Leaders from around the world have converged on London to have their photos taken with Barack Obama and, for a few hours between lunch and breakfast at tomorrow’s G20 meeting, will pay lip service to the task of tackling the global financial crisis.
Protesters equally cosmopolitan in origin and even more diverse in terms of their grievances have already turned up. At the protests, the Free Palestine crowd rubs shoulders with the anarchists, the British Muslim Initiative marches in lock-step with groups calling for the lynching of bankers, and global warming alarmists link arms with members of the Stop the War coalition.
President Obama won’t have seen such an ill-informed, self-righteous, and hysterical mob since his election night rally in Chicago. The headless chickens are coming home to roost.
But at least the protesters are, in some vague sense, united, which is more than can be said for the world leaders. France and Germany are leading opposition to calls by Obama and British PM Gordon Brown for increased public spending, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy has threatened to walk out of the summit if the U.S. and Britain don’t agree to his demands for tougher global financial regulations.
The summit will produce no “breakthroughs” or agreements of substance. It’s little more than a vanity project for Gordon Brown — one which is costing the British taxpayers somewhere in the region of £20 million pounds, with £7 million being spent on policing. But while precious little will be happening inside the ExCel Centre in London’s Docklands, outside the fortified “Green Zone” there will be two days of marches, sit-ins, and rallies galore. And just as at previous gatherings of world leaders from Seattle to Genoa, expect the violence, vandalism, and mayhem.
Much of the anger is directed at bankers — so much so that financial workers in London’s financial district are being advised to “dress down” and avoid unnecessary travel. But while bankers have certainly done plenty to make people angry of late, the ringleaders of the violence that will inevitably transpire don’t need an excuse to throw a brick through the window of Starbucks. This will be violence for the sake of violence, fueled by class-hatred, envy, alcohol, and drugs.
Leading the assault on the barricades and the police will be a hard-core hell-bent on violence and with little in the way of an ideology other than a desire to “smash the system,” while just behind the front lines will be the left-wing ideologues who are coordinating the “G20 Meltdown” protests. Their leaders include “academics” like Chris Knight, who has been suspended from the university where he teaches after suggesting that bankers should be hung from lampposts, and a former topless model turned white witch; their ideology is only slightly less incoherent than that of the anarchists.