|Callout for First Meeting
In late June, government representatives of the G8 nations will be
meeting in Kananaskis, Alberta. Early that month, finance ministers and
bank governors from the G7 will meet in Halifax to prepare for that summit.
They have again announced that their aims include stable development
and the reduction of world poverty, with a concentration on plans for Africa,
but dare we trust that these are their real intentions? Can we believe
that they aren't solely focused on the neo-liberal version of globalisation
that puts an increasing proportion of the world's wealth into the hands
of a tiny elite? Everything we know leads us to conclude that that plans
for ever more intense exploitation and accumulation will not change without
the community's action.
The situation in the Atlantic region may be only the tip of the global
iceberg, but it does represent the larger situation in how labour and resources
One example being how Sable natural gas riches flow south to the US
market while Nova Scotia's privatised power utility jacks up local rates,
another how the fishery was industrialized to maximize corporate profit
leaving communities like Canso with no quota, empty factories, and idle
workers anxiously dependent on social assistance. Our forests are being
stripped, our few remaining wilderness areas threatened with mining, and
we suffer pollution from away while our cities' infrastructure fall into
disrepair; even our schools and office buildings are sick. With homelessness
on the increase, this area has just recently hosted a military exercise,
one component of the war on terrorism; how much community housing could
have been financed with the nearly three-quarters of a million spent on
that one war game?
Globally, the situation is increasingly tense. In Palestine, the autonomous
areas are invaded by thousands of troops backed by hundreds of tanks, and
as this plays out the American military proclaims its option to preemptive
nuclear strikes, building its "Axis of Evil" into a list of targets that
includes even Russia.
The war's other front continues domestically. Governments at all levels,
in particular but not exclusively the far-right governments in British
Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, unabashedly pursue economic policies in
keeping with the dictates of big business. The inevitable consequence is
increased impoverishment and indebtedness, intensified resource exploitation
with accelerated environmental degradation, and a reduction in general
social services and real security. This war has its own arsenal, with weapons
ranging from privatisation schemes through work-fare to specially militarized
tactical police units. The neo-liberal agenda -- embodied by institutions
and treaties like the IMF, World Bank, WTO, NAFTA, FTAA and G8 -- here
in Canada as abroad, is the relentless persistent transfer of power and
wealth to the economic and political elite.
With apparent disregard of conventions regarding human rights in general
and refugees in particular, the war has expanded to include so-called "anti-terrorist"
laws, usually little more than sophisticated stereotyping in the form of
racial profiling. These laws, really nothing but a judicial assault on
political, civil, and human rights and political organizing, have clear
racist implications that create an atmosphere conducive to the worst forms
of prejudice, resulting in a new wave scapegoating and attacks on immigrant
and refugee communities.
Last July, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Genoa,
Italy against the G8, and were met with state-sponsored police brutality
that included the murder of activist Carlo Giuliani. Police actions broadened
to include the convergence center and the independent media center where
activists engaged in obviously peaceful activities were brutalized. All
of this was met by protests worldwide in opposition to the agenda of the
G8 and the criminalisation of dissent. Grassroots resistance to the imposition
of neo-liberal globalisation has been particularly vital and increasingly
energetic global South. The recent popular rebellions in Ecuador and Bolivia
stand out as inspiring examples, with the Argentinean stand being an empowering
model of resistance in the face of violent state repression, the mundane
face of imperialism and capitalism.
And so, with the intention of coordinating a response to the G7 Finance
Ministers when they visit, we are calling you to an initial meeting
on March 30th at 1PM in the North Branch Library on Gottingen Street in
Halifax. We see G7FMM-2002 as requiring action in clear opposition
to the G7, in solidarity with G8 protests in Alberta and worldwide, and
in ongoing support of local and regional grassroots social justice efforts.
Ultimately this invitation is intended for all organizations, affinity
groups and individuals in Eastern Canada and the Maritimes as well as the
Northeastern United States.
After the 1995 People's Summit, organized around that G7 visit to Halifax,
the organizing committee's chairs had this to say: "The People's Summit
was an experience that we would not have missed. It was sometimes frustrating,
sometimes stressful, always intense, but mostly it was empowering, enjoyable,
rewarding, informative and, well . . . intense. It is truly amazing how
the P7 evolved in to the actual event of June 10 - 17, 1995. But this evolution
is a good illustration of the character and dynamics that the People's
Summit developed over its life."