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(en) US, [Infoshop News] Georgia G-8 Protests Look to Be Big

From Chuck0 <chuck@mutualaid.org>
Date Tue, 11 May 2004 07:56:51 +0200 (CEST)

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First in a series of reports on the G-8 and the Brunswick Protests for
those who wish to familiarize themselves with the G-8 summit site and
its surrounding area and issues: by Jamie "Bork" Loughner Exclusive for Infoshop News
May 9, 2004, Southern Georgia -- Many activists around the world are
aware that the G-8 Summit is to be held on Sea Island, just off the
rural coastline of Georgia, June 8th through 10th. However, there has
been relatively little talk of the large numbers of activists coming
together to oppose it as Europeans did when the G-8 met in Genoa, Italy
in 2001. Instead the general “buzz” has been that significant protests
will not be able to take place there due to the remoteness and supposed
defensibility of the summit site. Some even feel that the G-8
summit--the meeting of the eight most powerful/wealthiest nation's
leaders to decide policies that will affect the entire world, is somehow
not important enough to focus on, or that its placement in a small rural
area precludes any meaningful activist opposition to it. Bullshit!

The buzz has it wrong. I have spent several days interviewing
non-activist and activist residents of Brunswick, St. Simons Island, and
even Sea Island. I believe that, however large, there will be an
important resistance to corporate dominance and governmental imperialism
happening in the small coastal town of Brunswick, Ga., sited at the only
entrance to the causeway road first leading to St Simons Island and then
to Sea Island just a few miles away. The opinions range from fears
regarding security measures to enthusiasm that some attention will be
focused on how corporate globalization is affecting this rural area.

The work that has already been done to prepare for the event has
already resulted in important dialogue and alliances between
southeastern anarchists and other activists and a rising awareness of
the added poverty and environmental damages that corporate globalization
has imposed upon this region.

Despite [or maybe because of] the fact that Brunwick is one of the
municipalities near Sea Island that has adopted a new set of ordinances
to try to “handle” protesters and keep public gatherings short and
small, there will be plenty of opportunities for protest and direct
action. Some actions such as the G8 Fix Shit Up action
[g8fixshitup-subscribe@lists.riseup.net] called for by the Southeast
Anarchist Network are helping to win over even some of the more fearful
non-political residents. This action calls for a force of activists to
spend their protest time renovating houses and doing important
environmental cleanup, thus addressing some of the area's most desperate
needs. Needs that are even more important due to county and state tax
money being diverted to feed the humongous costs of hosting the G-8
summit. Poor residents who suffer from lack of affordable food, safe
housing, and dirt roads cannot help but resent the hundreds of
full-grown palm trees and other landscaping added to privatized lands
and public roadways and millions of local dollars spent to increase the
comfort of G-8 attendees.

This rural area--forced by a powerful local corporation to host the
G-8 meeting--vividly illustrates the negative impact of current economic
policies of the G-8 governments. The private resort of Sea Island is an
elite resort area with beautiful beaches and world renowned golf
courses. However, the sharp contrast between the manicured lawns and
quaint housing found both here and in most of the neighboring St
Simmons’s Island, and the poorest sections of the adjacent town of
Brunswick where most of the service workers live in dilapidated housing,
is vivid and disturbing. The Brunswick Wal-mart--which closed down many
local small businesses--pays poorly in an area where housing prices have
skyrocketed. The wages for service workers at many of the hotels and
restaurants of the tourist islands have failed to increase while living
costs climb sharply. Now, due to G-8 security, service workers at the
island resorts, golf courses, restaurants, and small businesses are
being forced to take anywhere from one to three weeks off of work,
despite living from paycheck to paycheck.

Corporate globalization plus poor conservation, pollution and
over-harvesting has resulted in a progressive loss of the once thriving
shrimp industry in Brunswick. Seapak and King Shrimp used to buy enough
seafood to support a thriving local industry, but due to globalization
not enough local shrimp is being bought to sustain local fishing
communities. Ecologically devastating shrimp farms in third world
countries are so much cheaper because of lower wages that the local
shrimpers just can’t compete. This makes tourism an even more vital part
of the local economy, but the summit will disrupt tourism for at least a
week or more.

Environmental issues here affect everyone from the wealthy Sea
Islanders, who are concerned about their island’s sea turtles
sensitivity to local water pollution, to the poor children of Brunswick,
who endure ill health due to their schools' location next to one of the
20 worst toxic waste sites in the country. Four Superfund sites are
found in the small-town area of Brunswick alone. Waters which used to
provide bountiful fish to feed those who could not afford groceries are
now poisoned so thoroughly as to be inedible except by the desperate and
foolhardy. More then 1000 acres of forest have been clear-cut in the
Brunswick area in the last 3 months alone. Racism--which is vividly
apparent here in plantation country--is particularly visible when the
environmental dump locations are considered.. Dixville, a section of
Brunswick which houses many of the poorest people of color, is located
near the Hercules plant, one of the worst polluters in the state.

These issues and more will be addressed by those protesters who chose
to come and oppose the G-8 summit. Considering the size of the
community, amazing amount of effort have been put into organizing for
the Brunswick protest events by local activists. They include a 10-day
march from Florida to Brunswick by the Florida Coalition for Peace and
Justice, ending on June 5th; a Fair World Fair, (formerly G8 Carnival)
in Brunswick, Georgia starting June 6th and intended to be a model for
productive educational alternatives in globalization; the Anarchist-led
Fix Shit Up Action to aid the local community; an interfaith prayer
service for Social Justice planned for June 7th; a Brunswick portion of
the TOES Summit, an international non-governmental forum for the
presentation, discussion, and advocacy of the economic ideas and
practices upon which a more just and sustainable society can be built;
and an edgy, exciting Rally and March Against the Summit and the War.

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