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Want to cleanse your city of its poor? Host the Olympics

Ceasefire Magazine, 12 April 2012

Hosting the Olympics is often presented to us as an ideologically neutral opportunity to boost tourism and sports. In a thought-provoking piece Ceasefire Magazine’s Ashok Kumar outlines a clear and consistent, yet barely noticed, pattern of the Games being used to fundamentally restructure the host City to the purposeful exclusion of its working class and ethnic minority residents.

As London prepares to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, startlingly little critique has surfaced in the mainstream press. With the exception of the trivial issue of ticket prices, most of the city remains transfixed, internalising the dominant narrative. This process precedes each Olympic games, one that is written and distributed by and for the real Olympic profiteers; a nexus of powerful interests that sees both short and long term gains in each host city.

This highly profitable, publicly subsidised, sporting event always attracts the major, and wannabe major, cities of the world, using any and all methods to entice an unaccountable Olympic committee, each flexing their political muscle to ensure theirs is the next chosen location. The Olympics take billions of pounds, yen, dollars of their host countries’ tax revenue to build magnificent stadiums and housing facilities, militarise the citytrample civil liberties and construct elaborate installations with shelf lives of a few weeks.

London 2012, originally expected to cost £2.4bn, is now projected at £24bn, with contracts going to some of the world’s most egregious employers and global human rights violators. Some on the left have been critical of the massive transfer from public to private at a time of austerity. The London overspend has been portrayed by officials as a one-off, but a glance at the history of the Olympics shows that underestimating the cost is a consistent part of the Olympic experience.

Read the full article

Filed under: housing, Olympic legacy, public space, the problem with the Olympics

BP or not BP? The debut performance of the Reclaim Shakespeare Company

On April 23rd 2012 – Shakespeare’s birthday and the launch of the World Shakespeare Festival – a group of merry players known as the “Reclaim Shakespeare Company” took unexpectedly to the stage in Stratford-upon-Avon, just before a Royal Shakespeare Company performance of The Tempest. This piece of guerilla Shakespeare aimed to challenge the RSC over its decision to accept sponsorship from BP in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster and the oil company’s decision to start extracting highly polluting and destructive tar sands in Canada. Find out more here:
http://bp-or-not-bp.org/news/protesters-take-to-the-stage-at-rsc-over-bp-spon…

Filmed by Zoe Broughton

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Here’s the script in full:

What country, friends, is this?

Where the words of our most prized poet

Can be bought to beautify a patron

So unnatural as British Petroleum?

Strange association!

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: campaigns, corporate gain, environment, the problem with the Olympics

Vote for the Greenwash Gold 2012!

http://www.greenwashgold.org

Which dodgy company most deserves the Greenwash Gold medal in 2012? Who is covering up the most environmental destruction and devastating the most communities while pretending to be a good corporate citizen by sponsoring the Olympic games?

With so many controversial companies providing sponsorship, it’s a pretty tough call to make, but we’ve shortlisted three and we’re enlisting your help to choose who gets the dishonour.

Watch the three short animations on Dow, BP and Rio Tinto and cast your vote as to who you think should receive the Greenwash Gold Medal.

Tell your friends on Facebook and Twitter who you voted for and why.

During the Olympics, we’ll announce the winner and award Gold, Silver and Bronze medals to the three companies.

Filed under: campaigns, corporate gain

Whose City? UCL, Stratford & the Olympics

Public meeting, 6.30pm-8.30pm, Thurs 26th April
* University College London, Room D103, 25 Gordon Street *
* All welcome *

UCL is involved in plans to demolish a housing estate next to the Olympic Park to make way for a new campus. The local community are fighting back – but residents have been barred from meetings by private security guards. Both UCL students & staff and residents from Carpenters Estate in Stratford have had little say in the planning process and the provisions made for those who will lose their homes. Come along for a short film, hear from the residents who’ll be effected by these the changes. This event is a chance for students, staff and residents to meet and discuss the University’s plan – and what we should do about them.

Called by UCL Union, and supported by Carpenters Against Regeneration Plans (CARP), UCL Anti-Cuts and Bloomsbury Fightback

Filed under: events

After Bishopsgate….

Following its first event on 28th January at Toynbee Hall CounterOlympics held a very successful discussion at the Bishopsgate Institute on 14th April about the kinds of actions it and other groups could organise in the months up to and during the Olympic Games. During the event the Vancouver Poverty Olympics Torch was handed over to London after an earlier visit to the site of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Thanks to some excellent facilitation we agreed to announce a date, Saturday 28th July, for a major action. We will be holding a follow up meeting to prepare for this and other events on Saturday 19th May, venue to be announced.

We hope that corporate campaigns and local groups, as well as interested individuals, will be able to attend in order to ensure a broad based protest.

Far from being inclusive the London Olympics promote corporate privilege, divert resources away from grassroots sport and marginalise local people. In this they mirror the growing inequality in our society at a time when the government is shifting the blame for the present economic crisis from the banks and property speculators who caused it onto the backs of the poorest and most vulnerable, while undermining or demolishing public services.

The London Olympics are being used to sanitise brands like BP, Dow, Cisco, Adidas, Atos, Rio Tinto, Coca Cola, Mcdonalds and others, companies accused of causing environmental destruction, persecuting and even murdering trade unionists and of appalling labour practices. We find Adidas, the makers of the British Team’s kit, is accused of using sweatshop labour in their manufacture. Far from upholding ethical standards the IOC and LOCOG defend and justify their corporate sponsors.

London 2012 has involved constant lying, from describing the Lower Lea Valley as an ‘urban desert’ to claiming ‘legacies’ where there are none and continuing to insist the Games are ‘within budget’, when the cost is now possibly as high as £24billion, ten times the original £2.4billion. Land has been seized contrary to planning laws, as at Leyton Marsh, yet it is protesters who are locked up not those breaking these laws.

On the one hand the authorities proclaim the right of people to protest while on the other they insist everyone should get behind the Games. Extraordinary measures are being taken and enormous sums are being spent to ‘secure’ these Games, a legacy of control and paranoia for the future. Far from gaining national support it is plain there is widespread opposition to the Games and what they stand for. We should hold the authorities to their word. Protest is legal and just because protests occur at the same time as the Olympics does not alter that fact.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Vancouver Poverty Olympic torch comes to London

Vancouver Poverty Olympic torch comes to London

Filed under: campaigns


Whose Games? Whose City?

NO LIMOS! NO LOGOS! NO LAUNCHERS!


12 noon, Saturday 28 July
Assemble Mile End Park, East London.

March to Wennington Green for People's Games for All (PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF FINAL DESTINATION)

A family-friendly protest. More details and press release

@counterOlympics twitter action

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London Takes Gold

A struggle to survive: dedicated to Leyton Marsh

LONDON OLYMPICS Lost Opportunities

Olympics: This Is Not A War Zone

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Solidarity T-shirts! Sold in support of the Save Leyton Marsh Campaign. Different colours and sizes. Contact us if you would like some/one.

From the Anti-Olympics poster competition!

Don’t Buy It, by Regime

‘Out damn logo!’ The Reclaim Shakespeare Company