Posts Tagged ‘London 2012 Olympics’

Zeitgeist 2012: Year In Review

December 26, 2012

Google review of 2012.

ThePianoGuys, Pussy Riot, Neil Armstrong, the man who fell from the sky, London 2012 Olympics, Gangnam Style

No mention of tax dodging!

Obscene tax breaks for Olympic sponsors

July 16, 2012
coca-cola is bad for your health

coca-cola is bad for your health

London 2012: Official food McDonald’s. Official drink Coca-Cola. Official chocolate Cadbury’s. Official diseases obesity and type 2 diabetes.

McDonald’s do not just serve junk food, they dodge UK tax.

Adidas do not just source their consumer junk from sweatshops, they dodge UK tax.

Coca-Cola do not just serve sweet sugary syrup laced with high fructose corn syrup, pollute drinking water in India, engage in human rights abuses in Latin America, they dodge UK tax.

What do all three have in common apart from dodging UK tax?

All three are high profile sponsors of the unwanted London 2012 Olympic Games.

Imagine seeing the headline of this article on the front of your paper in the final countdown to the Olympic opening ceremony. As the eyes of the world focus on London, this is the perfect opportunity to expose the greed of the corporate sponsors who will be dodging tax during the games.

The UK’s winning Olympic bid included huge tax breaks for sponsors. As a result, massive multi-nationals like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Adidas stand to make a tax-free fortune. The UK could be losing tens of millions in this tax swindle.

Public pressure has forced McDonald’s to forego their tax windfall. Whether they can be believed or trusted is another matter and it is no excuse to now eat at McDonald’s.

Now it is the turn of Coca-Cola. They’ll be supersizing their profits at the Olympics, expecting to sell 23 million drinks. There are many reasons not to drink Coke, obesity and type 2 diabetes to name but two, but let us also make sure that they’re paying their tax.

If signatures on a petition can scare McDonald’s, let’s now turn the heat on Coke. Please sign the petition calling on Coca-Cola to pay their tax and ask your friends to do the same:

https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/olympic-tax-dodging

The petition will be handed in at Coke’s London headquarters this Friday.

Guildford Craft Festival and Farmers Market

July 3, 2012
wooden ducks in a basket

wooden ducks in a basket

Guildford Craft Festival in the High Street in Guildford is part of the Guildford Summer Festival.

Today is the first Tuesday of the month, and the Guildford Craft Festival was joined by the Guildford Farmers Market.

The market stalls far outnumbered the craft stalls. On Friday, when the Guildford Craft Festival opened (the dates in the festival programme are incorrect) there was far more stalls. Whether they have given up as a bad job, or do not like the weather, I do not know. I should have asked.

On Friday there was one or two stalls worth looking at, and that was it. I would not go as far as calling it tat, but not worth spending money on either.

One stall had lovely carved wood, another wooden ducks in a basket. Not there today or if they were, I did not see.

I do not think any of the stall holders were helped by being relocated to different pitches than they had on Friday.

The farmers market used to be forced to a different day when the craft market was on. This was ludicrous as they simply lost business as everyone knows the farmers market is always the first Tuesday of the month.

This is the best time of the year for the farmers market, now and into the autumn, as plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Plus it is no fun wandering around the market in the winter when it is cold and wet.

June 2012, the wettest June since records began in 1910. The second dullest June.

July seems no exception. Today 3 July and it has been raining since the month began.

I had a choice of two venues this evening. Annoying that they clashed. Art @ Costa or Eden People at The Keystone. Assuming they were on as nothing on twitter, I ended up going to neither, as I did not fancy hanging around in the rain for a couple of hours.

Talking to friends in the Tourist Information in the Guildford House Art Gallery, I learnt of a third venue that I was not aware of. On the main road opposite the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (past Debenhams) what used to be dance studio and for a brief period a night club, a new venue has opened Bar des Arts. This evening poetry, a Spanish-Colombian quintet Muerto de Amor and rap (the thought of rap immediately put me off).

Pop Up Poetry is a group of poets and poetry lovers. All events are free. I hope that in future they arrange their night not to clash with Art @ Costa (always first Tuesday of the month, Costa, Swan Lane).

Friday at Bar des Arts Latin Caribbean evening with music and dance sounds good. But Friday night not a good night to be on the streets in Guildford. The town centre becomes a no go area of drunken thugs looking for trouble.

The website for Bar des Arts is poorly designed, light grey on dark grey background, virtually illegible. No information on forthcoming events. The pull down menu for contacts drops off the bottom of the screen.

Looking through the festival programme (obtain from Tourist Information Office) I could find nothing I fancied, though at least they do host a festival. It runs from 1 June until 1 July 2012.

One of the ‘highlights’ will be the Olympic Torch passing through Guildford, sponsored by Coca-Cola!

There is an extra farmers market on Saturday 28 July 2012. Only a few days before the next one on Tuesday 1 August 2012. They have been repeatedly told if you are to hold an extra market then make it mid-month, midway between the monthly Tuesday markets, not hold them a few days apart, but sadly no one is listening.

The highlight of the summer festival was the Ambient Picnic, a free alternative music festival. It went downhill and seems to have died. The last one at Celebrating Surrey at Loseley Park a couple of years ago was not worth the effort of attending. A crying shame as it was a very good festival.

Top Story in The Digital Mission Daily (Saturday 7 July 2012).

No 1 Top Story in The Digital Mission Daily (Monday 9 July 2012).

Adidas worker exploitation for London 2012 Olympics

June 7, 2012
Adidas exploitation

Adidas exploitation

Adidas, one of the London 2012 sponsors, has been accused of sourcing its tat from sweatshops.

As Adidas take centre stage as the official sportswear partner of London 2012, the harsh reality of life for the workers who make their clothes is being exposed.

Workers making Adidas clothes around the world are paid poverty wages, have little or no job security and face harassment or dismissal if they try and organise trade unions to defend their rights.

This is exploitation. It’s not ok for Adidas to treat workers like this in the UK, and it shouldn’t be ok anywhere else.

Adidas – which has more than 775,000 workers making its products in 1,200 factories across 65 countries – is the official sponsor of Team GB, with footballers such as David Beckham tipped to join UK Olympic hopefuls Jessica Ennis and Christine Ohuruogu.

In March, Adidas unveiled its best-ever annual profits, reporting an 18% rise in net profits in 2011 to 671m euros ($881m; £559m).

In April media reports cited workers supplying Adidas in Indonesia receiving as little as 34 pence an hour, with some factories paying less than the minimum wage. Employees were verbally abused, slapped in the face and told to lie about their conditions during Adidas factory audits.

In May, research by the Playfair 2012 campaign found workers making Adidas goods being paid poverty wages and forced to work excessive overtime. The research found people in China working from 8am to 11pm. In Sri Lanka researchers found people being forced to work overtime in order to meet production targets. In the Philippines, more than half the workers interviewed said that in order to cover their basic needs they are forced to pawn their ATM cards to loan sharks for high-interest loans. At all of the factories researchers visited, workers reported that they were not paid a living wage that covers their basic needs.

Today, War on Want added its voice calling for an end to Adidas exploitation.

It is not only Adidas tat that is sourced from sweatshops. The official tat for the London 2012 Olympics is also sourced from sweatshops.

I am always amazed that anyone wastes their money on this overpriced tat. Fast fashion as opposed to slow fashion.

What a breath of fresh air, the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations that took place over the last four days, no corporate sponsorship.

At the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, John Carlos used his moment on the winner’s podium to make a stand for human rights. His gesture of resistance, as part of the civil rights movement, and in solidarity with those living under Apartheid in South Africa and blue collar workers in the States, is a defining moment in the struggle for equality, justice and peace.

That struggle still continues today. John Carlos has been touring the UK, speaking out.

The unwanted London 2012 Olympics will result in massive congestion in London, Olympic only traffic lanes, criminalisation of those who challenge the sponsoring brands, blocking of accounts on twitter …

London 2012 Olympics sweatshop misery

June 1, 2012

For Londoners, the London 2012 Olympics will be a summer of misery. Their misery is as nought to those working in the sweatshops who supply the goods.

Workers making Olympic sportswear for London 2012 for top brands and high street names including Adidas and Next are being paid poverty wages, forced to work excessive overtime and threatened with instant dismissal if they complain about working conditions.

A worker at an Adidas Olympics supplier factory in the Philippines, working on minimum wage for 10 years without a pay-rise:

We are forced to take overtime work so at least it supplements our take-home pay. Otherwise, how can I survive with such meagre income, how can I pay rent for the small room where I stay, cope with my daily necessities, and send some money for my family in the province? At the end of the day it is zero balance; there are no savings left for whatever uncertain things may happen to me and my family.

A few examples of the continued systematic and widespread exploitation of workers in sportswear factories:

  • Poverty wages were found across the board. In Sri Lanka, some workers have to survive on around £1.78 a day, little above the UN’s official poverty line, and only 25% of the amount needed for a living wage, enabling workers to live in dignity. In the Philippines, 50% of workers were forced to pawn their ATM cards to loan sharks for pay day loans to get them through the month.
  • Workers had legal benefits systematically denied to them by repeated use of short term contracts. Employers used these to avoid paying social insurance including pensions, sick leave and maternity benefits.
  • Workers were forced to perform overtime under threat of losing their jobs.
  • In all 10 factories there was no recognised union or credible workers’ representatives, meaning workers had no voice on pay and conditions. In China workers were threatened with job losses for distributing leaflets that could ‘hamper employer-employee relationships; and in the Philippines all workers interviewed said that they were scared to join a union as they would lose their jobs.
  • Living conditions showed the poverty levels experienced by workers. Chinese workers shared cramped and overcrowded rooms with hot water only available after 23:00, when their shift finished.

Those making the consumer junk, the mascots and toys, fare no better.

A worker at a Chinese sweatshop making London 2012 mascots:

Consumers may feel the Olypmic mascots are fun and cute, they will never think of the hard work, low wages…..we have in the factory.

A few examples of working conditions in two factories in China producing the Olympic mascots, Wenlock and Manderville, and London 2012 pin-badges:

  • Poverty pay, in some cases below the legal minimum, where workers were not paid enough to cover their most basic needs, and benefit payments for pensions and medical insurance were not paid in accordance with Chinese law. For example, a worker making an Olympic mascot could be paid as little as £26 a week, while a mascot can retail for around £20. An average living wage is around £225 a month.
  • Excessive overtime, sometimes up to 100 hours a month, nearly three times the legal limit in China. Some workers were doing 24-hour shifts, while others were working seven days a week. Overtime was often compulsory.
  • Child labour was used in the factory producing pin badges.
  • Workers were locked into a five-year contract and had to pay a fine if they tried to leave beforehand. At one factory, workers were not given a contract of employment, and in the other factory, workers did not receive pay-slips. In both factories, workers did not fully understand how their wages and over-time were calculated.
  • Workers did not receive health and safety training in both factories, and would tend to forgo wearing protective equipment, when provided, so they could work faster and earn more – to top up their poverty pay.
  • Workers were prevented from joining unions in both factories, and it was made clear to them that anyone engaging in trade union activities would be dismissed.
  • Evidence of audit fraud – with workers coached on how to answer auditor’s questions, and in some cases bribed to give the correct answers.

An ethical Olympics?

Twitter shut down account of opponents of London 2012 Olympics

May 23, 2012

The Twitter account of protest group Space Hijackers has been suspended following a complaint by the organisers of the London 2012 Olympics.

Once again we are seeing the copyright thugs in action. Draconian legislation has been passed to protect the branding of the London 2012 Olympics and their sponsors.

For residents of London, the London 2012 Olympics will be a nightmare summer.

Space Hijackers, whose account has been blocked following a complaint by the London 2012 Olympics, were hardly likely to bring down the International Olympic Committee (more’s the pity) and capitalism along with it (not through Twitter at least). One can only conclude that this is an act of petty, vindictive censorship, hardly in the spirit of plurality and inclusiveness the Olympics is supposed to promote.

And who are the major the sponsors of the London 2012 Games, not the brands who are being protected, but the public. The long-suffereing public who in London at least are going to have a summer of misery whilst the unwanted Games take place.

Shame on twitter who gave in to the London 2012 Olympics.

London to host Bejing-style Olympics for 2012

November 21, 2011

Not to be left out as an authoritarian regime, London is to ban protest during the 2012 Olympics.

Demonstrations’ to be banned during Olympics’

But this is not cricket old chap.

The brutal paramilitary policing we have seen in Portland, New York, Seattle and the UC Davis university campus is seen as the model for policing the London 2012 Olympics.

The roots of the UC-Davis pepper-spraying
Paramilitary policing and police brutality from Seattle to Occupy Wall Street
NYPD police brutality against Occupy Wall Street

Police have been given enhanced powers to act against protests at the 2012 Olympics since the Games were awarded to London six years ago, including the right to enter private homes and seize political posters.

New London Olympic sports: Water Cannon dodging. Rubber Bullet evasion. Pass the Truncheon. Team Water Boarding.

Speaking at St Paul’s in-the-Camp Dame Vivienne Westwood has called on young people to step off the “consumer treadmill” and “get a life”.

In Tahrir Square a second day of violence by the military junta against peaceful protesters. At least ten killed.

At UC Davis, the chancellor was given the silent treatment after she called in the police to pepper-spray students.