The inevitable pre-Olympic games headline made its appearance today: Winter Olympics on slippery slope after Vancouver crackdown on homeless. The Winter Olympics are schedule for Vancouver, Canada, and the nearby resort of Whistler, Feb. 12-28.
Cleaning out the poor to make room for a showcase event. It is an old, old story.
I first wrote the headline, "Olympics crackdown on homeless," ahead of the 1984 Los Angeles summer games. I remember the lead into the story about how city and games organizers were cleaning up Los Angeles was about a local business -- must have been a wedding clothier -- passing out free tuxedoes in homeless shelters and soup kitchens. A literal attempt to dress up the problem.
Of course, the Catholic Worker Movement in Vancouver is all over the issue. On its web site, http://www.vancouvercatholicworker.org/, are a proposal, "Better ways than the Olympics to spend $6.1 billion," and a schedule of anti-poverty events running parallel to and in opposition to the Olympic Games.
The Catholic Workers also helpfully provide the "Protesters Guide to the Law of Civil Disobedience in British Columbia -- Olympic Edition."
The first schedule event is 2010 Poverty Olympics on Sunday afternoon Feb. 7. Read more about his at povertyolympics.ca or watch the video below.