Wednesday, April 28, 2010

G8/G20: Failed commitments, broken lives

Here is a media release by folks organizing against the G20 summit in Toronto in June, sent out as the G8 ministerial meeting in Halifax is wrapping up. As one of the organizers is quoted as saying, "The G8 is saving the banks, while ignoring lives." Let's see if we can do something about that in June...

Toronto— At the conclusion of the Halifax demonstrations against the G8 Development Ministerial, Toronto activists are finalizing plans for a week of similar events during the June G20 Summit, to mark the G20's unwillingness to meet its own commitments to global equality.

Halifax activists denounced the ministerial for claiming to improve the lives of working people, women, and indigenous populations across the world while prioritizing the growth of industy and trade which directly threaten them. In Toronto, Anna Willats, long-time social justice organizer and Professor at George Brown College highlights this hypocrisy, “the G8 Ministerial speaks of women’s rights while hundreds of Indigenous women continue to disappear in Canada, they speak of economic growth while more and more Canadian workers – now over 40% - are in contract, temporary and insecure jobs, they speak of supporting people in the Global South at the same time as they subsidize dams, factories and mines that displace 10 million people each year”.

“The G8 is saving the banks, while ignoring lives”, said David McNally, Professor of Political Science at York University, earlier this morning in Toronto, noting the groups failure to meet the 2005 Gleneagles aid commitments. "In spite of the global recession, banks around the world continue to report enormous profits -- while the price of basic goods in the Third World skyrockets. Yet, the G8 refused to impose a tax on banks."

"Two years after promising $20 billion to deal with the world food crisis -- a pittance compared to what they have put into banks -- the G8 has delivered only one-tenth of what it pledged," McNally added. "Meanwhile, hundreds of millions are on the edge of starvation." McNally pointed to a recent OECD report outlining a scale back in aid from rich countries as evidence of a "demonstrable lack of effectiveness in (the G8) implementing its own supposed policies."

The poverty and injustice caused by the policies of the G8 and G20 both at home and abroad are being challenged. Activists and community-based organizations working through the Toronto Community Mobilization Network have called for a massive demonstration on June 25 at 2:30pm, beginning at Allen Gardens. Details of this and other planned events will be announced through the Network’s website, “The G8/G20 is a self-selected, unaccountable traveling circus”, says Claudia Calabro, a member of the Network. “It clearly has no legitimacy in its management of the global economy and financial system, nor does it represent the best interests of people or the environment.”

Only community controlled initiatives can end global inequality, not the top down approach of the G8/G20 that favours business over people. In direct contrast to the failed G8/G20 model, the TCMN is a grassroots network from a diverse range of community groups, social and environmental justice organizations. The Toronto Community Mobilization Network is working with allies across the country and internationally to facilitate education, creative actions, rallies and demonstrations leading up to and during the G8/G20 Summits.


For more information about the Toronto Community Mobilization Network, please contact us at

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