by Lola Weber
Los Angeles is set to be hosting its first Olympics since 1984, which could be catastrophic for the city, and the people of Los Angeles will face havoc if these plans progress.
The true corruption of the Olympic games begins with the ‘International Olympics Committee’. The IOC is generally where the Olympic’s drive to turn a profit comes from, and it’s where the Corporate interests come to play. The interests of developers, contractors, and the Ultra-wealthy are put above all else, including the actual athletes who are only used for the furthering of the nations’ own schemes.
The Olympic games will drain the resources of Los Angeles, and will continue to exploit this city and the people who reside here. Movements such as ‘NOlympics LA’ have brought light to the issues that will arise from these games. It isn’t difficult to see why or how these things will occur if we allow these “games” to take place in Los Angeles, because we can see exactly what happened in games of the past and even our own 1984 Olympic games.
This year, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games were set to begin in July, but complications with the Coronavirus have led to a postponement. Already, Tokyo has spent 25 billion dollars on their Olympic games. That’s already a hefty 20 billion dollars over their allotted budget. Los Angeles has already created a 7 billion dollar budget for their games, but it’s quite apparent at this point that we will be exceeding our budget.
Even pushing these factors aside, if we were to have what NOlympics calls a “good” Olympics, without ecological crises, overdrawn budget, and one that goes completely according to plan, Los Angeles would still face some extreme complications. One of the primary complications would be Commercialization, which would push the city of Los Angeles to sell a certain image of itself.
Commercialization would essentially target groups such as disabled people, mentally ill people, poor people, sex workers, immigrants, and other marginilized communities, who would all be subject to greater police violence and displacement. This is something that is reflected in the 1984 Olympics as well, where fascist “special division” cop forces such as ‘C.R.A.S.H’ (Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums), were militarized and thousands of people of color in Los Angeles were put in jail without due process for being suspected gang members.
LAPD is responsible for killing the most people out of any other law enforcement agency in the United States. Think about the disastrous effects that the people of Los Angeles would have to face through the LAPD gaining even more funding, and being even more militarized.
The Olympics would also displace current low income residents through construction. The Olympics are directly linked to the acceleration of gentrification nearby low income communities, and the displacement of working class people. One of the largest ‘selling points’ for the 2028 Olympics is the construction of a newly improved transit system, but it is already clear enough that this transit system will only be designed to fit the needs of the Olympic games for optimal profitability.
The basis of the Olympics is built upon exploitation. Whether that be the exploitation of the athletes themselves, or the exploitation of construction workers and other temporary workers. With the rise of de-unionized construction projects in Los Angeles, the Olympics will only accelerate that and continue to exploit workers.
It is also important to note where this 7 billion dollar budget is coming from. Through the diversion of resources for Los Angeles, the IOC and the city of Los Angeles will be able to fund these games. Los Angeles will already be losing tremendous amounts of sales tax revenue due to the sales tax exemption placed on the Olympics. Los Angeles is already in the midst of a housing crisis, with Los Angeles having the highest rate of unhoused people in the country. Diverting the funds from taxpayer money to put on this show for the world is not where the priorities of Los Angeles should lay right now.
The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics are seen by many as one of the most ‘successful’ Olympics to play out. But that metric of success is really only in terms of profitability, and the outpour of nationistic pride. Following the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, was a rise in complaints over police brutality that continued to go ignored by LAPD, which further led to the 1992 Los Angeles uprising.
Following the 1984 Olympics was also skyrocketing unemployment rates due to the sudden loss in jobs that the Olympics had originally promised to bring, which was detrimental to low income communities. None of this screams success to me, since the marginalized communities of Los Angeles were neglected rather than protected.
This isn’t just about stopping the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics. If the people of this city are able to voice enough opposition to these “games”, then the people of other host-cities in the future will be able to do the same, and the long lasting chain of exploitative Olympic games can be put to an end.