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Sunday, June 04, 2006

SHUT THEM DOWN: Stories from the frontline of the 2005 G8

I highly recommend you get your mits on SHUT THEM DOWN, a collection of articles on the mobilisation against the 2005 G8 in Gleneagles, Scotland.

There is quite a mix here, from political essays to personal accounts. Needless to say the quality of the writing varies, but that is the beauty of it, it lets you know how 'real' people think, rather than the thoughts of one academic; it does mean however that you have to read it with a slightly critical eye to filter out the bits where some of the writers get carried away with themselves. On the whole, you get the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the current UK anti-capitalist movement, and a good look at its underbelly.

One new phenomena in 2005 was the mass movement of ‘Make Poverty History’ and the ‘Live 8’ crowd, giving the G8 an un-natural coat of whitewash, which although possibly well intentioned, undoubtedly aggravated the situation for the poor in Africa and beyond.

Mistakes were made in 2005, but hopefully lessons learned. One of the biggest failings was to get the message out to the ‘public’ as to why the protests were happening, the message was somewhat lost with the media coverage of MPH and of course the London bombings on the Thursday. But despite these mistakes, there is no mistaking the fact that on the first day of the summit, EVERY road into Gleneagles was shut down; the empowerment that engendered in those present cannot be underestimated. We glimpsed for a few hours what we were capable of if we put our minds to it, we need to make sure that the work done building for the protest is not wasted and the networks that were established are maintained…. WHY? Read this book and find out.

Of course, the G8 has not gone away, there will be protests again this year in Russia. For more info visit dissent

If you do not have the time or energy to get your hands on the book, you can read it on line here


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