donderdag, juni 30, 2005

Make Poverty History, Inc.

If you haven't picked them up already, both the New Statesman and Red Pepper this last week have had great exposes of the luvvy-frotting, Brownite goings-on in the upper echelons of Oxfam and the Make Poverty History campaign. The RP article, by Stuart Hodkinson, is really quite, quite good, with not a few scoops about MPH, Richard Curtis, et al, that beat even the Telegraph's juicy discovery that the MPH campaign's white wristbands were produced in a Chinese sweatshop with Oxfam's knowledge. In fact, the whole of Red Pepper this month is indispensable.

Hodkinson uncovers the revolving door separating Oxfam's leadership and New Labour and even the World Bank and the creepy empressario role played by key organiser and sectarian Brownite Richard Curtis in bringing on board capitalist leeches like Scottish business tycoon Sir Tom Hunter and fashion house and sweatshop doyen Tommy Hilfiger.

He also highlights how Blair and Brown's new 'Marshall Plan' for Africa is, surprise, surprise, just the same-old, same-old neo-liberal anal rape without lube of Africa that has been going on for years, with front-loaded aid that, as Meaders and the World Development Movement point out, will actually result in a net loss in aid of $108bn.

Hodkinson also shows how, so in hock to New Labour is MPH, that any other voices, most especially anti-war campaigners, are not merely being marginalised ahead of Gleneagles by organisers, but their work is being actively undermined and sabotaged.

'MPH’s website fails to even acknowledge the other protests and events that are being planned by Trident Ploughshares, CND and G8Alternatives, and through the Dissent! network. The MPH coordinating team, which includes Oxfam, Comic Relief and the TUC, has also twice unanimously
vetoed the Stop the War Coalition’s (STWC) application to join MPH on the grounds that the issues of economic justice are separate from those of war, and STWC participation in Edinburgh on 2 July would confuse the message.'

'STWC has been banned from even having a stall at the MPH rally. A leaked e-mail in late May to MPH from Milipedia, the ‘ethical’ events management company helping to organise the MPH rally, asks the coalition to "consider the desirability/ strategy for removing people from our event who are setting up unwanted stalls, ad hoc events, facilities, etc" and to draw up a list ‘of the likely infiltrators and decide what we’re prepared to tolerate and at what point we draw the line and what action we want to take’. This followed a tip-off that the Socialist Party (formerly Militant Tendency) is planning to sell its newspaper on the Edinburgh rally and wear red MakeCapitalismHistory T-shirts.

'The email contains a giveaway reference to retaining ‘our ownership of the event and our key messaging’. To preserve its monopoly MPH has bought a market trader’s licence for 2 July that empowers the coalition to move illegal traders, including political activists, off the site. Comic Relief has also registered the MakePovertyHistory slogan as a trademark with the EU and is threatening to take action against "any misuse or alleged misuse of the trademark".'

Last night meanwhile, development charity War on Want and Red Pepper organised a 'Make the G8 History' rally in London, with Victoria Brittain, Tariq Ali and George Monbiot. The Red Pepper blog has a
report from the rally, highlighting Monbiot's decision to march against not merely the G8, but that giant tit, Bono, and Bob Geldof too, as well as journo Paul Kingsnorth's snowballingly popular 'Make Richard Curtis History' campaign.

On the Socialist Unity Network website, Hodkinson and Kingsnorth also have a
review of what looks to have been a gurningly awful piece of Curtis-ite New Labour propaganda, the The Girl In The Cafe, also known as a tenderly funny and poignant love story for BBC One shown over the weekend in advance of the whole Make Poverty History sham-a-lama-ding-dong.

And just in case after having read all those links, you're still some wet well-at-least-they're-doing-something liberal daisy, Patrick Bond, Dennis Brutus and Virginia Setshedi - all South Africa-based activists (What, actually involve the oppressed in their own emancipation? Nah. That's crazy talk.) - at
Counterpunch bring together all the criticisms from a perspective from the Global South.

I'll not be hiking up to Gleneagles next week, I'm afraid. I've got work and can't get the time off this time. Say 'hi' to all the G8 for me, though.

Carlo to them for me as well.