It is very clear which side the dice is loaded on- there are about 16,000 policemen in full gear protecting the Kempinski hotel, that anyway 10,000 protesters have managed to infiltrate upto 20 meters of the barricade. Kempinsiki hotel is where the the leaders of the G-8- the group of 8 industrial countries that account for 65% of the world’s economy, are meeting to confabulate over issues ranging from global climate change, to a follow up on the $50b aid to Africa to subtle messages from President Putin about the re- emergence of a a new Cold War.
The protests have become almost as ritualistic as Mr Bush’s statements on a techno- miracle to fight the environmental challenge. The protests are marked by near primitive methods of resistance even as they are highly planned and deliberately so. In Bad Dobean, for example, around 10,000 protesters entered the zone Wednesday morning by avoiding “police roadblocks by simply walking through fields and woods“, and then bombarded the police with stones. Also interesting were the other methods of resistance.
As they were being dragged away, the months of training many anti-globalization activists had participated in was obvious. It is not advised, many demonstrators said, to lock arms during such blockades as it just gives the police an excuse to take out their batons. Balling up and being carried away is the safest alternative. The “potato sack” method is also a possibility, though not guaranteed to be free of pain — police drag protesters away and don’t pay much attention to what part of the body is scraping along the asphalt. There is little defense against the disabling neck and nose grips often used by the police.
The protesters come from diverse backgrounds:
Groups range from the “Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army,” with its colorful rubber noses, to relatively established anti-globalization movements like Attac, to radical far-left anarchists. In the building’s 55 rooms, a myriad of different strategies for forms of action are debated. With so many divergent approaches under one roof, organizers have decided to call the school the “Convergence Center” — a place to meet and find common ground.
Why are these people protesting? The answer is very simple- even as globalization creates islands of the first world in the malls in Shanghai and Banglore, it is also creating a Third World-like underclass in the developed world. The BBC explains it in a much nicer way with this graph that shows a continuous decline in the share of workers’ wages as a percentage of total national income.
There is little expected from this meeting, most likely it will end with some declaration of the promised $50b aid to Africa- no one is demanding more than what was promised, and it is a mere fraction of the G-8’s economic might. Other issues, like climate change are likely to be pushed under the carpet, and form the topic for the next ritualistic meeting, slated to be in Toyako, Hokkaido in Japan in 2008.
A video on the riots in Rostok.
Cross Posted at How the Other Half Lives