Friday, December 04, 2009

Molly has devoted a lot of time on this blog to covering various aspects of the protest movement against the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver/Whistler. Why ? Here, from the website of the No 2010 group are ten good reasons.
Why We Resist 2010:
Why We Resist
the 2010 Winter Olympics
The Olympics are not about the human spirit & have little to do with athletic excellence; they are a multi-billion dollar industry backed by powerful elites, real estate, construction, hotel, tourism and television corporations, working hand in hand with their partners in crime: government officials & members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
10 Reasons to Resist 2010
1. Colonialism & Fascism
The modern Olympics have a long history of racism, from its early founding members (i.e., Pierre de Coubertin, a French Baron who advocated sports as a means of strengthening colonialism) to recent IOC presidents. The 1936 Berlin Olympics empowered Hitler’s Nazi regime. Both the 1988 Seoul and 2008 Beijing Summer Games helped legitimize authoritarian regimes in Asia. The 1968 Mexico City Olympics (where over 300 student protesters were massacred by soldiers, days before the Olympics began) also helped legitimize state terror. IOC President Avery Brundage, an infamous US racist and Nazi sympathizer, didn’t even acknowledge the massacre. But when two Black US athletes raised their fists in a Black power salute on the medal podium, he had them immediately stripped of their medals and ejected from the Games! Another well-known fascist IOC president was Juan Antonio Samaranch (IOC president from 1980-2001), a former government official in Franco’s fascist regime in Spain.
2. No Olympics on Stolen Land
BC remains largely unceded and non-surrendered Indigenous territories. According to Canadian law, BC has neither the legal nor moral right to exist, let alone claim land and govern over Native peoples. Despite this, and a fraudulent treaty process now underway, the government continues to sell, lease and ‘develop’ Native land for the benefit of corporations, including mining, logging, oil & gas, and ski resorts. Meanwhile, Indigenous peoples suffer the highest rates of poverty, unemployment, imprisonment, police violence, disease, suicides, etc.
3. Ecological Destruction
Despite claims to be the “greenest Olympics” ever, and PR statements about ‘sustainability’, the 2010 Olympics will be among the most environmentally destructive in history, with tens of thousands of trees cut down & mountainsides blasted for Olympic venues in the Callaghan Valley (near Whistler) & the Sea-to-Sky Highway expansion. In the summer of 2007, a record number of black bears were hit on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, with at least 11 dying (attributed to loss of habitat). Massive amounts of concrete used in construction have also caused millions of Salmon to die in the Fraser River, where tons of gravel are being mined to make concrete.
4. Homelessness
Since winning the 2010 Winter Games in 2003, Vancouver has lost over 850 units of low-income housing; during the same period, homelessness has increased from 1,000 to over 2,500. It is estimated by 2010, the number of homeless may be as high as 6,000. Since the 1980s, Olympic Games have caused the displacement of over 2 million people (Fair Play for Housing Rights report, 2007). In Seoul 1988, some 750,000 poor were displaced, in Atlanta 1996, over 30,000, and for Beijing in 2008, an estimated 1.5 million have been displaced. Yet still today Olympic officials talk about ‘sustainability’ and ‘Olympic legacies’!
5. Criminalization of the Poor
To ‘clean out’ the poor and undesirables, Olympic host cities routinely begin a campaign to criminalize the poor. In Vancouver, the city has launched Project Civil City and new by-laws to criminalize begging for money, sleeping outdoors, etc. It has also included hundreds of thousands of dollars for increased private security (i.e., the Downtown Ambassadors). New garbage canisters on streets make it more difficult for the poor to gather recyclables, and new benches make it impossible to lay down. These measures fit with government plans to remove poor downtown residents to mental institutions, “detox centers” on former military bases, and the ‘fly-back’ scheme by police to return persons wanted on warrants in other provinces. This is nothing less than a process of social cleansing!
6. Impact on Women
Events such as the Olympics draw hundreds of thousands of spectators and cause large increases in prostitution and trafficking of women. In Vancouver, over 68 women are missing and/or murdered. Many were Native, and many were reportedly involved in the sex trade. In 2007, the trial of William Pickton occurred for six of these murders, and he is to be tried for an additional 20 more. In northern BC, over 30 young women, mostly Native, are missing and/or murdered along Highway 16. The 2010 Olympics and its invasion of tourists and corporations will only increase this violence against women.
7. 2010 Police State
Some 12,500 police, military and security personnel are to be deployed for 2010, including Emergency Response Teams, riot cops, helicopters, armoured vehicles, etc. The RCMP plan on erecting 40 km of crowd-control fencing along with CCTV video surveillance cameras. Special security zones will be established to control entry near Olympic venues. For 3 weeks, Vancouver will be an occupied Police State! And once the Olympics are over, there is no guarantee many of these security measures will not remain (i.e., CCTV).Repression also involves attacks on anti-Olympic groups & individuals, including arrests of protesters, raids of offices, surveillance, media smear campaigns, cuts to funding programs, etc., all in an effort to undermine anti-2010 resistance. This repression has already been used against anti-poverty & housing groups, environmentalists and Natives, in Vancouver.
8. Public Debt
VANOC and government officials claim the 2010 Games will cost some $2 billion. However, this amount doesn’t include the Sea-to-Sky Highway expansion, the Canada Line Skytrain to the airport, the Vancouver Convention Center, or the lower mainland Gateway Project. Including these costs, since they were necessary to win the bid and had to be completed by 2010, makes the true cost of the Games some $6 billion, which must be paid for through public debt, money that could’ve been spent on social services, housing, drug treatment, healthcare, etc.
9. Olympic Corruption
The modern Olympics are well known for their corruption, including both top IOC officials involved in bribery scandals (i.e. Salt Lake City 2002) or athletes found to be using performance-enhancing drugs (such as steroids). Yet the IOC still claims the youth need an inspiration and a “model” of good sportsmanship! Despite published reports of bribery scandals involving IOC members and host cities (i.e., The New Lords of the Rings, by Andrew Jennings), the Olympics continue to be seen as an honorable & noble enterprise, thanks to the corporate media.
10. Corporate Invasion
Government’s and business use the Olympics as a means to attract corporate investment. In BC, the Liberal government has ‘streamlined’ application processes, cut taxes, and offered other incentives to increase certain industries such as mining, oil & gas drilling, and ski resorts. This includes large increases in transport systems, including new ports, bridges, expanded highways & rail-lines. This is all part of their Investment to 2010 Strategy. The results have been dramatic, record-breaking increases in these industries, resulting in greater environmental destruction and more corporate power & influence over our daily lives.

Many of the main corporate sponsors of the Olympics are themselves responsible for massive ecological destruction and human rights violations, including McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Petro-Canada, TransCanada, Dow, Teck Cominco, etc., while others are major arms manufacturers (General Electric & General Motors).
“What causes opponents to come of their own accord is the prospect of gain. What discourages opponents from coming is the prospect of harm.”Sun Tzu, The Art of War
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