It could have been worse. The G20 Summit could have gone swimmingly.
The tear gas, water cannon and masses of riot police that met protestors at the G20 in Germany cast an unsettling pall over the meeting, that’s for sure. But the stated goal of the G20 was supposed to be “Shaping an interconnected world”. What if they had?
Money media love to tell history as soap opera. In this season, they are reporting endlessly on the supposed clash between Donald Trump and Angela Merkel.
In the real world, that boils down to a choice between bullying by a macho spoiled-boy brat, or Merkel’s faux market-driven kind. 99.9999 percent of the world have no dog in that fight; and even less interest in those two bullies connecting.
Want US/European unity? Reporters on the G20 should have asked the Lampedusa refugees what they think. They’ve been languishing in Hamburg since the US and NATO bombed Libya. Their country destroyed, hundreds of them were forced to flee, first to Italy, then to Germany, where they’ve been told to find work, but denied the permits to do any such thing. So much for Atlantic interconnection. So much for a European Union.
I was in Hamburg for a night just ahead of the G20 meeting, and one organizer explained pretty convincingly that the main reason Hamburg was picked for the Summit was to pay the populace back for voting against Angela Merkel’s bid to have them host the Olympics.
In a grand swipe against Free Speech, almost the entire city was declared a “protest-free” zone. Still, hundreds of thousands of protesters showed up anyway.
The night I was there, three divisions of the Berlin police had just been sent home for indecency. Brought into enforce order, officers had been spotted pissing in public and having sex against a fence. One was even seen dancing on a table, nude, except for a dressing gown and his government-issued pistol.
Hamburg’s famously libertine spirit was clearly enough to seduce the Berlin cops, but even this fun-loving port-city rejected Don Trump. He and his entourage were forced to stay in the boondocks because no hotel was supposedly “available”. Meanwhile, Europe’s longest-lived squat, the Rote Flora, an anti-capitalist space that served as a convergence center during the G8 in 2007, was doing the same thing again a decade later.
The smoke and violence are shameful. Still, there wouldn’t be so much of it if Trump, Merkel and the rest were a bit more popular. That they are world leaders without real followers is pretty obvious, and made more obvious this week in Hamburg.
The people who need to shape an interconnected world now are that 99.9999 percent. And they better get at it!
You can follow our coverage of the growing interconnected alternative, at the Laura Flanders Show at lauraflanders.com where we stream a fresh show weekly. Among our recent guests, author activist Naomi Klein. You can also watch each week on FreeSpeechTV, LinkTv, or subscribe to the free podcast on Soundcloud Itunes or where ever you get your podcasts. For Progressive voices on Tune In, I’m Laura Flanders.