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Report from Scotland-make war and poverty history
summit mobilisations |
Sunday July 03, 2005 14:26 by rory hearne - IAWM
Just as the Make Poverty History (MPH) protest in Dublin on Thursday the MPH demonstration in Edinburgh (the largest in Scotland’s history) was a carnival of unity of purpose and diversity of perspectives.
Making poverty and war history- report from Edinburgh.
Rory Hearne (Irish Anti War Movement)
We marched to demand debt cancellation (18 countries is not enough), more and better aid and trade justice not free trade. The Irish Anti-War Movement demanded G8 leaders drop the debt instead of bombs on Iraq, Afghanistan and Chechnya. We are demanding action now from Ahern and the G8 leaders. Old age pensioners, nuns, families, children in buggies, NGOs, anti-war, anti-capitalists and socialists together created a sea of white around Edinburgh.
As we marched through the streets of Edinburgh workers applauded from inside shops and Edinburgh Castle was bedecked with a massive Make Poverty History Banner. We felt, yes we really can end poverty.
This is a truly global movement. They came from all over the UK, Italy, France, Portugal, Africa (with Zimababwians on the march carrying banners that read ‘make Mugabe history’, and of course from Ireland.
Bono, Geldof and the MPH campaign have done a fantastic job to build these historic mobilisations and concerts that put the spotlight directly onto the G8 leaders. Because it is the G8 and their global neo-liberal economic system of war and profit for the few that is the cause of global poverty. The US will spend $200bn on the Iraq war by the end of this year. This is equal to three times the global aid budget. If the G8 stopped dropping bombs and spent that money on debt cancellation and aid they could solve global poverty overnight
Furthermore the conditions of privatisation and free markets tied to debt relief and aid are the very policies that are causing poverty. The medicine being prescribed by the G8 for poor countries is the very poison that is killing them.
The global justice movement has been growing since Genoa 2001. It is demanding action now, as Mandela said “the world is hungry for action not words”.
Here in Scotland the demonstration planned for Gleneagles on Wednesday 6th was banned. But elected MPs of the Scottish Socialist Party disrupted parliament last week to protest for the democratic right to march on Gleneagles. They were told to choose between the barricades or the benches. But their pressure has meant the protest will now go ahead.
Despite the fears of violence a quarter of a million people marced peacefully yesterday. At Genoa in 2001 all the talk was of the violence of the protestors. This time the focus, thankfully is on the violence of the G8 as they preside over the death of 30,000 children a day from hunger and the massacre of over 100,000 in Iraq.
Live 8, Bono, Geldof and MPH have pleaded and asked for the G8 leaders to take action. Due to the pressure of the campaign they offered some debt relief. But Bush and Blair have lied over Iraq. Why should we trust them on this? The people that can make poverty were on the streets of Dublin and Edinburgh. They are the workers fighting privatisation of our public services, the peasants occupying land in Brazil, the Bolivians forcing the nationalisation of their resources, the French who voted no to the EU constitution. Our movement will not end after Wednesday. These protests are just one more important and historic step towards bringing about a world without war, where people and the environment come before the profits of western multinationals. We appeal to all those who marched on the MPH events. Stay involved. Support the struggles for justice at home. On September 9th we will be surrounding the Dail for action on aid, on the 24th we will be in Shannon protesting against complicity with the illegal war in Iraq.
Gordon Brown said ending poverty will take a lifetime. We cannot wait that long.
Rory Hearne is attending the protest in Edinburgh. He is on the steering committee of the Irish Anti-War Movement. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 086 1523542 for info.