I’ve been reading about the new Live 8 concert being organized by Bob Geldof, 20 years after the Live Aid phenomenon. Apart from the news that Pink Floyd is reuniting for the show, there are several political phenomena surrounding the event that interest me. The first is, in the above link, people are finding it ironic that an event to help Africa has only 2 black performers on the bill.
But deeper than that is the shift in focus in terms of the source of the poverty over the past 2 decades. Geldof is getting into the IMF/WB/G8 scene — which is to say the antiglobalization scene — with the upcoming G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland being very much in the foreground of his mind. He knows that much of African poverty — and indeed much of the poverty of the world — can be traced to these policies. This is a marked shift from the previous “help those poor Africans know it’s Christmas” paradigm. It is clear how the global economic climate has shifted over the past 20 years with neoliberalism, structural adjustment, and the increased emphasis of corporate profit over people since the Reagan/Thatcher years. It’s good to see a solid understanding of these issues in the mainstream.