It's coming. Like a looming shadow, Calgary is beginning to sense the approach of something very much larger than itself, the Group of Eight summit. Soon our campus will be flooded by activists from all over the world in their globalized effort to halt globalization. We will bear witness to the violence of European anarchists, the plague-like masses of pop-protest culture, and the countless reports of tear gas and pepper spray.
By far, the largest organized group to stand in opposition of the summit is the Group of Six Billion, a name chosen to indicate the world's six billion population mark. This group is made up largely by the non-governmental organization culture and is also the side our own university administration has chosen to back.
So why should you care? Well how about this: the G-6b purports to speak for the people of the world. They are not democratically elected, and odds are few of the third-world persons who they claim to represent have ever heard of them. On the other hand, the G-8 is composed of the democratically elected leaders of the eight most economically powerful nations in the world, which means they legitimately represent the citizens of those nations. So now we're left with a group of self-appointed special-interest group world representatives harassing our own elected leaders.
It would seem that the hippies of yesteryear did in fact manage to gain the influence they sought. What does it say now that the university backs the protesters and the world leaders are forced to hide and flee? Why is it that we no longer cheer when the heads of nations gather peacefully to discuss global cooperation and trade negotiations? If we could have managed such a feat of coexistence during the height of the Cold War it would have been heralded as a huge step forward.
Now it seems the popular thing to do is oppose free-trade and advocate some vague concept of fair-trade, as though there were some divine moral construct for international trade reading "Thou Shalt Not Export Capital." Though history would seem to point to an economic policy with as few trade barriers as possible, a large contingent of would-be deviants seem to think that free-trade is the harbinger of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and they are coming to stop it.
All the while, our elected leaders and their educated advisors are forced to cower behind large contingents of security to simply have a peaceful discussion about general policy and basic international issues.
Why is it that no one seems to see anything wrong with this picture? Our own chosen representatives are hidden away in the most defensible position they could find while discussing issues we should be thankful they're not ignoring. It would seem that no matter what you do, you're never going to satisfy the activists. There's always going to be something to bitch about--and bitch they will.