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We turned out in our thousands

Gill Hubbard

Its now over a year since a small number of us came together to discuss how we would meet the challenge of having the G8 arriving in Scotland.  From small beginnings came G8 Alternatives that united a spectrum of people to challenge the rulers of world including peace campaigners, trades unionists, environmentalists, socialists, feminists, human rights activists, clowns, autonomists, anti war activists, anti-racists, people from different communities, NGOs, and those who prefer not to give themselves a label.  As the whole world was watching we showed that we will fight to make poverty and war history and that we would not stand aside as the rulers of the world descended in our midst.


G8 Alternatives supporters turned up in their 1000s on the Make Poverty History demonstration - the biggest march in Scotland's history.   


Together we pulled off the biggest political conference ever held in Scotland; 5000 tickets were sold for the G8A summit.  Around 80 organisations held workshops and 1000s of people came to listen to key debates on aid, trade and debt, war and imperialism, climate change and so on.  An impressive range of speakers representing a a number of international and local campaigning organisations discussed alternatives to the pro-war, neo-liberal agenda of the G8.  That day our movement went into ideological battle with the G8 and we showed that there are alternatives and that another world is possible.  Musicians, actors and poets provided a creativity that echoed around the Festival theatre and Usher and Queens Hall.  Thanks to everyone who made sure that the G8A summit was so successful. 


On Wednesday 6th July we marched at Gleneagles.  Not since Genoa 2001 has our movement been able to march so close to a G8 summit.  We were within 500 metres of the warmongers and some even got nearer when they ran across the field to topple the fence!  The police did everything to try and stop that march.  At 9am they had cancelled it and police officers were on our coaches telling everyone that G8A had cancelled the march.  The police said that we could march with the couple of thousand who were already rallying the park and the G8 negotiators said:  'We march together or not at all at Gleneagles.'   Everyone on the coaches were determined to get to Gleneagles which forced the police to back down and over 12,000 of you came.  A cacaphony of noise combining African sound and the bagpipes led the march off.  Rose Gentle and Haidi Giuliani were determined to the fence and did. Thanks to everyone who was determined to get to Gleneagles - you made it happen.  Thanks also to the stewards who did an excellent job and to the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army who managed to dispel tension in the most amazing ways.


Immediately after G8 the bombings in London happened.  This atrocity was a result of an aggressive foreign policy that took Britain to war with Iraq; that has killed over 100,000 Iraqis; that has tortured innocent people in Guantanomo and Abu Graib; that destroys all hope and creates only misery and despair.  Many of us have attended the vigils to express our sympathy with the families that have lost loved ones but also to lay the blame where it really lies - at the door of Number 10.  We will stand shoulder to shoulder with our Muslim brothers and sisters and stop any backlash and racist attacks.  We will refuse to let our civil liberties be taken from us in this so-called 'war against terror'.  We will re-double our efforts to bring the troops home.


Our movement is stronger as a result of all of the events  - not just those organised by G8A - that happened in the week the G8 met in Scotland.  Many of us are determined to continue to work together and expand our numbers to make a better world - fantastic!


July 2005


For Socialist Unity ~ For Internationalism ~ For Peace ~ For Justice ~ For Unity ~ For Socialism