'The London Olympics: challenging the neoliberal games', talk with David Renton, Housmans, 8 August


‘The London Olympics: challenging the neo-liberal games’ with David Renton and Gareth Edwards

7pm, Wednesday 8th August

Entry: £3, redeemable against any purchase

Join writer, historian, and activist David Renton and left-wing blogger Gareth Edwards to discuss the politics behind the Olympic games.

According to David Renton the Olympics are a windfall for the privileged: construction companies (who have been bloated by building contracts worth £12 billion), the organisers (16 of whom are on salaries of over £150,000 per year) and East End landlords, who have used the Games to evict thousands of tenants. Providing security for the event has resulted in an unprecedented militarisation of London. But has it always been like this?

David Renton, the author of ‘Lives; Running’ (Zero Books, summer 2012), reaches into the history of the Games to tell an alternative story of protest and hope. David is joined by Gareth Edwards, who gives a socialist view of sports, politics and money on his blog at http://inside-left.blogspot.co.uk/

This event is part of the London’s Burning series at Housmans.

About The Author

David Renton is a barrister at Garden Court chambers in London and appears regularly for claimants at Employment Tribunals. Before being called to the Bar, Renton was a lecturer, senior researcher, and visiting professor in the UK and South Africa. He writes on employment law for the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers.

Gareth Edwards gives a socialist view of sports, politics and money on his blog at http://inside-left.blogspot.co.uk/

Back on topic...

At least David Renton has a sense of humour. This event is timed to clash with the finals of the Olympic women's beach volleyball. Thank goodness for hard disk recorders.

Meanwhile, back on topic, this website seems to have missed The Guardian's article on the Chittagong export processing zone in Bangladesh back in April (or perhaps it was so equivocal you decided not to mention it):
A bit stale now, but it would have been a useful focus for discussion at the time. There are a couple of obvious questions the article doesn't ask:
a) Although the pay is “terrible”, what would happen to those who wouldn't get jobs if the pay rates were higher?
b) Since the pay rates are set by government and not by the companies, are they higher or lower than market rates? Do they actually need to be set by the government?

Olympic delights

These Olympics are:

- initiated by politicians
- run by bureaucrats
- funded by taxpayers (and the Lottery) to upwards of £9bn
- staffed by thousands of volunteers
- competed by athletes who get no prize money
- shown on state television with no advertising (25 digital channels)
and television viewers see no sponsors' logos.

If that's 'neoliberal', I wonder what socialist Olympics would look like!

No doubt landlords aren't the only people enjoying windfall profits - plenty of entrepreneurial social housing tenants will also be making an Olympian profit by subletting their homes while they take a short holiday.