Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Why America Won’t Boycott the Olympics

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on April 10, 2008

By Allison Kilkenny at Huffington Post

Horrifically violent and totally chaotic, China has become impossible for the world to ignore. Of course, that won’t stop American athletes and tourists from attending the Olympic games, nor American advertisers from leaching millions of dollars from the international gathering of irregularly muscular pole vaulters and aquatic overachievers.

Americans possess the appropriate amount of outrage for the China crisis, but hoping for immediate results, they turn to the wrong change agents: politicians.

Politicians won’t stop the 2008 Olympics.
Barack Obama has only managed to skillfully avoid mentioning anything regarding the Chinese.

And though she surprisingly called for President Bush to boycott the Olympics, Hillary’s other half privately urged Steven Spielberg not to resign as the “Overseas Artistic Director” only last year. I like to call this kind of “say-one-thing-do-the-opposite” activism the Murdoch Strategy, named after Conservative blood-sucking tycoon Rupert Murdoch, and his daughter Elisabeth, who hosted a fundraiser for Barack Obama at her London home. It’s an easy way to commit to no one, while committing to everyone, and successfully covering all of one’s bases just in case there’s an outbreak of genocide in China, or “that black fellow” becomes President of the United States.

In other politician news, donning a red (for outrage!) neck scarf, Ms. Pelosi encouraged San Francisco residents to protest the torch’s journey through their city.

But the key to successfully boycotting the Olympics doesn’t rest with our ruffled American politicians. The only way to clearly denounce the corrupt behavior of the Chinese government is to withdraw corporate sponsorship from the Olympics.

You see, though American citizens and politicians are dutifully outraged by the Chinese government’s repression and abuse of its own people, corporations can’t commit fast enough to spending millions for advertising in Beijing.

So if you’re interested in really affecting the Olympics, first you have to stop the steady cash flow, and you can stop the cash by asking (pretty, pretty please) corporations to withdraw their ads from the Olympics.

Click here to see the full list of 2008 Beijing corporate sponsors
, or simply scroll down:

The list includes: McDonalds, Coca-Cola, GE, Adidas, Samsung, VISA, UPS, Staples, Johnson & Johnson, Kodak, and Volkswagen.

If you feel morally outraged by the humanitarian crisis in China, contact these corporations and tell them they’ll lose you as a customer if they don’t definitively denounce (and reject) their support of China’s repressive government.

CEOs understand the language of dollars very clearly, and if they begin to lose monetary support from their customers, they’ll do anything to stop the bleeding, up to and including withdrawing their sponsorship of the games.

If you feel outraged enough to frown disapprovingly at politicians when they don’t talk about Tibet enough, but you continue to buy Kodak film, or drink Coke anyway, then don’t be surprised when the 2008 Beijing Olympics goes off without a hitch.

One Response

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  1. Anna Matsen said, on April 11, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    I firmly agree that money talks louder than politicians, but I wonder at the ultimate impact a boycott on the Olympics would have. Such an act would be great publicity, and the American public cannot even attempt to address China’s human rights violations unless they are made fully aware of what’s going on.

    However, those who champion the potential Olympic champions unable to compete would be disgusted by such protest. While surely they would condemn China’s human rights abuses, they’d also likely be disillusioned by our reaction to it.

    Furthermore, what consequence would China suffer from an Olympic boycott? They would lose some Olympic-grade prestige, and perhaps some money (with fewer athletes staying in their country), but such practical consequences would be short-lived. After the Olympics was over, they’d very well continue to manufacture billions of (likely lead-laden) imports.

    What we really need is a concrete incentive for China to shape up it’s act that does not disillusion those whose support we need to succeed. What we need is to write the U.S. manufacturers and retailers who buy imports from China and tell them to stop, or else we’ll quit buying their products. THAT would send a crystal clear message to the financial power behind China. That would be true non-participation in oppression. Not to mention, it would hopefully bring focus back onto buying American-made goods, something that just might truly reinvigorate the flailing U.S. economy.

    Money talks; let’s be consumers with megaphones.

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