July 2013        

Belfast says No to G8

Despite the very inclement weather, thousands turned out in Belfast on Saturday 15 June to show their opposition to the G8 meeting taking place in Co. Fermanagh. Belfast Trades Council’s big demonstration included a large turn-out from both trade unions and community organisations.
     The CPI had called for a “Red Bloc,” a show of red strength on the street, which was answered with communist flags from Greece, Portugal, Britain, Turkey and other countries as well as Ireland and which turned out to be the largest left-wing contingent in the demonstration.
     The city was subjected to “lock-down” for the day, with thousands of police, many of whom had been drafted in from Britain, and a strong suspicion that some of them were in fact military personnel. Every street and corner was occupied by armed police in a massive show of state force and intimidation, a display by the British state to remind everyone who is in charge, not just for local people but also for international consumption.
     The international anti-imperialist rally organised by the CPI took place after the main demonstration to a full house, with speakers from the communist parties of Greece, Portugal and Britain as well as the CPI, showing again that there is a growing interest in what communists have to say and the solutions they have to offer. The four parties outlined their views on how they see the way forward, with a great unity of understanding of the nature of the economic crisis, both structural and cyclical.
     On Sunday the 16th a series of events was organised for young people, in particular young trade union activists and young workers. Speakers at the main event outlined their experiences and ideas, and the Communist Youth of Greece had the opportunity to present first-hand information about the active role of youth in the deepening political struggles in Greece.
     This was a positive weekend of political discussion and sharing of experiences. The G8 meeting was not just an opportunity to mobilise for protest but, most importantly, an opportunity for deepening our understanding of what the G8 stands for, for deepening our knowledge of capitalism and imperialism, thereby raising people’s understanding of why workers need to organise and of what we are fighting for. In the immortal words of James Connolly, “our demands most moderate are: we only want the earth.”

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