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Published on March 6th, 2012 | by Ernesto Sanchez
Image © [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="566" caption="© ser_is_snarkish"][/caption] In some circles declaring ones opposition to the upcoming Olympics is akin to proudly announcing ones racism – wine is spat back into glasses and canapés are chocked on as the host begins to wonder why the hell he keeps inviting you to these parties. The phrase spoil-sport is whispered around the room but is perhaps the most ill-used expression for this occasion because it is not the sport that is objectionable. The sport, however will only last for a matter of weeks before the Olympic juggernaut rolls off to assail some other unfortunate city. The lasting effect of the Olympics will be the scars left on communities that have been torn apart due to the ‘redevelopment’ of the areas where the Games are based. The Olympics have previous here, and whilst it might be easy to dismiss the one and quarter of a million people who were displaced to make way for the Beijing games on the grounds that China is not a democracy, the figures for the ‘civilised world’ are no less disturbing. Hundreds were forced out of Barcelona in 1992 not to mention the thirty thousand residents who were displaced from Atlanta due to ‘Olympics related gentrification . Those able to stay will face higher rents and an invasion of yuppies keen to take advantage of neighbourhoods which have been sufficiently cleansed of the working classes. Those who might wish to make their objections to the Olympics public will find it difficult to do so, the Olympics Act passed by parliament gives the police powers to raid the houses of people who display ‘anti 2012’ posters in their front windows or as the Act puts it ‘non-commercial advertising’. Anyone wishing to make a more traditional protest will have to contend with the 7,500 members of the armed forces acting as security guards as well the 5000 operating as back up for the Metropolitan Police. Local businesses will also find it hard to cash in on the event as the Olympic Act places severe restrictions on ‘non sponsors’ – those who haven’t paid thousands of pounds for the right to use phrases like 'Olympics' or 'the Games'. In fact, there are also restrictions on words such as Gold, Silver, Bronze, London and even Summer. Local businesses currently operating in Stratford now have to compete with the largest urban shopping centre in Europe situated next to the Olympic park. It has been suggested to me that I am focussing entirely on the negatives and ignoring the positives of job creation and local trade but I cannot help thinking that the billions of taxpayers’ money should have been channelled into these areas regardless of sport. The Olympics will certainly redevelop parts of the capital but not for those who live there now and this is why the Games are needed – it is nothing less than cover for a state-subsidy for big business and bourgeois home owners who fancy branching out from Clapham and Croydon. Come the summer the big screens will go up the flags will be unfurled and the crowds will gather. The ‘feel-good factor’ will sweep through London, the Olympics Committee will declare this ‘The best Games ever’ and politicians will talk about ‘a city transformed’. But perhaps a slightly amended old adage will provide a truer picture ‘The rich get richer, and the poor get sport’.

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The rich get richer, the poor get sport

© ser_is_snarkish

In some circles declaring ones opposition to the upcoming Olympics is akin to proudly announcing ones racism – wine is spat back into glasses and canapés are chocked on as the host begins to wonder why the hell he keeps inviting you to these parties.

The phrase spoil-sport is whispered around the room but is perhaps the most ill-used expression for this occasion because it is not the sport that is objectionable. The sport, however will only last for a matter of weeks before the Olympic juggernaut rolls off to assail some other unfortunate city.

The lasting effect of the Olympics will be the scars left on communities that have been torn apart due to the ‘redevelopment’ of the areas where the Games are based. The Olympics have previous here, and whilst it might be easy to dismiss the one and quarter of a million people who were displaced to make way for the Beijing games on the grounds that China is not a democracy, the figures for the ‘civilised world’ are no less disturbing.

Hundreds were forced out of Barcelona in 1992 not to mention the thirty thousand residents who were displaced from Atlanta due to ‘Olympics related gentrification . Those able to stay will face higher rents and an invasion of yuppies keen to take advantage of neighbourhoods which have been sufficiently cleansed of the working classes.

Those who might wish to make their objections to the Olympics public will find it difficult to do so, the Olympics Act passed by parliament gives the police powers to raid the houses of people who display ‘anti 2012’ posters in their front windows or as the Act puts it ‘non-commercial advertising’. Anyone wishing to make a more traditional protest will have to contend with the 7,500 members of the armed forces acting as security guards as well the 5000 operating as back up for the Metropolitan Police.

Local businesses will also find it hard to cash in on the event as the Olympic Act places severe restrictions on ‘non sponsors’ – those who haven’t paid thousands of pounds for the right to use phrases like ‘Olympics’ or ‘the Games’. In fact, there are also restrictions on words such as Gold, Silver, Bronze, London and even Summer. Local businesses currently operating in Stratford now have to compete with the largest urban shopping centre in Europe situated next to the Olympic park.

It has been suggested to me that I am focussing entirely on the negatives and ignoring the positives of job creation and local trade but I cannot help thinking that the billions of taxpayers’ money should have been channelled into these areas regardless of sport. The Olympics will certainly redevelop parts of the capital but not for those who live there now and this is why the Games are needed – it is nothing less than cover for a state-subsidy for big business and bourgeois home owners who fancy branching out from Clapham and Croydon.

Come the summer the big screens will go up the flags will be unfurled and the crowds will gather. The ‘feel-good factor’ will sweep through London, the Olympics Committee will declare this ‘The best Games ever’ and politicians will talk about ‘a city transformed’. But perhaps a slightly amended old adage will provide a truer picture ‘The rich get richer, and the poor get sport’.

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