a few reasons to protest

posted by missmsian

A friend asked me (very sincerely) why so many are planning to protest during the G20 summit. I don’t want to paint protestors in one gigantic brush, but here are some reasons why some people may be heading down to Queen’s Park in two weeks:

1. Girl talk – the Belinda Stronach Foundation organized a G(irls)20 summit for 18 to 20-year-old women to talk about issues that affect girls in the 20 countries that will be meeting.

Some of the biggest issues raised are eradicating poverty, maternal health and women’s access to the market and education. In this “post-feminist” world, and especially in the ostensibly women-friendly West, we seem to conveniently forget that women are still underperforming economically and are still the majority of victims of sexual violence.

Will these issues be taken seriously by G8 and G20 leaders, or will they be dismissed as girl talk*?

*Side note: why are these 18- to 20-year-olds referred to as “girls” instead of “women”? Seems like an attempt at dismissing them due to age.

2. BP oil spill – enough is enough.

If Joe Random dumped oil into Lake Ontario, he’d be charged. How can we hold corporations responsible for their actions like we would hold individuals responsible? We need to start dreaming up ideas.

3. Where oh where? – if you thought women were missing from the agenda, Indigenous peoples are faring far worse. According to a Toronto Star article–and thank goodness at least one media outlet has pointed it out–issues affecting Indigenous peoples aren’t on the summit agenda.

Never mind issues. Ontario’s First Nations chiefs weren’t even invited to the summit. The one that’s taking place on their land. Oops.

I just learned that Australia is considering overturning a policy that restricts what Aborigines in the Northern Territory can spend welfare checks on, apparently to reduce the number of people who would might spend them on alcohol instead of essential needs. What? This even exists? We need to really talk about what signing the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People means. And, remember, Canada hasn’t even signed it yet. Oops again.

I don’t think it’s the place of non-Indigenous, self-described allies to spearhead the efforts, but I know if any protests and actions have been planned on summit days, I’ll be there in solidarity.

4. Random anarchist link – for some reason, all G20 protestors have been portrayed in media as anarchists. I don’t think everyone who protests is interested in self rule. In fact, I think many people who are thinking of protesting want to do so in order for the various world governments to hear their concerns. That means they’re willing to work within the system.

I’m not anti-government. I’m anti-irresponsible government. That’s a reason to take it to the streets.

5. $ecurity cost$ – okay, so we have enough security in place to ensure Angela Merkel won’t get a tan and Nicolas Sarkozy can keep his hair plugs pie-free.

I can think of a billion better uses of that money–one for every dollar wasted.

6. G20, not G190+ – in 1975, France unilaterally decided six countries could discuss issues affecting the globe. In 1976, Canada joined the party. In 1997, Russia was included and, thus, the G8 was formed. I bet they’re really proud they’ve expanded to G20.

I wonder how feasible it would be to protest their self-importance.


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