Soccer is the sport of multitudes; a sport that gives the most intense passions for people all around the planet. We do not deny the importance of football to the Brazilian people and even the role of sport and leisure in society. However, the FIFA World Cup is not just a sporting event.
The scream ‘NÃO VAI TER COPA’ – ‘THERE WON’T BE A WORLD CUP’ appeared on the streets during the popular uprising of June 2013, when thousands of people in various cities of the country fought for better conditions of life and work. Shouting ‘THERE WON’T BE A WORLD CUP’ is being against the absolute economic power and its interests in political decisions, which have to be determined by the people and focused solely on their real needs. We cannot close our eyes to the crimes being committed in the name of the World Cup. Silencing ‘THERE WON’T BE A WORLD CUP’ is to betray the poor people, is to betray the struggle against social inequality. This is BETRAYING the streets!
Why do we shout ‘THERE WON’T BE A WORLD CUP’?
On behalf of the World Cup and the Olympics, illegal evictions and gross violations of human rights were and are being committed. Entire communities have been and are being wiped off the map, ending the lives of thousands of people.
Removals generate pain, sadness, abandonment and death. The whole process is torture. From graffiti to mark the houses (which resemble Nazi practices) that will be demolished, the coward pressure – with intimidation and threats – of public officials from SMH (Secretaria Municipal de Habitação – Municipal Housing Secretariat) until the withdrawal by force, often with police wielding firearms to take people out of their own homes.
The Brazilian Bourgeois State, known as a Democratic State, denies the right of everyone to adequate living conditions, sufficient to ensure for herself/himself and her/his family the essentials social services indispensable for human dignity – health, education, urban sanitation, transportation and HOUSING. The right to the city is completely negated by the bourgeois state.
The World Cup reproduces social and racial exclusion. Deepens social and environmental problems never solved.
Over 250,000 families were removed and/or live under the threat of removal. The spending for the World Cup in Brazil pass the incredible amount of R $ 30 Billion (so far). In comparison, the last three World Cups summed reach $ 25 billion.
HUGE PUBLIC SPENDING AND WHITE ELEPHANTS
What are the white Elephants? Are extremely expensive, huge, but also COMPLETELY INEFFECTIVE works. In popular speaking is the famous “throw money in the trash”.
The stadiums in Brasilia, Cuiaba, Manaus and Natal will not be ready for less than three billion dollars Reais in total. The grant will be funded through BNDES and state governments, which are compositions of public funds, so our money.
The Mané Garrincha stadium in Brasilia, for example, has a capacity of 71,000 people. The contradiction strikes the eye when we look at the audience of the first game of the finals of last year Brazilian championship: 1,956 spectators. The same scenario is repeated in the other three cities mentioned.
In Manaus, the absurdity is even greater! The Monitoring Group of the Prison System (Grupo de Monitoramento e Fiscalização do Sistema Carcerário), linked to the Court of Amazonas (Tribunal de Justiça do Amazonas), hypothesized to transform the newly built stadium in a temporary ‘prison’.
The reform of the Maracanã cost nearly two billion dollars and only three games of the World Cup will be played at the stadium. It has been spent a value higher than building a new one! The new stadium, now an “arena”, erased the historical identity of the Maracanã. Fans and even players of the Spanish and Italian national team had these feeling when entered the new stadium: “Where is the public?”, “It is very European”, “Like the other stadium, it has lost its mystique…”.
RACE AND GENDER OPPRESSIONS
The FIFA World Cup plays the old sexist practices and encourages the commodification of the body.
One example is the T-shirts sold by Adidas, one of the multinationals that sponsor this mega event. On the t-shirts, woman’s asses are printed, a coarse allusion to reinforce gender oppression and, in particular, the daily sexist aggressions against Brazilian women.
Added to this there is racism: the FIFA is silent on numerous instances of racism in the European championships and in the world; a couple was denied by FIFA, with government backing, to present the draw for the World Cup for being black- with the speech that the couple did not fit the “European standards”.
The World Cup will only further expand the grooming networks that benefit from the sexual exploitation market. In South Africa, for example, the estimated number increased from 100 to 140 billion during the mega event 2010.
Brazil has one of the highest levels of juvenile sexual exploitation in the world. There are increasing reports of sexual exploitation, including children and adolescents around the stadiums and major urban works of the WorldCup, which revealed, for example, that girls 11-14 years old are prostituting in Itaquerão region, East Zone of São Paul.
ELITIZATION = SEGREGATION IN THE STADIUMS
The new stadiums or arenas, just stay at the level of appearance. In practice, there is a tragic side effect in progress: the costs of new “arenas” (paid with public money, so our money) are embedded in the price of the tickets, which become more expensive, generating a elitification of football. This is the result of the privatization of public spaces – capitalist companies that only seek their profit gain the control of public spaces.
Traditional supporters, the working class, the same who built the stadiums or arenas, are deprived of their rights: a worker cannot afford a ticket that costs as much as 50% (or more) of the minimum wage.
A recent study showed that the current Brazilian Championship tickets in the new arenas are on average 119% more expensive than in the old stadium.
More worrying than the orchestrated campaign to discredit those who criticize the World Cup is the movement orchestrated by the Brazilian State to expand the repressive apparatus aiming to stifle the protests during the mega event – and most likely, after.
This movement has acted on two fronts: legislative and other overt (military and police). The bills that aim to create the crime of terrorism in Brazil create legal loopholes so that the judiciary can frame social movements and protesters as terrorists.
The federal government now sends federal troops to Rio de Janeiro saying that they will contain drug trafficking. Trafficking always existed, never ended. Why now? It is an action of the (federal, state and municipal) governments to justify the arrival of federal troops, aiding in the invasion of favelas, in the installation or enhancement of the UPPs, expanding the domain and repression of the State and increasing capitalist profit since the first action of the State is to open the door for private companies to get new customers.
In a context of indignation and protests, the repressive forces increase with the aim to stifle, suppress and control the popular struggles, especially the uprisings that have occurred in the slums, places of various foci of resistance. Moreover, it is in the slums that constantly poor and black people are persecuted, tortured and murdered.
What happened in Manguinhos was more that a popular revolt! About a hundred families occupied an (empty) warehouse behind the library Parque de Manguinhos. Military police tried to forcibly remove the families. Faced with resistance from residents, police fired tear gas and shock grenades; population responded with a hail of rocks and bottles. Then the police started shooting with firearms. Several people were injured. Four young people were shot. One is in serious condition. This is the criminalization of poverty and social movements, struggles and occupations.
With so many arbitrary, human rights violations, procedures for a complete social exclusion, appropriation of public property, misuse of public funds, among other various crimes against the people, protesting against the FIFA World Cup in Brazil is not only legitimate – is also a duty. Therefore, do not be intimidated by liars and speeches of blind patriotism, or by articles written by journalists and intellectuals whose real commitment is with particular political party or with their own pocket.
The actions of the police against demonstrations are intensifying, a fact that became clear in the protest on the 25th of January, when the demonstrator Fabrício Proteus Chaves was shot at close range (almost leading to death) by military police. This cowardly episode, that is routine in slums and peripheries of Brazil, puts us on alert for future demonstrations.
Neither police violence nor the lying discourse of disqualification will make us stop. We are part of the people: we fight for the people and with the people. Nothing will prevent us from enjoying the constitutional right to protest, especially against a World Cup dipped in rot and crimes – which even led to the arrest and death of people who have suffered with the truculent removals or the social “cleansing” process.
The protests against the World Cup in Brazil represent the struggle for the interests of the people and the defence of human dignity, wounded by emergency laws and the cowardly process of building this FIFA World Cup.
FRENTE INDEPENDENTE POPULAR – RJ