Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/400/4543
After Live 8 and G8
Organise to make capitalism history
Fight for a socialist future
A QUARTER of a million marching in Edinburgh. 200,000 at Live 8 in Hyde Park, London. One million in Philadelphia, USA and 2 billion watching around the globe.
The campaign to make poverty history has touched, moved and mobilised millions. But this is only the beginning.
"Over to you" shouted Bob Geldof at the Live 8 concert, directing his comments at the G8 politicians holed up in their five-star hotel in Gleneagles, Scotland. But these are the same politicians who are slashing jobs, privatising services and presiding over growing poverty and inequality in their own countries.
It is the capitalist profit system, which they slavishly support, that kills 1,200 people every hour of every day and puts one billion at risk from poverty, war and famine worldwide.
We've marched and we've protested but we can't put our faith in the leaders of the richest countries in the world to end poverty.
"Won't get fooled again" sang The Who in Hyde Park. We shouldn't be fooled into thinking that the crumbs of aid and debt relief that the rich and powerful have thrown from their table at the poor in Africa and elsewhere will go anywhere near alleviating the horrific conditions which so many are forced to endure.
Bob Geldof has helped raise awareness about the scourge of world poverty but he was completely off the mark when he described the G8 debt deal as a "victory for millions". It represents a very small drop in a very large ocean of misery and want created by capitalism.
In total the poorest countries owe around $2.5 trillion. Two thirds of that is owed to private investors, a debt that will still hang like a millstone round the necks of workers and poor in Africa, Asia and Latin America - slowly strangling them.
Only 18 of the poorest countries in the world will initially benefit from the small 'relief' on offer and only if their governments agree to boost "private sector development" and eliminate "impediments to private investment."
In other words, debt will still be used as a political tool by capitalist governments and international institutions like the IMF and World Bank to increase the profits of the multinational companies, 500 of which control 70% of world trade.
Just two companies control 75% of the global grain trade while three corporations have cornered 80% of the market in cocoa. Wal-Mart, the giant US supermarket has profits bigger than the economies of Mozambique and Ghana combined.
As long as these companies maintain their vice-like grip over the world economy, desperate poverty and inequality will continue to plague the majority of humanity. They need to be taken into public ownership so that we can democratically plan the production and distribution of goods and resources on the basis of what is needed, not what is most profitable, and in an environmentally sustainable way. It is an outrage that millions starve to death while there is enough food produced to feed the world.
MANY OF the millions who have demonstrated, protested, signed petitions, bought wrist bands and attended concerts will feel, like Bob Geldof, that they have done their bit to end world poverty and now it is up to the politicians to sort things out.
But the capitalist politicians will not change anything. We have to organise to change things for ourselves, including the workers and poor in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
This is already beginning to happen. Just in the last few weeks Bolivia has been brought to a standstill by workers, peasants and poor people demanding the nationalisation of gas and oil and an end to multinational companies bleeding them dry of their natural resources. Millions of workers in South Africa have taken strike action against unemployment and poverty.
For all those who want to end poverty throughout the world the next step is to get organised and fight to make capitalism history and socialism our future.
In The Socialist 7 July 2005: