Unity through struggle, building the G-20 resistance

By Vidya Sankar

Raleigh FIST

The Sept. 24-25 G-20 Summit is a meeting of delegates from 20 countries, including some of the world’s richest economies. Although Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Eastern Europe are the areas most harshly affected by neocolonialism, these regions are drastically underrepresented; the billions of working class, poor, homeless, hungry and unemployed are not represented at all.

The Bail Out the People Movement, along with other organizations and coalitions, has called for a Tent City from Sept. 20-25. The week of actions will kick off with a national March for Jobs on Sunday, Sept. 20.

FIST chapters across the country are organizing caravans of youth, unemployed and generally disenfranchised to march for a jobs program at a living wage. The tent city will also raise the issues of healthcare, education and an end to imperialist wars and occupations. The caravans are symbols of mass solidarity with the plight of billions across the globe.

August 22 block party builds community support

The Hill district is a historically Black neighborhood that overlooks downtown Pittsburgh. Real estate developers are pushing gentrification of the neighborhood at the expense of current community residents. Only 37 percent of Hill residents over the age of 16 are employed, according to 2000 Census figures compiled by the Pittsburgh Department of City Planning. The city of Pittsburgh’s African American community comprises nearly one-third of the total population.

The corporate media, including local Pittsburgh outlets, have attempted to paint the jobs march and tent city as a disruptive and unnecessary nuisance to community residents. Bail Out the People activists used this attack as an opportunity to reach out to the Hill community.

The first step to building community support was an Aug. 22 block party. Building for the event primarily consisted of mass leafleting of neighborhoods and community hotspots along with face-to-face outreach and genuine partnership with community leaders on the Hill.

Another key goal of the block party was to demonstrate that G-20 resistance was in the community’s interest. As national FIST organizer Larry Hales stated from Pittsburgh, “Part of our job is explaining to people what the G-20 is, and how the summit and the policies that come out of it will affect them and the rest of the world.”

The G-20 Summit and racism

An underlying theme of the capitalist economic crisis has always been racism and the capitalist’s attempt to divide the multinational working class along racial lines. The appearance of violent right-wing provocateurs at health care forums from Arizona to New Hampshire exposed the racist attempts to divide workers.

FIST has built events to connect anti-racist actions with G-20 issues. New York FIST held a public film showing of “In Prison My Whole Life,” a documentary on the life of death-row journalist and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, in Bushwick, N.Y. A solidarity event in Boston centered on the wrongful arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates was also held. Both events helped produce interest in fighting racism at the G-20.

Local economic struggles provide bridge to G-20

Various events in solidarity with the poor, unemployed, and disenfranchised have provided a bridge between local economic struggles and the G-20 resistance. Despite ruling class claims that unemployment has stagnated or dropped, the unemployed and underemployed are increasing in record numbers.

It is estimated that only 65 out of any 100 males aged 20-24 and only 28 out of any 100 males aged 16-19 will be working on any given day, and those numbers are even lower for women and youth of color. (source: NYT)

A Cleveland Poor Peoples’ March held on Aug. 22 mobilized workers and oppressed people in Cleveland to fight against exploitation and poverty. Cleveland FIST participated in this march and filmed the demonstration. A Bail Out the People speaker motivated marchers for the G20 jobs march.

Union, community, labor and student support has poured in for the Sept. 20 March for Jobs and the tent city to protest the G20 Summit.

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