Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast and the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog.

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Monday, August 03, 2015

No Holds Barred: Jonathan Cohn On Next Steps In Fight Against Olympics Hosting Ripoffs 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Jonathan Cohn, who is involved with the successful movement that stopped Boston from hosting the 2024 Olympics, and is a co-founder and an organizer with NoBoston2024.

We spoke with Jonathan Cohn by phone Sunday.

While the plans of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the bid organization Boston 2024 for Boston to be a candidate city to host the 2024 Olympics have collapsed and failed, chiefly because of mass opposition, several other American cities are still in the running for that spot. The USOC has said that it will soon choose between Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. to be an American bid city.

In addition, Canadian Olympic Committee officials are seriously floating the idea of a making a bid from Toronto, while the list of other cities around the world which have said they will bid includes Paris, Rome, Hamburg, and Budapest.

These cities, of course, will face the same issues which sank the Boston bid: localities being held responsible for cost overruns and debts incurred for hosting the Olympics, forced removal of people to make way for Olympic venues and subsequent gentrification of those areas, militarization of Olympic cities and areas, net loss of tourism, related issues involving the prevalent corruption in the Olympic movement, etc., etc., etc.

As a result, we are already seeing opposition developing in some of these potential Olympic host cities, which will grow as more people become aware of the overwhelming problems associated with hosting the Olympics.

So while NoBoston2024 and others were successful in thwarting Boston's bid, this struggle against these Olympics ripoffs will continue in many parts of the world.

"We're very interested in helping out any groups that form in those other cities," said Jonathan Cohn. He and his associates have already had discussions with and have learned from activists in London, who opposed the London 2012 Olympics, and in Chicago, who opposed that city's failed bid to host the 2016 Olympics.

"Just last week, a few of us had met with Chris Gaffney, who's an activist in Rio, and his wife [Juliana Barbassa] who is doing a book tour for a new book, Dancing With The Devil In The City Of God," he said. There is also discussion about holding an international conference of activists who oppose these Olympics ripoffs, perhaps later this year in Zurich, Switzerland.

We also discussed more on why the opposition to hosting a Boston Olympics was successful in mobilizing public support, how these bids are thinly disguised land grabs by private real estate interests, the continuing problems in Rio de Janeiro related to the upcoming 2016 Olympics, the farce of the supposed reforms of the Olympic Agenda 2020, how activists in Boston plan to continue other struggles to improve their communities, why those involved in sports must develop alternatives to the Olympics, and much more.

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