Kaytee Riek and Max Ray
ACT UP Philadelphia
Digital Print, 2009
CSPG’s poster of the week comes from the 2009 G20 that took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The day before the G20 began, AIDS activists, dressed in black and marching behind coffins and funeral wreaths, held a funeral procession for the thousands of people with AIDS who have died and will continue to die as a result of the broken promises made by the wealthiest nations regarding global health funding. Activists said that the G-20 nations are using the financial crisis as an excuse to cut promised funding for global AIDS programs. In particular, activists called out President Barack Obama, who promised on the campaign trail to provide $50 billion over five years to global AIDS efforts.
The funeral procession was sponsored by ACT UP Philadelphia, Azania Heritage International, Black Radical Congress of Pittsburgh, Health GAP, Housing Works, New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice, NYC AIDS Housing Network (NYCAHN), Proyecto Sol Filadelphia and Roots of Promise (a Thomas Merton Center project).
The poster was selected as the 2010 G20 opens this week in Toronto, Canada. Demonstrations have already started, demanding rights for First Nations, people with disabilities, LGBTQ, migrants, immigrants, women, children, and other marginalized communities, and opposing mining tar sands and other acts that contribute to global warming. In preparation for the G20, Toronto has been transformed into a fortress with a three-meter high and six-kilometer long $5.5 million dollar concrete and metal security fence encompassing the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Within and around this armed camp are 20,000 law enforcement officials, 1,000 private security guards, closed circuit TV cameras, military-style checkpoints along with sound and water cannons. Behind these steel cages is a corporate-driven narrative of profiteering. *
History of G20
In 1975, leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, and the US, the world's leading industrialized nations, met as a forum for economic and trade matters. Initially known as the G6, it became known as the G7 and G8 after the respective entries of Canada (1976) and Russia (1998). In 1999, the G20 formed.
The G8s and G20s positive stance on globalization has provoked a vigorous response from opponents. Since 2001, there has been a tendency for the summits to be held in more remote locations, with the aim of avoiding mass protests. The lengths to which security forces have gone to shield the politicians from demonstrators serves to reinforce the summits’ closed-door image.
Countless thousands advocating for global justice gather on the streets every year to protest the closed door meetings of both G8 and G20 summits. As global inequalities continues to rise protests have grown; never at these mass convergences has a single protester serious harmed anyone. In response to the protests, many law enforcement operations have been employed, some of whom use force to disperse protesters. In Genoa, Italy in 2001, police surrounding Carlo Giuliani, a young Italian anarchist, shot him in the face.
*For more information on Toronto’s preparation for the G20 see:Rabble.ca: Challenging Toronto's corporate security walls
By Harsha Walia and Stefan Christoff
Wikipedia: G-20 major economies