Monday, November 13, 2006

What's going on during the G20?

This weekend the G20 meetings will be taking place at the Grand Hyatt, just up Collins Street from here.

There are going to be prayer vigils held on Tuesday and Thursday outside the Hyatt (Russell St entrance) from 7pm till 9pm. (Thursday's vigil is going to be held as close to the Hyatt as possible, because the barricades will have been set up by then.

Wednesday night between 7:30 and 9:30pm there's going to be a G20 Bible Study called 'Luke, Capitalism and the Kingdom of God' at the Den (our education office), 116 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne. The Den's number is (03) 9663 0699.

I'm part of A G20 Christian Collective who will be attempting to set up a Third World and Environment Ministers Embassy beside the barricades surrounding the Hyatt as a way of demonstrating the exclusion of the poor and other essential factors in the G20 meetings. We're planning to be there from Friday morning until Sunday evening. This will be a peaceful 60 hour non-stop vigil in solidarity with those who won't be represented in the meeting. Others are welcome to join us.

On Saturday from 9am till 3pm there will be a prayer and reflection space on the steps of Collins Street Baptist Church, with a sausage (and veggie burger) sizzle.

On the Saturday Stop G20 are parading a Carnival Beyond Capitalism, which will be starting at the State Library at noon.

On the Saturday, Make Poverty History is holding a festival in the Alexandra Gardens between 10am and 8pm. It will feature bands, stalls, information booths, and reflection spaces. I believe my brother Justin's going to be doing some artwork there.

Update: Justin's art demonstration at the Make Poverty History festival has been canned because it is believed that it may be seen as an endorsement of graffitti. But he might still be able to do it as part of the prayer vigil on Saturday, at the Baptist Church.


Chris said...

I have a hypothetical for you, but don't take it the wrong way. I support what you're doing, but I'm starting to wonder about the whole "stop G20" bit. Not sure if you're involved there, but I love that you're trying to represent those without a voice.

Anyway, my hypothetical. I was thinking about the vast amounts of money that the G20 bats around (supposedly) and then it started to dawn on me: the only groups that bat around more money than the G20 (in theory) are the sports teams throughout the Western world. I read an article today that mentioned how the Boston Red Sox had just payed $45 million (or thereabouts), not for a player, but for the rights to BID on a player in Japan. It hit me when I read that: that's where all the money goes! We put it into entertainment; people are willing to pay big money to watch pro sports, in ALL western countries (though each has their own sport).

Anyway, what if we were to find a way to ... ah, get that money redistributed? We keep making like the governments of the G20 are all at fault, but I'm starting to wonder if it's not the entire western world who they represent. Maybe this is a given, I dunno. But I think we should figure out a way to get into that sort of money to fund relief efforts in Cambodia and Burma and Indonesia and Nicaragua and all those places that need it. I reckon that if we had that sort of budget, we could really make a dent in the world. But I don't think that the government is realy the place to find it anymore, they're tied up with the corporations that have all the money, and can't get out of it without the economy collapsing. So maybe we continue what Urban Seed started and get the corporations and especially the sports teams to fund it all?

Is it a dumb idea?

Christop said...

Yeah, I personally don't agree with the idea of trying to stop the meeting from taking place, partly because the people meeting are actually democratically elected, and that I don't believe I have the right to stop people from meeting and talking.
With regards to the Stop G20 group, they aren't actually trying to stop the meeting. It was what they originally wanted to do, but they've changed their strategy, and are going to be modelling an alternative instead. I think that's probably more positive and creative.

I don't think that what you said was stupid. I was thinking during the Commonwealth Games about how we're so affluent that we can spend millions and millions of dollars just on recreation. (That's what sport's meant to be, yeah?)
Any ideas as to how we can point out the injustice of this and convince people to divert the money?
I think one thing that's important is that we who are so affluent need to actually spend time with those who are oppressed by the dominant economic system.
I think we also need to find ways to begin modelling an alternative economy in our own lives, to have any credibility.

Chris said...

Started a thread, we'll see what happens: