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NOlympics LA and the Road to 2028: A Platform for Changing the Conversation & Winning

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The NOlympics LA Coalition is changing the conversation on an LA 2024 2028 Olympics, because the Olympics destroy communities and kill cities. Regardless of how “successfully” they are executed, these “Games” will expose tens of thousands of our fellow Angelenos to incalculable risk and feed the problems which are already devastating and destroying the fabric of our communities today, while depriving us of the resources we need to make the city better. Our goal is still to stop the Olympics.

Despite the fact that the IOC has awarded LA the bid to host the 2028 Summer Olympics, the fight isn’t over. LA’s mayor, city council, and the bid committee have all been complicit in this charade. They accepted the IOC’s offer on the flawed premise of “enhancing the lives” of LA’s residents by using youth sports as a band-aid for our urban crises. But for the communities, activists, and organizers of LA, the conversation is only just beginning. The notion that “LA is going to have the Olympics, one way or another” isn’t necessarily true, as many opportunities still exist to intervene and stop them entirely.

As the NOlympics LA coalition anticipated, the now controversial 2028 bid was hurried in a profoundly undemocratic manner, informed only by the voices and interests of a few powerful figures who stand to benefit directly from the Olympics and who would not assume any personal risk. It was a sloppy, damning, patronizing process which sought to silence the people of Los Angeles despite serious concerns and a litany of unanswered questions. We seek to reverse this tide of anti-democratic, pro-capitalist local politics that has defined the Garcetti era as he tries to use the Trojan Horse of the Olympics to advance his broader political ambitions while handing over the keys to the city to developers and business interests.

Moving forward, NOlympics LA seeks to untangle the web of undemocratic greed motivating the bid, city council, our mayor, and the IOC. We challenge their decision to place our already vulnerable communities at higher risk of death, displacement, deportation, and detention. Part of our ongoing efforts are to take the opposite approach to the 2028 bid by deliberately and thoughtfully engaging with Angelenos in good faith.

We will continue to fight tooth and nail for a better Los Angeles instead of allowing the elite to shape the future of our city, while using the Olympics to expose the urgent problems we face today.

Our coalition has power. But it does not come from private meetings and opaque processes. Our power is collective and is demonstrated publicly, which is why we will continue having conversations with communities throughout Los Angeles about the Games and the already-existing issues that would only be exacerbated if Los Angeles were indeed a host city.

As we build and strengthen the requisite relationships and power to stop the Games through a wide variety of tactics and campaigns (which also includes building relationships nationally and trasnationally), we will also be working towards sculpting a different Los Angeles, one with greatly improved material conditions for those who are currently most vulnerable and marginalized. We fully intend to stop the Games, but — in the process — we also want to re-imagine Los Angeles as a place which would never be amenable to inviting and hosting a catastrophe like the Olympics ever again.

As we progress, our coalition will focus on the following points, which will be expressed in further detail via specific campaigns, actions, and events:

1. Insist on Homes Not Games

The Olympics have accelerated gentrification and displacement in every modern Games, and Los Angeles is already in the midst of a housing crisis. History has shown that the Olympics will increase an already-growing homeless population (now nearing 60,000), but City Council and the Mayor have done nothing to quell this fear, glossing over our concerns by assuming LA will “make a dent” in the crisis by 2028, or that the Games will inspire someone to solve it. While stopping the Olympics alone will not solve the problem, we refuse to let our city play host to a spectacle of this magnitude when there are so many people without safe accommodations and equal access to urban life and processes.

2. Put an end to police militarization + radically rethink law enforcement

From a safety and policing perspective, the Olympics threaten some of our most vulnerable communities: immigrants, the formerly incarcerated, sex workers, the homeless, the disabled, low income people of color, and so on.The Olympics also further criminalize homelessness and privatize public space. And in LA, they would strengthen the military apparatus and coordination that already exists, whether between ICE and local agencies via the National Special Security Event (NSSE) or by helping develop its drone program.  The Olympics always threaten to create a powder keg of any racial or social unrest that already exists; two obvious examples being the 1984 Olympics helping to stoke the fires of the 1992 Uprising and the 1968 mass murders in Mexico City. We want to use our power and leverage to reimagine the relationship between law enforcement and citizens for all Angelenos.

3. Create a more transparent, accountable local democracy

We will seek to create more democratic interventions and forums to thrust democracy on the proceedings, even if the people currently in control are disinterested in the notion of public discourse. We will do whatever necessary to create democratic mechanisms for oversight and accountability of our officials, and they will hear us and feel us as we grow. This includes building dialogue and tangible relationships with Angelenos from Long Beach to the Valley, from Claremont to the coast, from an incredibly diverse set of communities, experiences, and challenges — engagement our elected officials seem averse to. The bid committee represents private business interests who are accountable to no one, but it is our elected officials’ duty to inform and educate the public about prospective risk, solicit their feedback, and listen to it. We will, in good faith, do our best to engage with as many people as we can through events, forums, town halls, canvassing, phone-banking, and take every opportunity to address concerns and questions that the bid committee never allowed for.

We will have a public conversation with anyone, anytime, anywhere.

So let’s talk

NOlympics LA
September 13, 2017