Apologies to Monty Python and all the lumberjacks out there, but when I read about protesters at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver I was wondering why anyone would violently protest the Olympics? Surely there are more important things to protest: the Rise of the Leviathan State, the Loss of Individual Liberties, the Useless Bailouts, and the Crushing Burden of Higher Taxes.
I was wrong. The Olympic Resistance Network (ORN) has taken up the occasion to protest the taking of Salish lands by the Canadian government. Actually they have quite a sweeping and visionary agenda under the aegis of anti-Olympian oppression. According to the ORN:
We are working towards a global anti-capitalist and anti-colonial convergence against the Games from February 10th-15th 2010. We call on all anti-capitalist, Indigenous, housing rights, labour, migrant justice, environmental, anti-war, community-loving, anti-poverty, civil libertarian, and anti colonial activists to come together to confront this two-week circus and the oppression it represents.
Actually they do protest using government funds to support the Winter Olympics and that is a good point. But they don’t want to give the money back to the people; they wish to use it to help the poor.
Here is their call to arms (from their web site):
The Olympic Resistance Network (ORN) is based in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories and exists as a space to coordinate anti-2010 Olympics efforts. In doing so, we act in solidarity with other communities across the province – particularly Indigenous communities who have been defending their land even before the onslaught of the Olympics.
We look forward to working together across our experiences and movements, while sharing a common understanding including an anti-colonial and anti-capitalist analysis; respect for diversity of tactics and strategies; an anti-oppression understanding and solidarity with those most directly affected; and organizational philosophy based on decentralization within a coordinated and accountable structure. …
The ORN supports the international resolution passed by over 1500 Indigenous delegates at the Intercontinental Indigenous Peoples Gathering in Sonora, Mexico to “boycott the 2010 Olympic Games” based on Resolution #2 of the Gathering which states “We reject the 2010 Winter Olympics on sacred and stolen territory of Turtle Island–Vancouver, Canada”. Based on this call, our organizing as natives and non-natives alike is largely being done under the slogan of “No Olympics on Stolen Native Land”.
We hope to see you all in Feb 2010 to demonstrate our indignation and resistance!
I guess that’s why they didn’t get up to Iqaluit in Nunavut to protest the G-7. They were busy planning something much more important:
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Police in riot gear confronted more than 200 masked protesters who hurled newspaper boxes through display windows of a popular department store selling Olympic souvenirs.
Seven people were arrested after officers carrying clubs and shields quashed the downtown protest on the opening day of competition at the Vancouver Olympics. There were no immediate reports of injuries. …
Authorities said they were wary of masked anarchists who dress in black and use a tactic called “Black Block” to hide their identities. Among them was a loosely organized group from central Canada known to disrupt events that draw media coverage, police said. …
Central Canada must be a hotbed of anarchy.
It’s like a hippy time warp for me. I keep wondering who is still buying tie and dye shirts and peace symbols. At least in the ’60s the look was original. Maybe these are the kids or grandchildren of the ’60s protesters? ¿Quien sabe?
What really disappointed me about this group was their lack of cool protest posters. Here’s the best that I could find from their web site. Pretty cheesy:
Past protest movements had really cool posters. Here are some Vietnam era protest posters:
Now those can bring out the masses. The poster of the girls on the right shows Joan Baez.
Maybe they don’t have enough art majors up there.
Here is a quote from the ORN that I really liked as a classic non sequitur:
ORN spokeswoman Alissa Westergard-Thorpe said the ORN did not formally organize the event, although it supports the rights of groups to demonstrate. She called the police action “violent, aggressive and totally unnecessary.”
“These were minor acts of property damage,” she added. “These were not acts of violence toward people.”
Someone should give Alissa W-T something by Hume or Locke to see if she can clarify her thoughts on human rights a little better. On the other hand give it to someone who might be willing to think.