In the summer of 2007 Bob Quellos wrote this piece for CounterPunch. This was the first in-depth critique of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic Games. He didn’t know it at the time, but this was the start of what would become No Games Chicago.
“In May 2006, proud leaders of the City of Chicago stood in front of the TV cameras to announce their plans to bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Their plan was ambitious. The city would build an immense new stadium in Washington Park on the South Side, and a sports complex at the former Meigs Field Airport, located on the edge of Lake Michigan, just outside Chicago’s downtown Loop district. Plus, there would be an Olympic Village to house 17,000 athletes and officials–built in the developing near South Side, at a cost of $1.1 billion.
But the hype surrounding the Olympics bid couldn’t hide the glaring contractions–at the same time as the city promised to spend tens of billions of dollars, severe budget restraints have been imposed on the day-to-day operations of the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Park District.
As much as anything, the campaign for the 2016 Games has cast a light on an ongoing housing crisis for the city’s working majority–symbolized by the city’s gutting of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), the agency that runs the public housing system, and the stream of residents leaving Chicago as one of the most basic of necessities becomes harder and harder to afford.
But the Olympics bid has also brought to light the brewing anger with the politicians, corporate executives and wealthy investors who are causing the crisis–and it is opening the way for activists to tell the real story of Chicago’s “transformation” and organize for an alternative.”
Download the article->Pushing the Poor Out of House and Home-Quellos-7-18-07.