[Indymedia-jakarta] Critics Of Live 8
virginiawoolf2000 at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 11 05:39:00 PDT 2005
Subject: [jubileesouth] critics of live 8
>Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 08:21:12 +0100 (BST)
>Live 8: Who organised the PR campaign for Blair and Bush?By Ann Talbot
>11 July 2005
>In what was dubbed "the final push," the last Live 8 concert took place in
>Edinburgh on July 6 as heads of state assembled at Gleneagles for the G8
>conference. A rain-soaked crowd of 50,000 heard Nelson Mandela say via
>video link, "In this new century millions of people in the world's poorest
>countries remain imprisoned and enslaved in chains. They are in the prison
>of poverty. It's time to set them free."
>The Edinburgh concert marked the end of a truly massive media event. Five
>million people are said to have logged on to AOL's live video stream of the
>Saturday, July 2, concerts. Upward of a million people are said to have
>attended the Live 8 events. Hundreds of millions are reported to have
>watched the concerts on TV. A quarter of a million people marched through
>the streets of Edinburgh.
>The scale of the Live 8 event was spectacular. But its essential aim was of
>a far more politically sinister character than its altruistic pose would
>suggest. It was organised and backed by individuals and organisations with
>close ties to the Labour government of Tony Blair, and had the official
>backing of the government itself. By boosting the pitiful debt relief
>package agreed on by the G8 and hailing the proposals of Blair's own
>Commission for Africa for aid and relief tied to free-market initiatives,
>it set out to provide a much-needed mask of humanitarian concern to both
>Blair and US President George W. Bush.
>The organisers of the event and its leading spokesmen-Bob Geldof and
>Bono-both harked back to the legacy of Live Aid, Live 8's 1985 predecessor.
>But whereas Live Aid raised millions of pounds to combat famine in
>Ethiopia, they stressed that this time they did not want "your money."
>Echoing Lord Kitchener's 1914 call for army recruits, they wanted "You!"
>However, this is not to say that no money changed hands. The 10 concerts
>cost £25 million to stage. £1.6 million was paid to the Prince's Trust to
>persuade that organisation to cancel its Party in the Park. Performers were
>not paid, though those at the Philadelphia concert reportedly got gifts
>worth £1,700. Perhaps the greatest payoff will be in the boost the concerts
>give to record sales. Sir Paul McCartney's performance of "Sergeant
>Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was on sale within hours. London record
>shops reported a 1,000 percent increase in sales for Pink Floyd CDs the
>next day. David Gilmour, Floyd's lead guitarist, immediately announced that
>his share would go to charity, and some other artists followed suit. But
>the royalties paid to artists are just a small proportion of the profits
>made from sales by the record companies. And there have been no magnanimous
>gestures from this quarter.
>Moreover, in a digital world, CD sales represent a declining section of the
>market compared to sponsorship, broadcast rights and merchandising. Most of
>the costs of the event will be recouped in this way, and it is here that
>much of the profit and relatively cheap and phenomenally lucrative
>publicity will be sought. Naked commercialism was evident in even the most
>ostensibly charitable aspects of the operation. White "Make Poverty
>History" wristbands have been one of the most visible emblems of the
>campaign. From the start, they have been surrounded by controversy. It has
>been reported that some of these wristbands were made in Chinese
>Journalist Stuart Hodkinson revealed in Red Pepper magazine that some of
>the wristbands were being sold with the logos of companies that are accused
>of violating workers' rights. This included fashion company Tommy Hilfiger,
>accused by Stephen Coats, Executive Director of the US/Labor Education in
>the Americas Project of being "at the bottom of the list in demonstrating
>refusal to accept responsibility for the way workers are treated." The
>offending wristbands were being sold at shops owned by Scottish millionaire
>Tom Hunter, who has pledged £1 million to the Make Poverty History
>However, Hunter is a relatively small player compared to some of the
>corporate enterprises that have been signed up. The backing that Live 8 has
>won from media mogul Rupert Murdoch is just one indication that a massive
>business machine has been set in motion. Murdoch's British tabloid the Sun
>gave the event enthusiastic support, although it is not a paper noted for
>its interest in Africa or liberal causes. It is, however, a key supporter
>The Murdoch and Live 8 connections are close. Elisabeth Murdoch, Rupert
>Murdoch's daughter, is married to Matthew Freud, one of the organisers.
>Freud runs a leading public relations company that is, according to the
>Financial Times, one of the most influential in the UK. It has the largest
>media and entertainment client list in the country, with clients including
>famous actors and major companies such as AOL-of which more later. He and
>his wife also have connections to the Blair government. They sit on various
>government committees, and his company, Freud Communications, has organised
>events for both the government and the Labour Party.
>Freud's sister, Emma, is married to Richard Curtis, the
>writer/director/producer responsible for Love Actually, the Bridget Jones
>movies, Notting Hill, Mr Bean and Four Weddings and a Funeral. His latest
>film, The Girl in the Café, is a love story set at a fictional G8
>conference, and is supposed to show how ordinary people of conscience can
>persuade the political establishment to do good. He is among those who
>founded the charity Comic Relief in the wake of Live Aid. Curtis has been
>one of the main organisers of Live 8. He is said to be particularly close
>to Chancellor Gordon Brown, who featured sympathetically as a barely
>disguised character in his latest movie.
>Geldof's production company, Ten Alps, which provided the two big screens
>in Hyde Park, is also closely associated with the government. It owns 70
>percent of Teachers TV, which makes programmes for the Department for
>Education and Skills. Last year, it enjoyed a 400 percent increase in
>profits. Ten Alps is positioning itself to become one of the key
>independent television companies in Britain. The high profile that Live 8
>has given it can only enhance the company's international exposure.
>Live 8 offered an unprecedented marketing opportunity. Nokia and Volvo were
>among the major corporate sponsors. Volvo spokesman Soren Johansson said
>the event "fits with the DNA of the company" and "appeals to people's
>AOL ran live video streaming, billing Live 8 as "the day music changed the
>world." The general opinion was that video streaming had proved its
>commercial value. Live 8 may indeed have changed the world or at least that
>part of it that comes under the heading of advertising.
>ABC in the US was disappointed that its coverage netted only 2.9 million
>viewers because the lineup had been aimed at "boomers," who would likely be
>at home on a Saturday night. But as one media expert said, the advertising
>was already paid for.
>Although some of the charities affiliated to Make Poverty History had
>expressed their alarm over the scandal surrounding the wristbands, the
>commercial orientation of the campaign was no secret. The Live 8 web site
>still offers a link to AOL's music download service.
>Despite its appearance, Live 8 was not a protest. It was a pro-government
>rally. Both Blair and his Chancellor Gordon Brown closely associated
>themselves with Live 8. Brown spoke on a charity platform in Edinburgh the
>evening before the Make Poverty History rally that was supposed to be
>putting pressure on him! As part of the buildup to the concerts, Blair gave
>an hour-long interview on MTV sitting alongside Geldof and fielding
>questions from Destiny's Child.
>The Notting Hill glitterati "did good" for Blair if no one else. As an
>effusive Observer journalist said, "By first light today, a world majority
>will have offered Tony Blair a significant mandate for change."
>We are now being asked to believe that attending a concert, or merely
>watching it on television, confers a democratic mandate. The Blair
>government was elected by only 20 percent of UK voters. It has the lowest
>mandate of any British government in history. The slogan of the campaign
>might as well have been "Make Elections History."
>Even the arrangements for the concerts, with their separate enclosures for
>celebrities, spoke of the essentially elitist conception of Live 8. This
>was an elitism based not on the traditional values of the British ruling
>class, but on the new global super-rich who are close to the Labour
>government, and who have made their base in London with its sympathetic tax
>laws. Black African musicians of considerable talent were relegated to a
>side event in Cornwall, because they do not have the same commercial weight
>as the acts booked for the Hyde Park event.
> ''Live 8"-a political fraud on behalf of imperialismStatement by the
>Socialist Equality Party (Britain)
>1 July 2005
>Use this version to print | Send this link by email | Email the author
>The following leaflet is being distributed by supporters of the Socialist
>Equality Party at the "Make Poverty History" rally in Edinburgh on July 2,
>which precedes the Live 8 concert in the city.
>Live 8 is staging concerts in London, Edinburgh, Paris, Berlin, Rome,
>Philadelphia, Barrie, Tokyo, Johannesburg and Moscow as part of a series of
>events preceding the G8 summit of major industrial nations, which will take
>place July 6-8 in Scotland. Live 8 is focusing on the problem of poverty in
>The Live 8 events, which are the focus of the "Make Poverty History"
>campaign, are perpetrating a political fraud against all those genuinely
>seeking to overcome the terrible hardship facing the poor of Africa. The
>organizers and spokesmen seek not only to provide a mask of humanitarian
>concern to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W.
>Bush, but to legitimize the designs of the imperialist powers on Africa.
>Live 8 amounts to a multimillion-dollar propaganda campaign on behalf of
>Blair and Bush at a time when both are anxious to put political distance
>between themselves and an occupation of Iraq that is proving to be a
>political disaster. All the leaders of the major powers will be happy that
>the hostile protests that have greeted previous G8 summits have been
>replaced by such a humble petition.
>Some of those backing the appeal to the supposed largesse of the leaders of
>the major powers gathering in Edinburgh on July 6-8 claim that whereas Iraq
>was an example of power and wealth being used for reactionary ends, public
>pressure can force world leaders to act in the cause of progress. This is
>sophistry. Imperialism's plans for Africa are not in contradiction to its
>offensive in the Middle East, but rather part of the same geopolitical
>Blair and Bush have rightly earned the hatred of many millions for their
>warmongering in the Middle East and attacks on social and democratic rights
>at home. But Bob Geldof, U2 frontman Bono and the coalition of
>non-governmental organisations and church groups that comprise "Make
>Poverty History" now ask us to believe that they can be won over to the
>cause of the poor and oppressed.
>They are seeking to exclude any hint of genuine protest at the Live 8
>events. A manager of one of the bands performing in the concert in London
>told the Telegraph newspaper that artists were being instructed by Geldof
>not to criticise Bush. This is because the concerts have been organized
>with the express aim of winning popular support for the Commission for
>Africa proposals drawn up by Blair and Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon
>Brown, in which Geldof participated. For the same reason, Brown is being
>given pride of place at the "Make Poverty History" rally in Edinburgh on
>Returning the favour, Geldof and Bono have been invited to attend the G8
>summit. Almost every utterance made by the pair portrays Blair and Bush as
>the potential saviours of Africa, whilst keeping silent on their war
>against Iraq. Bono described Blair and Brown as "the John [Lennon] and Paul
>[McCartney] of the global development stage," and has said that if Bush "in
>his second term is as bold in his commitments to Africa as he was in the
>first term, he indeed deserves a place in history in turning the fate of
>that continent around."
>Geldof hailed the pre-summit announcement that there would be a debt
>forgiveness package for some countries in sub-Saharan Africa as a "victory
>for millions," claiming, "Tomorrow 280 million Africans will wake up for
>the first time in their lives without owing you or me a penny."
>What nonsense! In the first instance, Africa's poor do not owe "you and me"
>anything. Their debts are to major corporations, financial institutions,
>imperialist governments and multilateral organisations such as the World
>Bank and the International Monetary Fund. None of these contemplate any
>measures to seriously alleviate Africa's plight because they are intent on
>perpetuating the exploitation of the continent.
>The June 11 G8 agreement covers just 18 countries that have fulfilled the
>pro-market criteria set down under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries
>Initiative (HIPC), and accounts for at most $1.5 billion per annum in
>repayments, and possibly only half that amount. The move is largely aimed
>at staving off criticisms of the major nations' failure to honour other
>commitments on aid.
>Whatever is given must be offset by a corresponding cut in aid to the poor
>countries, meaning that, in reality, they will get nothing extra. And to
>qualify, they must continue to "boost private sector development" and
>eliminate all "impediments to private investment, both domestic and
>Compared with the announced sum of $40 billion in debt forgiveness over 10
>years, sub-Saharan Africa alone has $230 billion in external debt, and the
>so-called "developing" countries owe a combined total of $2.4 trillion. For
>every $1 of aid officially provided to Africa, $3 are extracted by the
>Western banks, institutions and governments. And far more is plundered by
>the transnational corporations who operate there.
>The political leaders in Washington, London, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Ottawa,
>Tokyo and Moscow can no more be persuaded to act altruistically towards
>Africa than they can jump out of their own skins. They are the
>representatives of financial elites whose interests are diametrically
>opposed to those of working people everywhere.
>The massive levels of debt that afflict the world's poorest countries have
>the same essential cause as their economic backwardness. The countries in
>which capitalism first emerged in Europe, America and Japan were able to
>use their economic and military might to exploit the markets and resources
>of the entire world. These imperialist powers still look on Africa, Asia
>and South America as a source of valuable raw materials and markets for
>finished products. They cannot tolerate the development of domestic
>competition in these regions, or any genuine expression of democracy for
>the oppressed masses.
>The ruling elites in the economically backward countries depend on their
>relations with the major powers and giant corporations for their privileged
>position. In return, they are charged with imposing the dictates of the
>World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on the working class and
>peasantry to ensure that oil, minerals, agricultural produce and other
>essential raw materials find their way to the advanced countries or to
>production facilities set up by the transnational corporations.
>The forms in which imperialism has exercised its dominance over the
>underdeveloped countries have undergone certain changes, but the
>fundamental economic and social relationship between oppressor and
>oppressed nations remains the same.
>In the nineteenth century, the subjugation and exploitation of Africa were
>achieved through colonialism and occupation, as the world was carved up
>between the rival imperialist states. The mass anti-colonial movements that
>developed in the aftermath of the Second World War, together with the Cold
>War between the United States and the Soviet Union, forced the major powers
>to retreat from direct colonial forms of rule, as the "winds of change"
>But the regimes established under the leadership of the national
>bourgeoisie remained subordinate to the great powers both economically and
>politically. Not only did they require access to a global market for their
>goods, rendering their nationalist policies of import substitution
>impotent, they were hostile to any development of an independent movement
>in the working class that could threaten their own rule.
>The collapse of the USSR has led to a resurgence of neo-colonialism. The
>Bush administration has spearheaded this turn, seeking to impose America's
>unchallenged hegemony by force-as epitomised by the bloody conquest of
>What is now taking place is a renewed scramble for Africa. At stake is the
>struggle for control of vital mineral and oil reserves, as well as other
>raw materials and markets, as a component part of a global struggle for
>hegemony between the major powers. That is why all aid and debt relief is
>tied in with demands for free access to domestic markets by the global
>As in Iraq, access to oil is a primary concern of Bush, Blair, et al.
>Africa contains 7.2 percent of the world's proven reserves of oil, more
>than the proven reserves of North America or the former Soviet Union.
>Sub-Saharan Africa's crude oil production exceeded 4 million barrels a day
>in 2000 and accounts for 16 percent of US oil imports. The importance of
>Africa's oil in Washington's strategic planning was the subject of a
>January 2002 seminar entitled, "African Oil-A Priority for US National
>Security and African Development."
>In the Victorian era, there was no shortage of supposedly enlightened
>people who justified colonialism as taking up the "white man's burden" to
>civilise the "dark continent." Their modern-day equivalents are the
>liberals and celebrities who glorify paltry aid initiatives based on
>pro-market "conditionalities" and the demand that governments pursue
>pro-Western policies in the name of "transparency" and "democracy."
>The real allies of the workers and peasants of Africa are not to be found
>in the opulent environs of the G8 summit in Gleneagles, but amongst the
>working class in Britain, Europe, Asia and the Americas. Hope for the
>future of Africa and all the oppressed peoples of the world will not come
>through aid packages, or even forlorn appeals for "fair trade." It depends
>on the building of an anti-imperialist, internationalist and socialist
>movement, dedicated to replacing the profit system that is the source of
>class oppression and want with planned production to meet the needs of all.
>This is the alternative fought for by the Socialist Equality Party and the
>World Socialist Web Site.
Sell on Yahoo! Auctions - No fees. Bid on great items.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the imc-jakarta