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(en) Canada, Common Action anarchist INTERSECTIONS, Vol. 2, Issue 1 - Disqualifying the 2010 Olympics By Lambert

Date Thu, 04 Mar 2010 09:23:41 +0200


This winter, Vancouver, B.C. will host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, an apparent celebration of international friendship, harmony, and fair play in our own backyard. But, contrary to the hype, the Olympics are a multi-billion dollar industry that has more to do with making money for real estate developers and tourist industries than the rosy picture of peace between nations through sports. This field day for the rich is at the expense of working class and poor people, indigenous communities, immigrants, and the environment. In response, a resistance movement has formed in B.C., calling for an anti-2010 convergence February 10th - 15th in Vancouver. ---- Unlike previous mass protest mobilizations, the 2010 Olympics resistance is unique in that it centers an anti-colonial, indigenous politics.

"No Olympics on Stolen Native Land" is the slogan, inspired by a resolution at the 2007 Intercontinental Indigenous Peoples Gathering in Sonora, Mexico, of over 1500 indigenous delegates who resolved to boycott the 2010 Olympics on "sacred and stolen territory of Turtle Island–Vancouver." The whole British Columbia province is unceded territory, meaning it has no legitimate right to exist. No treaties were ever signed between First Nations people and the Canadian government. Yet the government is using the Olympics as a means to sell, lease, and develop indigenous lands for ski resorts, hotels, and game venues. Meanwhile indigenous people experience the highest rates of poverty, incarceration, violence, and suicide in Canada.

Since the Olympic bid in Vancouver was awarded, over 850 units of low-income housing have been lost and homelessness has tripled - all to make way for million-dollar condos and Olympic venues. The Vancouver government is criminalizing poor people through numerous laws prohibiting panhandling, sleeping outside, and street vending. The 2010 games, like past Olympics, will also lead to increased prostitution, trafficking in women, and gender violence.

The BC government has used the Olympics to attract corporate investment in the region, cutting taxes and restrictions to allow for a massive expansion in oil and gas drilling, mining, and real estate. These private profits are being publicly subsidized by the Vancouver government, which is expected to go in debt $6 billion for the Olympics. This is money that could have been spent on social services, affordable housing, and public health.

While these Olympics are being touted as the "greenest Olympics ever," they have actually been an ecological catastrophe. Forests have been clear cut and mountains blasted in order to build new ski-resorts and Olympic venues and to expand the infamous Ski to Sky highway. Additionally, gravel mining for concrete needed for new highways and buildings has contaminated the Frasier River, killing millions of salmon.

The Olympics will turn Vancouver into a virtual police state, through a billion dollar security budget and the deployment of at least 16,500 police, military, and security personnel. Video surveillance cameras will be installed along with 25 miles of crowd control fencing. Repression against anti-Olympics groups and individuals has already begun with arrests, surveillance, and office raids. Vancouver's City Council enhanced bylaws restricting posters, signs, leaflets, marches, noisemakers, and any potential "disturbance to Olympic entertainment." Olympic resistance activists Gord Hill and Marla Renn were recently denied entry into the US and told they would never be allowed to enter the US again, because of the anti-Olympics materials they had with them, after attempting to come to the Seattle Anarchist Bookfair.

The Olympics Resistance Network is a coalition of indigenous, economic justice, immigrant rights, housing, environmental, civil liberty, and anti-war groups in B.C. You can support the Olympics resistance by fundraising, raising awareness, and organizing people in your community to attend the Vancouver anti-2010 Olympics convergence. While protests will not stop the 2010 Games from happening, the eyes of people around the world will be on Vancouver this winter, and a large organized resistance is necessary to expose the Olympics industry’s true impact and purpose, voice our dissent to the world, and strengthen solidarity between international social movements.

Resources: No2010.com

OlympicResistance.net http://www.olympicresistance.net/
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