Just a brief report from Asia anti-G8 infotour:
Our Japanese friends have organised a great tour for our German anti-G8 Infotour group.
We arrived in Korea just 48 hours ago, but already we all have met with 2 radical academic research/institutes, as well as a radical publisher, done interviews with an 85 year old anarchist who spent 10 years in prison, an activist/musician who squatted a house in a village where the US Army wanted to build their biggest base in Asia (they see China as a big threat so the USA says it needs a big base in the region), another video interview with a woman who councils migrant/trafficked women who are sex-worders serving US GI’s, and have made two very succesful presentations as well as having video taped a local demonstration and a cooperative research institute.
People here are incredibly inspiring. One local struggle is with precarious/temporary workers. A few months ago 500 women temporary cashiers in a major korean chain market like Walmart were facing repression and occupied thier part of the shopping mall here for 28 days, with police in riot busses surrounding their part of the mall completely the whole time. Demonstrations and occupations continue around the country, though a bit smaller than this 28 day occupation.
The US military is a big problem. After the 1922-1945 colonial occupation of Japan, the USA moved into S. Korea and occupied many of Japans former colonial military bases and offices. Near US bases today there are virtual “safe zones” for US soldiers with red light districts and mafia businesses, where US soldiers take advantage of trafficked women from places like Eastern Europe and poor regional countries such as the Philippines. Because the South Korean government works closely with the USA, the US soldiers are able to literally get away with murder, as rape and brutal murder of Koreans and trafficked women by drunk US soldiers is a relatively regular occurance here.
ITALY G8 2009
This issue about the USA is very important, and the anti-G8 Japanese friends also have relevant experiences, and anti-militarism and an anti-USA sentiment/feeling will likely be a big part of anti-G8 2008 demostrations. This is similar to G8 2009, which will take place in Sardinia, Italy, where a US Naval base in La Maddelen was forced to shut down this year after the US attempted to hide a Nuclear Submarine accident which spilled nuclear emissions into the nearby sea. Local reports say that the USA tested a range of chemical weapons on the Island before the Iraq war in 2003, causing deformities in local animals.
This Sardenia base was forced to be shut down a few months ago, but the USA and NATO plan to build a huge base in Del Molin. Three weeks ago 200,000 protested against the base, and the No Del Molin movement issues an 8 page newsletter every month. Even though many nations have big problems with USA bases for the above mentioned reasons, and even the UK has a monthly anti-USA base newsletter, most USA citizens no nothing about the protests against USA bases abroad due to heavy censorship of USA press owned by pro-govenment sources.
Ok, tomorrow we go to demonstration about Burma, and hope to report more soon.