Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.
Before you set off
Come prepared for all-weather camping. Pack a sleeping bag, tent, waterproofs, good shoes, insect repellent for the Scottish midges and above all your toothbrush – activist breath can be grim after several days of cider-soaked protesting. Familiarise yourself with a map of Scotland and our G8 Bulletin Board, essential travel companions. Travel with pals so you have a ready-made affinity group. Billy no mates? Then cling on to someone who can vouch for your whereabouts at all times. Don’t get isolated – exchange mobile numbers.
Once you’re in Scotland
Buy an A-Z and head to a convergence centre (see below). There you’ll find the essential info-point with alternative accommodation and protest news, like-minded souls and a cheap veggie bite from the activist-run kitchen. Most centres will probably close overnight but 24-hour info-points should be on hand for lost insomniacs.
Direct action-types should come to the rural, self-organised eco-village near Stirling shared by People & Planet and Dissent! groups. Edinburgh council will also provide camping space behind a Gleneagles-style fence (complete with security guards) for up to 15,000 people in Hunter’s Hall Park in the Niddrie estate. Places will be allocated and there could be a £10 daily charge so arrive early to avoid disappointment. Beware: official accommodation at past summits has been victim to police raids (tell-tale signs: security cameras, easy access for large people-carrying vehicles, hot showers).
Two, three, many mobilisations
There are three main mobilisations for the G8. Make Poverty History’s (MPH) reformist band of celebrities, NGOs, churches and the Treasury uses the magic power of white wristbands to make imperialist warmongers be nicer to the poor. Then there’s the Scottish-based G8Alternatives group, bringing together the Scottish Socialist Party with trade union branches, local NGOs and, of course, the irrepressible Socialist Workers Party in various guises. Finally, the leaderless Dissent! network of autonomous groups and individuals will oppose the G8 with direct action and a million websites.
There’ll be something for everyone in Scotland – literally. For those looking for safe, clean, family fun, check out the MPH stewarded march on 2 July in Edinburgh. This is not a protest; it’s a ‘welcome walk for the G8’. You’re asked to wear white T-shirts and wristbands to form a 100,000-strong human white band around Edinburgh city centre. Rumours persist that a ‘multicolour T-shirt’ bloc will seek to radicalise MPH’s message. For some light intellectual relief in between the melÈes, head to the growing number of counter-summits on 3 July (see G8 Bulletin Board).
Any unsanctioned action, no matter how fluffy it is, runs the risk of police confrontation and arrest. For those carrying wire cutters intent on penetrating the militarised ‘red zone’ of Gleneagles with its 12-foot high steel fence, police crackdown is obviously so unlikely. There’s even talk of a ten-mile radius of checkpoints. So watch out, all you autonomous hillwalkers and golfers.
For the tourist in you, G8Alternatives will try to march past the Gleneagles Hotel gates to a nearby car park where a team of crack-commando paper-sellers will descend from the Ochil Hills.
The most effective way to shut down the G8 is to blockade relevant hotels, roads, airports and train stations to stop the summit’s delegates, interpreters and workers even getting to Gleneagles. Our tip: move to Glasgow where 5,000 G8 delegates are expected to rest in the city’s finest two-star hotels.
But it’s not just the G8 summit itself that will be subject to mass civil disobedience. Take part in the non-violent blockade of Faslane nuclear submarine base on 4 July (30 miles west of Glasgow), or the solidarity demo at Dungavel’s nasty asylum detention centre on 5 July (40 miles south of Glasgow, 60 miles from Edinburgh).
Be the Indymedia
Make sure the world knows what’s really going on. Budding writers and those with bloody (good) pictures, track down an Independent Media Centre (IMC) to upload your stories, or call in reports to the telephone hotline. Volunteers are needed to form media teams and help run spaces. Edinburgh IMC is at The Forest CafÈ, 3 Bristo Place. For other media points in Glasgow and elsewhere, see www.indymedia.org.uk.
Police and the law: use protection
As Genoa veterans can vouch, anti-capitalists could face a police onslaught in Scotland – they’ve even been training on bulldozers, for Christ’s sake. Know your rights, Scottish law and police powers (check out www.g8legalsupport.info). Faslane’s legal support number is 0845 458 8369. Remember, if stopped by the cops, you have the right to remain silent, and if being searched under a law, they must tell you which one. Once you’ve given them the flick, inform the G8 Legal Support Group with every detail of what happened.
If you are at the receiving end of a pepper spray attack, the friendly Street Medics (www.actionmedics.org.uk) will be on hand to patch you up, while Activist Trauma (www.activist-trauma.net) can give guidance for your emotional needs.
Grace Blakeley investigates the curious case of Carillion: how the company’s slow decline and abrupt liquidation reveals the nature of modern capitalism.
The collapse of Carillion could be a watershed moment. Let's seize it to end economically disastrous outsourcing schemes. By Cat Hobbs.
Campaign groups highlight UK complicity in Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses.
Three founders of Momentum talk to Ashish Ghadiali about the two years that have transformed their lives and the fortunes of the British left.
Andrew Smith from Campaign Against the Arms Trade gives the run-down on one of the UK's most profitable - and most deadly - industries.
The real story behind the fire in Grande Synthe’s Linière refugee camp, Dunkirk. From 'Bordered Lives – How Europe fails refugees and migrants' by Hsiao-Hung Pai
Javier Pérez De La Cruz writes about the working class Berlin neighbourhood wrung dry by gentrifiers.
Across the world, thousands of protesters are taking on the planet’s biggest fossil fuel companies. We should support them – and if we can, we should join them. By Kara Moses
Students are suffering the effects of financial instability, stress, and slashed mental health services. Mark Crawford reports.
They're not defending free speech - they're just seeking to shore up their own power, writes Ilyas Nagdee
Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.
Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani
Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week
A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns