by Tomáš Tengely-Evans in Hamburg
Tue 11 Jul 2017
US president Donald Trump declared the G20 world rulers’ summit in Hamburg, Germany, last week a “wonderful success”.
But outside the summit centre the politicians were surrounded by protesters—and inside they were wracked with divisions.
Some, such as German chancellor Angela Merkel, pose as defenders of an enlightened, liberal order against the barbarian Trump.
Yet they praised him when, in Poland before the summit, he spoke in favour of the Nato imperialist alliance’s policy of “collective defence”.
Merkel and the rest of the G20 are fearful of what a loose cannon Trump is—but they push the same policies of war and climate chaos.
Trump’s attempt to ruthlessly assert US power is nothing new, but he is less able to unite the other Western European capitalist states behind US leadership.
As one former Nato commander said there was “no central US leadership role”.
Protesters from across the world descended on Hamburg to rage against inequality, racism, war, climate chaos—and capitalism.
A “Welcome to Hell” march to the G20 conference centre on the eve of the summit on Wednesday of last week was quickly blocked by riot police.
Cops demanded the removal of a section of the march wearing masks, as a pretext for their assault.
They launched a barrage of water cannon and salvoes of pepper spray. But around 8,000 protesters regrouped and stayed on the streets late into the night.
Some 80,000 people turned the whole area into a sea of homemade banners, placards and red flags on Saturday.
While the G20 leaders represent all that’s wrong with the world, the marchers represented the alternative.
Karla, a university student from Hamburg, told Socialist Worker, “We want to show that people in our city disagree with the values of the worldview of those at the G20.”
Heavy-handed policing was again used to intimidate and contain the march. But protesters mocked the cops, playing the Imperial March from Star Wars as they passed them.
Numerous issues brought people out onto the streets.
Polo from Chile said, “The G20 leaders’ policies have made Latin America poor and full of dictators. They have imposed neoliberalism on us through their imperialist policies.”
Welcoming refugees is a central issue for the left in Hamburg, and many were angry at how the European Union has turned the Mediterranean Sea into a mass grave.
Mari said, “I don’t believe in borders—the only real border is between the rich and poor.”
by Christine Buchholz, Die Linke MP
The protests against the G20 summitin Hamburg over the last week showed that there’s a huge discontent with Donald Trump, German chancellor Angela Merkel and ruling classes all over the world.
They are responsible for wars and austerity and have no proper answer to climate change.
Among the G20 leaders are some of the world’s biggest arms traders and dictators.
In Hamburg there was both huge unease with how the G20 was blockading the city and sympathy with the protests.
We had very harsh repression.
The police attacked some of the demonstrations and fundamental democratic rights were pushed aside. The police have never had such a large presence and been so aggressive.
But this has generated criticism in the mainstream media.
The German government of the conservative CDU and Labour-type SPD tried to use the G20 summit to pose as important player.
Instead it has a fiasco, a mess. And they’re trying to distract from that by talking about the violence of the protests.
Hamburg is governed by a “red-green” government between the SPD and the Green Party.
It was the mayor of Hamburg, the SPD’s Olaf Scholz, who brought the G20 to Hamburg.He is mainly responsible for the police attacking it.
What’s happened is a problem for Merkel, but at the moment it’s a bigger problem for Scholz and the Green Party.
The protests have also highlighted political problems we need to address.
Before the summit there was a split in the movement, with the NGOs and trade unions decided to have their own separate demonstration last Sunday.
While 80,000 on the demonstration this Saturday was a good outcome, we didn’t manage to bring these two together.
This is a political problem we face.
To change the politics inside the trade union movement, socialists have to build roots in the working class.
At the moment we are supporting fights in hospitals and local campaigns against privatisation.
The next step is to build the election campaign.
Die Linke is the only party that stands clearly against austerity, imperialism and on the side of the protest movement.
In November there will be the UN-Climate Summit in Bonn. This will be the next important international protest.