Our Say

After G8 and the London bombings - the way forward

London terror attacks condemned

After Live 8:
from pressure to action

The G8 summit and political power

Make the G8 leaders history

A sham election

10 good reasons to boycott May 5

Don't be blackmailed into voting

Reject ‘dependency’ politics

No votes for New Labour!

Parliament seals its own fate

A secret policeman's government

Vote for "none of the above"

How to remember the victims of the tsunami

A state of crisis

New Labour and the big lie

Yasser Arafat - a revolutionary life

After the US election

Blood on New Labour's hands

Butler and weapons of mass deception

With 'leaders' like these, who needs enemies?

How to meet the threat from the right

Barbarians at the gate

Torture, values and lies

The silence of the lambs

War crimes in Iraq

The slaughter in Madrid

The unfinished business of the miners’ strike 1984-85

L’état – c’est New Labour

The death of liberal democracy foretold

Hutton washes the state whiter than white

Top-up fees and the market economy

Our challenge for 2004

New Labour's march to a police state

Bush & Blair - partners in crime

London Region revolts against FBU leaders

Postal workers in the front line

No turning back

Where we go from here

Stop the War Coalition leaders and political fabrication

Regime change begins at home

Blood on New Labour's hands

There's more involved than just Blair

New Labour, lies and spies

Firefighters should reject deal and disown leaders

BECTU vote on New Labour link a step forward

Time runs out for FBU leaders

New Labour's one-party state

The blind alley of crude anti-Americanism

Occupation of Iraq - time to move beyond protest

War is a test for principles

Iraqi defiance shocks and awes

FBU leaders who backed capitulation should resign now

Down with New Labour's war - for regime change in Britain

FBU at war with New Labour

New Labour, not just Blair, is the target

50 years since the death of Stalin - an assessment

FBU finds itself in Precott's trap

War is Peace - Blair's fictitious 'push for peace'

15/2: Global marches put power on the agenda

Crisis of globalisation behind attack on Iraq

Tell it how it is

An injury to one is an injury to all

War plans expose fraudulent 'democracy'

A 'regime change' in Britain is the answer to war on Iraq

FBU needs a new strategy

Challenging New Labour

A moment of truth in the fight against New Labour

Gilchrist says it how it is

Time to defy the anti-union laws in support of the FBU

FBU must ask for solidarity strikes

FBU leaders must ask for support now

New Labour provokes confrontation

Italian police attack No-Global movement

New Labour declares war on FBU

Don't let the FBU fight alone

UN writes a blank cheque for war

Blood on Putin's hands

Unions must support firefighters with action not words

Support the firefighters - defeat New Labour

Bush-Blair war agenda revealed

Seeing through New Labour's weapons of mass deception

The US media and the new garrison state

The BEGINNING of Politics

How technology could
free humanity

'Terminator' engineering: A threat to humanity

The future is socialist

Asylum legislation fuels racist attacks

Road map to the future

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The G8 summit and political power

The G8 summit has one merit - it is focusing minds on what it is going to take to move beyond a world dominated by powerful and all-pervasive corporations and their political cheer-leaders who will assemble in Gleneagles next month.

On the G8 agenda are plans to extend and broaden the reach of the global capitalist economy. So-called debt relief and "fairer trade" are integral to this strategy. Both are conditional on poorer countries opening their borders to external trade and investment. There will always be just one winner in this game - the mega corporations.

That is why British political leaders like Blair and Brown have happily endorsed the ideals of the Make Poverty History campaign, which are limited to debt and trade issues. In fact, they present Blair with an opportunity to appear caring and concerned about the world's poor while pushing ahead with New Labour's real agenda. Brown spelled this out in his speech to the City on June 22 when he said that the rest of Europe should become more "competitive" and "flexible" to meet the challenges of globalisation.

Other campaigns take a more radical approach than Make Poverty History, exposing the G8 for what it is. John Hilary is director of campaigns and policy at War on Want. In a recent article for the magazine Red Pepper he wrote: "The G8's paramount concern is control of the global economy for the benefit of its corporate sponsors."

Gleneagles, he added, will reaffirm the G8's support for a "swift conclusion of the Doha Round of world trade talks, which aim to open up developing country economies for further exploitation by multinational corporations based in the rich world". He pointed out that UN reports have confirmed the devastating impact these policies have had on the world's least developed countries. "Those states which have opened up their markets most dramatically have also seen the greatest increases in poverty over the past ten years."

Hilary explains how control is maintained on a day-to-day basis through the World Trade Organisation, the IMF and World Bank - all dominated by the G8, but ultimately it rests on "military domination and the demonisation of opposition forces". Few could argue with his claim that the "G8 is an unapologetic statement of pure power" and that the "security cordon thrown round Gleneagles is no more than a symbol of the military power which sustains the capitalist adventure world-wide".

War on Want and other organisations are sponsoring a counter-summit in Edinburgh, to challenge the world order represented by the G8 and the transnational corporations and suggest alternatives. This is fine - as far it goes. But where is the strategy for tackling the fact that the G8 leaders exercise "pure power", as Hilary himself puts it? It is not on the agenda.

Challenging privatisation and climate change is important. Demonstrating democratic alternatives to corporate power helps to educate the movement that is building up against the G8. Support for all actions against corporate-driven globalisation is essential. But these activities cannot in themselves spontaneously lead to a social and political transformation or, as the organisers advocate, "make the G8 history". This is because capitalism's grip on power is entrenched in a physical, political form that cannot be side-stepped.

"Pure power" is exercised through the state at national level on behalf of the global corporations acting across borders. The state is not neutral but as much capitalist in nature as the corporations themselves. It functions to promote and create the conditions for a flourishing of the market economy. State power is exercised in countless ways through institutions like parliament, the civil service, the police, army and the legal system. It is reinforced daily by the media and mainstream political parties. The education system is geared towards endorsing the status quo.

In Britain, New Labour flies the flag for globalised capitalism. It has replaced the Tories as the party of big business and acts as the management team of Britain PLC. Nothing is done to harm business interests. So real action on climate change, for example, is set aside in favour of market-led "solutions" like road pricing. Meanwhile, the state continues to withdraw from essential activities like the supply of affordable homes or providing for people in older age.

Moreover, this drawing together of governments, state and corporate interests in this way has fatally undermined the democratic process that generations fought to establish. New Labour has the support of just one in five of registered voters. Authoritarian rule grows apace in the market state. Each day New Labour brings forward new measures, abolishing the right to protest outside parliament, introducing ID cards, curbing the right to jury trial and imposing detention without trial to mention just a few.

So the essential challenge facing the anti-capitalist movement is how to confront and defeat the state. The capitalist state has shown itself to be undemocratic, unyielding and beyond reform. It is an illusion to think that it can be made to work on behalf of the interests of ordinary working people or that the state has the will - let alone the power - to rein in the activities of the transnational corporations.

All this means that we are obliged to go further than exposing the activities of global capitalism and their crony governments, as important as this is. We are also compelled to put forward democratic, concrete political alternatives to the existing state power and then struggle to create them by changing the world around us. Without this perspective, the movement is reduced to protest and pressure, always on the defensive and without a strategic plan for a future without global capitalism.

A World to Win is being launched as a new type of networked, democratic organisation on July 23 that will put the issue of political and economic power top of the agenda. We have put forward specific proposals for extending the principles of democracy in new ways as the basis for wide-ranging discussion and action. We invite those who want to put an end to capitalist rule and power to register for the launch conference.

The G8 leaders and their states cannot be defeated by argument or protest. But they can certainly be overturned by a mass movement in a "velvet revolution", as recent experiences from around the world have shown. The G8 leaders clearly command less and less authority or legitimacy. The conditions for making them history and opening a new chapter in human history are more favourable than ever before.

Movement for a Socialist Future
24 June 2005