An article from The Guardian on the 2012 London Olympics is titled “Will the Olympics get the economy growing again? Don’t bank on it.” It points out the academic research that shows (and showed back in 2008) that hosting mega-events is a stupid economic develpment plan. The article concludes
“Professor Stefan Szymanski, a specialist in the economics of sport at the University of Michigan, says the body of academic evidence shows “pretty conclusively” there are negligible economic benefits to hosting a major sporting event although it can be fantastic for a country’s morale. “Governments want to host these events because they are highly prestigious and hugely popular with the electorate,” says Szymanski. “If you tell me you’re going to have a party, that’s great – but if you tell me you’re going to have a party and get rich at the same time, then I’m not going to believe you.”
That’s pretty much how we called it in 2009.
A packed meeting of Counter Olympics activists agreed last night to march through Bow on Saturday 28 July in protest at the corporate takeover of the London 2012 Games. The protestors will defy an attempt by Transport for London to ban the demo.
The meeting, representing an alliance of 43 campaign groups (see below), plans to assemble at Mile End Park at 12 noon, march down Bow Road, up Fairfield Road (past the planned site of a ground-to-air missile), and down Roman Road, ending with a ‘People’s Games for All’ rally and festival at Wennington Green.
When activists met representatives of the Metropolitan Police, Tower Hamlets Council, and Transport for London on 9 July, TfL said they would not sanction a march along Bow Road, claiming it is part of the ‘Alternative Olympic Route Network’ (AORN).
The AORN network is an alternative route for use during the London 2012 Games if the main Olympic Route Network (ORN) should for any reason be blocked.
The Counter Olympics Network “is a network of groups and individuals who have come together to organise around the London 2012 Olympic Games. The Counter Olympics Network links people and organisations critical of some or many aspects of the 2012 Games. We also want to hold the organisers of the Olympic Games to account, to ensure the promises made to the local people impacted on by the Games are kept.
We ask questions like:
- How can local communities resist and respond to the impact of the Games, both in the short and long term?
- How can the assumptions behind who benefits from the Olympics be publicly challenged?
- How can the corporate profiteering inherent to the Olympics be exposed and challenged?
- How can we take the opportunity to add London voices to those from other cities around the world who have challenged the Olympics, and further a growing critical perspective?”
From The Red Pepper, a UK publication. “Resistance to the 2012 Olympics has been widespread and under-reported, starting with London’s bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to host the Games back in 2004. Protests are planned to continue through to after the sporting events finish, in order to challenge the ‘legacy’ of a corporate spectacle. Many of the campaigns have organised around local issues, but the range of tactics has been impressive and has often strengthened community organising on issues beyond the Games.”
Read the full story. Our hearts go out to our colleagues in the UK who fought so hard, for so long. You were right.