What Is The G8 ?
G8 stands for group of eight nations. It is an exclusive grouping of the political leaders of eight specific countries. It is not an institution, it has no constitution or charter, and it has no permanent secretariat or headquarters. These are of course the world's most industrialised, wealthy and powerful States.
The G8 began as a group of six countries at a time of significant global economic insecurity in the 1970's. The leaders of these countries would argue that they gathered, as the leading nations, in order to manage this crisis in the interests of global stability. A stability that of course ensured that they retained their power, with their interests at the heart of the global agenda and this has meant the nudging of the global economy in a direction which reinforces the supremacy of private and corporate interests over democratic and collective ones. (e.g. favouring privatisation, deregulation, capital mobility and the erosion of sovereign control over domestic economies)
The membership of the g8 has evolved over time to include the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Canada and the president of the European Union. The scope of the topics of discussion have also evolved from the first, supposedly one -off meeting that focussed on macro-economic policy. Now issues of security, trade, relations with developing countries and other trans-national issues and even domestic issues, such as employment have been discussed.
It is important to be clear that the G8 Summits are not a policy-making forum. They are a time for the leaders of these states to network and build relationships. They are a time to discuss complex international issues and crises, to allow for a more powerful collective response.
The co-ordination of these nations and their unequal influence over international institutions such as the WTO, IMF and G20 ensures that their interests dominate the world order.
As such the G8 Summits have always been a focus for protests and counter summits. Following the Peoples Global Action call for a united global day of action in 1998, the Summit protests have, however, grown and strengthened, forcing the G8 Summits to more and more remote locations with ever increasing security costs.
text from the dissent!network.