At least 200 people were arrested while protesting the G-20 over the past weekend. The G-20 is a group made up of the top twenty leaders from the top 20 wealthiest nations in the world. Their main purpose is to discuss matters of economics. Mainly, their conversations speak to how they can continue to be the top 20 wealthiest nations in the world, and generally,how they can get wealthier.
Protesters for human rights, economic justice and environmental sensibility were greeted first with a bureaucratically centered process for getting a permit to protest-which is a whole other matter in itself, that of getting a permit to be able to protest-then with a police greeting that included numerous instances of gassing. The police even brought out sound canisters, which apparently marks the first time this method of enforcement has ever been used in the US.
All this to keep peaceful, non-violent protesters out of the city center!
In the end, a loose set of measures were adopted by the G-20. The most notable, unfortunate issues inadequately addressed were: dialogue surrounding "balanced economic growth" that basically means business as usual, vowing to take strong action on climate change without making any specific commitments, and saying undeveloped countries should have more of a say regarding matters conducted by the IMF and World Bank. What would that look like? A country saying "Please stop 'helping' us with high interest loans and furthering inequality through economic stratification by actually making us poor and unable to support local agriculture in our own countries?"
It seems this G-20 meeting was again business as usual, coupled with unfortunate altercations in what's been described as a scene reminiscent of police-state politics.
How is this meeting useful in the promotion of sustainability, peace or justice? No action on climate change, no deep economic analysis leading to something helpful? President Obama was quoted as saying he disagrees with protesters and believes the meeting was important for conversations surrounding "how the market is working for ordinary people".
What I want to know is how IS the market working for ordinary people? All 99% of us globally? How would ordinary people answer that question? I bet the answer would be different when juxtaposed with the same thoughts from a member of the G-20. In fact, I know it would because what we know today is what's out there is not working for the benefit of low-income, poor, or extremely rural people. It's also clearly not working for the Earth and non-human species when viewed from the perspective of rainforest and global timber stands that continue to be depleted as well as habitat loss for countless species, ocean acidification, and on and on. So when are these leaders going to listen to their "ordinary" people and let them (us) dictate and speak to matters most relevant to their day-to-day ways of life while taking into consideration the G-20's collective impact and leadership role in perpetuating ills to humanity and the Earth?
We must keep the pressure on...