Vol. 2, Is. 2: Resist 2010
Fall Issue 2, 2009
The YU Free Press is thrilled to present you with our second issue of the academic school year: Resist 2010! With the February 12-28, 2010 Olympics on the horizon, BC has been gearing up for the Winter Games. In light of this upcoming event, we at the YU Free Press would like to provide the space for thinking critically about what hosting the Olympics in Canada might mean. The Games are ideally meant to bring nations together in the spirit of a little healthy competition. Winning the bid to host the event is supposed to be an honour, as well as a boost for morale and patriotism. Beneath all the veneer, however, beyond all the promotion, preparation for the Olympics has already meant the unjust treatment and marginalization of many groups of people.
The Vancouver Olympics are bringing a major onslaught of neoliberal corporatization. The people of Vancouver are already bearing the brunt, such as displacement of homeless people, insufficient shelter space, less funding to social services, as well as pressure and crack-down on activists, to name a few. And the games have not yet begun.
In this edition we have decided to feature articles that tackle questions of activism, resistance, Indigenous organizing, ally building, and solidarity in response to the Olympics.
We believe firmly in one of the central slogans of anti-Olympic resistance: No Olympics on Stolen Land. That is, the denial of Indigenous sovereignty is integral to the building of Olympic memorabilia, patriotism, infrastructure, facilities, and accommodations. In doing so, we have printed several articles that focus on Indigenous issues that are intrinsically implicated in the unfolding of the Olympics.
In the News section, Joseph Jones discusses in ‘HBC Appropriates Cowichan Design for Olympic Sweater’ the way in which the Hudson’s Bay Company has stolen a Cowichan symbol to be re-printed and sold en masse to consumers, negating both the Cowichan communities’ request to make the sweaters and then taking the Cowichan’s idea for the clothing. In ‘How we Torched the Torch,’ Allan Antliff and Kim
Croswell narrate their organizing success at preventing the Olympic Torch from being lit in Victoria, BC. Carmen Teeple Hopkins shares in ‘All Eyes on US: Capitalizing on the 2010 Olympics to Call International Attention to the 500+ Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’ a different perspective to the 2010 Olympics. Based on an interview with long time activist, Gladys Radek, it becomes clear that Indigenous women are taking advantage of the Olympics to garner increased support for their cause, a tactic of utilizing international institutions that has historical resonance with Indigenous women’s political movements.
Articles in Features provide a more thorough analysis of the 2010 Games. In her piece, ‘Olympics Resistance in Kanada,’ Harsha Walia highlights the importance of understanding Indigenous struggles when organizing against the 2010 Olympics. As well, she provides
insight as to how non-Indigenous allies can effectively and responsibly work in solidarity with Indigenous resistance movements. ‘Why We Resist the 2010 Winter Olympics’ provides a backdrop of some of the most crucial reasons why the Winter Games should be challenged, including ecological destruction, enormous public debt, the rise of homelessness, criminalization of poor people in an effort to gentrify the province, as well as the fact that the Games are taking place on largely unsurrendered stolen Indigenous land. Furthermore, ‘2010 Police State: Fact Sheet’ highlights the violence and brutality—especially against protesters, poor people, and Indigenous individuals—that inevitably come hand-in-hand with increased police presence under the guise of ‘security’ in anticipation for the Olympic Games.
In addition to the 2010-focussed articles, we have published other news items that are important to recognize. We would like to signal the public statement on the ‘Blackface’ incident that occurred on Halloween at the University of Toronto. The YU Free Press supports the work that students, community members, and academics are doing to demand a public apology from the University of Toronto administration in order to begin to acknowledge this form of racism. Despite claims of ‘multiculturalism,’ racism continues to permeate Canadian society at several levels, and Halloween costumes and actions are not exempt from racist behaviour. As well, we would like to highlight Jen Rinaldi’s ‘Dr. Geoffrey Reaume’s Center of Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Wall Tours,’ as an excellent portrait of the marginalization of those deemed mad. In particular, she traces the economic exploitation of those placed in CAMH in order to build the wall that segregates those institutionalized at CAMH from the rest of society.
This issue’s F e a t u r e s section includes Jessica Devi Chandrashekar’s ‘ S e x u a l Violence and Sri Lankan State Sovereignty, ’ an in-depth analysis of the specific kinds of violences many Tamil women endure within a context of ongoing imperial conquest by the Sri Lankan state against Tamil people. Chandrashekar draws attention to this often missed issue as Tamil communities continually struggle for their right to be recognized and valued. Our Features section also focuses on activism that our York campus has seen over the term: see Michael Lyon’s ‘The Queers Doth Protest too much, Methinks’ for a look at organizing against some of the recent homophobic attacks on queer communities at York. See also ‘The Students, United…Have we been Defeated?’ by Ashley McEachern for an analysis of the November 5 Day of Action and the Drop Fees Campaign.
Our Comments section also ventures away from Olympic related insights and instead covers diverse entries, starting with Murray Dobbin’s ‘Criticizing Israel Isn’t Anti-Semitism: But a New Coalition of MPs Seems to Say the Two are One and the Same.’ In this thought-provoking contribution, Dobbin problematizes the newly formed Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA), while attempting to come to terms with its potentially anti-democratic affect on Canadian free speech laws. In ‘Remembering the Day After,’ Harsha Walia encourages her readership to challenge the nationalistic, pro-war culture that is most commonly associated with mainstream Remembrance Day theatrics.
Once again, we are proud to center the stories that are often structurally excluded from mainstream media and public attention. We hope that you are as happy with this issue as we are to deliver it to you, and look forward to hearing your critical feedback and responses.
Thanks for reading the YU Free Press; alternative media never gets old!
YUFP Editorial Collective