For the Sake of Humanity and Justice: G-20 Meetings, September 2009

Glen T. Martin

Roanoke Times, 4 October 2009

September 27th was the final day of important meetings, with global implications, that the Roanoke Times has failed to report to the people of Southwest Virginia.  For the past several days Pittsburg, PA, has hosted meetings of representatives of the world’s 20 largest economies. Leaders of the G-20 nations (formerly G-8) meet every year or two in consultation with banking and corporate elites to determine the economic fate of the world, including the fate of other 173 nations who have no voice in these deliberations.

These nations, whose ruling classes have all prospered from the world system of capitalist exploitation, have formulated economic policies each year that have increased the immense gulf between the rich and poor, vastly increased the number of suffering people in the world who are without healthcare, sanitation, or clean water, and continued the destruction of our planetary biosphere.  Billionaire Warren Buffet has reportedly commented that there is, indeed, a class war going on.  But that it is a war of the ruling class against the rest of humanity, and they are winning.

However, the struggle that has been engaged in the name of humanity and justice since the time of Marx continues in remarkable and creative ways.  All over the world thoughtful, politically aware people have taken up the cause of resisting and abolishing this system of domination and exploitation and establishing an equitable, just, and democratic world order.   We citizens of the United States should be proud that there are so many among us who are aware, committed, and engaged in the struggle for a decent world. 

Part of the news story that makes Pittsburg unique – and the reason that those media who represent the ruling class are loath to report on Pittsburg – is that the entire center of that city has been such down by some 6000 militarized police, Homeland Security forces, and FBI, brought in from as far away as Florida, to repress the protests of the unions, environmentalists, human rights advocates, and social justice organizations that have descended upon Pittsburg.  This astonishing scene represents our world order graphically: those who rule must be protected by armies of militarized police from the people over whom they rule.  However, in the last ten years, the people of Earth have hounded and pursued their exploiters relentlessly everywhere they have tried to meet.

At the World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle in 1999, authorities were taken by surprise and some 90,000 citizens actually controlled the streets of Seattle for a few days, making headlines worldwide to the effect that the people of Earth will no longer tolerate the economic horrors of unrestrained capitalism.  At the time of the G-8 meetings in Okinawa, Japan, in 2000, hundreds of thousands of Japanese protested, including massive demonstrations in Tokyo.  In Genoa, Italy, in 2001, huge numbers of Italian citizens interrupted the meetings while some protestors scaled smokestacks with giant signs condemning elite domination of the planet.  In 2002, in Calgary, Canada, the G-8 meetings attempted to hide in a protected remote resort, only to find that Canadian citizens hounded and harassed their ability to do business as usual. 

At the FTAA meetings in Miami in 2003, tens of thousands protested. But the ruling class had learned its lessons from Seattle, and the Miami police gave up all pretense that the police are there to protect our rights or freedoms. They bashed heads, used rubber bullets, and did mass arrests of law abiding citizens, establishing the role of the police as suppressors of freedom on behalf of the ruling class. It was similar in Los Angeles in 2004, in Edinburgh, England, in 2005, in St. Petersburg, Russia, 2006, in Rostock, Germany, 2007, and at Lake Toga in Hokkaido, Japan, in 2008.  Thoughtful and politically aware people no longer allow the exploiters to meet in privacy, peace and security.

That is the significance of the 10,000 workers, students, and activists who marched through the intimidating gauntlets of hostile police that day in Pittsburg. For the last few days, the 6000 militarized police had made repeated illegal arrests, used violence, gas, and terror against the people. They disrupted legally protesting citizens at every opportunity.  In spite of this massive assault on our freedoms, 10,000 marched  with great courage to protest a world disorder in which the top 2 % own 47% of the world’s wealth, while the bottom 60% live on less than two U.S. dollars per day in poverty, misery, and despair.