Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On the G20 march

Last Saturday's G20 march in London. Rachel Coleshill reports.

The march was a peaceful sort of affair organised jointly by a wide range of groups intent on airing their various grievances in advance of the G20 summit on Thursday. The group I am a member of is a collection of like-minded individuals sick of the way things are being run, a community of global citizens taking action on the major issues facing the world today.

Though we are still in our very early stages of development, we act for a more just and peaceful world and a globalisation with a human face.

However, the general philosophy is clear, it cannot continue to be business as usual. As a global community we need to find a more sustainable, community based way of living that will not lead to what we seem to have now, a wide gulf between the rich and poor, a global society ruled by centralised governments and large multi-national corporations and unregulated trading on the stockmarkets.

The demonstration itself was a great success. I met Avaaz members from France, Spain, Belgian as well as the English contingent and we all wore green hard hats to represent a new sustainable future. There were also representatives from all the major trade unions not just in the UK but Europe and even one from Africa. Amongst the more bizarre groups were "Bananas for Justice" and a group of very musical anarchists whose cyclist had a heath-robinsonesque speaker contraption attached to his bike and two guitarists either side of him. They had composed several songs opposing the Iraq war, the IMF, banking misdemeanours etc. I was impressed with the level of their creativity, the lyrics were clever and the songs had a good structure!

The march snaked round from Arundal Street on the North side of the Thames through to Whitehall, Pall Mall, then on to Piccadilly and finally ending with a rally in Hyde Park. The speakers in Hyde Park were introduced by Tony Robinson and consisted of the usual suspects. Brendan Barber, the TUC General Secretary, global justice author Susan George, environmentalist Tony Juniper as well as comedian and activist Mark Thomas.

In a nutshell the speakers were saying that our future depends on creating a new economy based on fair distribution of wealth, decent jobs for all and a low carbon future. At around 4pm I headed off home as it was getting rather chilly in the park but on the way out met a friendly group of Friends of the Earth members from North London so we all went and cooked chick peas and chatted about world issues into the evening. All in all it was a very positive day, the march was peaceful, the police remained friendly and kept their distance and I made some good friends who I'll probably see again at the next demo.

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