Lying Media Bastards

June 28, 2005

Pieces of Eight

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Next month, England hosts the annual G8 summit meeting at the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland.

Unlike other summit meetings like the WTO or NATO or the OECD, the G8 is not an institution. It’s eight guys who run the world’s eight most powerful nations, who make decisions that are going to effect the rest of the world, unrestrained by charters or constitutions or rules. Y’know, sort of like King Arthur and Cobra Commander and Vlad the Impaler and George Washington and Mussolini getting together for drinks and to divvy up international spoils. Well, that’s not how they put it, of course.

What’s that you say? True, none of the leaders in that previous example were democratically elected. Unlike our own nation, where 30% of the eligible voters selected one corporate-picked dandy over another. Or like Britain’s Tony Blair, who’s so popular that he barely held onto office last election while his party lost 100 seats in Parliament. Or Italy’s media-mogul plutocrat Silvio Berlusconi. Or Russia’s Validmir Putin, who used to run with the Soviet Union’s secret police.

All I’m saying is that the G8 isn’t exactly an exercise in democracy. And I guess I’m also saying that all of the world’s major democratic institutions are total jokes.


The agenda for the 2005 G8 meeting seems to be two-pronged, focusing on the issues of global warming and Africa’s many catastrophes. It looks as though this agenda is being pushed hard by Tony Blair, possibly to distract his people from that whole Iraq quagmire thing.

We’ve already seen the likely outcome of the global warming discussion; the White House has been working behind the scenes to weaken the “draft action plan” to such an extent that it even refuses to acknowledge that global warming is actually ocurring, let alone taking steps to prevent/reverse it.

These alterations were made by White House Council on Environmental Quality chief of staff Phillip Cooney. Who, before joining the White House in 2001, was a lobbyist for the oil industry (American Petroleum Institute). And two days after news reports came out showing that Cooney altered the wording of scientific reports to downplay global warming, Cooney has announced that he’s quitting the position– to join ExxonMobil.

The second G8 issue could have some positive effect. Already the US and UK have agreed to forgive the debts of 18 poor nations, totalling $40 billion (although UK charity Christian Aid estimates that unfair “free trade” policies have cost sub-Saharan Africa $272 billion over the past 20 years). However, I still have to be suspicious. I mean, when the head of Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt declares this particular abolition of third world debt to be “a sham”, we should probably pay attention. Although I can’t find corroboration, the CADTM (apparently the foreign language anacronym for the organization) article claims that the current debt relief plan only cancels debt payments from now through 2015, and then they’ll be back on again. It also claims that the only countries eligible for debt relief are ones that will “open up their economies to foreign investment.” Generally, “foreign investment friendly” means mass privatization, cuts in public services, and the gutting of environmental and labor laws. So you’d have to wonder which way the folks are really better off.

So this G8 thing will probably not help the environment, but could potentially help the people of Africa. Or fuck them over further, I’m not sure yet.

Posted by Jake on June 28, 2005 5:30 pm

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