Situationist philosopher, Guy Debord, once wrote that the consumerist
society which exploits the world does so not simply through its
economic power but "in its capacity as the society of the spectacle".
The G8 summits have become an essential part of this spectacle.
The rulers of the globe today insist on a passive acceptance of
the world they have created.
also want to determine the parameters of protest. Hence the crude
attempt to deny us the right to march past the gates of Gleneagles
Hotel where Bush, Chirac, Blair, Berlusconi, Putin and their friends
will be cocooned, on July 6. In the interests of a peaceful, non-violent
rally it is essential that the restrictions be immediately removed.
The hotel is virtually a fortress even without a police presence,
but to ensure the total safety of the neo-liberal gang, the police,
army and marines could assemble inside its perimeters and refrain
from occupying the free space outside. The alternative might be
is the mantra of politicians -
centre-left and centre-right -
who govern the Western world.
They tell us that there is no alternative
to the current system,
thus reducing democracy and its
institutions to a farce.
isolated politicians and their embedded supporters in the media
regard the millions who protest against the new order - against
its economic dictates and its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine
- as misguided young people at best, or at worst as potential
terrorists. They do so because they have coalesced around a programme
- deregulation, privatisation, "flexible" work hours and war where
was spelt out with surgical precision by Bill Clinton's treasury
secretary, Larry Summers (currently president of Harvard University
where he is busy arguing that women are genetically incapable
of becoming scientists, etc): "The laws of economics are like
the laws of engineering. There is only one set of laws and they
is the mantra of politicians - centre-left and centre-right -
who govern the Western world. They tell us that there is no alternative
to the current system, thus reducing democracy and its institutions
to a farce. Why then the glycerine tears over Africa? Why is that
continent such a poignant sight? Why is Africa the last resort
of scoundrel politicians and their hangers-on?
was the same over a decade ago. A big fuss, a big spectacle but
nothing changed. Why? Because there are structural causes and
the structures at fault were created by the G8 and its forebears.
The venal elites that rule most of Africa do so in alliance with
giant corporations which milk the wealth of the country. The continent
is rich in oil, gold and diamonds. It could fund its own recovery,
but it has not been left alone and leaders who tried to change
things were assassinated or removed. Regime-change is an old Western
was the same over a decade ago.
A big fuss, a big spectacle but
nothing changed. Why?
Because there are structural causes
and the structures at fault were
created by the G8 and its forebears.
The venal elites that rule most of
Africa do so in alliance with
giant corporations which milk
the wealth of the country.
other continents where people have taken their destiny in their
own hands. Latin America, which in the words of its poet-philosopher
Eduardo Galeano, "was born into independent life mortgaged to
British banks". Two centuries later, as a Montevideo taxi driver
puts it: "They say the Lord will provide. They think God runs
Latin America is today in revolt against social engineers of the
IMF and other US subsidiaries. In Venezuela, the Bolivarian movement
has won power through the ballot box and three US attempts to
impose regime-change have been defeated. In Bolivia there is a
semi-permanent insurrection by indigenous peoples against privatisations.
They have demanded a constitution that protects their lands and
their mineral wealth from the corporate looters. And there are
signs that many Africans are watching closely.
that is how real change
will come, with people fighting
for their democratic rights and
losing their fear of the elites
who govern them.
just back from Ethiopia wrote me a few days ago:
amazing. Demonstrations prior to election day number two million
in Addis. Then, on the day itself, rural people lined up for miles
to vote. When the government and the opposition both claimed victory
the next day, all hell broke lose. No gasoline, banks closed,
and a state of emergency declared. None of it reported in the
press, of course. I got out on a KLM flight after passing
through three military checkpoints."
that is how real change will come, with people fighting for their
democratic rights and losing their fear of the elites who govern
them. The north wants the states in the south to reduce their
functions to surveillance and punishment. Leave everything else
to the market. The Latin American continent is saying "no". When
Africa does the
same, it will begin to move forward, too. These are the noises
that northern politicians do not like to hear. That is why making
sure they hear them is crucial on July 6.
Tariq Ali is author of the recently released Street Fighting
Years (new edition) and, with David Barsamian, Speaking of
Empires & Resistance.The political commentator
spoke at the Make the G8 History rally at the Old Theatre,
London School of Economics on Tue 28th June with George Monbiot,
George Galloway MP and others. The above first appeared on
Counterpunch June 20, 2005.
here to order Tariq Ali books.
Other articles by Tariq Ali:
Click here Imperial Delusions:
"Domocracy Promotion" And Resistance
Click here The
New Model Of Imperialism: Saddam On Parade
Click here The Importance
Of Hugo Chavez: Why He Crushed The Oligarchs
Click here Getting
Away With Murder
Click here The
New Ultra-Imperialism Of The World