The G20 is meeting in Pittsburgh again next week (September 22-25), and anarchists, as well as numerous other trouble-makers, are again organising in opposition to it. The G20 traveling circus will be meeting @ the David L. Lawrence Convention Center — the same location as the annual convention of the AFL-CIO, which ended on September 15 with some speechifying by President O’Bama.
As AFL-CIO blogger James Parks has noted, “Pittsburgh is a city rich with labor history. Pittsburgh is the birthplace of both the AFL and the CIO, as well as the United Steelworkers (USW), the Ironworkers and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM). It also is the site of two legendary strikes—the Homestead steel mill strike in 1892 and the U.S. Steel strike in the 1930s.”
Which is right — and wrong. The Homestead strike did take place in 1892, but the ‘Great Steel Strike’ began on September 22, 1919. Well, one of ’em, anyway: the ‘Great’ Strike was not a ‘Great’ success — thanks in no small measure to the role played by the AFL — and subsequent strikes fared little better. Which is ‘Great’ for the US ruling class — the most rapacious in history — but not-so-great for US workers, who still struggle for basic health care. Funnily enough, while another AFL-CIO blogger, Seth Michaels, opines that “President Barack Obama had a strong, inspiring message for delegates to the 2009 AFL-CIO Convention: We’re going to make this country work again”, at the time of the 1919 strike, businessmen in Pennsylvania were promoting their own ‘Back-to-Work’ movement.
As for Homestead, the defeat of that strike caused the anarchist Alexander Berkman (1870–1936) to attempt to murder Henry Clay Frick, the Carnegie Steel Company’s (temporary) boss. He failed, was sentenced to 22 years jail, served 15, and upon his release wrote a classic of prison literature: Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist.
Among a number of sites dedicated to getting the masses off their asses is Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project — a project to which the (anarchist) Pittsburgh Organizing Group is one of many lending support. Johnny-On-The-Spot is Mike Boda, the Pittsburgh Grassroots Examiner. Also providing independent coverage is G-Infinity, a project of Pittsburgh Indymedia; G20 Media Support is an “Information clearinghouse & [provides] media support for dissent at the Pittsburgh G20 Summit”.
At a previous G20 meeting in London in April, 2009, a man, Ian Tomlinson, was murdered by police. See : Ian Tomlinson & G20 @ The Age (April 23, 2009); Ian Tomlinson & Colin Roach & Liddle Towers & Gurdip Singh Chaggar & Kevin Gately & … (April 12, 2009); Ian Tomlinson… (April 8, 2009); Police ‘assaulted’ bystander who died during G20 protests (April 5, 2009). Note that, were it not for the presence of independent witnesses armed with video cameras — and an independent media — this death would likely have been filed under ‘Accident’.
Prior to London, the G20 met in Cape Town (South Africa) in 2007, and in São Paulo (Brazil) and Washington, D.C. (United States) in 2008. In 2006, the G20 met in my home town, Melbourne. The meeting met with protest which — for Australia, at any rate — assumed some rather spectacular forms. As a result, several dozen people were arrested, and it is only now, almost three years later, that the final trials of those arrested are coming to an end (see : G20 : Sunil & Tim (& Co.), July 30, 2009; Crazy G20 Solidarity Speech, June 15, 2009 — and elsewhere).
Between November 19, 2006 — the date at which the G20 meeting in Melbourne ended — and September 22, 2009 — the date upon which the Pittsburgh summit is scheduled to commence — an estimated 31,170,000 children under the age of 5 will have died of preventable causes (hunger, malnutrition, disease), aka ‘poverty’. On an even sadder note: “The richest people in the world have gotten poorer, just like the rest of us. This year the world’s billionaires have an average net worth of $3 billion, down 23% in 12 months. The world now has 793 billionaires, down from 1,125 a year ago” (Special Report: The World’s Billionaires, Edited by Luisa Kroll, Matthew Miller and Tatiana Serafin, Forbes, March 11, 2009).
Finally, Michael Moore has a new film: Capitalism: A Love Story.