Should Meanjin host the Olympics?

Image: Helmets, armor, etc. used by opponents in the Sanrizuka struggle (Narita struggle). Photographed at Narita Airport and Community Historical Museum (Shibayama, Chiba) with permission.

The ABC report reads: “A Qantas charter flight arrived at Narita Airport last night, before they spent hours waiting for saliva tests to confirm nobody is carrying the virus. The vast majority of Australia’s Olympians have touched down in Japan, welcomed by a city that is desperately battling to keep its growing coronavirus outbreak under control.”

At Narita there was a 40 year struggle against the building of the airport. Most of Japan’s progressive forces and a large farming population opposed it. So what has that got to do with the Olympics? Well, it is not solely that airports and air travel are the biggest transmitter of the Covid pandemic. It is what and who the protestors are up against. The Olympics like Narita airport changes the city and opens it up for even greater capitalist development. Like Tokyo, Sydney and now Brisbane the Olympics become a free for all where the Maaates carve up the public purse to acquire big profits through development. It is a land grab.


Kathy Freeman winning the 400 metres race in the 2000 Sydney Olympics was a defining moment for Australia. Friends saw the race in the Olympic stadium tell of how much such support Kathy Freeman got when she draped herself in the Aboriginal flag. I cried. At last some recognition. It was better than Keating’s Redfern speech, although that was pretty good too.

Kathy Freeman after winning 400 metres in the 2000 Sydney Olympics

Now the Queensland government wants to host the 2032 in Meanjin (Brisbane). At face value it is a stupid idea; a con trick to rip off money from ordinary people so that the elite and their maaates can bask in corporate glory and the developers can profiteer off the land grab that goes with .

Andy interviews Megumi Hoshino who has been involved in protesting the Tokyo Olympics. The Japanese Left have a long history of opposing the compulsory acquisition of precious land from the poor in Japan. Such struggles go back to the protests against the Narita airport in the 60s and 70s. That struggle stemmed from the government’s decision to construct the airport in Sanrizuka without the involvement or consent of most area residents. It is a similar situation here in Meanjin, the government has not consulted with the general population nor has it spoken with those most affected by the decision. Here are Andy’s notes:

This week’s show is all about the Olympics! We hear from Megumi Hoshino who has been involved protesting the Tokyo Olympics, and we chat to Greens MP Amy McMahon and aboriginal leader Boe Spearim about the possibility of Brisbane hosting the games in 2032.

Listen at

Frenzal Rhomb – Bronze for Straya
Sportchestra – Amereicha
Sportchestra – We want beans not goals
Mitch Tambo – Absolutely everybody
Flangipanis – Sportsball
Photo: Peter Norman, Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the podium at the 1968 Olympics. John Carlos and Tommie Smith took the podium with black-gloved fists raised in the air and their shoes in their hands. Their bare feet, a symbol of poverty; their clenched hands and bowed heads were an appeal for equality. Peter Norman who came second in the race supported the two African American athletes’ protest. None of the three would ever run in a major international event again.

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