G20 In London: Why The Protests?

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 112 months ago
G20 In London: Why The Protests?

Protestors at the Kingsnorth Climate Camp last summer / courtesy of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition under a Creative Commons licence
We know why the G-20 are in London, so why are people protesting? You might think this was a no-brainer: because they're angry about the recession, right? Well, yes and no. (By the way, these videos are a quite funny summary of how we ended up in this mess).

There's actually a very broad range of groups intent on protest, all taking advantage of the presence of the G-20 leaders in the city. G-20 Meltdown is a coalition of organisations ranging from Greenpeace to Transport 2000, the Socialist Workers' Party to CND. Their manifesto is generally anti-capitalist and furious at the way the unregulated free market led to the biggest economic downturn in living memory. They want homes, jobs and a future for all in a borderless, sustainable world free of powerful banking interests and corrupt politicians.

Breaking G-20 Meltdown into just a couple of its many parts, Climate Camp are a bunch of volunteers taking action against climate change. These are the people who held the camp at Kingsnorth power station last summer. Reclaiming Spaces is dedicated to reclaiming cities and public spaces for the people who live there. They're calling on the G-20 to recognise the human right to adequate housing and environment.

Put People First is an umbrella group for 120 organisations including the TUC, WWF, Save the Children and Muslim Council of Britain. They're concerned about inequality and are campaigning for a low carbon economy based on fair distribution of wealth and decent jobs for all. Stop the War want troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan and an end to the seige of Gaza, while London Anarchists are calling for direct action against the banks and government in support of the working classes.

These protestors aren't going to get the ear of G-20 leaders, but with the world's media focused on London over the next few days they'll be hoping to raise awareness of their issues with some eye-catching protests. And what will they be? We'll tell you in the next installment. Ooo, the tension.

Last Updated 25 March 2009


I hope Londoners come out in force on Saturday - as the article mentioned this is for everyone who feels things are not right in the world, be it the recession, poverty, climate change or inequality, it is a great chance to show that we do care. Everyone is meeting at 11am on Victoria embankment, should be good fun.

Working Class Hero

Everyone, pick a complaint, quickly quickly...on the count of three...one, two, three, PROTEST!


Thought for the day: Are anarchists still anarchists if they plan their protest?


scrawled in ominous big black letters on the wall outside Canonbury station this morning "G20 NOT WELCOME"


I can't afford to take a day off working at my temp job in 'The City' to protest anything; I lost my real job in the front lines of the 'Global Finacial Crisisâ„¢'. I'll probably lose quite a few pounds in hourly wages as I struggle my way through the protesters and quite honestly, I think the whole world and it's fiscally stimulated dog knows there is a problem and us proles aren't happy with it.

Fairly against the protests at this stage as I think they are virtually directionless and will be nothing but unchannelled anger and frustration with very few people in the pack comprending who or what they are railing against.


> But, but but but. I think the protests are, on
> balance, a good thing

I think protests on balance are a good thing. I don't think these particular protests are. I think they will merely hiss an already tired and battered city off.

I like to think of myself as a left wing pinko commie but I can't gel with the whole protest for protest sake vibe that is oozing off anything to do with the G20.

Protesting just to remind the Government we can, I think, dillutes the genuine 'oust the Government' style protests that need to happen from time to time but that's merely my opinion.

Your speculation that there will be 'over earnest' policing annoys me as much as the police view that there 'will be riots' before a protest has even began. Pot, kettle and all of that.


The Put People First march on the 28th has a 12 point policy paper as follows - seems pretty coherent to me - see http://www.putpeoplefirst.org.... :

Put People First: Ensure democratic governance of the economy

1. Compel tax havens to abide by strict international rules.

2. Insist on fundamental governance reform of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

3. Make all financial institutions, financial products and multinationals transparent and publicly accountable.

Jobs: Decent jobs and public services for all

4. Ensure a massive investment in a green new deal to build a green economy based on decent work and fair pay.

5. Invest in and strengthen public provision of essential services.

6. Work to ensure sufficient emergency funding to all countries that need it, without damaging conditionalities attached.

Justice: End global poverty and inequality

7. Deliver 0.7% of national income as aid by 2013, deliver aid more effectively and push for the cancellation of all illegitimate and unpayable developing country debts.

8. Ensure that poorer states are allowed to take responsibility for managing their economies, including controlling cross-border capital flows.

9. Stop pushing developing countries to liberalise and deregulate their economies, and do not attempt to rush through a completion of the Doha trade round, a deal that developing countries have rejected several times.

Climate: Build a Green Economy

10. In addition to the green new deal (recommendation 4), introduce the robust regulatory requirements and financial incentives needed to deliver a green economy.

11. Push for a deal at Copenhagen to agree substantial, verifiable cuts in greenhouse gases, which will limit temperature increases to well below 2°C.

12. Commit to substantial new resource transfer from North to South, additional to Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), to support adaptation and sustainable development in poor countries.


Equal poverty and misery for all --- now!


AndIn case you missed it, here giving heavyweight credence to the protests is...



End hunger

923 million people go to bed hungry EVERY NIGHT
All G20 members should try it ONCE
Hunger is a leading CAUSE OF DEATH (and MISERY)
killing approx 9 MILLION people every year ; more than AIDS, TB and malaria COMBINED.

A child dies of hunger every 5 seconds. Do you permit this?

More than a quarter of children in developing countries is overweight. Compare this to OBESITY in the richer countries.

“The earth can no longer be owned; it must be shared. Its fruits, including those produced by technology and labour, can no longer be expropriated by the few; they must be rendered available to all on the basis of need. Power, no less than material things, must be freed from the control of the elites; it must be redistributed in a form that renders its use participatory.” - Murray Bookchin


End hunger

Protest against poverty. I'm handicapped so I can't be there. Obviously, if people only have what they need there is no more economic crisis. Is that enough? I'm sure Barack Obama agrees with me.

Grim Rita

I lost a job I adored in January with Social Services. Due to 'budget restraints'. Now I can't even find a temp job doing Admin! I have been to two interviews in front of a panel in the last month...a panel..for an 8 pounds an hour temporary Admin post! I'm overqualified. I have never had this experience in all my years, so tomorrow I shall be wearing my interview suit and going to protest!