Fuck the Olympics. Fuck them so much. They are bringing nothing but exploitation and suppression to this city and country.
Some recent links:
UK police raid homes of retired graffiti artists
“Some of the people who were arrested had stopped painting graffiti without prior permission over a decade ago, and now paint commissioned artwork for corporate clients, while others haven’t touched a spray can at all in many years. … After being briefly questioned about these seemingly irrelevant matters, they were told that they were to be bailed until November on the condition that they did not use any form of railway in London (overground, tube or tram), carry spray paint (or other graffiti tools, presumably) at any time, or travel within a mile of any Olympic area. That includes the Olympic Park, the ExCel center and other Earls Court locations, Greenwich park, Hampton Court Palace, Hyde Park, Lord’s Cricket Ground, North Greenwich Arena, The Mall, The Royal Artillery Barracks, Wembley Arena, Wembley Stadium, Wimbledon and a host of out-of-London locations.”
That’s a lot of London they’ve been barred from, not to mention the transport restrictions. All because, in the past, they sprayed graffiti. And these restrictions are totally legal and fine and… what the fuck is wrong with this picture?
Ten to a room and one shower for 75 people: Inside the ‘slum’ camp for Olympic cleaners
“Cleaners at the Olympic Park are being housed ten to a room at a huge temporary compound. The campsite in East London, hidden from public view, has 25 people sharing each toilet and 75 to each shower. They sleep in portable cabins, some of which have been leaking in the rain. … On arrival, some were horrified to be told there was no work for two weeks. But despite this, they were made to pay the cleaning company £18 a day in ‘rent’ to sleep in the overcrowded metal cabins, which works out at more than £550 a month.”
I don’t normally link to the Daily Fail, but… fuck. The link has a picture. It’s fucking awful. Just a data point: I don’t pay much more than £550 a month. Needless to say, my flat is decently sized, does not leak, has a shower and toilet shared between just 2-3 of us, and my rent includes bills and internet and council tax. (Also, I could pay less than that and still live in a very comfortable conditions.)
Britain flooded with ‘brand police’ to protect sponsors
“Almost 300 enforcement officers will be seen across the country checking firms to ensure they are not staging “ambush marketing” or illegally associating themselves with the Games at the expense of official sponsors such as Adidas, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and BP. … Olympics organisers have warned businesses that during London 2012 their advertising should not include a list of banned words, including “gold”, “silver” and “bronze”, “summer”, “sponsors” and “London”, if they give the impression of a formal connection to the Olympics. … At the 40 Olympics venues, 800 retailers have been banned from serving chips to avoid infringing fast-food rights secured by McDonald’s.”
Seriously, read this article, it is like some kind of near-future SF satirising the Olympics except that it’s not satire.
A bit more ridiculousness around the corporate branding involves our famous Boris Bikes, the rent-a-bike system in central London. Well, it’s sponsored by Barclays, who are not sponsoring the Olympics, so you can’t ride your Boris Bike into the Olympics areas.
Hmm, what else? Oh yes, you’re not allowed to wear protest t-shirts anywhere near the Olympics sites. Even if it’s got nothing to do with the Olympics. Also if you wear branded clothing that’s not a sponsor’s brand, you will be charged with commiting a criminal offence.
I also saw someone say on Twitter that even if the Olympics makes a profit (it won’t), the rules of the organisation mean the money can only be put into sport, not schools or health or anything like that. Meanwhile, in some news articles I’ve edited at work I’ve seen reports that a high percentage of businesses think they will make losses during the Olympics. Then there’s all the contracts during the construction and commercial phases of development that have gone to overseas companies.
Let’s look at the police. The Official Protestors did a site visit recently, where they learnt this about Westfield (the main Olympic site):
“One little nugget that they let drop however was that there is in fact a Westfield Police Force, with its own Westfield Police Station on site. Westfield pay the Metropolitan police to provide officers on the ground to police their land. This is private land where the usual laws for protest do not apply being policed by Police Officers who are paid for by a multinational corporation. I’m sure there’s no chance of a conflict of interest there at all.”
That’s not terrifying at all.
I also read that the costs of the Olympics are exempt from Freedom of Information requests (ie the public can’t find out about the costs of this farce), but I can’t find confirmation of that.
Remind me how this is meant to benefit London and the UK?
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Aliens: Recent Encounters
I'm the editor of Aliens: Recent Encounters, a reprint anthology of science fiction stories, coming in June 2013 from Prime Books.
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