FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Making the Noises Politicians Don’t Want to Hear

 

The French Situationist philosopher, Guy Debord, once wrote that the consumerist society whic exploits the world does so not simply through its economic power but “in its capacity as the society of the spectacle”. The G8 summits have become an essential part of this spectacle. The rulers of the globe today insist on a passive acceptance of the world they have created.

They now also want to determine the parameters of protest. Hence the crude attempt to deny us the right to march past the gates of Gleneagles Hotel where Bush, Chirac, Blair, Berlusconi, Putin and their friends will be cocooned on July 6. In the interests of a peaceful, non-violent rally it is essential that the restrictions be immediately removed. The hotel is virtually a fortress even without a police presence, but to ensure the total safety of the neo-liberal gang, the police, army and marines could assemble inside its perimeters and refrain from occupying the free space outside. The alternative might be chaos.

The increasingly isolated politicians and their embedded supporters in the media regard the millions who protest against the new order ­ against its economic dictates and its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine ­ as misguided young people at best, or at worst as potential terrorists. They do so because they have coalesced around a programme ­ deregulation, privatisation, “flexible” work hours and war where necessary.

This was spelt out with surgical precision by Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary, Larry Summers (currently president of Harvard University where he is busy arguing that women are genetically incapable of becoming scientists, etc): “The laws of economics are like the laws of engineering. There is only one set of laws and they work everywhere.”

This is the mantra of politicians ­ centre-left and centre-right ­ who govern the Western world. They tell us that there is no alternative to the current system, thus reducing democracy and its institutions to a farce. Why then the glycerine tears over Africa? Why is that continent such a poignant sight? Why is Africa the last resort of scoundrel politicians and their hangers-on?

It was the same over a decade ago. A big fuss, a big spectacle but nothing changed. Why? Because there are structural causes and the structures at fault were created by the G8 and its forebears. The venal elites that rule most of Africa do so in alliance with giant corporations which milk the wealth of the country. The continent is rich in oil, gold and diamonds. It could fund its own recovery, but it has not been left alone and leaders who tried to change things were assassinated or removed. Regime-change is an old Western habit.

There are other continents where people have taken their destiny in their own hands. Latin America, which in the words of its poet-philosopher Eduardo Galeano, “was born into independent life mortgaged to British banks”. Two centuries later, as a Montevideo taxi driver puts it: “They say the Lord will provide. They think God runs the IMF.”

This Latin America is today in revolt against social engineers of the IMF and other US subsidiaries. In Venezuela, the Bolivarian movement has won power through the ballot box and three US attempts to impose regime-change have been defeated. In Bolivia there is a semi-permanent insurrection by indigenous peoples against privatisations. They have demanded a constitution that protects their lands and their mineral wealth from the corporate looters. And there are signs that many Africans are watching closely.

A friend just back from Ethiopia wrote me a few days ago:

“Trip was amazing. Demonstrations prior to election day number two million in Addis. Then, on the day itself, rural people lined up for miles to vote. When the government and the opposition both claimed victory the next day, all hell broke lose. No gasoline, banks closed, and a state of emergency declared. None of it reported in the press, of course. I got out on a KLM flight after passing through three military checkpoints “

And that is how real change will come, with people fighting for their democratic rights and losing their fear of the elites who govern them. The north wants the states in the south to reduce their functions to surveillance and punishment. Leave everything else to the market. The Latin American continent is saying “no”. When Africa does the same, it will begin to move forward, too. These are the noises that northern politicians do not like to hear. That is why making sure they hear them is crucial on July 6.

TARIQ ALI is author of the recently released Street Fighting Years (new edition) and, with David Barsamian, Speaking of Empires & Resistance

TARIQ ALI will be speaking at the Make the G8 History rally at the Old Theatre, London School of Economics on Tue 28th June @6:30pm with George Monbiot, George Galloway MP and others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Tariq Ali is the author of The Obama Syndrome (Verso).

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador   Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail