Angry Rebellions against World Cup

“Social unrest mars 2014 World Cup”

The Mercury, 23 May 2014

The city of São Paulo has been at the centre of repeated protests against the government’s R114bn spending, writes Lizzie Dearden

viral world cup

Paulo Ito, a street artist, painted the mural of a starving child with only a football to eat on a school in São Paulo on May 10 and a photo of the artwork has since been shared more than 50 000 times on Facebook alone.

The city has been at the centre of repeated and sometimes violent protests against the government’s R114 billion spending on the World Cup when the money is so badly needed elsewhere.

“People already have the feeling and that image condensed this feeling,” Paulo Ito told slate.com.

“The truth is there is so much wrong in Brazil that it is difficult to know where to start,” he said.

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Brazil: No World Cup?

Members of the Landless Workers Movement protest against the money spent on the World Cup near Arena Corinthians, which will host the tournament’s first match in São Paulo, Brazil. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

[The great journalist Eduardo Galeano once wrote, “There are visible and invisible dictators. The power structure of world football is monarchical. It’s the most secret kingdom in the world.”  It is a cultural and economic “kingdom” that, along with Olympics and other mega-capitalist-profit and xenophobic-promotion projects, hijacks national budgets, leaving millions starving in the streets….and rising in rebellion in hundreds of city streets.  Here, David Zirin, the journalist whose career has focused on the politics of sport, the misuse of sport’s popularity, and the history of athlete’s activism, tells what is building up in Brazil with the approach of the FIFA World Cup. — Frontlines ed.]

‘There Will Be No World Cup’: Brazil on the Brink

Dave Zirin, The Nation blog, on May 15, 2014
For people just tuning in, the idea that people in Brazil would be protesting the 2014 World Cup makes about as much sense as New Yorkers’ rebelling against pizza. And yet here we are, less than one month before the start of the Cup, and demonstrations bear the slogan #NãoVaiTerCopa, or “There will be no Cup.”

Protests, strikes and direct actions have been flaring up across the country as the 2014 FIFA World Cup approaches. Most notably, as many as 10,000 people in São Paolo under the banner of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, or MTST, has occupied a major lot next to Arena Corinthians, site of the World Cup’s opening match. They call their occupation “The People’s Cup” and point out that the nearly half a billion dollars that went into building the “FIFA quality stadium” next door could have been used to combat poverty or improve healthcare. The slogan “we want FIFA quality hospitals and schools” still rings out as it did a year ago, when during the Confederation’s Cup, Brazil saw its largest protests in a generation. Now there is an even sharper desperation as the cup approaches. Maria das Dores Cirqueira, 44, a coordinator for the MTST, told the Los Angeles Times, “When the government told us we would host the World Cup, we hoped there would be improvements for us. But they aren’t putting on a Cup for the people, they’re putting on a Cup for the gringos.” Continue reading

Reaching for “World-Class” Glory, the Brazilian State Unleashes a Reign of Terror in the Favelas

[In Brazil, the international promotion of a global sporting event, the FIFA World Cup of 2014, has driven a “sophisticated, cosmetic” PR and brutal policing and counter-insurgency program.   In this article, The Guardian describes the deadly repression of the poor, and  the “charm-the-tourists” propaganda campaign of the Brazilian state. — Frontlines ed.]

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Brazil’s favelas are in big trouble, despite the World Cup marketing push

, theguardian.com, Sunday 18 May 2014
'In Rio de Janeiro, the number of deaths in conflict with the police rose by 69% from 2013 to 2014.'

‘In Rio de Janeiro, the number of deaths in conflict with the police rose by 69% from 2013 to 2014.’ Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

This week, a study by Amnesty International revealed that 80% of Brazilians are afraid of being tortured by their own police force on arrest. In a survey across 21 countries, Brazil was found to be the country where people feel most unsafe in the hands of authorities, almost twice the international average of 44%.

In Rio de Janeiro this fear is very real. Although the media has reported the efforts to pacify favelas across the city, armed violence has once again escalated in the city – weeks before it will receive thousands of football fans for the 2014 World Cup.

Back in 2008 favela residents dreamed of a life without violence as the government unveiled a project to build Pacifying Police Units (UPPs) in which policemen would be stationed to take back territory controlled by drug gangs for decades. Today the failures of this programme are starting to show – and a corrupt and violent police force is the main cause. Continue reading

Brazil: “The Validity of revolutionary violence”

By R. Mineiro, Posted on 18/06/2013 in the blog of the newspaper, The New Democracy (rough translation by Revolutionary Frontlines)

We can see in the streets, the sizzling legacy of the Confederations Cup. Thanks FIFA.

The powers and communication monopolies, astonished, say they do not understand the meaning of such revolt. Isolated in their artificial paradises, they  are scared to face the country. After ten years, hope returns, and things like this happen. The day dawned, “Every night has its dawn, rays of light break through all the darkness.” “Brazil woke up”, this phrase could be read on posters of many walls. Waking to dream.

In a historic night, lucky are those who could not sleep. The restless eruption of that attack is much more heartening than anything the defenders of the old fort have ever done.

The reactionary ruling classes, amidst the nightmare of the streets, make its plans to empty the demonstrations. Last week we saw the venomous attacks of its spokesmen. Arnaldo Jabor said that the youth was not worth a penny, Luiz Datena called us vandals and troublemakers. After it became clear that repression only increased the rebellion, the discourse changed. Yesterday, Jabor spoke of a generation that finds ideas; Datena told the CQC, which despite being in the media police, his specialty is human rights.

What a change in just one week. Now watch their “security experts” explain the demonstrations. The media often gives tips on how to behave in a job interview. But now we hear news reporters give us lessons about what we should or should not do in our protests. Continue reading