The G-20 Leaders’ Summit and Related Protests

April 9, 2009 at 7:25 am | Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

First of all, what is is? The ‘G’ in G-20 stands for ‘government’, so the G-20 is a meeting of the government leaders of the top 20 economies in the world, including the European Union. The number of leaders and regional representatives wasn’t exactly 20 though. I don’t know how the extra dudes got on the guest list. Maybe they just kind of came along with the invited counties and hung around.

Secondly, what the heck is it all aboot?

From Wikipedia: As hosts, the British Treasury produced an extended agenda pamphlet proposing the issues to be covered at the London Summit:

  1. Coordinated macro-economic actions to revive the global economy, stimulate growth and employment – review measures taken and possible further steps
  2. Reform and improve financial sector & systems – continue to deliver progress on the Washington Summit action plan
  3. Reform international financial institutions – the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Financial Stability Forum (FSF) and the World Bank

So yeah, it’s all aboot teh moola.

G-20 pumps $1 trillion into beating recession:

Outside, it’s all aboot the protest. Again from Wikipedia: “The 2009 G-20 London summit protests occurred in the days around the G-20 summit on 2 April 2009 which became the focus of protests from a number of groups over various long-standing and topical issues. These ranged from disquiet over economic policy, anger at the banking system and bankers’ remuneration and bonuses, the continued war on terror and concerns over climate change.”

Do Protest Even Matter?

But what aboot those protests. They’re big and noisy, but do they actually accomplish anything? orgtheory.net thinks so:

To say that protests don’t matter because they don’t immediately lead to drastic social reform or fail to have direct consequences in policymaking is taking a narrow view of what protestors are trying to do. Protests matter because they make issues part of the public agenda and consciousness. Social movement activists who use these tactics understand this better than anyone. I was talking to an activist recently about a protest they held outside a movie theater. The movie theater was owned by a person who had donated some money to the Prop. 8 campaign in California and the protestors hoped to shame the owner. I asked the activist what the goal of the protest was. Did they hope the owner would negotiate with them or make some sort of public apology? The activist laughed a little and said that as far she knew nobody in the campaign had even thought about contacting the owner or had any contingency plan to deal with the theater’s response. Getting a public concession from the theater was not the purpose of the protest. “We were just trying to get people to talk about our rights,” she said. And if that was the goal, I’d say it was a successful protest.

video reveals police attack on man who died at G20 protest:

“Ian Tomlinson, the man who died at last week’s G20 protests in London, was attacked from behind and thrown to the ground by a baton-wielding police officer in riot gear, dramatic footage obtained by the ­Guardian shows.

Moments after the assault on ­Tomlinson was captured on video, he ­suffered a heart attack and died.”

The guy wasn’t even part of a protest. He was just walking home after work. From the video it’s hard to imagine the police officer having any excuse whatsoever for attacking him. I found the video to be quite shocking, not because there’s any blood or guts or anything like that, but because of the casual brutality displayed by some entrusted to protect the public from harm.

I really try to give the police the benefit of the doubt, because it seems like such a shit job that I wouldn’t last a week at. However I’m also scared, especially knowing that it could happen in my own backyard.

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