RE: 2010 'Welcoming' Committee Call out

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Passing along info for those who take issue with the Games

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‘Welcome’ the 2010 Olympic Torch with Free Games, Free Speech and Free Food.

*  Friday, February 12, 2010, 3pm 
* Vancouver Art Gallery
(Georgia Street, between Howe and Hornby) 

Join us in a public festival at the Vancouver Art Gallery at 3pm followed by a parade to protest the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Olympics at BC Place Stadium.  As the Winter Games begin, we will show the world the negative impacts of the Olympic industry and celebrate our communities with our own games and entertainment. 

* The 2010 Welcoming Committee supports the participation of parents and caregivers. Childcare arrangements and registration at: 2010welcoming.wordpress.com/ details 

While City and Olympic officials try to turn our city into a sanitized corporate image, we experience:

*  Increasing homelessness, poverty, illegal evictions and rent increases,
*  Union-busting and public services cutbacks with a $6 billion Olympic budget,
*  Threats to civil liberties and crackdowns on visible poverty,
*  At least 15,000 police, soldiers, spies and security forces and public video monitoring,
*  Corporate sponsors engaged in arms manufacturing, human rights abuses, and the environmentally destructive Alberta Tar Sands,
*  Exploitation of unceded Indigenous land and resources,
*  Major environmental damage to build the ‘Green Games,’ and more
...Public space has been turned over to the Games but the community has fought back and preserved our rights to protest.  Now is your chance to Stand Up, Be Counted and Take Back Our City!

Organized by the 2010 Welcoming Committee: community groups, service providers, activists and educators united by a social justice critique of the Games. 

Contact: 2010welcoming@resist.ca 

Visit:  2010welcoming.wordpress.com

The 2010 Welcoming Committee is endorsed by:

Alliance for Public Health, Bus Riders Union, 2010 Watch, Anti-Poverty Committee, Bridgeview Community Action Group, Building Bridges Human Rights - Vancouver, Citywide Housing Coalition, Colour Connected Against Racism – UBC, Co-op Radio Bull and Awaaz, Co-op Radio The Rational, Delta/Richmond Council of Canadians, East Van Abolitionists, Food not Bombs - Vancouver, GatewaySucks.org, Impact of the Olympics on Communities Coalition, Indigenous Action Movement, Industrial Workers of the World, Justicia 4 Migrant Workers, Latin America Connexions Collective, No 2010 Victoria, No One Is Illegal - Vancouver, Olympic Resistance Network, Pink Resistance, Poverty Olympics, SFU Teaching Support Staff Union Social Justice Committee, Siraat Collective, Social Justice Centre - UBC, Solidarity Notes Labour Choir, StopWar.ca, Streams of Justice, Student Christian Movement - UBC, subMedia, UBC Network of Sri Lankan Law Students, VAN.ACT!, Vancouver Status of Women, Warrior Publications, West End Wild Animal Alliance, and Work Less Party.  

Facebook group:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=101455116743

Posters here:
www.seancoxtattoo.com/takeback_poster11x17.pdf

and here:
http://www.seancoxtattoo.com/takeback_poster8x10.pdf

A free speech! Wow!

I can't support any movement that includes those that want to abolish East Van.

. E
VAN
. S
. T

Rules

hey i have an intresting idea. how about the "welcoming" committee actually "welcomes" people. huh, huh??

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around how there's been thousands and thousands of people
lining the torch relay route cheering it on, yet there's been an incredibly few number of people
protesting.

I thought half of Canada didn't want the games.

Must be the biased media. There's no way massive protests associated with the olympics would
make good ratings, so they've not been showing the thousands and thousands of protestors.

"I'm still trying to wrap my mind around how there's been thousands and thousands of people
lining the torch relay route cheering it on, yet there's been an incredibly few number of people
protesting."

How many issues do you feel strongly about but yet have never attended a public protest to make your feelings known? Especially if you stood a good chance of being detained, questioned, or arrested for your troubles?

"Especially if you stood a good chance of being detained, questioned, or arrested for your troubles?"

Seriously? Can you substantiate that? How many people have been arrested so far for protesting these Olympics?

I'm sorry, I'm not sure that you disagreed with the point I was trying to make.

The point is that Canada is *overwhelmingly* supportive of the Olympics.**

Those against the Games should accept that and show their opposition in a respectful manner.

In all likelihood they won't, and that's a shame.

--

** November 2009 Poll of Canadians: http://www.visioncritical.com/wp-
content/uploads/2009/11/2009.11.20_Olympics.pdf

14% of Canadians and 32% of BC residents support the public demonstrations against the
games. (I imagine that number could only go down if the protest tactics turn ugly, and could
only go up if the counter-protest tactics get ugly.)

5% of Canadians and 11% of BC residents feel the games will have a negative impact on
Canada.

9% of Canadians and 28% of BC residents think the games will have a negative impact on
BC.

10% of Canadians and 25% of BC residents think the games will have a negative impact on
Vancouver.

"[The majority is] supportive of the Olympics. Those against the Games should accept that and show their opposition in a respectful manner."

Replace "Olympics" with "racial segregation" in the 50's, or "apartheid" in the 90's, and try telling those who felt marginalized or even harmed by the choices of those in power that they should just 'accept it'. Granted, those examples are a bit polarized, but to tell someone they should just accept something because the majority supports it - wow, that's an oppressive way to look at things, and a great way to foster more even dissent from those on the outside.

"14% of Canadians and 32% of BC residents support the public demonstrations against the
games."

I find that to be actually a very heartening statistic, given that most media coverage of the games verges on boosterism. With every major media outlet in the country having a vested interest in a successful event, unbiased analysis has been pretty much nonexistent and we haven't had much in the way of a good debate on the topic.

Merlin: "Replace "Olympics" with "racial segregation" in the 50's, or "apartheid" in the 90's,
and try telling those who felt marginalized or even harmed by the choices of those in power
that they should just 'accept it'. Granted, those examples are a bit polarized, but to tell
someone they should just accept something because the majority supports it - wow, that's an
oppressive way to look at things, and a great way to foster more even dissent from those on
the outside."

"A bit polarized"? You practically invoked the Nazis with that one. That argument is a
complete red herring. Those are very important issues regarding human rights. Human rights
issues supersede majority opinion (and rightly so).

The Olympics aren't a question of human rights, they are a question of funding. The main
opposition is that the *money spent* on the Olympics could be better used elsewhere (and
not just on mitigating human rights issues!), not that the Olympics *directly violates* human
rights.

The Olympics are no more related to human rights violation than practically every other line
item in the Federal budget, including the arts, science research, business incentives, etc. Each
of those areas are receiving dollars that could be going towards mitigating such issues. Note,
we do have to be vigilant in protecting that our human rights are not trod upon by the
Olympics, science research, civic construction, the arts, etc, but that is a question apart from
whether or not to host the Olympics.

Protestors don't focus on the Home Renovation Tax Credit and rail against it as a human
rights issue, because it is not related. Focussing on one specific item of spending as the cause
of suffering elsewhere is an internally inconsistent argument.

--

No, whether or not to fund the Olympics is all about funding priorities. When it comes to the
government deciding funding priorities, public support *is* critical in making the decisions.

Those against the Games feel that *that* particular expense should be of lower priority.
However, the vast majority of Canadians disagree. The games are funded. That is
Democracy.

--

Merlin, I didn't say that people should accept the decision because the majority approves. I
said that people should accept that the majority wants that action, and to voice their
displeasure (and argue against it) in a respectful way. That is Democracy.

"The Olympics aren't a question of human rights, they are a question of funding."

It would be nice if that were true, but it's not. Canada/BC can't even uphold some of the points of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Government funding of the Olympics while we fail to uphold the agreements to which we are party is a trampling of our human rights, especially when those failures are due to funds being diverted towards sporting events and all the expenses that come with them, such as spending over a billion dollars for security.

Some examples

Article 25:
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

Yet we routinely pay people on disability or welfare so little that their health and well-being suffers because of it.

Article 13.
Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

Yet we have enacted legislation that can force people into shelters against their will.

Article 9.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Security Certificates anyone?

Article 23.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

The 'training wage' is a clear violation of this article.

While there may not be direct links to the Olympics and these articles, it's pretty clear we need to be attending to other issues that are more pressing than advertising spectacles.

It's also pretty clear that the 2010 games have become a Faustian bargain.

In 2009, $12 Billion was spent for the "Canadian Secured Credit Facility" in order to "support
financing of vehicles and equipment for consumers and businesses."
(http://www.budget.gc.ca/2009/plan/bpc1-eng.asp)

That's *far* more than is being spent on the Olympics.

Why isn't there a huge protest against the CSCF? Doesn't it impact human rights far more
than the Olympics? Don't your arguments above apply equally, or even better in that case?

Fighting against the Olympics under the Human Rights banner is either:

A) A smokescreen

B) Legitimately intentioned, but horribly misguided, as there are many more funding items in
the form of low-hanging fruit, and which the country supports much less, that could be axed
for the sake of that cause.

--

If the anti-Olympians truly cared about Human Rights, they'd be putting all this energy into
protesting *for* an increased budget for the necessary areas, not merely *against* the
Olympics.

They'd find areas to cut which would be much easier to sell to the Canadian populace. They'd
present to the court of public opinion a plan to cut those unnecessary budget items. And they
would devote their energy to convincing Canada to call up their MP and insist that these low-
hanging fruit be cut from the budget and put towards the necessary areas.

No, instead the "Resist Olympics" camp really only wants to do just that, not help improve
the human rights situation.

Effectively the anti-Olympians are fighting against 95% of Canada over a shiny collector's
quarter, when there's a pile of bills sitting on the table that nobody particularly wants. The
anti-Olympians don't want funding for important programs, they just don't want Canada to
have its shiny quarter.

They say the funding for other programs is so important, and they devote an *incredible*
amount of time, energy, and money with no hopes of affecting the change they purportedly
seek (the money's spent), but they do jack-all that might actually *work* to get that funding.
That's sad/hilarious/frustrating/infuriating all at once.

I agree this 2010 'Welcoming' Committee does need to be called out.

"If the anti-Olympians truly cared about Human Rights, they'd be putting all this energy into
protesting *for* an increased budget for the necessary areas, not merely *against* the
Olympics."

Do you truly care about Human Rights???? If so, why aren't we seeing you on the news with your answers and alternate approaches?

As to your point, many of the people and organizations on that list work tirelessly for their causes/interests. Just because you aren't cognizant of it is no reason to assume that work isn't being done.

"The anti-Olympians don't want funding for important programs, they just don't want Canada to have its shiny quarter."

That's a crock Temple, and disrespectful of the many distinguished people who have spoken their piece in opposition of the 2010 Games. So much for the democracy and respect equation.

Keam: "That's a crock Temple, and disrespectful of the many distinguished people who have
spoken their piece in opposition of the 2010 Games."

You'll have to explain to me, very slowly, how it's a crock.

Why are all these distinguished people fighting so hard against the spending of that money
(which has already been spent!), instead of fighting to get the *much* larger amounts that
have *much* less public support behind them, and therefore would be *much* easier
to cut?

Wouldn't the latter course of action be *much* more likely to accomplish the purported
objectives? If they truly wanted to help, wouldn't they take that latter course of action?
Wouldn't they go after the funding that's easiest to get public support to cut and transfer to
helping?

But the "Resist Olympics" camp doesn't go for the abundant low-hanging money with little or
no public support. Instead they go for a much smaller amount which has absolutely
tremendous public support and has *absolutely no chance of being cut*, because it's already
gone!

What possible reason could there be for taking this course of action? Why choose the hardest
road with *zero* chance of successfully funneling funding to what's important? I see only two
explanations: A) their purported motives are a smokescreen, or B) their motives are true, but
they are incompetent.

There is nothing disrespectful in this line of questioning. It is a serious critique of the
*colossal waste* of protest and activist energies. If you have no answer and only indignation
for these questions, you really should ask yourself why you're doing what you're doing.

If your reasons for being anti-Olympic are *truly* that you want money to go to help those in
need, then you would stop this futile battle against the Olympics and start waging a public
opinion war against all the fat in the Federal budget that has only minor lobbyists behind it.

Now of course, if, and this "if" is important for this whole paragraph, *if* your reason for
being anti-Olympic is that you just don't like the Olympics, that's perfectly fine! Respectfully
voice your displeasure in whatever way you see fit. Just don't use the less fortunate as the
poster-child for your false banner. That's a bit despicable.

What are your motives? What do you hope to accomplish? What is the best way to accomplish
that?

"I see only two
explanations: A) their purported motives are a smokescreen, or B) their motives are true, but
they are incompetent."

There's the third option. You might be wrong but unaware of it because you assume you must be right.

There's a fourth option. An Olympic protest gets more publicity and invites discussion better than other initiatives.

There's a fifth option. They don't share any of your beliefs and operate under a different framework.

I'm not touching on most of the discussion so far, but adding an opinion in response to the original question (or at least an earlier one). I suspect that one reason that there is relatively little annti-Olympics protest going on now is that, as Temple pointed out, the money is spent. I'm sure that a lot of people feel (as do I) that the money that has been spent on this event could have been better used for many other purposes, but pretty much from the time that the games were awarded there was little hope of changing the direction of that spending.

Any protest at this point serves two functions: reminding those in charge that not everyone is on board, and trying to get their original message out to the world in hopes that future potential hosts may opt to solve their problems rather than host the Olympics. That these benefits are less direct, less local and less likely may explain the reduced fervour and, well, popularity of such protests. I'm just trying to suggest an answer to the question "Why are so few people protesting if the Games are as unpopular as you say?"

Oh, and that poll you referred to should be taken with a spoonful of salt. feeling that the Olympics will have a negative impact on BC, Canada, or Vancouver is different from thinking that the spending was inappropriate.

Well said GB.

Dudes, this is an important debate and I wish it could be taken mainstream. Having said that there's a silent group of people reading these posts and appreciating the different points of view.

Dialogue and debate are very important in a democracy...
cheers

Keam: "There's the third option. You might be wrong but unaware of it because you assume
you must be right. There's a fourth option. An Olympic protest gets more publicity and invites
discussion better than other initiatives. There's a fifth option. They don't share any of your
beliefs and operate under a different framework."

Third Option: Please enlighten me. I've twice asked for you to explain the course of action
being taken, but you have not. If I simply assumed I was right, I wouldn't be trying to see
the issue from the other side. I wouldn't be asking important questions about how best to
achieve the goals of that side. I would dismiss the anti-Olympic camp as malcontents and
move on (which I feel far too many will do, especially if the protests tactics go the way I
suspect).

Fourth Option: I don't buy this. The "Resist Olympics" camp is not campaigning for peace,
love, and welfare for all, they are actively campaigning against the Olympics. The resounding
message getting across is 'Olympics are bad, they're a waste of money, we shouldn't do it'.
Holding pro-oriented rallies and protests during the Olympics would be a way to capitalize on
the enhanced publicity, and garner significant public support. However we both know the
message of the protests aren't going to be pro-human rights, etc. The message is going to be
vociferously anti-Olympics. That won't serve to bolster support.

Sure anti-Olympics protests will "invite discussion", but *nobody* is going to watch or hear
about an in-your-face anti-Olympic protest and start discussing human rights funding. The
methods will *far* overshadow any purported message on human rights.

Fifth Option: Everybody has different beliefs. I am prepared to accept that many of the anti-
Olympic camp are willing to do a *lot* more than me for the cause of human rights.
However, the "different framework" they're operating under isn't affecting the change *they*
are looking for!

I am not talking about beliefs, I am talking explicitly about the methodology. Absolutely we
are operating under different frameworks, and I am arguing that the anti-Olympic framework
is *appallingly ineffective in affecting the change they seek*.

That leads me to wonder if that camp is being disingenuous about their motives, or if they
are just really, really bad at choosing their battles, picking only the ones for which they are
destined to fail. They seem more happy to scream and curse in the face of a hurricane than
to board up their windows.

There's a much better way to achieve their goals and they're not taking it. I don't understand
why that is, and I'd love if you could explain.

--

I am not participating in a philosophical debate on the merits of the Olympics. This is a
practical critique of the methods which the "Resist Olympics" camp uses to achieve their
purported goals.

Keam, please answer this question as best you can. Help me, and others who may be reading
understand your answer to it.

Do you think that protesting against the Olympics will achieve the goal of increased funding
towards human rights issues, and do you think that that approach is more effective than
devoting the same time, energy, and money into protesting for the cutting of some of the
much larger and much less supported, not to mention unspent, fat in the federal budget
(perhaps even *during* the Olympics)?

Please detail why one strategy is better than the other.

You should be able to answer that question practically. There's no need for philosophy or
moral debate. It can be assumed that I have the *exact* same goal as you (increase funding
towards human rights issues), but I want to know how best to effect that change.

"Please detail why one strategy is better than the other."

The best strategy is the one that attracts media attention. It's cheap, it gets people talking, and sometimes it embarrasses political leaders into action. The tactics vary from group to group, but there's little doubt that protests, direct actions, and other tools of public, visible activism are just as vital as letter-writing campaigns and other less-confrontational approaches.

There's a long list of organizations in the first post. Check them out and you will see that most are much more than simply anti-Olympics. The Games just happen to be an obvious platform from which to mount awareness campaigns, and a public example of taxpayer-funded projects.

Their motives and budgets differ from official sponsors, but the strategies are essentially the same.

Don't hate the player....

"Sure anti-Olympics protests will "invite discussion", but *nobody* is going to watch or hear
about an in-your-face anti-Olympic protest and start discussing human rights funding. The
methods will *far* overshadow any purported message on human rights."

That's your opinion, but history suggests otherwise.

Fifth Option: Everybody has different beliefs. I am prepared to accept that many of the anti-
Olympic camp are willing to do a *lot* more than me for the cause of human rights.
However, the "different framework" they're operating under isn't affecting the change *they*
are looking for!"

Almost all the advances in human and civil rights, environmental awareness, have come in the face of violence and repression. Most of those advances were achieved because the threat of ongoing protests and activism made negotiation a face-saving way to avoid the embarrassment of billy-clubbing citizens and jailing grandmas. The list is long, but some great examples are Clayquot, the suffragettes, Greenpeace and nuclear weapons in Britain, the labour movement, the civil-rights movement in the U.S., etc, etc.

You're certainly welcome to find the tactics distasteful, but they work.

A pretty good point/counterpoint look at direct action via the Animal Liberation Front (see link). I'm not commenting on their methods or aims, but I think they do a good job in the link provided of addressing some common complaints about protests.

You still haven't answered this repeated question (please tell me I haven't Stumped you):

Do you think that protesting against the Olympics will achieve the goal of increased funding
towards human rights issues, and do you think that that approach is more effective than
devoting the same time, energy, and money into protesting for the cutting of some of the much
larger and much less supported, not to mention unspent, fat in the federal budget (perhaps
even *during* the Olympics)?

You did say something to the effect that 'protesting can be good too', but I'm asking specifically
about the focus of that protest/activist energy. *What* focus of the protests (even during the
Olympics!) would garner the best result, and why specifically do you think so?

"You still haven't answered this repeated question (please tell me I haven't Stumped you):

Do you think that protesting against the Olympics will achieve the goal of increased funding
towards human rights issues, and do you think that that approach is more effective than
devoting the same time, energy, and money into protesting for the cutting of some of the much
larger and much less supported, not to mention unspent, fat in the federal budget (perhaps
even *during* the Olympics)?"

I don't claim to have those answers and I don't feel compelled to answer hypotheticals. In the past, protests and direct actions have resulted in improvements to human rights, along with a host of other methods.

Hypotheticals? There is nothing hypothetical about that question.

You say you want to help, but you refuse to think about how best you can affect the change
you're looking for.

You say 'protesting works' yet you refuse to think about which target for protest will result in
the greatest improvements to human rights. Instead, you pick one target and close off all
thought of more effective protest.

Man, that makes my head shake. With all the time and energy you devote to anti-Olympic
efforts, you won't take time to stop for a moment and think if there's another target for
protest that will result in a better result? It seems like you don't actually care enough about
your 'cause' to even ask yourself how best to help it. It seems like you care more about being
anti-Olympics than you care about helping about human rights.

Somebody who cares more about human rights than being anti-Olympics would stop and think
"That's a good question, I've never asked myself if there's a better target for my protest and
activist energies than the Olympics. I don't know the answer to that. I'm going to find an
answer and see if there's a better way to spend my energy in order to help human rights."

I've got a hint for you. With *zero* chance of cutting the funding that's already been spent on
the Olympics, protesting to divert funds from just about *every* other line-item will have a
better chance of helping human rights.

"Do you think that protesting against the Olympics will achieve the goal of increased funding
towards human rights issues, and do you think that that approach is more effective than
devoting the same time, energy, and money into protesting for the cutting of some of the much
larger and much less supported, not to mention unspent, fat in the federal budget (perhaps
even *during* the Olympics)?"

Is a totally hypothetical question.

All I did was post a notice about an event. Go or don't go. I don't care. How I spend my time or where I devote my energies is my own affair. Certainly doesn't need to be Temple-approved.

"With all the time and energy you devote to anti-Olympic efforts"

Probably hovers around zero minutes.

"I've got a hint for you."

I've got a fact for you. Television time is expensive. Chances are you'll have to fight to buy it if your message has an anti-corporate, anti-consumption slant. Just ask Adbusters or any of the organizations that have had to go to court to buy air time. Protesting at an event such as the Olympics is a great way to co-opt and leverage the current paradigm by showing up on the evening news. And it certainly doesn't preclude one from advocating through other avenues.

If you take another look at the list of organizations involved, you'll see many have a focus other than the Olympics. Most of the time they are working very hard on those issues with a shoestring budget. Protesting at the Games is a very cost-effective and highly-visible means of raising awareness.

I think you might need to spend a bit of time in the water before you peek out from the change room and tell everyone else how to clean the pool.

cheers,
CK

"You say 'protesting works' yet you refuse to think about which target for protest will result in
the greatest improvements to human rights. Instead, you pick one target and close off all
thought of more effective protest."

I don't assume anything. You assume because one event gets posted to the Politics forum that all those groups do nothing but anti-2010 work. Which shows you need to better inform yourself about what/when/where/how they do what they do. I think all those groups would be happy to have more help. I'll extend a friendly challenge to you. Pick one. Go to a meeting. Lecture them about how they're doing it all wrong. Let me know how that works out for you.

"Instead, you pick one target and close off all thought of more effective protest."

Please provide an example of a least one effective protest that you helped make happen. Establish your bona fides and people will be kicking in your door looking for your help and they won't care a whit if it's a new method, an old one, or something in between.

I'll sum up what I read from your two replies:

1) 'Protesting works'

Agreed, but I'm asking what target should you have for your protest to achieve your goal. You
don't even want to think about how best to achieve your goal through effective protest.

2) 'I don't spend time on anti-Olympic efforts. All I did was mention an event, I don't need to
think about how to achieve my goals'

You've probably spent at least 40h just on this forum proselytizing and arguing anti-Olypic
dogma. You are willing to spend *zero* time thinking if there's a better target for your
activist actions (yet you are willing to spend a lot of time replying to and deflecting the
question).

3) 'Other orgs do a lot of other good, besides the anti-Olympic efforts'

Absolutely, but we're talking about their Resist Olympic efforts. Specifically is that the *best*
use of *that* activist and protest energy to achieve their goals? Is there another target for
which *that same protest energy* can be directed at to achieve a better result? Anybody not
willing to look at their efforts to answer those questions is seriously suspect.

4) 'You don't protest, so you don't get to criticize our protest methods. Any questions you
raise should be ignored based on that fact.'

Ah, ad hominem: the last resort of a baseless argument. Analogy: I am not a police officer,
I've never been involved with law enforcement, yet not only do I have the right to criticize
the police, I may be right in my criticisms.

Ignoring an outside perspective, merely because it is an outside perspective, is foolish. If
you're not prepared to discuss an idea based on its merits, ask yourself: Why?

--

As an aside: Keam, I've read a lot of your writings over the years. I've noticed your replies to
my questions to be a little lacking in your customary passion/conviction/fervor. There's
probably lots of reasons for this, I won't speculate. Hey, maybe I'm imagining it entirely.

I wonder though if you notice that I'm *not* arguing against you in this thread. I'm taking the
position of somebody who shares the *exact* same goals as you. I am asking important
questions of the sort 'Is this the best way to accomplish our goal'.

I really can't comprehend why anybody who spends a lot of time doing something in order to
achieve a goal (raise awareness or whatever) wouldn't be happy to ask themselves 'Is this
the best way to accomplish my goal?'

Is it denial? Could asking that question of yourself lead you to believe that perhaps all that
time an energy has been ill-spent, that much more good could have been done, for less of
the *same protest/activist energy*? Could asking that question of yourself reveal that perhaps
your 'goal' is different than you'd thought (perhaps a blend of human rights efforts and pure
anti-Olympic feelings)? Ok, I suppose I lied, I did speculate.

Keam, I've never known you to shy away from discussing (at length!) a topic close to your
heart (hell, even one completely trivial!). In that respect we are opposite sides of the same
coin. Though, you do seem to be shying away from a very important question that's right up
your alley. It's strange for me to see.

"4) 'You don't protest, so you don't get to criticize our protest methods. Any questions you
raise should be ignored based on that fact.'"

That's bullshit. Not what I said at all. In fact, I encouraged you to take your ideas to any or all of the groups on that list. Let me know when that happens. I totally want to be there.

"Hey, maybe I'm imagining it entirely. "

Yes, you are.

"Though, you do seem to be shying away from a very important question that's right up your alley. It's strange for me to see."

I'm not shying away from it. I'm still here, for godknowshy reason other than I hate to see bad information and erroneous statements sit unchallenged. I've already pointed out to you that all those groups use multiple tactics and strategies but you seem convinced that they only use one and never, ever consider the best ways to achieve their ends. Until you actually go and get involved, even to the tiniest degree, you'll continue to operate under this mis-apprehension.

I've never met an armchair quarterback with a Superbowl ring on their finger.

This is why protesters could stand to learn A LOT from the man, as the man would learn a tonne from the protestors.

The Man: how to STRATEGICALLY plan a movement to draw attention to a worthy cause and to actually elicit action from the politicians.

The Protestors: the details of WHY we should be fighting for any given cause (the stats, the science, etc).

I think if Temple and CK joined forces, the world would be a better place.

Peace and love, my brothers,

~M

Interesting article by a former national caliber athlete.

"VANOC clearly assumes there is a contradiction between freedom of expression and the right of athletes, spectators and sponsors to enjoy the games, as if allowing freedom of expression will somehow take away from the enjoyment of others instead of adding to it. “Protecting” the games against criticism of any sort is one of the main things the modern Olympics has always been about, giving rise to an intensely secretive and opaque organizational culture. When the games are held in democratic countries, these tensions come to the fore. In more totalitarian or fascistic states, the Olympic movement gets a much more comfortable ride. The history of this tug-of-war is a fascinating and deeply troubling one."

Keam: "I'm not shying away from it. I'm still here, for godknowshy reason other than I hate
to see bad information and erroneous statements sit unchallenged."

I haven't been presenting information or making statements in my past several posts. I've
been asking you a serious question, and you've refused to answer it. You keep deflecting the
question by saying 'protesting is just one weapon in the arsenal', yet the question is whether
you're pointing *that weapon* at the right target.

You said yourself that you don't want to even think about whether there could be a better
target for your protests.

That's incredibly closed-minded for somebody who's all about sparking dialogue and helping
human rights.

"yet the question is whether you're pointing *that weapon* at the right target."

You protest where the cameras will show up. You use current events as a 'frame' for attracting attention. You do this in addition to all the grunt-work of letter-writing, and networking, and appearing before councils/committees, and trying to find funding and all the other myriad tasks activists have to take on because there's too few people willing to do more than sit on the sidelines and opine how everybody else is doing it wrong.

"You said yourself that you don't want to even think about whether there could be a better target for your protests. "

More bullshit. Where did I say that? I once again encourage you to take your ground-breaking ideas somewhere beyond an Internet circle-jerk and actually do something. It would be a better use of your time than misrepresenting my comments and then patting yourself on the back for repudiating statements I haven't made.

When did you say you didn't want to think about it? When you repeatedly dismissed as
hypothetical (and refused to answer) the question as to whether there could be a better target
for your protests *during the Olympics*.

Again you deflect. We're agreeing that protesting during the olympics, *and at the olympics*
can be beneficial, but you won't answer about the *target* for those protests.

Do you take this wonderful opportunity to shout epithets and anti-Olympic statements,
decrying that expenditure, or do you take *that same opportunity* to protest against other,
much fatter boondoggles that the vast majority of Canada is not behind?

I pulled a $12B program out of the budget almost at random. That's $12 Billion going towards
businesses financing new vehicles. That seems right up your alley to protest against. *Huge*
amounts of money going to *buy new cars*, yet you don't really care about that as much as
the much smaller money *already spent* on the Olympics. That may only be the tip of the
iceberg, I bet if you looked through the budget, you could find dozens of billions of dollars in
funding which Canada wouldn't really care about.

Imagine a protest during the Olympics which demands $2B be moved from one of, or
combined from from all of these such programs, and towards human rights issues.

Do you think you wouldn't get news coverage with that message if you block athletes or fans
from getting to venues? Do you think the media would ignore it if you chain yourselves
together around the entrance to Canada Hockey Place? Do you think there'd be less media
coverage if you start throwing paint-bombs or cream pies during medal ceremonies?

Do you really think the message on your signs is going to change the amount of media
coverage you get? I sure don't.

Don't confuse location of protests with target. You often see native bands blockading a
highway on the news. You don't see that because they are protesting against driving,
highways, or cars. You see that because they are disrupting the highway, but you also hear
their message which is *about what they care about*.

What will change with the *target* of those protests is public opinion, and with that likelihood
of actually getting money funneled to those causes. You'll get far more traction going after
the *absolute bounty* of budgetary fat that nobody particularly cares about, and you will
*certainly* have a better chance of getting some of that fat siphoned off and into those
human rights areas than trying to do the same for a way smaller amount *that's already been
spent*.

Keam, you keep deflecting by saying 'protesting works', but you don't want to address what's
on your signs or what you're shouting. You refuse to even entertain those questions as merely
hypothetical.

Protesting at the Olympics with a 'down with Olympics' message, makes about as much sense
as a native band blockading a highway and half their signs being 'we need funding' and the
other half be 'down with highways'. Well, actually, that would make sense if their true
motives were just that they don't like highways.

You and the Resist Olympic folk are so dead set on being anti-Olympics, that you're doing
less than you could *with the same efforts* for your purported cause.

Go

Do

Something

About

It

Einstein

Wow, that last one just took the cake for biggest deflection yet. Seriously, CK, answer the man. It's a pretty straightforward question.

don't answer it.

I've answered him a ton of times and I'm not going to keep repeating myself. Temple just doesn't like the answer. He wants a yes or no answer to a question that's too complex for a simple response. Further, he's confusing protests with other forms of activism. The straighforward answer is if you think you have a better way, then take that information and do something with it. Since I have no connection to those groups other than passing along an announcement, hectoring me about their methods is a waste of time.

Why are protesters targeting the Games?

""They're an ideal platform for protest," says Cottrell. "Up to 90 per cent of the world's television sets tune in." Some 14,000 journalists will be in Vancouver."

(see link)

And to answer the question....

I think visible protesting at the Olympics is more effective than trying to get the public outraged over a $12 billion program that's making it possible for them to get a car loan. Somehow I think VANOC is an easier target than the combined weight of the auto and banking industries. Especially given the media attention the average shareholder's meeting attracts. Not to mention the fact that the Olympics is having a direct impact on many of the group's pet causes, such a native land claims, the DTEC, etc.

Keam, you're so deep in denial, I'm not sure you realize. You keep deflecting, and deflecting,
and deflecting.

Of course protesting *at* the Olympics will be more visible than protesting at some
shareholder meeting. Who's suggesting that? Who's asking that? Nobody.

You make yourself look foolish by trying to pass that answer off as an answer to the
important question being asked.

What will be the message on your signs *at* the Olympics? The location of your protests,
which we agree will be *at* the Olympics, has nothing to do with the *message* you are
protesting about.

Did you read my analogy about native bands protesting *at* a highway, but their message
not being anti-highway, rather being pro- their cause? It's the identical scenario. The only
difference is that the Olympics is a *much* busier highway, and everybody's going to be
watching the news reports about it. If you waste your excellent opportunity, and spend most
of your energies shouting anti-highway sentiments, instead of pro- your cause, you reveal
your true motives.

--

You are going to be good activists and protest at the Olympics. Your protests are going to
disrupt the Olympics to a certain extent. You are going to get the attention of the world. That
is smart.

Now you have a choice:

A) Carry an anti-Olympics message. This will certainly not endear much public support to
*anything* else you're doing, and as a result, will overshadow your pro-human rights agenda.

B) Carry a pro-human rights message. Go one better, present a specific practical (and super
brief) solution to the funding problem. Eg: "We want $2B from X, Y, and Z corporate pork to
be immediately put towards human rights." Imagine the signs: "$12B for Corporate Cars,
while Children Go Hungry", etc.

Protests at the Olympics will give you a huge microphone.

What do you think is the best message you should say once the world is listening?

Option "A" is their only choice - it's what brings them together.

Option "B" would be impossible. The most you could expect from that divergent coalition is a non-prioritized-wish-list that is a 100 demands long. No way to put that on a banner.

Can anyone tell me more about the East Van Abolitionists - seriously I live in East Van - any reason to be concerned???

(I voted no in the plebisite, VANOC has done 1000 things wrong since, the IOC is corrupt, I'm sneaking my "Fair Play" clothing into every venue, but if we're spending $6 billion for a party, heck I'm going to enjoy it. Anything else would be like having a hangover without any of the fun)

Temple:

Your assumption that no one has ever considered what you are saying and all they want to do is protest the Olympics for shits and giggles is wrong. Go to a meeting or two and you'll see the very subjects you think you've finally solved are debated at length and in detail and various tactics are used. All methods are tried, from identifying mis-allocated budget line items to general awareness initiatives. Speaking from my own personal experience, when I wrote a letter to Kevin Krueger this year to protest cuts to arts funding, I pointed out that the half-billion dollars NOT YET SPENT on a new roof for BC Place would have a greater positive economic impact in the long term if it were spent locally on community arts initiatives. I'm sure others did the same or similar.

Secondly, it's not up to activists to define how public funds are spent. That's the job of the politicians we elect to lead us. Any jack-ass can be voted the most popular parent in the world by spending the college fund sending their kids to Disneyland every summer, but it takes leadership and guts to say we're going to the PNE for a day and you'll thank me later. Real leadership in a democracy isn't (as you've suggested) merely kow-towing to the majority, but doing what's right, even when it's unpopular. What you are suggesting is a variant on 'Hobson's choice (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobson%27s_choice) ie "You have to find the money for this social program, because I'm not going to" which let's politicians abdicate their responsibility to manage the public purse effectively for the greatest good and in keeping with the social values we supposedly hold dear. All that ends up happening then is that the politician with the least prudence but biggest list of campaign promises gets elected, because as the ICBC sociologist on the CBC pointed out this morning, many people for the most part don't look beyond their own immediate benefit.

"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."

Alexis de Tocqueville

Thirdly, choosing specifics over generalities comes with very real risks. If I say to a room full of people that safer roads benefit everyone, it's likely I'll get lots of nods. Tell them I want to take away a lane of bridge from drivers to give to cyclists to do it, and all of a sudden I'm fighting every single person with a vested interest in the status quo, as well as political opportunists, and mouth-breathing troglodytes that can barely spell let alone appreciate the nuances of forward-thinking traffic planning. Now I'm fighting FOR what I want, and fighting AGAINST a whole lot of people who I had onside previously, or were at worst non-committal.

con't

Fourthly, this idea that human rights are suffering because protesters are just holding up the wrong damn signs is stupid beyond belief. Not only do they already brandish a variety of messages, including ones similar to what you're talking about, the fact that you don't know this tells me you haven't being paying attention.

Here's a 2010 protest sign that clearly delineates what its author would like to see instead of the Olympics. I'm sorry to say they didn't indicate how much money it would cost or where the funding would come from. I guess they just aren't very serious about their commitment.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackbird_hollow/3979359936/

So, you get yourself some art supplies and show us how it's done.

Finally, if you think I'm wrong about any of this, then get out there and be the change you wish to see. Got a new rifle that's the best damn thing the infantry has ever seen? Go field test that beeyotch in the muddy trenches and pull the trigger. If you're right, somebody will pin a medal on your chest. If you're wrong, hopefully MSP will cover the prosthetics and plastic surgery when the blow-back takes off your face.

Link goes to depressing history lesson on how the real world works in case you ever decide to stop chirping from the sidelines and join the fight.

Keam: "Fourthly, this idea that human rights are suffering because protesters are just holding
up the wrong damn signs is stupid beyond belief."

Don't be silly. The *efficacy* of your activism can certainly be significantly influenced by your
message. Your message is *key* to successful protest and you say as much in the paragraph
with the next statement.

Keam: "Now I'm fighting FOR what I want, and fighting AGAINST a whole lot of people who I
had onside previously, or were at worst non-committal."

Here, you're talking about how your message can change entirely the difficulty of the fight.
However, with Human Rights issues you don't even have to fight *for* what you want, but
when your message is "Resist Olympics" you will absolutely be "fighting AGAINST a whole lot
of people who [you] had onside" for Human Rights issues. Not to mention that it's a futile
approach to Resist Olympics as there's no stopping the event from happening.

Your example is excellent. You're showing how the message and direction of your activism *at
the same event with the same attention-gaining tactics* can have a huge impact on your
chances of success. Do you see how that applies to the protesting *at* the Olympics? Do you
see how different messages will be more or less effective at achieving the goals?

The sign you linked to presents the following message to me: 'Olympics should not have been
funded, that money should have been spent on children's sports". Essentially the Olympics are
the target for the proposed cuts. Why? That's a target that most Canadians hold dear, and
don't forget *that money is gone*!

Instead why not target the cutting of funds from something with much less public support,
and which has *way* more money that is yet to be spent? Or, why not target nothing specific
at all during your protests *at* the Olympics, and keep your message only pro-human rights?

It's not a zero-sum game between the Olympics and children's sport or human rights issues.
Funding one does not preclude funding the other. In a set budget it *is* a zero-sum game
between *all* the budgetary items.

When looking for funding, why target a relatively small amount that has incredible public
support and which has *zero chance* of reduced funding? That to me seems futile. There's
dozens of billions of dollars available which nobody cares about. Those should be your target,
while protesting *at* the Olympics!

--

Keam: "choosing specifics over generalities comes with very real risks"

I couldn't have said it better myself. The "Resist Olympics" camp is being *incredibly*
specific in their message. They are also choosing the one target that has *zero* chance of
transfer of funds to their cause, and the one that is *certain* to alienate "a whole lot of
people who [you] had onside previously" for human rights.

The analogy about fighting most of Canada for its shiny collector's quarter, while there's a
stack of bills sitting on the table is very apt. The "Resist Olympics" camp wants *that
specific* item cut (which can't happen). They are so laser focussed on *that specific* amount,
that they're ignoring huge sums of money that nobody particularly cares about.

--

I'm not saying you *should* be doing it one way or another (yet). I'm asking you for your
opinion on this question, and you continue to avoid answering it.

Do you think protests at the Olympics with anti-Olympics messages are more effective than
protests at the Olympics, using the same methods, which focus on the cause, and do not
contain an anti-Olympic message?

You'll get equal coverage for both (you're using the same methods), which message will be
more effective?

You know, I haven't deflected the question even once. But, because I'm not taking a position diametrically opposed to yours, and in fact pointing out your purported 'new' approach is actually already part of a big toolbox of things activists use, you seem to think I'm evading the question.

Don't worry about what I think or what other people are doing. Take what you think and do something with it. If you think you have the magic potion for placards that open up gov't coffers, builds roofs over the homeless, puts $$ back into education, erases healthcare cuts, and strengthens legislation protecting human rights then NOT sharing that gift is a rotten thing to do. You would absolutely have the support of hundreds if not thousands of people. The real question is why AREN'T you doing that?

What I think about it should be the least of your concerns. I'm having trouble understanding why my opinion on the topic is so important to you. For the record. One approach does not preclude another. You should do whatever you think is the best approach. You might also consider the fact that unless you can point to some involvement and results thereof, opining how everyone else is doing it wrong from a position of zero credibility doesn't strengthen your position.

Talk minus action. You know what that equals. I did what I wanted to do. Posted a notice about an upcoming event. Attend. Or don't. I'm not claiming to have any answers. You are. Prove they're right with concrete examples.

Keam: "You know, I haven't deflected the question even once."

That's laughably untrue.

Keam: "I did what I wanted to do. Posted a notice about an upcoming event. Attend. Or
don't. I'm not claiming to have any answers. You are. Prove they're right with concrete
examples."

For years you have been a voice of the 'resist Olympics' movement. I'm asking your opinion
on effective methods of protesting at the Olympics. I'm trying to encourage you to discuss
what message for your Olympic-located protests would have the greatest benefit for your
purported cause, via *identical* actions.

As somebody who champions debate and activism as a method to kick-start discussion,
you've been remarkably unwilling to discuss how or why you think an anti-Olympic message
for your at-Olympic protests is best for your cause.

Ok, you're not interested in examining the merits of an anti-Olympic message during your
Olympic protests. You're not even interested in discussing the matter. (There *is* a topic you
won't touch!) I'll give up trying.

--

Keam: "Talk minus action. You know what that equals."

It's ironic that you, of all people, would decry talk. You talk an awful lot on a whole host of
issues. You're willing to discuss, at great length, the merits of ideas and highlight injustices
you see in the world all around you, well beyond the small borders of what your day-to-day
actions come into contact with. I think that's an excellent quality of yours.

I've always thought discussion was a key component to shaping important ideas. Without
discourse, thought doesn't evolve.

Action minus thought. You know what that equals?

It's so cheesy to misrepresent someone to win an argument.

"Ok, you're not interested in examining the merits of an anti-Olympic message during your
Olympic protests. You're not even interested in discussing the matter. (There *is* a topic you
won't touch!) I'll give up trying."

I've wasted my time here for a couple of days discussing this with you. Your complete lack of practical experience makes your opinion of little value, esp. since you won't point to any examples where your approach has achieved results. In contrast, I've provided you with a number of examples of how effective protests have worked.

You fail to hear the fact that activists use a variety of methods and messages to further their aims, including the ones you suggest.

Until you actually engage in the process in some form or another, your ideas are pretty much worthless, because they lack perspective. You're like a father in the waiting room of the maternity ward asserting childbirth is easy and painless.

"For years you have been a voice of the 'resist Olympics' movement. "

Another mischaracterization. I'm just an individual who has expressed his opinion. I have no affiliation with any of the groups mentioned in the original post nor do I claim to speak for them. I passed along some information, just as I pass along job postings and other announcements or news I think forum readers may find useful or interesting. My advocacy efforts are almost exclusively confined to cycling issues and safety, esp. in the Metro Vancouver region.