In June, the leaders of the world’s wealthiest nations met at the G8 summit in Cologne.
For a few days the city was swamped with government officials, press teams and camera crews. But in the shadows of the media spotlight different voices were struggling to be heard – the voice of the Inter-Continental Caravan, a group of farmers, mainly from India, visiting Europe to protest against economic globalisation; the voice of the German refugee group Die Karawane who were on a human rights hunger strike; the voice of campaigners against structural adjustment policies which are imposed on Third World debtor nations. Across the world, people’s movements are springing up to oppose the economic policies of ‘free trade’, neo-liberalism and globalisation which have been forced on them by Washington-based institutions. And many of these movements were present in Cologne along with CARF, to attend an alternative economic summit and an anti-G8 demonstration. With hordes of extra riot police drafted into the city to ensure the G8 summit went undisrupted, anti-racists, anti-imperialists and environmentalists attempted to give voice to a different agenda.
These voices also need to be listened to by anti-racists in Britain. Those struggling against a ‘Fortress Europe’ system of forced deportations and militarised borders need to understand how, in the Third World, economic globalisation causes instability and, in turn, increased migration. We need to understand how British corporations support foreign regimes from which political refugees are fleeing. And we need to understand that globalisation is now creating a xenophobic backlash which far-right parties in Europe are cashing in on.