The largest concert series in history, Live 8, will only serve to legitimize the further enslavement of Africa, despite its genuinely good intentions.
The purpose of the concerts was, its organizers said, to “demand from the 8 world leaders at G8 to put an end to poverty.” But as Sir Bob Geldof, main organizer of Live 8, knows, the purpose of the G8 is to provide Western corporations with profit. They do this by creating and exploiting poverty.
Unfortunately, Live 8 wasn’t cheap. It needed funding to happen- corporate funding. To bring Live 8 to the world, Geldof had needed the support of the institutions that cause the poverty he’s trying to eradicate.
Corporate donors don’t like to fund events that expose what they do, but they do like to make a lot of money. Their purpose is to make profit, and to maximize their profits they need to advertise. Live 8 was an opportunity to reach a million concert-goers and a projected two billion viewers.
They had a dilemma. They could ignore Live 8 and miss out on the billions of potential consumers. They could fund Live 8, expose their own practices, and tell the world that to eliminate poverty we have to eliminate the corporate system, and the profit motive itself. Or they could fund Live 8, but make sure it ignored the whole point. They chose the latter.
They funded Live 8 and brought it to the world, but only because the concerts ignored the cause of poverty – the West’s policies.
Many of these policies are created by the G8, which is a group of formerly imperialist nations – the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and Canada – that exists, like the IMF, WTO, and World Bank, to control and exploit the world’s poorest people.
These groups and acronyms are simply non-imperialist and humanitarian facades. They’re the imperialist institutions of the modern world.
Together, they provide poor nations with loans, much of which goes to Western corporations, for things the poor mostly don’t need anyway. The loans are large enough so that these countries will never be able to fully repay them.
Western states give loans to create a permanent debt, which the poor pay back forever. The loans don’t help the people, and payment on the debt diverts money, which would otherwise go to meet the country’s needs, to the lenders. Debt is one of the main causes of Africa’s poverty.
The Western states also provide what they call “aid” to poor nations. This aid also goes to Western corporations, and, like the loans, requires that poor nations abide by trade policies that enrich those corporations.
The G8 leaders require “the elimination of impediments to private investment, both domestic and foreign,” although they know that “not all countries will benefit in the short term from reductions in trade barriers.” In the “short term” the West will benefit, just as it has in the past and will in the future.
These policies force poor nations to open their markets to foreign competition, but only if the foreign competition will win out. They require a sell-off of state-owned industries at artificially low prices. They give Western corporations access to natural resources and cheap labor, too.
The aid and loans the West gives makes poor states accept policies that they would never accept otherwise. These destroy domestic industries, increase unemployment, and cause a greater dependence on the West for everything, even things necessary for simple survival, like food.
Geldof knows this, but to raise awareness of it, he had to ignore it. You can find it on the website, but the events of Live 8, which were supposed to inform the world and promote “The Long Walk to Justice,” had to ignore “justice.” They had to ignore the whole point. Live 8 became an “audience builder” for corporations.
Any attempt at eliminating poverty, at achieving justice for the poor, will focus on these facts. The world’s poor are not poor by accident, but by design. This should have been the focus of Live 8.
Instead, Live 8 ignored this, as it had to, and will achieve little for the poor. It will make the G8 leaders look like heroes, though.
We’ll hear how Live 8 tickled the hearts of the great men of the Group of 8, who will seize the opportunity to eliminate poverty. And then they’ll pursue similar policies, to achieve the same ends as usual.