Thursday, August 4, 2016

Rio Olympic Games- A celebration for the capitalist elites and multinational corporations, not for the people


These days, the beautiful city of Rio De Janeiro is divided by a wall- on one side are the new, luxurious Olympic venues which are ready to host athletes from all over the world; on the other side, there is a complex of multiple favelas where poverty, misery and gangs dominate. This divided face of Rio mirrors the immense class-based inequalities in Brazil; a capitalist country of over 200 million people which is the world's ninth largest economy by nominal GDP. 

More than 20% of Brazil's population lives below poverty line and less than 2 million brazilians (1% of the total population) owns 13% of the total household income. According to Forbes, the 15 richest families in Brazil are worth an estimated $122 billion- that means approximately 5% of the country's GDP. This is the social and economic framework of the country which hosts the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. 

But, actually, what do modern Olympics mean? The bourgeois media refer to the Olympic Games as a "celebration of sports" which promotes "friendship among nations" etc. However, these nice words cannot hide the true character of modern Olympics: capitalist profit, antagonisms between multinational corporations for commercial exploitation of a popular event. Even the inter-imperialist contradictions are mirrored in the Olympic Games (e.g. partial banning of Russia from the Rio Olympics). 

After the first modern Olympiad, in 1896 in Athens, the meaning of the four olympic rings gradually changed. The four rings became one of the most recognizable trademarks in the world and a symbol of capitalist marketing, with numerous sponsors. It is characteristic that after the 1896 Olympics, the following two Olympiads - in 1900 in Paris and 1904 in St.Louis- were closely connected with the then international commercial exhibitions that were taking place in the two host cities. After WW2, the expansion of TV and Radio broadcasting had immense impact for the commercialization of the Olympic Games. 
Former IOC President J.A.Samaranch, Left: Giving the Nazi salute, Right: Carrying the Olympic flame.
The IOC (International Olympic Committee) has its own dark role on that issue. Since its establishment, in 1894 in Paris, the IOC has been a secretive, unelected "exclusive group" of high profile bourgeois personalities (barons, noblemen, aristocrats, etc). Let us not forget that former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch had been a supporter of Spanish dictator Franco and even became an official of the dictator's regime in 1960s. Among other things, Samaranch had actively supported the further commercialization of the Olympics, especially after the 1984 Los Angeles Olympiad.

Getting back to the Rio Olympic Games which start in a few hours. The brazilian people, the working class of Brazil, will have no benefit at all from the Olympics. The celebration that is going to take place in Rio de Janeiro is a celebration of the country's bourgeois and the bourgeois classes of the world. The millions of people who will be watching the opening ceremony must have in mind that just a few kilometres away from the stadium brazilian children live in poverty, isolated from the luxurious olympic party. 

Like in Athens in 2004, as well as in London in 2012, the Olympic Games in Brazil will have a negative effect for the country's working people. The only ones who will gain actual profit from them are the usual suspects - the multinational corporations and the monopolies.

In Defense of Communism ©.