IT would have been too much to hope that the G20 summit in Hamburg would have produced anything of substance on the topics supposedly at the core of the two-day discussion.
It is not as if they were unimportant — trade and jobs, the climate crisis, the refugee crisis and terrorism obviously demand serious discussion and serious action.
Assembling the leaders of 20 the world’s biggest economies would appear to be useful in developing such action. But such, generally, is the commitment of this bunch of bigwigs to the global capitalist order as it stands that meaningful decisions that could improve the lives of billions of people are off the table.
It does not take much effort to scratch the progressive veneer off of the platitudes offered up by the great and good meeting in Germany at the moment.
This is not just a case, as the rest of the British media would have you believe, of the “bad apples” Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
Much ink has been wasted and airtime gobbled up by sub-soap opera musing about the pair and their meeting on the sidelines of the main summit. Focusing on these two serves to hide the issues at stake.
So does the handwringing over the actions of a few masked vandals who get their jollies torching cars and playing cops and robbers on the streets.
The real hope at this summit is the tens of thousands assembling peacefully to demand fundamental change that works for both the people in the world’s richest countries, such as ourselves — although often it doesn’t feel like it — and those in the world’s poorest.
Those at the Global Solidarity Summit know that we need change that those inside the conference hall or at the lavish banquet last night will not countenance.
Those inside insist on free trade and capital as the route to progress, those outside know that this is cover for ever increasing exploitation of the working class at home and abroad.
On all the issues up for discussion in Hamburg a change of direction is needed. Our own Prime Minister insists that the most important problem to solve is terrorism, but how can we begin to tackle terrorism if we do not look honestly at the role of this country, its allies and their clients in precipitating and even funding and supporting terrorism? As with the economy, the real solutions are excluded.
Thankfully, in this country, we have a Labour Party whose leadership is committed to fundamental change that will improve the lives of everyone. While the government seeks to distract, Labour has shown willingness to grasp the nettle at its root.
We would never have achieved this if we did not retain the hope that is the fuel of progress and banish the fear that imprisons us.
When we rally as we do today on the Gala field in Durham, we see that we are not alone and that through our solidarity with one another we can build a better world for everyone.
We’ve come so far in such a short time, yet there is still much to do. But when we celebrate our class and our culture in Durham we know we have the strength to finish the job.