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By Rupen Savoulian
June 8, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Antipodean Atheist -- Tributes to the late great boxer Muhammad Ali have been overflowing since the announcement of his passing earlier this month.
By Patrick Bond, Durban
June 3, 2015 -- originally published at TeleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The last week has provided extraordinary examples of how corruption erodes the resources and morals of an entire continent – Africa – in part because villains in South Africa made alliances with wicked brothers in Switzerland, Latin America, the Caribbean and, especially, the United States. We now know more about offshore centres of both reactionary finance and corrupt-corporate soccer. It’s long overdue they are exposed to a spotlight, even if those pointing that light want to leave certain features in the shadows.
On May 21, Africa’s "illicit financial flows" (IFF) looting was partially dissected by Nelson Mandela’s successor, Thabo Mbeki, in his urgent-sounding report to the African Union, Track it! Stop it! Get it! Mbeki’s bottom line:
Mike Marqusee was always keen to allow his excellent articles to be posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. They are collected at http://links.org.au/taxonomy/term/594.
By Dave Zirin
January 13, 2015 -- The Nation -- Radical journalist Mike Marqusee, the greatest professional influence on my life, has died, and I’m wrecked about it. Losing Mike is like losing several pints of blood. I’m left dizzy by the prospect of his absence.
Sport in Capitalist Society: A short History
By Tony Collins
London: Routledge, 2013
January 11, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Routledge has kindly given permission for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to publish an excerpt from Tony Collins' radical history of sport.
Readers of Links are urged to order a copy of this excellent book HERE.
More on sport and capitalism at Links.
* * *
- Why are the Olympic Games the driving force behind a clampdown on civil liberties?
- What makes sport an unwavering ally of nationalism and militarism?
- Is sport the new opiate of the masses?
These and many other questions are answered in this new radical history of sport by leading historian of sport and society, Professor Tony Collins.
The idea of sports competition as a mirror or metaphor for capitalist competition is misconceived.
By Mike Marqusee
June 2, 2014 -- Red Pepper, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Mike Marqusee's permission -- One of the hallmarks of the neoliberal age has been the exponential expansion of commercial spectator sport -- in its economic value, political role and cultural presence. All of which will be thrown into high relief during the coming World Cup in Brazil.
[For more on Brazil, click HERE.]
João Pedro Stédile Interviewed by Brasil de Fato, translated for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Federico Fuentes
June 24, 2013 -- Brasil de Fato -- It is time for the government to ally itself with the people or pay the price in the future. This is one of the evaluations of João Pedro Stedile, national coordinator of the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST) on the recent mobilisations across the country.
According to Stédile, there is an urban crisis installed in Brazilian cities, provoked by the current stage of financial capitalism. “For people, large cities have becoming a living hell where they lose three or four hours a day in transit, which they could instead be using to spend with their family, studying or participating in cultural activities”, he says. For the MST leader, reducing public transport fare prices was of great interest to all the people and this was what the Free Fare Movement got right by calling for mobilisation on behalf of the interests of the people.
By Patrick Bond, Durban
June 24, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over the last fortnight, Brazil’s millions of street protesters in 80 cities supporting the Free Fare Movement have declared how fed up they are with making multiple sacrifices to neoliberalism as revitalised by one Sepp Blatter, the Swiss emperor of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). While right-wing opportunists have been involved in some of the recent protests, the core grievances are apparently those of the left and of the disaffected youth.
August 7, 2012 -- As Mike Marqusee points out in an article posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, the modern Olympic Games are "a symbolic package: individual excellence at the service of the nation-state under the overlordship of multinational capital". Today, the domination of most sport by the capitalist corporations, crude nationalism and dog-eat-dog ideology is almost complete, occasionally challenged by the actions a few principled groups and individuals. But that was not always the case.
In fact, in the early decades of the 20th century, there were mass socialist-inspired workers' sports movements that sought, to varying degrees, to challenge capitalist control and ideology in sport. The goal was to organise working-class people through sport and leisure, and in some cases to attempt to fashion a new conception of sport.
Mike Marqusee at the Olympics: 'Individual excellence at the service of the nation-state and multinational capital'
"The Tommie Smith/John Carlos 'black power' salute of 1968 – two medal winners overturning the symbolism, refusing to let their individual excellence serve the forces that degraded them and their people."
By Mike Marqusee, London
August 4, 2012 -- Mike Marqusee.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- I enjoyed my afternoon at the Olympics, sitting in my public lottery assigned £50 seat at the ExCel, with a fine view of the men’s boxing. And I enjoyed it not least because I was finally able to watch the sport itself without the surrounding hype, the layers of commentary. For a moment there was only that pleasure special to sport: the spontaneity of a story being fashioned in front of your own eyes, once and once only (despite digital repeats), robustly itself and not pretending to be anything else.
Aotearoa/New Zealand: 'Patu!' -- 30th anniversary of the 1981 mass protests against the Springbok tour
July 17, 2011 -- Information taken from from Film Archive (NZ) and Wikipedia; video from NZonScreen -- From July to September 1981, South Africa's all-white national rugby team, the Springboks, toured New Zealand. South Africa was still under apartheid rule at that time, and a Commonwealth ban on all sporting contact, known as the Gleneagles Agreement, had been in place since July 1977. The ban was won by an international mass solidarity movement calling for the boycott of South Africa's racist system.
The New Zealand Rugby Football Union, however, was determined to proceed with the long-planned tour, and New Zealand’s right-wing National Party government (led by Prime Minister Robert "Piggy" Muldoon), whose constituency was largely pro-tour, was not going to stop them.
By Mike Marqusee
September 3, 2010 -- MikeMarqusee.com -- On top of floods, war, bombs, a corrupt and incompetent government with a much feared military in the wings, the long-suffering people of Pakistan have now been betrayed, once again, by their cricketers. Most will not be shocked or will profess not to be shocked: over the last 15 years there has been a steady erosion of faith in Pakistan cricket, which has come to be held in the same low esteem as many of the country’s other institutions. It’s one of the reasons cited, along with exorbitant ticket prices, for the low turn-out from the Pakistani diaspora at this summer’s test matches in England.
But while people in and from Pakistan may not be shocked they are bitterly aggrieved. And rightly so. The antics of the three players accused of spot-fixing in the Lord’s test have destroyed the little portion of relief cricket affords for millions coping with trying conditions.
No Pain, No Gain? Sport and Australian Culture
By Dr Jim McKay
Prentice Hall, 1991. 189 pages.
Review by Phil Shannon
Sport tells lies. According to Jim McKay, sport is a social prop to the domination of capitalist ideas and values. Fundamental to the maintenance of this dominance are the mass media, which ``selectively articulate capitalist rationality, masculine hegemony, Eurocentric racism, militaristic nationalism and liberal values'' -- a toxic mix of ideological viruses.
By Dale T. McKinley, Johannesburg
July 7, 2010 -- The sun has almost set on the soccer World Cup and its seeming suspension of our South African "normalcy". No doubt, many will try their best to continue to bask in its positively proclaimed "developmental legacy"; but, as sure as the sun will rise on the morning after, so too will the reality of that "normalcy" bite us like an unhappy dog. Nowhere will this be more apparent than in the world of South African soccer itself.
Oleh Duroyan Fertl
5 Juli 2010 -- Berdikari -- Piala Dunia FIFA 2010 di Afrika Selatan telah memulai putaran final 16 besarnya pada 26 Juni. Ia hadir di tengah dengungan terompet vuvuzela yang tak pernah surut, kekalahan tim-tim besar seperti Italia dan Perancis, dan aksi-aksi protes di jalanan oleh warga setempat yang marah atas dana 40 miliar rand yang dibelanjakan pemerintah untuk membiayai acara yang dikelola swasta ini. Sementara itu, kaum miskin Afrika Selatan menderita karena perumahan dan akses layanan mendasar yang di bawah standar.
Sepakbola adalah “permainan dunia” yang dimainkan oleh jutaan orang di seluruh dunia dan ditonton oleh ratusan juta lainnya. Tapi benarkah itu “permainan rakyat”?
Sepakbola itu sendiri seringkali merupakan suatu pertunjukan menegangkan yang menampilkan kepiawaian manusia. Suatu pertandingan sepakbola yang bermutu tinggi dapat dibandingkan dengan seni. Maka tak heran ia begitu populer di seluruh dunia.
By Patrick Bond
July 7, 2010 -- Acting against our alleged "ambush marketing" and "incitement" (sic), the South African Police Service, newly augmented with 40,000 additional cadre for the World Cup, detained several of us here in Durban last weekend. We were simply exercising freedom of expression at our favourite local venue, the South Beach Fan Fest, whose half-million visitors is a record.
Wearing hidden microphones so as to tape discussions with police leadership, what we learned was chilling, for they have received orders from Durban city manager Mike Sutcliffe that the property rights of the world soccer body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), overrule our foundational constitutional rights.
“We can charge you and detain you until the 11th of July, [when] FIFA is over!”, a top officer shouted at me during my second interrogation, on Saturday, July 3.
Film: `A Place in the City' -- A world class city for whom? World Cup tourists and the rich, or the poor majority?
July 7, 2010 -- Abahlali baseMjondolo -- Sixteen years since apartheid ended, and amid the hoopla and false hopes promoted by the 2010 soccer World Cup, millions of black South Africans still live in self-built shacks – without sanitation, adequate water supplies or electricity. In Durban, almost in the shadow of the massive multibillion-rand Moses Mabhida stadium [paradoxically named after a veteran leader of South Africa's Communist Party], poor people are fighting for their right to live near work, schools and health facilities.
By Duroyan Fertl
June 27, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa began its final round of 16 on June 26. It came amid the unrelenting drone of vuvuzela horns, the knockout of big teams such as Italy and France, and street protests by local residents angry at the 40 billion rand the government has spent on the corporatised event. Meanwhile, South Africa’s poor suffer substandard housing and access to basic services.
Football, or “soccer”, is the “world game”, played by millions of people around the world and watched by hundreds of millions more. But is it truly the “people’s game”?
On its own terms, football is an often thrilling exhibition of human skill. A high-quality football match commands comparisons with art. Little wonder, then, that it is so popular worldwide.
By Patrick Bond, Durban
June 25, 2010 -- South Africa's soccer-loving critics have long predicted the problems now growing worse here because of its World Cup hosting duties:
- loss of large chunks of government’s sovereignty to the world soccer body FIFA;
- rapidly worsening income inequality;
- future economic calamities as debt payments come due;
- dramatic increases in greenhouse gas emissions (more than twice Germany’s in 2006); and
- humiliation and despondency as the country’s soccer team Bafana Bafana (ranked #90 going into the games) became the first host to expire before the competition’s second round.
Soon, it seems, we may also add to this list a problem that terrifies progressives here and everywhere: another dose of xenophobia from both state and society.
The crucial question in coming weeks is whether, instead of offering some kind of resistance from below, as exemplified by the Durban Social Forum network’s 1000-strong rally against FIFA on June 16 at City Hall, Durban, will society’s sore losers adopt right-wing populist sentiments, and frame the foreigner?
Terry Eagleton: `Football -- a dear friend to capitalism'
By Terry Eagleton
June 15, 2010 -- The Guardian (UK) -- If the [new British] government is bad news for those seeking radical change, the soccer World Cup is even worse. It reminds us of what is still likely to hold back such change long after the coalition is dead. If every rightwing thinktank came up with a scheme to distract the populace from political injustice and compensate them for lives of hard labour, the solution in each case would be the same: football. No finer way of resolving the problems of capitalism has been dreamed up, bar socialism. And in the tussle between them, football is several light years ahead.
By Kamcilla Pillay
June 17, 2010, Durban -- Daily News -- The sound of vuvuzelas cut through the air in Durban on June 16 -- but for one large group there was little to celebrate. Amid cries of phansi ngama-fat cats, phansi (down with fat cats, down) and a sea of banners proclaiming the government cared only for the rich, civil rights organisations took to the streets protesting against poor service delivery and the World Cup.[Photos below.]
Abahlali Base Mjondolo, KwaZulu-Natal Subsistence Fisher's Forum, Clairwood Social Forum and about 17 other organisations gathered for what they dubbed an "anti-Thiefa" protest march which started at Dinizulu Park and ended at City Hall yesterday.