Friday, July 18, 2008

A Brief History of the G8

This video is only a prelude to the 34th G8 Summit. More promises had been made this year regarding Africa, Global Warming, TRIPS, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Iran, etc. Very few people expect anything concrete or extensive to be decided at the summits, especially since the countries already have prior commitments which were decided upon at previous summits and have yet to be met. OXFAM and other NGOs are trying to hold the G8 member countries accountable to these promises.

But a stronger position, I believe, argues that the goals of the summit are not even noble, that the foundations of the summits are grounded in undemocratic and faulty methods. There may be no legitimate reason as to why these heads of state should meet in this way, and make decisions that affect all of us, especially without oversight. It is the subtle creation of 'world governance' says the Spanish activist in their video. Though the international press cover the summits extensively, for "smile summitry" as some say, there are few records of what happens in the course of just three or four days. The only evidence we have as citizens under their jurisdictions, are a few public but pithy statements of concern for debt-ridden countries and rogue dictators.

One bit of irony I would like to point out is that Japan's security spending at the summit was dwarfed by the overall spending on hosting the summit. The overall costs turned out to be somewhere around $1.2 billion, including $93 million for an eco-friendly, solar-powered media center for the press to wait. Since the summit is now over, however, "the building will be demolished," says Japan Times. The overall cost of the 2008 summit is nearly equal to the amount given to Africa ($2 billion) after the 2007 Summit in Rostok, though $25 billion was promised by 2010. So in one year, the same amount of money all eight countries can give to Africa was the same amount just one country spent on this year's summit. It is easy to see where their priorities lie.

This was posted onto YouTube somewhat late. It is part of an episode I created for Indymedia Presents about the history of the G8 Summits and its opposition. Anticapitalistas, a group from Spain, sent me a video which they made in Sapporo about the G8, which is included in the video. I added a brief history of the G8 (skip to 5m, 25s to find that) and an advertisement I found for the G8 Summit in Japan on the German IMC. After last year's summit in Rostok, the Germans seem very excited about opposing the G8. You can find German sources and videos about the G8 all over the internet. For the last part of the video, I added a few words about the indymedia channel which has arisen around the G8 summits themselves. is the indymedia website devoted entirely to independent and protest coverage of the summits.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's some fresh meat in the Group of Eight this year: Italy, the UK, Russia, and Japan all have new heads of state. The thought of the new powerbrokers mingling with some of last year's returnees is making the blood rushing straight to our groins as we ponder: just how sexy is this 2008 G-8 summit gonna be? Let's get to oglin'!