Democracy Now! February 15, 2002

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Democracy Now! February 15, 2002
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1968 Olympic Medallist, John Carlos, who raised his fist in the Black Power salute during the national anthem as a protest against U.S. racism. Today, we talk about Olympic protest, past and present.

9:01-9:06 HEADLINES 9:06-9:07 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK COHOST: JUAN GONZALEZ 9:07-9:20 AS THE COUNTRY GATHERS AROUND THEIR TV SETS TO WATCH THE 2002 OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES, PROTESTERS GATHER OUTSIDE UTAH OLYMPIC PARK TO PROTEST AGAINST THEM The 2002 Winter Olympics opened in Utah a week ago covered in gale-driven snow and wrapped in a $310 million security blanket to keep the so-called terrorists at bay. Turning Salt Lake City into one of the most heavily guarded places on Earth was an army of 15,000 troops, police, Secret Service agents, Black Hawk helicopters and F-16 jets armed with anti-aircraft missiles. The patriotic opening ceremony featured the tattered U.S. flag unearthed from the rubble of the World Trade Center, carried into the stadium by eight US athletes and an honor guard of New York City firefighters and cops. "The Star-Spangled Banner" swept over the crowd. And throughout this week, the major media has lauded the Olympics with headlines like, Olympics unify world in wake of Sept. 11. There are 10,000 journalists in Salt Lake City this year for the spectacle of the 2002 Olympic Games. And it only took a week for the medal count of the winners to be dwarfed by accusations of conspiracy, sellout, and vote-fixing by figure skating judges. But while the figure skating scandal made the worlds media, the thousands of protesters outside the games every day have received barely a mention--aside from the odd jab at sullen young anarchists sloping through the streets of Salt Lake City. Protests have taken place almost every day, ranging from animal rights groups demonstrating against the Olympic rodeo to anti-police brutality demonstrations to welfare rights groups. On the opening day of the Olympic Games, a week ago today, five people were arrested during the Kensington Welfare Rights Union March for Our Lives demonstration outside the site of the opening ceremony. Protesters, including KWRU director Cheri Honkala, demanded that the millions of taxpayer dollars spent on the Olympics go to community needs. GUEST: AMY HYNES, co-founder, Citizen Activist Network, a network of activist groups based in Salt Lake City CONTACT:,, GUEST: NATHANIEL LINCOLN MILLS, three year Olympic speed skater, now a peace teacher in DC public schools. He competed in the 1992, 1994, and 1998 Olympics. He is in Salt Lake City this year as an athletic representative. 9:20-9:21 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:21-9:40 MEGA-EVENTS ANDTHE MYTH OF PROGRESS: WHILE THE OLYMPICS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A PLATFORM FOR THE POWERS THAT BE -- FIRST NATION STATES, NOW CORPORATIONS -- THEY HAVE ALSO BEEN A PLATFORM FOR PROTEST Todays Olympic Games have become increasingly corporate, and primarily about moneyfor the local economy of the host city as well as for the host country. This year, the city of Salt Lake, not known for its raging tourist industry, wants to know: how much more money will be reaped by Utah's recreation and tourism industries with the publicity generated by hosting the 2002 Winter Olympic Games? How much of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on the Olympics will show up in the profits of Utah businesses? But not much attention has been paid to the money taxpayers will spend to host the Winter Olympic Games. Corporations, and the politicians who serve them, promote the Olympics in a sea of ads and TV shows, while the public is saddled with the cost of the infrastructure and services that make "the Games" possible. In this segment we are going to talk about the economics of the Olympics and other mega-events. Then well look at a history of protest during the Olympics. GUEST: MATTHEW BURBANK, co-author of Olympic Dreams: the Impact of Mega-Events on Local Politics and associate professor in political science at University of Utah GUEST: SUSI SNYDER, program director, Shundahai Network, a steadily growing alliance of multi-cultural activists, that is dedicated to breaking the nuclear chain by bridging the gaps between the environmental, peace, justice, indigenous and civil-rights communities.AUDIOTAPE: LARRY GERLACH, Professor of Sport History at the University of Utah. He gave this speech on the history of protest during the Olympics at a Citizen Activist Network forum in Salt Lake City a few weeks ago. Thanks to the KRCL Olympic collective for this recording. You can hear their daily reports on the Olympics at 9:40-9:41 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:41-9:58 DEMOCRACY NOW VISITS OLYMPICS PAST: DURING THE 1968 OLYMPIC GAMES, AMONG THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL GAMES EVER HELD, TWO MEDALLISTS GAVE THE BLACK POWER SALUTE Now we are going to go back in time to Olympics past. During the 2000 Olympic summer games in Sydney, when Aboriginal Australian Olympic sprinter Cathy Freeman lit the cauldron that signified the beginning of the games, Democracy Now! interviewed two of the most remembered Olympians of all time, bronze medallist John Carlos and gold medallist Tommie Smith. Together they helped create one of the defining moments at the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico. The 1968 Olympics were among the most controversial Olympics ever held--buffeted by the Vietnam War, the Democratic Convention in Chicago, and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. The U.S. Civil Rights movement was grappling with the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King. And ten days before the Olympics were scheduled to open in October, scores of Mexico City University students were killed by army troops. But officials at the Olympic Games managed to quell any disruption until two black Americans, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who finished first and third in the 200-meter run, bowed their heads and, at great personal risk to themselves, raised their fists in the Black Power salute during the national anthem as a protest against racism in the U.S. They were immediately thrown off the team by the U.S. Organizing Committee. Thirty years have passed since that bold demonstration. We go now to a Democracy Now! interview with the two medallists. I asked John Carlos to describe the scene at the 1968 Olympic ceremony. GUEST: JOHN CARLOS, Bronze Medallist 200m Sprint at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. CONTACT: ABOUT THE BOOK: GUEST: TOMMIE SMITH, Gold Medallist 200m Sprint at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. CONTACT: MUSIC: 1) 9:06 music break: Kansas City by Joeys Boogie Band on Showtime 2) 9:20 music break: Fold Your Flapping Wings from Gilbert & Sullvans Iolanthe 3) 9:40 music break: Bigger is Always Better by Deni Bonet on Bigger is always better 4) Prayer to the World by LTD

Date Recorded on: 
February 15, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
February 15, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. February 15, 2002
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