Natasha Grzincic and Alex Nunns. Today was the day of counter-summits, a bewildering array of speakers, workshops, seminars... After much debate (but not really) the two of us decided on the free summit, as opposed to the G8 Alternatives summit that cost a tenner with the same speakers, or the Dissent! one that was also free but had Red Pepper's own Stuart H plugging his Make Poverty History expose yet again.
Off we went to Corporate Dream... Global Nightmare (organised by War on Want, World Development Movement, Friends of the Earth and People and Planet), set in the splendor of the Assembly Hall on Edinburgh's Royal Mile. The conference chamber looked like the UN General Assembly with the latest live feeds and big screens. The conference was apparently well-attended from the outset, with a few hundred eager politicos (who are these people?) filling the seats. But due to lack of sleep we got there late and missed 'Challenging Privatisation', apparently the best seminar of the day by conference whores George Monbiot and Trevor Ngwane, who slagged off the previous day's sterile Make Poverty History events.
African political economist Samir Amin and anti-globalisation guru Walden Bello told us how to challenge global trade rules, with Bello concluding that we should 'lay our bodies on the line' in Hong Kong for the WTO Ministerial in December.
At this moment, stirred up by a sense of outrage at our consumerist society, we were moved by a powerful urge to check out some of Edinburgh's finest shops (strangely similar to London's finest shops, which are similar to Bristol's finest shops...). Walking past a bus stop, we spotted a Make Poverty History poster which asked, 'Which sounds better? "I was there", or "I went shopping", Edinburgh, July 2005.' Feeling as proud as peacocks, we congratulated ourselves at having achieved both.
We returned to the summit to hear about the wacky exploits of The Yes Men, the US satirists who make a living pretending to be corporate leaders. The best part was the clips of their film, the worst part was everything else, ie, the waffling that filled the gaps. The biggest laughs were reserved for sleeping audience members displayed on the big screens. We think we recognised them from our campsite (see 'The day the music died').
Leaving the summit we got caught up in the Stop the War demo. We have nothing interesting to report on this.