Monday, July 2, 2012

Dave Zirin - The Olympics Interview

The latest issue of the International Socialism Journal carries my interview with radical sportswriter Dave Zirin. Dave is the sports editor at The Nation, the co-author of The John Carlos Story, and you can find a collection of his work at Edge of Sports. In the interview he discusses the history of the Olympics, their effect on host cities, and, most importantly, how they have become a site of political struggle. You can read the full interview, Resistance: the best Olympic spirithere.

GE: With the Olympics rapidly approaching, what does history tell us London can expect over the coming months?

DZ: You will get displacement, you will get an incredible police crackdown and you will get one hell of a bill when the party is over – which then has to be paid for. Wherever the Olympics go they act as a neo-liberal Trojan horse, showing up festooned in a kind of celebratory bunting and there is an effort to marshal the nation behind it. Some people have dubbed it “celebration capitalism” insofar as you are meant to celebrate the excess and greed. Yet when all is said and done you are in some financial trouble. The explosion of debt after the 2004 Athens Games is one of the least discussed aspects of the current crisis in Greece. These Olympics were roughly a thousand per cent over budget! The budget for the 2012 Games has already increased from £2.4 billion to £11 billion and I have no doubt that the eventual figure will be far greater.