Breaking: DC 2024 Olympic bid defeated

At 6:30PM on the 8th of January, WTOP News reported that the Olympic Selection Committee in Denver has chosen Boston, not Washington DC, for the 2024 Olympic bid for the United States. DC is now spared from incoming Mayor Muriel Bowser's proposal to spend $5 Billion on the "Eviction Games," and from the wave of displacement, gentrification, and police brutality they would bring. On the other hand, Boston residents now have a problem and need to prepare for a fight to reject the Games.

Earlier on the 8th of January, ugly reports surfaced on Twitter about new DC Mayor Muriel Bowser's willingness spend as much as 5 BILLION dollars on the city's 2024 Olympic bid. Meanwhile, attempts to get $500 million to house the homeless have been ignored for years. Some of the online discussion invoked the 1972 referendum that kicked the 1976 Olympics out of Denver. Now Mayor Bowser has the option of taking that $5 Billion and spending $400M in each of the next nine years on housing the homeless with the money saved by the defeat of the Olympic proposal.

I still remember the two days of action that ended former Mayor William's bid for the 2012 Olympics. On a Friday, the Olympic Selection Committee staged a publicity visit to RFK Stadium, but failed to get a permit for exclusive use of the area. Protesters showed up, and a smoke flare was set off next to their bus as they reboarded. That sent a message that Olympic security would be a dificult problem in DC with so many protests. The next day, the Olympic Selection Committee was invited to a ceremonial reopening of the then newly renovated Wilson Building, only be be heckled by protesters from a number of DC tenant organizations. When the Olympic Selection Committee trimmed the list of contenders from 4 to two a few months later, DC had been removed from the list.

The closure of DC General on orders from former Mayor Williams appeared to have been driven by the 2012 Olympic bid. Activists managed to capture a copy of a map of the proposed Olympic venues, and the archery range was where the DC General building still stands. This was proof that just like in Beijing where the 2012 games were actually held, and just like the World Cup in Rio, Brazil, these "Eviction Games" would have brought a wave of gentrification and evictions. Tens of thousands were evicted in Brazil for world cup "slum clearance" projects, in many cases by paramilitary police operations. In DC, if the Olympics come to town, we can expect a wholesale offensive against affordable housing anywhere near the Games, possibly including "slum clearance" operations aimed at Anacostia residents.

Who will get the 2024 Olympic Gold Medals for eviction, for displacement, and for gentrifcation? Who will get Mayor Bowser's $5 Billion? Certainly not the homeless, and certainly not DC residents of color being hammered by ever higher rents.

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