Journey to Genoa

Nobody said getting to Genoa and the G8 conference would be easy (unless your were George Bush, Tony Blair, et al, the latter proved impossible). The powers that be had decided our 20-hour journey on the Globalise Resistance train would be as uncomfortable as possible.

Days before we were scheduled to go, the French authorities stepped in to cancel the train. Only the threat of legal action, some pressure from Susan George and rumours - put about by Globalise Resistance - of angry French railworkers appear to have forced a change of mind. Unfortunately coaches organised to transport people to Dover had already been cancelled and 300 people were forced to make last-minute alternative arrangements.

Once into Calais the French state was less than welcoming, holding us in the port while dogs went through the coach and immigration officials went through our bags. Welcome to a Europe without borders!

Once aboard the train, Globalise Resistance posters were hung from the windows and SWP bandannas touted for sale. SWPers danced on the platform, chanting ?Resist, revolt, fuck Berlusconi!? And our train pulled out.

Plans were laid in the buffet car and we were instructed to organise ourselves into ?affinity groups?.

Four o? clock in the morning and we arrive at a station on the France-Italy border. Ranks of French and Italian riot police saw us safely off the train, scrutinised passports and forced everyone to unpack their luggage before marshalling us onto waiting coaches. We were then given a police escort to the border proper. Five hours later we arrived in Genoa, some distance from the convergence centre. The 33 bus completed the journey.

And then Globalise Resistance evaporated. The ?pensioners, many trade unionists and a priest? who travelled on the GR train disappeared, to be replaced with a solid block of SWPers and members of the International Socialist Tendency. Funny that.