imc london | 28.05.2003 14:36 | Evian G8
This coming weekend, the G8 summit returns to Europe after last year's retreat to the mountains of Canada, which followed the mass protests in Genoa Italy in 2001. This years location is Evian; a French town at the Lake Leman, near Geneva at the Swiss border.
Activists and NGOs have called for a week of counter conferences, actions and protests. The "global movement" will confront the G8's set agenda with their own comments and viewpoints.
IMC volunteers from all over Europe will provide grass roots coverage of the summit. Alternative media are converging in "L'usine" in Geneva, and in Lausanne. Reports about events, protests and actions will be streamed. You can pick up radio streams from Lausanne and Geneva. A video stream will be produced at L’usine | info
In 1938, an international conference on refugees was held at Evian. The participating governments acknowledged that the persecution of Jews in Germany was a problem. But the outcome of the conference was disappointing for the people trapped in Germany – hardly any country raised their quota for refugees.
This year, the official G8 website announces four major themes:
Under the label "solidarity", the summit will discuss "access to water for all" UN. The summit calls governments and businesses to display a "spirit of responsibility" Third point is "security, in order to strengthen the fight against terrorism" . Finally, the "dialogue with civil society" should strengthen democracy.
SECURITY AND RESPONSIBILITY
"Security and responsibility" - a look at the various oppositional websites reveals a different image: : "An international Gang of Terrorists, known as the "G8", plan to meet in the town of Evian. Some of the leaders of this Gang are responsible for crimes against humanity (...) - including the assassination of several thousand people every year in Columbia, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children in Irak, indiscriminate bombing and nuclear pollution in Afghanistan and an ongoing genocide in Tchetchenia" .
In fact, an amnesty report shows how military and security technology from the world's most powerful nations continues to make its way past inadequate controls into the hands of abusive regimes.
People's global action (or PGA) are challenging the G8s approach to achieve "access to water for all". Their target is the bottled water of brands like EVIAN. "Groundwater is being depleted at incredible rates to fill the millions of plastic bottles and cans with which we quench our thirst, leaving behind a massive mountain of rubbish. The water business is greater in turn-over than oil. Brands such as Evian or Perrier, both owned by Nestle, are the most prominent high-value sales, the diamonds in Nestle's portfolio, in a global water market" . PGA proposes direct actions at every supermarket, by distributing Evian bottles all over.
Another water-related issue are the highly risky dam projects such as the Sardar Sarovar dam in India and the Itoiz dam in the Bask country. (More about the risks of dam building later).
DIALOGUE AND DEMOCRACY
In contrast to the official claim for "dialogue with civil society", Evian will be sealed off by French, German and Swiss Police. The authorities will reserve one lane of the Lausanne Geneva turnpike for transport from the Geneva airport and hotels. Also, all navigation on the lake will be outlawed with the exception of ferries for delegates.
An activist website comes to the conclusion that "summits intended as ritual shows of their supremacy now reveal the universal unpopularity of the regime and its fundamental basis: force and violence" .
Instead of forcing their lines around the "Red Zone" as in Genoa, activists propose to declare an "exclusion zone" of their own. Creative actions in Geneva, Lausanne and Evian as well as along the connecting streets will claim the right to use public space despite the presence of the G8 summit. The general tone of G8 demos will be determined but humorous, musical and open. A strong pink & silver contingent will provide take care of rhythms and colours. The local organizers see the G8 as an occasion to widen the movement and advocate comprehension of the issues. They don't want to appear as a "foreign invasion".
Several anti-capitalist "villages" in Lausanne, Geneva and Annemasse will host activists. This approach can strenghten links between large mobilisations against "global governance" and local organising. Based on previous experiences like the strasbourg noborder camp last year, they will encourage "alternative forms of social organisation and a place for debates on the larger perspectives of the movement" . Decentralisation and mobility will be the watchwords of the week of resistance. Activists are invited to come on buses, cars or even bicycles rather than trains.
We have gathered information on some of the larger actions:
TOMORROW, the demonstrations start around the hotels in Swiss Lausanne to say "Not Welcome!" to the G8 participants. A demo at the Mont Blanc tunnel will demand liberty of movement. In Annemasse, the activist "villagers" will hold a festive, out-reaching demo to thank the hosting inhabitants and reclaim public space.
On FRIDAY May 30, noborder activists will embark on an instructive tour of Geneva's international institutions under the slogan "wipe out IOM, WTO and WIPO". (START: 11am, railway station Geneva). The organisers are making a strong point of having a peaceful and colourful demonstration. More info on www.noborder.org
On Thursday evening before the demonstration, a public debate a will take place in L'Usine, place des volontaires, Geneva. Affiliates of the noborder network will talk about the global migration-regime and the demand for freedom of communication.
MORE ABOUT THE NOBORDER DEMO:
IOM, WTO and WIPO symbolize three central pillars of global governance. The three combined demonstrations in front of their respective headquarters will demand free movement, free communication and reject "free trade" as a solution to poverty and unemployment.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), an intergovernmental institution, claims leadership in the so called "global migration managment". It combines programmes of deportation and internment of migrants, the destruction of flightroutes and recruitment-projects for cheap labour.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) enforces the free trade ideology. The demo here "aims at taking back control of the means of production from the hands of both transnational and national capital, in order to create free, sustainable and community-controlled livelihoods, with equal rights and opportunities for women and men, based on solidarity and people's needs and not on exploitation and greed."
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) helps companies to exercise biopolitical control. Capital is being liberated by restricting individual and collective freedom and rights - even the right to life itself.
SATURDAY night has the slogan "Fires on the lake". About 50 huge fires will be lit in localities all around the lake encircling the G8.
On SUNDAY, the opening day of the summit, a mass demo will take off between French Annemasse and Swiss Geneva between 9 and 10 am. The demo may symbolically open a frontier while closing the access of Evian to the official delegates.