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Over 200,000 take to the streets of Edinburgh to protest against capitalism

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators today rejected the fact that 2/3 of the world's population live on the poverty line. Early in the morning people came from all over Britain and the world to assemble on the Meadows in Edinburgh. This has been the biggest ever demonstration in Scotland since the Hunger Marches of the 1930s.
The march through the city streets began in bright sunshine at 12.15pm led by Church leaders, celebrities and charity campaigners. At 3pm the marchers, most of whom were dressed in white, stopped and held hands for a minute's silence, forming a giant white circle round the city centre that represented the white band, the symbol of the Make Poverty History campaign. The marchers flooded the streets of the Scottish capital for five hours. The Meadows were filled from end to end. Because of the size of the march some contingents were waiting for four hours to start. The demonstration was peaceful and friendly. Only one minor incident has taken place when a group of 100 young people has been penned by the police because they looked "aggressive".

In spite of all the attempts from the organisers to prevent any kind of political message the mood of most of protesters was one of disgust and contempt for the representatives of the eight leading imperialist countries of the world. These eight leaders are meeting next week in the luxurious Gleneagles Hotel sixty miles north of Edinburgh to hold the G8 summit. The G8 is the club of the seven richest countries plus Russia. The Make Poverty History campaign has tried since the very beginning to marry the noble cause of ending poverty with the root cause of the problem - capitalism and its political representatives. For this purpose, the campaign has given its platform to all kind of pop stars and celebrities that have made campaigning activity their own personal business.

The organisers of the event have not allowed any message or speaker against the war in Iraq on the main stages, while providing an opportunity to multi-millionaire businessman Tom Farmer. A lot of different people have been invited to jump on the bandwagon too. The right-wing newspaper Scotland Sunday Mail had "Scotland says make poverty history" as its main page. The Mail group newspapers have always been known for the rants against asylum seekers, single mothers, travellers or whoever they pick as a vulnerable and an easy target to victimise. Also prominent on the bandwagon was the hierarchy of the Catholic church and their network of charities. Reuters reported that Pope Benedict rushed this morning to bless Make Poverty History and today's march. Pope Benedict is the same one that has spent all his life fighting any kind of progressiveness and interest within Catholicism to empower the poor, like the Liberation Theology.

However, despite the attempts to hijack the movement to end poverty and lead it to safe channels that do not question capitalism, this has not been entirely possible. Alongside the groups brought by the different churches were campaigners for Palestine, Cuba and Iraq. Tens of thousands of young people (and not so young) were also there, quite a lot sporting red and revolutionary t-shirts plus many trade union contingents. It was inspiring for a lot of demonstrators to see Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, who played Che Guevara in The Motorcycle Diaries, tell the crowd: "We have to remember we can make a big change by bringing back politics where it belongs - to us, the people." It was also good that Chancellor Gordon Brown, a "champion" of the campaign against poverty, decided to pull out from the main rally since there were serious possibilities he was going to be booed. He swapped the Make Poverty History event for a meeting in a lavish hotel in the city centre. So much for his "effort against poverty."

Regardless the manipulations of the mainstream media and the organisers of the event, today we have witnessed the potential to really end poverty. This is not the power of Bono or Geldof to cry crocodile tears for the 30,000 kids that die in Africa every day. Nor is it the hypocrisy of Blair and Brown pledging to end poverty. We are talking about the will to end poverty. Now it is time to find a real solution to make poverty history through the abolition of capitalism.
Live 8 was great 03.Jul.2005 10:29

people are talking about the issue

I find it inspiring that the idea of ending global poverty while pointing the blame at rich nations like the US seems to be generating conversations in all corners of our culture. Whatever we may think of Oprah (self indulgent, shop-a-holic) and Brad Pitt, or Bono, there are those who are learning about AIDS in Africa and poverty around the world for the first time. The media mega-stars have helped to make it OK to think that it is our responsibility to act and also that this is an achievable goal.
This is a tremendous step. How could it be any thing but?
Now it is up to us- to deepen the debate and help people understand the details of imperialism and capitalism and multi-national corporate power.
We can do this!!
It is what we have been working toward for most of our lives.

Then again. . . 03.Jul.2005 23:35

Steve Ongerth

Do you feel inspired by a supposedly progressive event supposedly aimed at curing hunger and poverty that invited uber capitalist Bill Gates (from Microsoft) to be a keynote speaker? I certainly don't.

Hey, don't get me wrong, I STILL listen to Pink Floyd, but they are liberals--not radical anti-capitalists. When Madonna, Springsteen, et. al start urging folks to abolish capitalism, corporate dominance, and wage slavery, THEN maybe i'll take interest.

The celebreties keep the rabble at bay 04.Jul.2005 01:14

Satan

The fact is that celebrity spokespeople are, by and large, so much fluff. They ask for better treatment of the slaves, but seem to have no problem with institution of slavery itself.

The financial system that keeps third world nations in poverty is based on odious debt. Third world dictators, propped up by the power of G8 leaders, agree to put their country in hoc. For good reason, international law considers such debt invalid and illegal.

Its lovely that Bono and others have promoted forgiveness of some of that debt. But in world that I still believe is possible, the G8 leaders would be the ones begging for morsels of forgiveness.

@first comment: anti g 8 protests - not live 8 concert! 04.Jul.2005 02:06

had nothing to do with "live 8"

the 200.000 protesters in Edinburgh were not at live 8 - they were there simply to protest the G 8 summit!

Time to unite...a March on Wall Street! 04.Jul.2005 09:30

Sephiroth

It's time to unite all the groups against capitalism, and unite them swiftly. The next few years are going to be crucial for organizing a strong presence, through our materials, our demonstrations, and our voices, that we need to look deeper and challenge a system that promotes class hierarchy, and keeps the poor in their place. But we need numbers, not just the few who were getting rowdy like in Seattle and subsequent mobilities. Imagine if you will, 20,000 or so people peacefully but gallantly marching in bright red down Wall Street! (or better yet, red flags, hehe...)

There are plenty of us out there. Why not have some fun with it? As long as we don't break anything or tie up traffic TOO badly we should be fine.

I LOVE IT 04.Jul.2005 11:27

Rosa

all the above comments is a show of potential; if all the authors were to become public speakers of some form, hold house meetings, study groups, post flyers, ect- real change would ensue. People need to understand that corporations are not evil unto themselves, but function according to the laws of capitalism; this understanding needs to be the basis for activism, the uniting force which creates real change, not merely lip-service.

Police violence at G8 04.Jul.2005 14:44

Scotty B.

It's being reported on the BBC webpage that police have arrested at least 90 protesters at G8 - not sure how accurate this figure is now - and that "Protesters threw stones, sticks, clumps of grass and drink cans." - with the probable "Police beat people with large nightsticks, launched tear gas, and generally started the whole thing" ommited. BBC is saying that 20 people have been injured.

Also, there is a reported police presence of 10,000 in the area, most of which are from other parts of the United Kingdom that they could be protecting from crime, but rather, it must be much more important to have them all their protectng the most rich and powerful.

The police are also claiming to have arrested "key anarchist suspects" at the G8 demostrations, as it seems that to simply be a high-profile anarchist is grounds for arrest.

08 06.Jul.2005 09:01

80

I think those people over there are doing great job ( ie the protesters )
Not like the people here in the little u.s.a I mean protest for one day and go back home to your conterforble lives how nice is that so very sweet . Hey could you pass me a coke - I like to be a killer just as long as I don't have to pull the triger. I love the flag..to wipe my ass with .