June 4, 2002

When rich folks
meet (G-8)

By Mumia Abu-Jamal from death row

For 29 years now, the group known as the Group of 8 (G-8) has met in various countries.
They are a self-selected group that describes itself as industrialized democracies, and they meet together to try to manage the world's economic affairs.

Composed of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan (the original G-7), and later Russia, the group sets the tone of global capital for decades to come.

The G-8 is set to meet soon in Evian, France.They are meeting in a time of economic downturns, and the aura of a depression.Once again, consumption is simply not matching production, and global business is facing a challenge that it doesn't seem willing to solve.

Can they solve the problems looming on the world's economic horizon? Perhaps. Will they? That certainly remains to be seen.

In July 2000, the G-8 met in Okinawa.The group pledged to cut the percentage of people in poverty in the world by 50 percent of the 1990 poverty figure.They also pledged to reduce the percentage of AIDS cases in the world 25 percent by the year 2010.

The world's richest nations can certainly pledge whatever they wish, but does it appear they're living up to those pledges?

There is certainly still time, but the trend doesn't seem to be moving in those directions.

These sweet promises to "share the [money]" with the suffering in the world seems to have stemmed from the mass demonstrations against the WTO (World Trade Organization) in Seattle the year before, rather than any altruism on the part of the rich nations.Seattle revealed the depths of unrest in the American psyche at the galloping growth of globalism; as well as anxiety at the dearth of good-paying jobs in the "New Globalist Order."

The rich nations, which are but instrumentalities for the wealthy classes, are interested in one thing: more wealth.To them, the poor, the poverty-stricken, the ailing, are as dismissible as the homeless that we divert our gazes from in the subways.They are the modern incarnation of the classical invention of Black writer Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. In this culture, to be poor is to be invisible.Until they fight.Until they unite!Seattle should've been a deep-rooted beginning, not a high-water mark!It should have been a rallying cry, instead of a lost opportunity.

In this age of capitalist triumphalism, when scholars dare to proclaim "the end of history" (as did one conservative thinker) it remains for the people of the "industrialized democracies" to add their names to the annals of history, by creating a tradition of resistance to the status quo.History does not end, as long as people are determined to write their own page.

Capitalist economies can produce prodigious quantities of products. But it cannot buy all that it produces.That is left to people.

If people cannot afford to buy the commodities that are flooding warehouses, then the economy simply cannot function.That means that people must be provided with the means, the economic wherewithal, to purchase the goods that are produced.

The world sorely needs some balance and perspective in this ongoing war against the poor.Greed and unabashed accumulation cannot rule the day.

The G-8 meets in the place where the very symbol of the well-to-do is reflected in the name (Evian).How many billions of people in this world can't afford a bottle of Evian water with a week's wages (if they could get wages)?

What is needed is globalized resistance that is humanistic, and life-centered.To counter the predations of the G-8, and the WTO, there must be a G-8,000,000,000 (a "Group of 8 Billion"!) where the interests of the vast population of the world--every nation, every continent, every tribe--is respected and truly represented.When all of humankind is seen as precious as every other nation.

Wouldn't that be a "New World Order"?

Copyright 2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal is the author of three books: 'Live
from Death Row', 'Death Blossoms', and 'All Things
Censored'.

Write to Mumia directly at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal AM 8335
SCI-Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370