Greetings. As this is my first post to this forum, brevity shall necessarily prevail.
We've probably all forgotten that mischievous non-event already, but ...
"The repeated claim from onstage multi-millionaires that the audience were going to 'change history' simply by turning up and tuning in cheapens agency in every sense. Participating in a narcissistic, self-righteous Spectacle is not 'doing something'. Tony Parsons, of all people, made the very good point in The Mirror today that the generation of the Thirties and Forties did not expect Crosby and Sinatra to change the world - but, as he says, many of them had either risked or given up their lives to change things. ... What needs to be kept in mind is BOTH that capitalism is a hyper-abstract impersonal structure AND that it would be nothing without our co-operation."===>MarK
The Make Macho-Posturing Kapital Whores History musick-celebritishy spectacle was essentially part of the Blair government's PR campaign surrounding the G8 meetings last July [or was it June, or maybe August, or maybe why should anyone bother to care?], a cynical campaign aided and abetted by the Bush regime, British NGOs, and quite unfortunately, those two blarney-babblers, the ultra-montane reactionary Kapitalists, Bob Geldof (wealth: 200 million [in pick your favourite currency]) and Bono/Paul Hewson (1 billion).
The most influential player of Make Geldof History was Oxfam, a centrist-complacent NGO with close allegiance to the British government, in particular with British Chancellor Gordon Brown's office. Working closely with the Commission for Africa, which is chaired by, um, tyrannical ego-maniac Bob Geldof and run by batty Blair, nosey Brown, and Britain's overseas aid minister Hilary Beenie Benny, the official Make Bono History campaign ignorantly fell into supporting the neo-liberal agenda of the G8 leaders.
Meanwhile, calling George Bush a "sincere and passionate man," [making Michael Moore real envious] resting his head lovingly on Tony Blair's shoulder while posing for the media cameras, Bob "What about Paula, Bob?" Geldof joined Texan-Stetson Bono's tradition of delegitimizing the protesters and pandering to elite leaders, in particular two of the eight men who actively facilitate the poverty in the first place.
Geldof and Bono's actions not only dismissed the much more complicated and deeper critiques made by the G8 protesters, but also implicitly condoned the hypocritical decisions of the corporate and government elites made during that week alone. The Scottish government punished members of Parliament who spoke out in favor of protecting protesters' rights to peacefully dissent in Gleneagles. For an entire month, these MPs were banned from government buildings and their salaries as well as the salaries of their staff were taken away. While Bonol and GAdolf spoke from the sublime heavens about "saving" the Africans, the rock stars took no action to pressure the UK government to let across the African protesters who were being denied entry into the country and denied participation in the events at which they had been invited to speak. Worse, Geldof, on a panel at a press meeting and in front of the gathered world broadcast media, contemptibly dismissed as "offensive and outrageous" the comments of an African member of the panel, who had simply questioned the effectiveness of Make Geldof Rich History.
Moreover ["as if we didn't know"], the assumptions and recommendations manufactured by Bobbly's Commission for Africa will prove disastrous for Africa's workers, peasants, and the urban poor. These include the assumption that the impact of Western manoeuvers on Africa has been largely benign. There is a complete absence of criticism of the ongoing Western military interventions of the last half century, and the colonial exploits and brutality forced upon the peoples of African nations. The other damaging assumption of the Commission revolves around the premise that free trade and privatization are somehow the key to liberation for Africans. The International Monetary Fund is viewed as being able to "play an invaluable role" in clearing the way for "private sector investors." Private profit making is seen as the panacea to poverty: "Successful growth will be led by the private sector." The commission concludes that only by ridding themselves of barriers to free trade and exporting to the rest of the world can Africans work their way out of poverty. Yes, Bobo, "Make Poverty Permanent cuz it made me obscenely rich. And I like it."
Besides completely whitewashing the real story behind Africa's debt burden, which has deteriorated further post-Live8, and the continuous misery their policies impose on the rest of the world, Blair and Brown and the rest of the G8 leaders hoped to use the Make All The Little People, The Masses History events as a smokescreen for the crisis occurring in Iraq. Unfortunately, agents-of-Kapital Bono and Geldof wholeheartedly supported this move. Because of their facile and naÔve view of the political situation, Bono and Geldof helped to take the heat off Bush and Blair at their weakest point, the Iraq war, which is strategically situated as the first in a long series of dominos set up by and for both Western administrations. If this domino falls, pressured by the global anti-war movement, then the long line of imperialist drives, including the debilitating imposed debt on Africa, has a much greater chance of falling, of being cancelled. Instead, with foolhardy optimism in a system and its pushers who have literally created the misery, the millionaire rock stars persist in criticizing protesters through name-calling and displays of ignorance about protesters' understanding of the situation as if ordinary people simply could not grasp the real story behind the debt.
"Ironically bolstered by the strength of the global anti-war movement's ability to draw out millions in the streets, Geldof organized Make Poverty History concerts all over the world and called for people to march in Edinburgh. As opposed to providing the real justice that South African activist Trevor Ngwane and others called for, however, Geldof instead used his impressive soapbox to call for patronizing charity, and a more than polite request to the G8 leaders to "play nice." In the same vein, Geldof also intentionally refused most African artists to play on his stages, saying they wouldn't draw crowds. Thus, he paternalistically reduced the people of Africa to uncultured children who need to be pitied, not empowered. He also privileged the minuscule numbers of the powerful ruling class into the position of being willing and able to change the world not the masses of ordinary people everywhere.
To make matters worse, Geldolf emailed an edict to each of the Live 8 performers, forbidding them from mentioning the Iraq War or saying anything that would "embarrass" Blair. As with the Make Everything History demonstration, this was a case of the millions of participants being more progressive than the organizers of the event.
It was also a perfect exemplification of class unconsciousness. From the stage, the wealthiest man on the planet, Bill Gates, along with the likes of Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Bob Geldof, positioned themselves as experts on Third World debt and poverty. Millionaires like Madonna, before performing, asked the crowd if they were ready for a "revolution." And perhaps the most egregious moment came when Chris Martin of the pop band Coldplay, commented that the Live 8 concerts were the most important events ever organized in human history."===>Why Bono and Geldof Got It Wrong, VIRGINIA RODINO, Counterpunch.
"And still U2 - always U2. The pious priests of anti-punk. The sound of the Restoration. Anthemic pathos. Nothing will happen until U2 are destroyed, destroyed utterly. Until it is much more embarrassing and shameful to like U2 than it ever was to like ELP or Floyd." ===>MarK
Bono lives just two miles away, as the crow flies; ya want me to do sumtin', MarK?
Yes, brevity ...
Major: Will you give the Court your name, fellow?
Padraig: Is it my name, sir? Ah, your jokin' ...
Defence Counsel: Come, Padraig, my man.
Padraig: There, didn't I tell ye! He knows me well enough.
Major: Padraig, that's the Irish for Patrick, I gather.
Padraig: No sir; Patrick is the English for Padraig.
Major: Are you guilty as charged?
Padraig: Shure, I thought that was what we'd all come here to find out.