East London vs the Olympics

Today’s meeting with Alan Kenny (from East London SWP) on the Olympics saw lively discussion on the effects of the Olympics on East London.

Kenny asked the question – ‘What Olympic Legacy?’ The borough of Newham, where the site of the Olympics is, is the hardest hit by the cuts in the country. Job losses increased by 47 % in the last few years in Newham. There is a housing crisis, with residents of council housing, like the Carpenter’s estate near the Olympic part – being kicked out of their homes.

The Carpenters estate has 500 council units, after the Olympics it will be down to 80. Comrades spoke about the increase in multiple families sharing single rooms in homes. And yet billions are being poured into the Olympics and the nearby Westfield indoor highstreet – a play ground for the wealthy.

Meanwhile unemployment is on the rise, and people are being told by the Tories that they have to pay up. The meeting was angry – several people from East London spoke on the affect the Olympics are having on every day lives. From military airplane surveillance on a daily basis, to the threat of missiles being put on roof tops, to the nearby pool that has been closed down.

Soldarity was extended to the striking bus workers who have won a conditional bonus during the Olympics and now have the potential to strengthen their demands. Ideas were raised around confronting police racism– especially with racist stop and search around Westfield and the Olympic grounds and working to take the fight against the Olympics forward.

A comrade argued the importance of linking the anger against the Olympics to anger felt against the Tory cuts. Building the TUC national demo against the cuts on 20 October is an excellent starting point for uniting the fights.