Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Soccer Inc.

Sometimes the right wing gets it, well right. Cheap shots about anti-globalization protestors in Nikes, aside....the world cup is highest level of capitalism as Lenin would reflects the culture of imperialism. Heres John Hayden from the Washington Times take on the World Cup;

The World Cup is the perfect example of globalization.

Soccer's biggest party has all the ingredients to stir up a good, old anti-capitalist rant: Rich Western nations, stripping the best talent away from third-world countries, old, fat, white guys managing groups of African workers and Brazilians from ghettos traded across the globe to the highest bidders.
Welcome to the marketplace of modern soccer, where national barriers mean nothing in the pursuit of soccer talent and Brazilians are the biggest outsourcers on the planet.Protectionism has gone out of the window. Soccer players cross national boundaries with ease, and the big leagues in Europe are flooded with foreign talent.
Imagine the Redskins starting a game without a single American. John Riggins, wrapped in an American flag, would rip up the seats up at FedEx Field. Yet, Arsenal played for more than a month early this year without one English player in the starting lineup.

Of course not all that glitters is gold, and even soccer players are still wage slaves as the strike by the Trindad and Tobago team shows. Opps forgot about that did we John.

And he convienently left out the little fact that state capitalism and social democracy provides the most winning teams. Funny that.


Social democracy delivers more championships than the juntas--six in all. And even the worst social democratic teams--Belgium, Finland--win more consistently than their authoritarian peers. To understand this success, one must understand the essence of the social democratic economy. Social democracies take root in heavily industrialized societies, and this is a great blessing. No country has won the World Cup without having a substantial industrial base. This base supplies a vast urban proletariat, which in turn supplies players for a team. Industrial economies also produce great wealth, which funds competitive domestic leagues that improve social democratic players by subjecting them to day-to-day competition of the highest quality. And, while the junta mindset nicely transposes itself to the pitch, the social democratic ethos is a far neater match. Social democracy celebrates individualism, while relentlessly patting itself on the back for its sense of solidarity--a coherent team with room for stars.
Of course one has to be suspicious of anything Americans have to say about the beautiful game cause they well, they didn't invent it. And its about team work, collectivism, and well all those things that are know....Un-American.

Hardin: Soccer a political futbol Americans won't trust
After 76 years of watching a game we did not invent, we've finally begun to figure out why soccer never has and never will be a part of our sporting calendar. It's un-American. Or not American.We've been hearing this since 1930, for so long it's no longer irritating: Soccer isn't going to make it here the way it has abroad until we have some serious changes. A military junta would be a good start, or possibly the emergence of a fascist dictatorship or maybe democratic socialism. Countries under those political conditions have won nine World Cups. Soccer is, first and foremost, political.
We know soccier represents the best that socialism has to offer. Which is why Americans get confused. Cause to them any form of collective endeavour is anathema.

Football: "war minus the shooting"

uploaded 20 Jun 2006


Joschka Fischer, former German foreign minister, recently declared that once the tournament of World Cup finals starts, "a football will become the symbol of our One World." This ideal of a world-at-peace encapsulated in a universal symbol seems at odds with the bloody reality of the world today. George Orwell described football as being "war minus the shooting". The English author and political commentator was not averse to hyperbole. However he is not alone when it comes to overstating the importance of game of football. The most dramatic dictum has to be that of Bill Shankly: ‘Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I can assure you it is much, much more important than that’. This may sound comical, on face value, but looking at the history of the game it is not clear whether or not he uttered these words in jest. Last week saw a series of distinctly Shanklyesk broadcast in the USA. Based on the morose manner of the addresses we can rest assured that it was not a joke. The American broadcaster ESPN, which shows most of the world cup games in the USA, is airing a series of adverts with members of the rock band U2. In one, Bono says that the World Cup "closes the schools, closes the shops, closes a city and stops a war." Another advert adds some more meat to the bones of Bono's thesis explaining that: "After three years of civil war, feuding factions talked for the first time in years, and the president called a truce. Because the Ivory Coast qualified for the World Cup for the first time. Because, as everyone knows, a country united makes for better cheerleaders than a country divided."

So yes Virginia soccer is where politics meets the pitch. Unlike of course unpolitical American sports like oh say NASCAR.

But all is not light and joy for the beautiful game.

There are the soccer scandals and of course the rascist nature of some Euro sports fans, err hooligans.Who’s to blame for racism in soccer?

And there are those sweatshops
and child labour making FIFA balls and uniforms, opps . Nasty that. Something that Mr. Hayden forgot to mention in his Washington Times article. Though he did get it right about wondering with such high profile sweat shop companies like Nike and Adidas present at the World Cup why there were no protests.

Meanwhile not all eyes are on the world cup. Nope the ruling class in Germany is back in the counting house complaining.

German Industry Irked by Slow Pace of Reforms
While most of the country is swept up in World Cup fever, that's not the case for German business leaders. They've been eyeing up Chancellor Merkel's progress on economic reforms and wonder what she's waiting for. Angela Merkel may be enjoying the highest popularity ratings of any post-war German chancellor, but she is fast losing favor among the country's business leaders and economic experts.
Gawd what a bunch of whiners. Global competiveness this, global competiveness that, sheesh shut up already and watch the game. That's real global competitiveness in action.

And youse guys on the right say the left doesn't know how to have fun. Gimme a break. And don't just say its because they are German capitalists, capitalists just are no fun. Period. Take Steve Forbes....please. drum roll. clash of cymbols.

A socialist’s guide to the World Cup

Simon Black

As World Cup fever grips the globe, many progressives will be sighing at the prospect of another sporting spectacle distracting the “masses” from the pressing issues of the day — the classic “bread and circuses” argument.

There is a tendency on the North American left to disdain sport: its competitive nature, the corporatisation of its grand events, its inherent masculinities and cultures of exclusion. Some of this critique is grounded in good sociology; some of it bears an irrational disdain for that in which one does not participate or enjoy.

In many sports, but especially in “the beautiful game”, politics and the game have a symbiotic relationship. Politics can influence and be influenced by what happens on the field of play. The World Cup is no exception.

My parents immigrated to Canada from Liverpool in the 1960s: growing up, soccer and socialism were the main topics of discussion in the Black household. Conversations at the dinner table moved seamlessly between football and politics, England’s chances in the World Cup and the New Democratic Party’s chances in the upcoming election.

I only committed my life to socialism after being rejected as a professional soccer player (a brief stint with the English premier league’s Watford FC is my footballing claim to fame).

In many countries, soccer is a terrain of political and ideological struggle like the media or the education system. Teams in Europe often have decidedly partisan political followings. Lazio of Rome was the club of Mussolini and retains a large fascist following today. Italian club AS Livorno has long been associated with communism and banners of Che Guevara can be seen waving in the stands at the team’s home games. Clashes between Livorno’s supporters and the fans of right-wing teams can dominate match day in this picturesque Tuscany town.

World Cup quotes of the week

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son of gaia said...

Bah, Humbug!

The origin of organized sport lies with the ancient Greek city-states, where organized sporting events were openly used as a means of distracting the population from the deprivations and loss of life their war efforts were causing.

International sporting events continue to be a propaganda proxy for parading military might in front of your rivals.
Their secondary purpose is to whip up nationalist fervor. There is nothing 'uniting' or 'internationalist' about them.

In my opinion.

eugene plawiuk said...

You are such a curmudegon for such a nice young man.

Dame Edith

juan manuel said...

For further evidence of the reach of globalization into our precious game read world cup fever