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In a Time of Climate Change, Boston—and the World—Can’t Afford the Olympics


In a Time of Climate Change, Boston—and the World—Can’t Afford the Olympics

Joseph Nevins

The U.S. Olympic Committee’s decision last month to make Boston its candidate for the right to host the 2024 Summer Games has generated much excitement within the city and its environs. It has also engendered considerable opposition.


Yes, indeed - the Games will go on. With trillions of dollars at stake, and images of infrastructure “improvement” dancing in public officials’ heads, residents of the greater Boston area will be the victims of hundreds of campaigns - local and worldwide - to convince the public the Olympics will be wonderful. The poor and homeless are swept up like dust, and tossed out of the area by gentrification, stadium and venue construction, and other exercises in “urban planning”. The effort, public and private, will not be made to make Boston better for citizens. Boston will be made better for the neoliberals, who will seek to suck up as much money as they can, to make Boston a better place for corporations and their rich owners. The modern Olympic movement, after all, was designed to showcase white, western European/American superiority. Sport had little to do with it; the commodification of sporting events turned the “Games” into a consumerist bait ball, with fans fighting with each other for a tiny piece of the action. When the echoes of the “USA USA” chants fade, people - who willno longer afford to live in Boston - will be cleaning up the mess for years.


What has been going on here in Boston, although weather-related, is a perfect reason not to have the 2024 Olympics come here to Boston. The fact is, that Boston is already too small and too congested a city to hold the Olympics in, at any time of the year, plus our MBTA (Mass. Bay Transit Authority) public transportation system is already strained enough without an additional influx of people on it for the Olympics. Boston and its surrounding cities, suburbs and exurbs must concentrate these efforts into improving what they’ve already have. Cities and towns here in the Commonwealth, for example, could use some better, more up to date snow removal equipment, and hire more manpower to do the snow removal work. Our MBTA system is badly in need of a real overhaul, upgrading, and updating, and so are our public school systems. Let’s forget about the Olympics and spend time and money on improvements of our system.


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Plenty of bread for these circuses