Faces in the Crowd (part II)

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<b> Activists of all stripes from across the country are dancing and chanting in the bright Calgary sun this week. <i>rabble</i> spoke with protesters of the G8 Summit to find out why. </b><p>

Meredith Bragg: a 15-year-old high school student, she marched with a contingent of Calgary Youth for Human Rights

“I have a lot of problems with the G8. It’s completely undemocratic how they’ve decided to come together. They’ve just decided that they are the most powerful nations and that they can run the entire world following their own rules. There’s no transparency in their meetings — they have to tell people what’s going on. Take Third-World debt. It’s disgusting that billons of people are living on less then $1 (US) a day when there’s these capitalist people with so much money. The distribution of wealth is disgusting. And the G8 is perpetuating that. The G8 pretends they’re solving things but they’re just making everything worse. The G8 pretends that they’re cancelling third world debt but they’re not. They’re making the debt payments worse and making countries even more in debt. It’s horrible. I hope that as a group we can show people that what the G8 is doing is not okay, and there are people out there who disagree with them.”

Hassan Yussuff: he is in Calgary with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)

“This is a continuation of the work that the CLC has been doing to resist corporate globalization and, of course, the hegemony they’ve had on the global agenda around development and around strategies for creating jobs. We were in Quebec City, in Windsor and in Seattle to send a message that if we are going to truly win in this broader struggle, we have to form broader coalitions. What these guys are really discussing, in terms of the African initiative, is really how to privatize and deregulate what little is left in Africa. In addition to that, the G8 want to say, ’The only way you’re going to win is to adopt the neoliberal agenda.’ It hasn’t worked for twenty years, there’s no reason why Africa should now trust that NEPAD [the New Partnership for African Development] is going to give them what they are looking for to create jobs, to develop their economy and to provide health care and education for the people. While they’re fighting to regain some sense of direction for how to develop in Africa, we’re fighting to maintain what we have won in the past. If we can’t link our hands with African brothers and sisters in this global struggle, we’re never going to make any headway in the broader struggle that we are fighting: corporate globalization and capitalism.”

Selam Michael: a 32-year-old Eritrean-born Canadian, she came to the Calgary protests to add her voice to the call for an Africa for Africans, not for the G8

“I’m from East Africa and the country is Eritrea. It is a country that does not abide by the rules of the IMF [International Monetary Fund] or World Bank. We decide what to do with our lives, with our nation. I don’t like the agenda of the G8 and I know that they have been creating a lot of problems in Third-World countries. Especially because I am from a Third World country, I should be here [in protest]. They always want to portray Africa as a continent of people who are desperate and poor and starving. We are also fighting back. But there is a reason why we are so poor and desperate and hungry and that’s because someone has taken advantage of the resources and wealth. So I want these people to hear a different voice. I’m here to add my voice to the struggle.”

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