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 Bread Notes

* March 29, 2001 * One page


Bread Notes, an occasional publication from Bread Not Circuses in Toronto, Canada, is available by fax (call 416-410-2267 leave fax number) e-mail request from: jborowy@web.net or jon.alexander@radiolink.net.


Systems of Violence and the Olympic Industry: how are they linked?

Professor Helen Jefferson Lenskyj, University of Toronto,

Presentation, LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution, York University, speakers' series, May 26, 2001

Abstract

The presentation will expose the ways in which Sydney's hosting of the 2000 Olympic Games exacerbated existing social problems, particularly for groups that were already disadvantaged. Following feminist and antiracist analyses of institutions that are responsible for oppression and violence, I will aregue that the Olympic industry constitutes one such system.

Notes

The Olympic Industry

  • deconstruction of pseudoreligious Olympic rhetoric (spirit/family/movement/ideals)
  • it is not a religious experience, an extended family, a lifestyle
  • the Olympic industry is concerned with profit-making and the movement of global capital
  • Olympic sponsors = transnational corporations (e.g., Nike, Coca-Cola) with worst records of exploiting workers, communities, environments = sexist, classist, racist oppression

Olympics = urban redevelopment

  • citizens disenfranchised through fast-tracked development approvals, exemptions from full environmental impact assessment and community consulation, exemption form freedom of information provisions
  • serves developers' interests, penalizes low-income citizens, homeless people
  • urban beautification = "bourgeois playground"
  • Olympic sponsors = transnational corporations (e.g., Nike, Coca-Cola) with worst records of exploiting workers, communities, environments = sexist, classist, racist oppressio

How Olympic boosters groom the host city

  • pass legislation to increase police powers over public behaviour and peaceful protest
    (Note: an overview of the relevant legislation in Australia is available on this website here).
  • serves developers' interests, penalizes low-income citizens, homeless people
  • strengthen the Landlord Protection Act (a.k.a. "Tenant Protection Act") to help landlords maximize Olympic bonanzas
  • exploit the housing and homelessness crisis (promise to fix it by means of the Olympics)
  • attempt to shut down public debate and to control the mass media (e.g. Toronto Star, CBC)
  • Who suffers? Who benefit


Sydney 2000: what happened to disadvantaged populations?

  • criminalization of poverty
  • community groups' limited successes e.g. Homelessness Protocol
  • police treatment of homeless people: the public image vs. the reality
  • reconciliation between Black and White Australia through Sydney 2000: a myth of Olympic proportion

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Updated: March 29, 2001