I'll be marching
"Pittsburgh Welcomes the World" ... to a city of buildings but no people. That's a more accurate slogan for the G-20 billboards. Our guests will see a city that has removed its population. This will cause more than just "inconvenience." Thousands of people whose jobs don't pay much will be prevented from going to work and the loss of income will mean hardship.
But the G-20 summit's intrusiveness matches the G-20's policies, which push people aside to maximize profit for the world's biggest corporations. Privatization undermines public services and jobs and gives away public resources to private interests. Deregulation removes rules that protect workers, consumers and the environment from corporate abuse. Deregulation of banking led to a speculative bubble of reckless gambling on mortgages. When that bubble burst, it ruined the values of millions of homes and dragged the world economy into crisis.
"Free trade" really means unlimited mobility for capital. Entire industries now move from country to country, seeking the lowest wages and weakest environmental rules. It has cost us millions of U.S. jobs, pushed down wages and been a disaster for workers around the world.
Free trade turns workers into economic refugees. NAFTA forced countless working-class families in the United States, Canada and Mexico to leave their hometowns when local industries closed, and Mexican small farmers have been driven off the land by an influx of "free trade" agricultural imports.
As a longtime union activist, I'll be marching to protest the G-20's economic policies.
This should be funny. The G-20 summit. It will rival any carnival freak show you have ever seen.
Kooks from all over will be in Pittsburgh. The environmentalist tree-huggers, the Greenpeace loons, the anti-war 1960s-generation types and their ill-advised offspring, the Codepink freaks, the anarchists who are against anything American and who do not expect to have to work for a living, thus giving them the time to protest anything that may make common sense.
We may even be blessed to host such notables as Sean Penn or, if we're really lucky, the esteemed traitor Jane Fonda.
Why Pittsburgh? It has long been a Democratic bastion. This may be the main reason it lost half of its population in the last 50 years. The citizens have voted in Democratic mayors for a very long time and also President Barack Obama, another lack of common sense.
I believe the malcontents have the right to express their opinions, however vapid they may be. But if they step out of line -- i.e., destroy property, cause traffic tie-ups on purpose, etc. -- the police should not hesitate to crack some heads.