By Mike Phipps
The Resist G7 Coalition – made up of local, national and international groups who’ve come together to build resistance and positive alternatives to the G7 – is holding a series of protests this weekend to coincide with the international summit in Cornwall.
“The G7 is a meeting of the world’s most powerful political leaders,” say the organisers. “Global capitalism is the default setting. The system that creates vast inequalities, both in the UK and around the world, is presented as the only option. It is this system that is seeing our NHS sold off to the highest bidder, that allows people to queue in the snow for foodbanks while pandemic contracts worth billions are siphoned off to friends of government ministers.”
This year’s G7 has a lot on its plate, not least recovering from the pandemic, changing superpower relations and, above all, the climate emergency. Whether it will meet these challenges in a meaningful way is doubtful.
International aid pressure groups are calling for urgent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and an end to all support for fossil fuels and adequate financial support for the hardest hit nations.
For example, CAFOD, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, is calling on G7 leaders to cancel all debt payments – including debts owed to private lenders – owed by low-income countries to help them recover and rebuild from the pandemic.
In many poorer countries – unrepresented at this summit exclusively for rich states – the pandemic is still raging. In the four months since the last virtual G7 summit, more than a million people have died of COVID worldwide – that’s eight people a minute. At current vaccination rates, low income countries will wait 57 years for everyone to be fully vaccinated. The February summit crucially failed to collectively back the waiver of intellectual property rules, which protect big pharmaceutical companies, and which would make a real difference to vaccine production in the Global South.
Don’t expect too much movement on climate from the G7 summit either. It’s a gathering of the richest states – and it’s the richest one percent of humanity that have emitted twice as much in greenhouse gases as the poorest 50% of the planet.
Protest organisers are calling for virtual and actual, local and global actions, alongside actions in Cornwall on all three days of the G7 Summit at Carbis Bay, Cornwall. With the COVID crisis still running its course, the focus will be on using digital means to link up any local events around the country with the events planned in Cornwall itself.
- 11th June – Climate day of action
- 12th June – Day of action for international justice with protest called by RG7
- 13th June – Repression and surveillance day of action
The Stop the War Coalition is also part of the Resist G7. It’s calling on its supporters in the South West to join the protest on Saturday, 12th June, 12:30pm at South Quay, Hayle – Behind Asda, 5 mins from Hayle Train Station.
It’s also backing a protest outside 10 Downing Street on Saturday 12th June to demand no more complicity! Stop arming Israel – sanctions now! It starts at 1pm and is supported by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Friends of al-Aqsa, CND, Muslim Association of Britain and Palestinian Forum in Britain.
On Sunday, June 13th, there will a protest against surveillance and repression organised by the Resist G7 coalition and taking aim at the Police Crime and Sentencing Bill, which is currently at the committee stage in Parliament.
The G7 summit will be held in a luxury resort in Cornwall with its own private beach. It’s in stark contrast to the homelessness, unemployment and soaring food bank use which have all become widespread across the county.
Ahead of the summit, Unite is calling on its host, Boris Johnson, to make good on his ‘levelling up’ promise by committing to a five-year programme to revive the tourist-dependent, Covid-ravaged Cornish economy.
DISC Newquay, a charity supporting homeless people, said that before the pandemic, it was providing 60 meals on a typical Monday or Friday. This has now risen to 4,000 meals on an average Monday and 3,000 on an average Friday. When the pandemic first started, Cornwall already had 17 of the most deprived wards in the country. Cornwall is the second most deprived area in northern Europe.
Responding to the allegation that the planned protests would be disruptive, a Resist G7 Cornwall spokesperson said: “The communities of Cornwall are disrupted daily by poverty. We are disrupted by rich second home owners treating Cornwall as a playground while price houses soar well beyond the reach of most local people. We are disrupted by a lack of infrastructure, by an expensive and unreliable privatised transport system. We are disrupted by millions being spent on vanity projects and new roads while our services have been slashed to the bone.”
Share their posts and write your own about why you oppose the G7, using the hashtag #ResistG7.
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Mike Phipps is editor of the Iraq Occupation Focus e-newsletter, available at https://lists.riseup.net/www/info/iraqfocus. His book For the Many: Preparing Labour for Power was published by OR Books in 2018.
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