As the world prepares for the November meeting of the G8 European
Forum in Florence, many will remember the Genoa meeting of G8,
July 18 - 22, 2000, and the many questions raised by global
resistance groups. The event gathered the political group of
eight national leaders representing Britain, Canada, France,
Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the United States. It also
attracted tens of thousands of socialists, environmentalists,
and human rights activists. SIFE club at HPU president Benedik,t
Goetz was there, and the following interview recalls his experience
of the events of that turbulent meeting.
Q. Why did you decide to attend such an event?
A. I had studied the development of the G7 group as it evolved
into the G8 with the addition of Canada. I understood the importance
and relevance of a summit of such powerful countries able to
make important decisions at a global level. As a business and
international affairs major, I wanted to come to know more about
it through firs-hand experience.
Q. What is the purpose of the G8 and what are the global purposes
it wants to serve?
A. The G8 includes the political leaders of the most powerful
economies in the world. They meet to make decisions on how to
develop their own economies and those of the rest of the world
and to establish worldwide regulations of these economies.
Q. Thousands of people went to Genoa to express points of view
opposing the G8 and forming civil resistance against the decisions
and decision-making power of these political leaders. What were
A. As described by most newspapers, thousands of members of
opposition groups manifested in peaceful demonstrations to make
their opinions heard on issues that concerned them, to identify
opportunities, and to propose, often, very interesting solutions.
A very small resistance group known as Black Block manifested
in a violent and vandalistic way. Out of thousands of participants,
only 500 people actively attacked police, and damaged or destroyed
cars, shops, and buildings. This contributed to build the tension
between police and civilians.
Q. What was your personal experience of police violence?
A. My strongest feeling was that it all seemed very scary.
Police appeared to be unprepared and unable to control the situation,
and their response was highly violent and over-reactive against
groups of peaceful protesters. They were unprofessional and
abused their power where power was absolutely not needed, by
attacking people who were not using violence. I was personally
attacked by police as I was filming what was going on. They
took away my camera, but eventually returned it to me, as I
was asked to escort from the middle of the crowed, a 17-year-old
girl whom they had severely beaten.
Q. After such a direct experience of the G8 and its opposition,
which of the two do you favor?
A. I favor the opposition, as the solutions that these groups
proposed are very interesting and they are not being considered
by the G8 group. The demonstrations were carried out in hopes
of changing the political tendencies of our times and forcing
government to address the world with a higher respect for human
rights. I donít think that politicians do not understand such
points of view, but they are the decision makers and their decisions
are based on a narrow range of economic interests. In my point
of view, public opinion should be taken more into consideration
and more people allowed to participate to the G8 forum itself.
Q. On Nov. 9 a new G8 summit will take place in Florence. Do
you expect it to have a better outcome than the 2000 summit?
A. First of all, I hope police organizations will be better
prepared and no violent outburst will result from the demonstrations.
I also hope that the opinions of the different opposition groups
will be heard and that their leaders will be given the chance
to actually assist at the forum, to at least actually be present
and witness what happens in such global decision-making gatherings.
The opposition should work on getting the message across in
a more effective way, instead of just on the streets.