First published at http://www.pluto-online.com/?p=1765
What a decade! As New Labour staggers to its timely death, this could be the most telling week we, the people, have had since the demonstrations against the Iraq War. Hopefully this one will actually make a difference.
The emergency G20 summit is due to open today- yes, April Fool’s Day could not have been any more fitting- and people are pissed off!
Activists and even usual apathetics are coming together, putting their differences aside and sticking it straight to the man in what the Guardian termed a ‘rainbow alliance’.
Whether they’re campaigning against globalization, capitalism, or war, for measures to combat climate change or for justice, a band of somewhat unlikely bed fellows has taken shape.
Everyone from trade unions, student groups like People and Planet, our old friends the CND (campaign for nuclear disarmament) and so-called ‘radical academics’ are taking to the streets.
So apt that the summit, and therefore the protests, are taking place in London where we have seen the mighty, gluttonous financial system’s vital organs burst.
Workers in the capital, including those at MTV were told to “dress down” so they would not be mistaken for disbanded City workers and targeted by the angry mob. The Met said before Saturday, the first day of demonstrations, that they expected it to be ‘very violent’ but goaded that they were ‘up for it, and up to it’.
Would these threats encourage violence so the protesters would undermine their cause? Or were they a warning made to discourage peaceful campaigners from joining the national picket line? Either way, the threat didn’t work and the violence didn’t materialize.
Because we aren’t the criminals here.
People’s disdain for the once lauded bankers manifested itself in an attack on Sir (I use the term very loosely) Fred Goodwin’s swanky villa. Criminality isn’t the answer of course. But the government should be asking itself why people feel they have to resort to such tactics in what should be a representative democracy.
Responsibility was taken by the group ‘Bank bosses are criminals‘ and whilst police action hasn’t been taken against any bankers in this country, they are said to be pursuing the perpetrators of what is probably best described as a petty crime.
UKFI, the body created to handle the government’s stakes in nationalised banks, is ‘considering’ using its (our) 70% stake to vote against a motion justifying Fred the Shreds hefty pension package. Finally! Why are they not getting the picture?
A video emerged last week of Tory MEP (why did he have to be a Tory?) Daniel Hannan giving Gordon Brown a royal roasting. The camera flicked to a typically defiant Brown who appeared to snigger and then continue with his game of noughts and crosses.
But many of you will still be asking, of all the different avenues of showing our disgust is anyone really going to take any notice?
After all, until now, and even now, there appears to be an unspoken conspiracy.
Everyone knows that quantative easing, printing money, won’t really work. It will devalue our currency. Everyone knows that some, many, maybe even all of our politicians, across party lines, have been taking advantage of an imperfect system that could not prepare itself for crafty lawyers and their legal loopholes.
So maybe that’s why no one can wear the white suite of Martin Bell and come out against corruption. The government, the business leaders and the media.
But Barack Obama is a fresh face at the conference. Could the public outrage and peaceful protest, coupled with this brilliant man, be the key to a future full of truthful politicians, free from greed in a world with a clear view to tackling climate change, poverty and war?
Is this too much to ask? As always in the politics of the day, only time can tell.
Anyway, the next important date for your diary? If a vote of no confidence isn’t taken against Brown any sooner, it will be the next General Election in May 2010. Ten years into the millennium that promised so much.
Here, again, the people will have their say, and as Mr Hannan finished on last week, the voters: “can see what the markets have already seen; that you are the devalued Prime Minister of a devalued Government.”