The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Olympic Games:
The Olympic Spirit at the Highest Level ... On the Stock Exchange!

Jul 30, 2012

The Olympic Games, the “great festival of sports,” are a worldwide operation aimed to impress on two billion brains the logos of big brands. The objective is clear: persuade a maximum number of people on earth of the advantage of buying such and such a brand of shoes, T-shirts or other products, even if they obviously have to pay more than for competing brands. And what does it matter if it’s all built in factories where the workers are paid $50 a month?

What’s important is that out of 130 million babies born on the planet this year, the greatest number possible know how to quickly say, at the same time as “Mama” and “Dada,” such words as “McDonalds” and “Coca Cola.”

Organizing the “great festival of sports” causes many problems. First, it was necessary to convince the British population to pay not only the cost announced in 2005, but four times as much–currently running at 14 billion dollars.

Much effort is needed for organization and control. Imagine the horror if spectators wear T-shirts saying Pepsi that might get photographed, when Coca Cola is the official sponsor! That’s what they call “ambush marketing.” It was a double horror in 1996, at the Atlanta games, when a sprinter passed before millions of TV viewers wearing a Puma logo, while Reebok was the official sponsor of the games. That’s probably why the security budget of the Olympic games had to grow. You don’t joke around with billions of advertising dollars that support, among others, the International Olympic Committee.

There are inspectors spread out on London streets, threatening for example a saleswoman for displaying some colored rings in the form of the Olympic logo, among the pants and bras available for her customers. There was a butcher who dared to design the Olympic ring out of sausages. And you can bet neither of them contributed to the honorable Olympic committee.

There can be no Olympic games without medals. But because the price of metals is up, especially gold, there is less gold per medal: only a quarter of an ounce instead of 14.5 ounces! All the same, that added up to an order of eight TONS of gold, silver and copper for the Rio Tinto Mining Company. And Rio Tinto, one of the world’s greatest polluters, wants to burnish its image. After all, these games are presented as the “greenest in the entire history of Olympic sport.”

To see how “ecological” the games are, check out British green companies and Dow Chemical, one of the main sponsors. Dow, of course, made millions selling “Agent Orange,” causing death and devastation during the Viet Nam war. The corporation still refuses to pay compensation to the victims of the chemical catastrophe in Bhopal, which pushed India to boycott the games. Then there’s British Petroleum, responsible for the catastrophe of the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago. BP has now been baptized a “sustainable sponsor.”

All that is the magic of sport!