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Declan McCormick, 'When the G8 Came to My Town'

NorthernSky Press 2005; ISBN 0 9548067 4 3; 30pp

Subtitled “A big event in a small town in the big country”, this chirpy little pamphlet is the work of a Stirling local, outlining his experience of the “spectacle” that was last July's G8 protests.

In the introduction Declan says “Its about a time when the world was very briefly focused on ... where I happen to live and work. It was a strange but exciting time for me and that's why I have been drive to write about it.” It's divided into two distinct sections - the first dealing with “before” the G8 and the second a day-by-day account of his week joining demonstrations, counterculture events and actions.

In the “before” section he talks with good humour and a decent dose of cynicism about the various groups involved in organising for the G8 and the nightmare of sorting a space big enough and equipped for thousands of activist-campers (“My overwhelming sense was that the G8 was almost upon us and we hadn't got the toilets sorted out yet!”). The subsequent shenanigans at the eco-camp get an airing, as does the build-up in police surveillance and interactions with less engaged locals.

The second section starts in a very funny way, talking about going into Edinburgh for the Make Poverty History march: “Protesters are distinguishable by their uniform whiteness of clothing as they board the train. By coincidence, my little group are mostly dressed in BLACK! Argh... I guess we are on average too old to be mistaken for black bloc types.”

The Carnival for Full Enjoyment, blockade of Faslane naval base, the “non-riots” in Edinburgh, the Critical Mass and the motorway blockades all get mentioned, but more than offering a simple factual reportage, this little pamphlet provides an insight into how “horizontal” organising and participating can make you feel. On the final night of the eco-camp Declan talks about locals and activists meeting, breaking bread, drinking and partying: “There are hundreds here dancing, sharing a moment of freedom and solidarity. For just a short time I feel we are all glimpsing the world we would like to live in. And for that moment alone, the whole slog seems worth it.”

This is a very charming and accessible tome from a “libertarian and communist” and, whether intended or not, provides some food for thought on the relationship between local communities and “activist ghettoes”.

Topics: Global Justice