Olympism is more about
profiteering, exploitation, and cynicism than sport.
Helen Jefferson Lenskyj knows it well. More on her writings below.
For over a century, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) hypocritically
advanced notions of peace, unity, friendship, and sport the way it's
meant to be.
The Olympic Movement's Charter states:
The IOC's mission "is to promote Olympism throughout the world and to
lead the Olympic Movement."
It's "to encourage and support the organisation, development and coordination
and sports competitions."
It's "to oppose any political or commercial abuse of sport and athletes."
Overall, the Charter features a high-minded laundry list concealing
Olympism reality. Truth and full disclosure belie deceptive hyperbole.
Lenskyj is a University of Toronto Professor of Sociology. She's studied
Olympism for years. Her book "Inside the Olympic Industry: Power, Politics
and Activism" exposes its dark side, exploitive culture, disturbing
corruption, hidden costs, and complicity of major media scoundrels.
Far from promoting good will, open competition, and fair play, Olympism's
more about profiteering, marginalizing the poor, other disenfranchised
groups, affected communities, sticking taxpayers with the bill, and
providing nothing in return but hype and the illusion of amateur international
sport at its best.
Resistance challenges the narrative. Activists expose its dark side.
So does Lenskyj. "Olympic construction and preparations," she says,
take "a heavy toll on already disadvantaged populations."
Thousands are evicted and displaced "to make way for Olympic accommodation."
Disadvantaged residents are left high and dry. Cozy relationships among
government officials, corporate sponsors, universities, and IOC bosses
facilitate exploiting communities, people, and athletes for power and
profit. Most of all "the bottom of the food chain" loses out.
Behind public friendliness and high-minded hyperbole lie profiteers,
political intrigue, corruption, disregard for public needs and rights,
exploitative practices, and scandalous wheeling, dealing, collusion,
and bribery that turns sport into a commercial grab bag free-for-all.
Lenskyj's "Olympic Industry Resistance: Challenging Olympic Power and
Propaganda" tells more. She explains uncritical scoundrel media coverage,
especially the unprincipled bidding process, host city preparations,
and promotional materials concealing Olympism reality.
Fundamental rights and freedoms are denied to ready venues for scheduled
events. Protests are criminalized. Repressive tactics are used. Abuse
is commonplace and extreme. So is out-of-control corruption, exploitation,
Corporate propaganda is exposed. So are educational materials designed
to indoctrinate kids into the "Olympic family." It's to secure ready
future audiences. Children are even used in promotional materials as
good will bidding and hosting ambassadors. Power brokers spare nothing
for self-aggradizement and big bucks.
Olympism is big business. The London summer games is billed as perhaps
the city's biggest ever spectacle. It's expected to gross about 10 billion
pounds (about $16 billion dollars). Tourists are expected to spend another
$3 billion or more.
Security will cost over $2 billion. Total costs will top $30 billion.
Brits, of course, will pay the tab. They get the bill, not the profits.
This in a city with nearly one-fourth of the population impoverished.
In some areas, child poverty approaches 50%. Conditions are getting
worse, not better.
Homelessness is increasing. Kids are starving on streets. They'll be
swept out of sight before the games begin. Elitism, luxury, and over-indulgence
will be featured.
Protests will be dealt with harshly. Suppressing them is prioritized.
Encampment-type ones close to venues are banned. Forcible removals are
planned. Power brokers and profiteers demand it. So do media scoundrels
wanting viewers to see illusions, not reality.
Billions have been spent constructing venues, an 80,000 seat stadium,
infrastructure, luxury hotels, other accommodations, Olympic Park, acquiring
land, and more. Nothing's spared except people needs neglected to create
London's biggest ever extravaganza.
Ordinary Londoners won't be celebrating. For them, bad news got worse.
Public safety will be jeopardized. Olympic Park will be militarized.
High Velocity Missiles will be installed.
Doing so is part of a massive security force mobilization for Olympic
profiteers. Over 13,000 military troops will be deployed. Another 12,000
police will join them. Capital gets special privileges. Ordinary people
pay the price and suffer.
Before and during the games, police state authority will run things.
"Total Policing" will be enforced. Nothing is spared for rich folks
at the expense of ordinary Londoners.
English investigative journalist Andrew Jennings also knows Olympism
truths. He reports on what power brokers want concealed. He says he's
"been chasing bad men around the world for more than three decades."
He exposed former IOC president (1980 - 2001) Juan Antonio Samaranch
as "an unrepentant jack-booting, right-arm waving Franco fascist." His
International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) corruption exposes
got him banished from president Sepp Blatter press conferences.
Sports Illustrated called his book "The Lords of the Rings: Power, Money,
and Drugs in the modern Olympics:" (published in America as "Dishonest
Games") one of the top sports books ever written. His sequel titled,
"New Lords of the Rings" discusses "Olympic Corruption & How to
Buy Gold Medals."
His others include "The Great Olympic Swindle." It exposes the Olympic/organized
crime connection, and how IOC bosses scammed people into believing corrupt
practices were reformed.
It also revealed secret documents showing the organization spent $2
million on PR propaganda and hype to portray a favorable image. Lipstick
on this pig doesn't wash.
He's written about how IOC officials demand bidding cities provide everything
from first-class plane tickets to luxury accommodations and prostitutes.
His accounts are lurid and real. He's called IOC's most vocal critic.
Approaching age 70, he'll be missed when gone.
A January 2012 Play Fair Campaign (PFC) report called "Toying with Worker
Rights" discusses sweatshop labor used to produce Olympic sponsor products.
"Olympic and Paralympic Merchandise is big business," it explains. What's
good news for corporate profiteers and IOC officials is bad for exploited
Lord Coe, chairman of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic
Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), called the games "a powerful lever
of change, improving lives across the world." He wants London to leave
"a blueprint for inspiring positive social, economic and environmental
Hyperbole belies his practices. PFC research show little done to curb
"systematic exploitation of workers in the promotional goods industry."
Only profits matter, not worker rights or ethics.
Wage slaves work obligatory long hours, at times on 24-hour shifts.
In violation of Chinese labor law, children under age 16 are employed
abusively like adults. Factory conditions are deplorable. Unions are
prohibited. Worker rights are denied. Anyone complaining is fined or
LOCOG's done little to address exploitive practices. It relies on fraudulent
audits. They sanitize what needs exposure, condemnation, and change.
"Our research found that workers are coached, threatened, and even bribed
to mislead auditors. One worker (said) many are afraid they would be
sacked if they unveiled the truth."
Ethical lip service belies commonplace abusive exploitation. PFC operates
as "a worldwide alliance of trade unions, women's rights groups, human
rights activist groups, consumer organizations, and workers."
It demands Olympic officials "ensure lofty Olympic principles of fairness
and respect (to) workers producing goods for the Olympic family." Research
shows IOC fails on all counts.
According to Clean Clothes Campaign representative Dominique Muller:
"A clear steer from International Olympic representatives needs to be
given to all future games hosts, that Olympic exploitation is not acceptable.
The IOC so far has been resisting any moves towards creating and monitoring
fairer conditions for workers this must end."
Failure to effectively address these and other abuses exposes LOCOG
complicity. All IOC host cities share guilt.
On July 27, when London Games begin, remember the dark side and tune
them out. Even athletes and patriotism are exploited for a buck.
What you see isn't what you get. Illusion substitutes for reality. IOC
hypocrisy, corporate profiteering, political corruption, and scoundrel
media complicity are on display.
The best of what amateur athletics should be is absent. Walk away from
what no one should support. Maybe one day legitimate games will replace
Maybe enough empty seats, poor TV ratings, and red ink will assure it.
For sports lovers, it's worth waiting for.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
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