Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Is There an Alternative to the Heiligendamm G8?

With the somewhat failed promise of the Gleneagles G8 back in 2005 on African aid, will the current G8 be better?


By: Vanessa Uy


Aside from Sir Bob Geldof’s and Bono’s anti-poverty campaigns, nobody today seems to remember – or feign interest – about the hollow rhetoric of the Gleneagles G8. With its failed promise to provide a 50 billion dollar- a- year aid package for Africa. Do we really need an alternative to G8? Since it’s inception back in 1975, G8 – or was it called G7 back then – has always been perceived globally as a “promise formulating” rather than a “problem solving” summit.

Groups who are opposed to G8 range from riot inciting “anarchists” who are not that far removed from your typical European “soccer hooligans”, to legitimate anti-G8 groups like ATTAC, Justice Now, Interventionist Left, and the most famous of them all: Greenpeace. ATTAC with its battle cry of “The world is not for sale!” appeal to those who are disenfranchised with the overly bureaucratic organizations like G8. To me, G8 is a fundamentally flawed organization due to its extremely limited legislative powers. Especially now, with the vastly differing views on how to tackle climate change between the United States and the European Union.

As the United States continues to “hog” the Heiligendamm G8’s proceedings with rhetoric on the justification of the Bush Administration’s “Missile Defense Program” that has increased the tension between Washington and the Kremlin not seen since Cold War days. An alternative summit has started in Rostock to discuss issues that the powers-that-be of the G8 summit are too squeamish to discuss like AIDS, global poverty, fair trade, and human rights to name just a few. Organized by Tillmann G√ľnter, the Alternative Summit 2007 in Rostock serves to empower cause- oriented groups who are voicing their concerns that the global powers- that- be seem – or choose – to ignore.

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