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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 September 2012

Volunteering at the Games

A Paralympic volunteer

Standing waiting for the first tube train at 6.30am on a Sunday morning I was surrounded by low-paid workers. These are the workers who keep London going - mostly surviving on the minimum wage, or worse if they've fallen foul of some workfare scheme.

They were in the uniforms of G4S and various cleaning and catering firms and clearly not looking forward to the day very much. I was in the slightly surprising purple and red of the Olympic volunteer. When I got to work I got thanked for turning up and made to feel that what I was doing was appreciated and worthwhile.

Standing on a gate waiting to check tickets with my fellow volunteers, all I could see was an army of enthusiastic spectators, many already covered in flags and wearing silly hats. I spoke to one group of people from Birmingham who had got up at 3am to get there. You could not help but be impressed by their enthusiasm, everyone was determined to have a good time.

There were big groups of people - families, sports clubs, youth groups and suchlike but also large numbers of people with disabilities. Parents were bringing their disabled children.

The Paralympics celebrates athletic achievement, irrespective of disability. But most people with disabilities live in a world which emphasises what they can't do and a government which demonises them as scroungers.

Working in the Olympic Park is like working in a bubble away from the Con-Dems' austerity Britain. People are having fun in pleasant, sometimes breathtaking surroundings. It shows what can be achieved with proper resources. It shows how urgent it is to change this world.

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In The Socialist 5 September 2012:


Fight the cuts

On 20 October... March Together and then we must... Strike Together! to end austerity

Osborne's cuts plans aren't working


Socialist Party news and analysis

Southampton council pay dispute

London Met university crisis

Con-Dems criminalise homeless people

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: Marikana massacre ignites a political volcano


Countering the far-right

EDL rally stopped by anti-racists in Walthamstow

Stopping the far-right - The need for democratic debate


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Southampton: Save Oaklands Pool

Building TUSC in Manchester

Fight begins against massive outsourcing by Knowsley's Labour council

Campaign Kazakhstan: Solidarity concert for those facing oppression

London Paralympics; protests against disability cuts: "Atos kills, kill Atos!"

Hospitals lacking services? Save our NHS!

Boris' workfare - no solution

Brighton Pride 2012: anti-cuts group blocked

Socialist Party subs appeal


Socialist Party workplace news

Unison Higher Education Service Group

Workplace news in brief


Readers' comments

From addiction to recovery

Volunteering at the Games


 

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