their New Labour cronies now reveal their true colours, whipping up hysteria when people choose to make a stand and demonstrate against social and economic injustice – we are labeled anarchists, lefty, middle class and nose ringed protesters.
I have raised concerns with G20Voices about describing direct actions and protests taking place on 1st as “riots”. Whilst their slogan on the G20Voices site states: “Take action – put people first” But not too much action or too many people? Or is it the wrong kind of people?
This has made be feel quite uncomfortable about who these organisers are trying to represent. This kind of language undermines grassroots movements in the West and in the Global South and can be used to support heavy handed and violent policing.
There are elements of divide and rule tactics being applied by labeling protests and protesters as “the good”, “the bad” and “the ugly”! Another example was during the G8 summit held in Edinburgh in 2005, when marchers were permitted to march in “white” and white arm bands but African asylum seekers were prevented from speaking on the platform! Translated as, Africans are worthy of note as long as they are NOT speaking for themselves, on the continent in poverty and maintain the the industrial NGO and AID complex but they become the ugly when they seek asylum here in the West.
One of the jobs ahead of us this coming week is to challenge the human rights abuses being committed here in the West. Western leaders like to accuse African leaders as corrupt human rights abusers. But they are themselves are corrupt and guilty of violating human rights.
Some of the issues not being discussed by either the G20 or the media is the horrendous poverty, violence and workload which women struggle with everyday and no investment in caring! To the contrary, huge agricultural and biotech multinationals are pushing local farmers and fisheries off their land and waters. The result is is not just inappropriate food for local consumption but loss of livelihoods and land and therefore increased poverty for both rural and urban populations.
African women produce 80% of Africa’s food. If the money used for killing was invested in supporting women, children and men for their unwaged labour that would go a long way to ending poverty.
Another example of investing in caring not killing is Haiti. If the money ($540 million) used to finance the brutal UN occupation force was instead used for alleviating women’s poverty, health care, education, building infrastructure, agriculture, homes – this would go a long way towards ending poverty in Haiti.
Secondly, the continued war and occupation of Iraq -which is likely to cost in excess of $6 trillion – occupation and war against the people of Palestine and the war in Afghanistan. Wars which have the interest of Western nations and not on the people of these countries.