Earlier this month, just before an Olympic delegation touched down in Los Angeles to evaluate the city’s bid for the 2024 Olympics, members of DSA-LA’s Housing and Homelessness committee launched an opposition campaign, NOlympics LA — now with a growing list of coalition partners to bolster the fight.
A supranational cartel (the IOC) will ultimately decide between Los Angeles and Paris this September — most likely for both 2024 and 2028. NOlympics LA’s mandate is to make sure we don’t get the Games in any case. Boston’s leadership rescinded their own Olympics bid in 2014 due to grassroots pressure, and those activists — along with an international network of allies and comrades from Boston to Hamburg — have helped us strategize on how to smash the bid here.
To help ramp up our efforts, we’ve built a coalition of allies across the city that includes Af3rm, Anti-Racist Action LA/People Against Racist Terror, Crenshaw Subway Coalition, DSA Long Beach, Ground Game LA, Los Angeles Poverty Department, March and Rally LA, National Alumni Association of the Black Panther Party, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) and Union de Vecinos.
Together, we form a militant and strategic campaign that refuses to measure success in terms of profit. NOlympics LA believes, per our analysis, that “an Olympics in LA — regardless of how ‘successfully’ it is executed — will be disastrous for Angelenos across the city.”
Los Angeles faces a host of issues that are more pressing than the Olympics that members of DSA-LA are organizing around every day. Whether it’s the LAPD murdering our fellow citizens on a daily basis, facing the nation's largest homelessness crisis, our lack of access to affordable housing, the specter of deportations, displacement, and environmental destruction, we’ve got civic crises to spare, and the Games will only serve to exacerbate them.
Gentrification & Displacement
The Olympic Games — and often even the awarding of a bid — lead to accelerated gentrification and unbridled real estate speculation. Even if there is no “new” construction (as the LA2024 team and Mayor Garcetti promise), we know that thousands of Angelenos will be displaced from their homes as the games will be used as a pretext for developers and politicians to advance projects that will increase real estate values and commerce in areas adjacent to them. This is unacceptable in a city already in the grips of a housing crisis.
Commercialization & Police Crackdowns
Anyone who doesn’t fit the image of Los Angeles that the Olympics bid committee and its corporate partners want to sell to the world — e.g., poor people, immigrants, gender nonconforming people, disabled people, people with mental illnesses, sex workers, political dissidents — will be at high risk of displacement and police violence.
The LAPD is already one of the most militarized police forces in the United States, but if LA gets the 2024 or 2028 Olympics, the bid committee plans to offload the $2 billion cost of security by designating the Games a National Special Security Event, thus handing over control of local policing to federal agencies like the Secret Service, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security.
Diversion of Resources
Los Angeles faces a host of urgent problems afflicting the quality of life of its residents. Resolving these crises as quickly and humanely as possible should be our city’s top priority. For our leaders to waste money and energy on any other goal is unconscionable.
For instance, Mayor Garcetti has had to solicit funding from the Trump Administration to accelerate the Purple Line Expansion to Westwood, not because this is the transit line commuters most need, but because it serves the interests of the Games. His coyness regarding LA as a Sanctuary City is no doubt influenced by his desire to bring the Olympics to LA with federal support.
LA claims the Games will be low risk and privately funded, but the Olympics has a long history of going wildly over budget, and LA and California taxpayers will be responsible for any of these inevitable cost overruns.
For the above reasons and more, we believe there is no moral, ethical, or sustainable way for Los Angeles to host the Olympics in 2024 or 2028, and we encourage our elected officials to drop this bid before the deadline of September 13, 2017.
Our next major move is to take this fight directly to City Hall and the IOC with DSA-LA’s first coalition of this type which we built from the ground up. We’re going to force real democracy down the throats of the “compassionate capitalist” Democrats who run our city and would prefer to see all the undesirables swept out of town. Join us!