Friday, October 03, 2008

The 'Olympic Spirit Train' continues to stumble across the country, destined to make a brief appearance in 10 Canadian cities. To say the least it hasn't attracted any great crowds, aside from the protesters. One wonders how much public money was blown on this show. Tickets for the 2010 Winter Olympics go on sale tomorrow, and no doubt there will be the usual sell-out for the more popular events and the usual empty seats(or snowbanks in this case) for the less popular ones. One can seriously doubt if the effort of a trans-Canada train is anything more than yet another occasion to hand out funds to friends of the present government.
Yet the train is running on two different tracks, both CP and CN, as its appearance in both Edmonton and Calgary attests. What follows is a report back from protests held in Calgary on its September 27th appearance there and an announcement of a planned protest to be held here in Winnipeg when it arrives here tomorrow.

Stop the 'Spirit' Train Calgary Action (Sept.27/08)
There were very few protesters, very few spectators, lots of volunteers and athletes, and tons of police, a fire truck, an ambulance, and the bands in the box cars. We stood on the road between the majority of spectators and the band and held a banner "NO 2010 OLYMPICS ON STOLEN LAND" for about one hour, at which point we moved to the family area and held for almost another hour. We were treated to a lot of interesting remarks from people. As of yet we have no photos, and were unlikely to have received any media attention (Teri likely has a media ban). I am a big fan of Betty who was arrested for ten months for protesting the sky train in BC [Sea-to-Sky highway expansion] and the Olympics and still love that, in BC, she said, "It's not about spirit, it's about money!" I couldn't agree more. Maybe not for the exact same reasons but... We managed to hand out 50 brochures explaining why we resist the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Tomorrow the 'Olympic Spirit Train' will arrive here in Winnipeg, and, like everywhere else it stops in Canada it will be met by protesters. The issues are many...native land claims, poverty, wasteful spectacles, but the sentiment is the same...No Olympics 2010 !!!!
Protests here in Winnipeg will be at the Sinclair Park Community Centre, 490 Sinclair St, beginning at 2:00 pm. Try not to be an hour late-Molly.
Molly Note:
The campaign against the 2010 Olympics so far reveals both the strengths and weaknesses of the way present day Canadian anarchism is "organized". First of all it does demonstrate that ad-hoc "word of mouth"- or in this case "word of website and email" can work in a restricted sense in that rather chaotic responses will happen across a country given common sentiment. In other words not everything has to be planned to the tiniest detail and networks do work.
What is missing,however, is the most effective response. If these sorts of things were organized in the real sense the planning would have begun shortly after the announcement of the 'Spirit Train' project. Given the usual argue, argue, argue, bitch, bitch bitch of leftist politics-that anarchism too often participates in- there would have been the requisite delay as everybody's feelings were assuaged, but even this delay would be nothing as compared to the "oh-shit, the train arrives in 2 days" wake up calls. There is also little doubt that a longer period of planning, such as could only be done by organizations rather than disconnected networks, would have paid good attention to the most obvious glaring deficiency of this campaign- the lack of outreach to the general public beyond the bodies at a demonstration and a few leaflets. Really , you can't depend upon the mass media to make your point for you.
But speaking about "argue,argue argue, bitch, bitch bitch", that's enough from me. If you live in Winnipeg and care about wasteful spending on spectacles try and show up tomorrow.

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