Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/401/4562
International Socialist Resistance
ISR - getting our message across
INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST Resistance (ISR) members have just returned from a week of protests at the G8 talks.
180 ISR members were at a week-long camp. The ISR and CWI contingent dressed in red, waving red flags and chanting political slogans got a lot of attention from passers-by and the media.
ISR national organiser SARAH SACHS-ELDRIDGE draws up a balance sheet on those events.
EVEN BEFORE it started, we knew there was a real desire amongst millions of people to put pressure on the G8 to make poverty history. But people are extremely cynical about whether the governments of the world's eight richest countries had either the motivation or the ability to change things.
Our job was to link up the two sides - the will for change and the question about who would do it and to put forward a programme for ending the nightmare of poverty and war. We explained that that meant ending capitalism.
The demo organisers tried to create the impression that a desire to end poverty was not political. However the marchers saw that decisions such as whether to spend a trillion dollars on arms and war are political!
We have been building support for these events for months - at schools and colleges, on the streets, at gigs and local events. We wanted to help ensure the demo was a show of strength, a show of the determination and international solidarity felt by the majority of people.
Questioning the system
When so many people are starting to question why such poverty exists alongside such wealth it will eventually lead to a questioning of the system of capitalism. And for some that will lead to the search for an alternative.
We aim to take up that challenge of putting forward a programme and strategy for the struggle for socialism, where the massive wealth would be taken into democratic public ownership and planned according to what is needed - not for profit.
What people who saw us won't have known was that our red block was formed by hundreds of young people most of whom had never met before.
To me it was a small illustration of what it means to be organised politically and internationally. We could work together because we'd set ourselves the common aim of raising socialist ideas. At the camp, at the Gleneagles demo, at every part of the events we participated in, the ISR and CWI contingent were clearly and explicitly prepared to discuss, debate and argue for a socialist alternative.
The G8 were completely incapable of making any meaningful change. Now we can see the likelihood of increasing attacks on our civil liberties; now we can see the growth of struggle against neo-liberalism both in Europe and in Latin America. We were quite right to strain every muscle to get our ideas across!
ISR website: www.anticapitalism.org.uk
In The Socialist 14 July 2005: