I am far from home here in Vancouver to learn more about the coming Winter Olympic Games in February. But I’m not checking out the luge run or investigating the slopes. I’m speaking with the people of Vancouver, many who range from angry to shell-shocked about what the Olympics are bringing to their bucolic city. There are serious and inspired protests being planned while the athletic festival is underway. That’s what happens when the myth of what the International Olympic Committee promises (economic largess) runs up against the reality (gentrification, displacement, budget cuts, police repression). On the cover of today’s local paper, for example, cheery news about the Games is on the top flap, while news of laying off 800 teachers is on the bottom. Other articles speak glowingly about the $472 million retractable roof stadium, while separately local officials bemoan the intractability of a $36 million budget shortfall for public schools. In Vancouver, they’re not going to smile and take a spoonful of snowboarding to help the neoliberal medicine go down.
For the first time in the history of the games, a full-scale "convergence" is being planned for the games. Bringing together a host of social justice issues, Vancouver residents have invited the world to be a part of their struggle.
Check out The Olympic Resistance Network, if you want to learn more.