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.

Continue reading

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 Circus costs Plenty, so No Bread for the Hungry

Sporting Mega-Events

What the Protesting Brazilians Learnt from Their BRICS Compatriots

The legendary Pele got an earful from the hundreds of thousands of protestors on the streets of Brazil who refused to heed his appeal to “forget” the protests and support the national football team. Unthinkable as it is, does it indicate that popular protests have finally overcome their inability to challenge the sporting mega event, that the modern-day “circus” is now seen for what it is: a scam of massive proportions?

Sharda Ugra (Sharda.Ugra@espn.com) is senior editor, ESPNcricinfo.com and has been a sports journalist for almost 24 years.

This article was published last week in the Web Exclusives section of the EPW website. This article is the expanded and revised version of what appeared on the Quartz.com website, http://qz.com/98428/deceit-fraudand- fi rst-world-problems-brics-graduated-tothe- sports-big-leagues-and-now-regret-it/

On the night Brazil beat current world champions Spain to win the Confederations Cup football final, Brazilian coach Luis Felipe Scolari was asked a loaded question. About what it was like playing football at a time Brazil was shaken by street protests, some violent, against institutional corruption and lopsided public expenditure. Scolari responded with fury. “Not my area”, he said and, after asking the journalist if he was English (which he was) barked, “So what happened before the Olympics over there? Maybe you want to take a look at your own country before saying there’s something wrong with mine.”

The Confederations Cup victory aside, June 2013 will go down as the winter of Brazil’s discontent, sweeping along in the heart of its anger, football and the Rio Olympic Games of 2016, the two events expected to pitch-fork the country into global acclaim. These two Brazilian sporting showpieces, the 2014 football World Cup and the 2016 Olympics have, however, turned into something else.

Putting Futebol in Its Place

A crowd of 5,000-odd that protested near the Maracana Stadium on the night of the Confederations Cup final, was drowned out by cheering fans and street parties that followed the victory. The days leading up to the final, though, had been different: 50,000 clashed with police a few miles from the stadium in Belo Horizonte where Brazil and Uruguay were playing their semi-final. In the capital Brasilia, there were peaceful yet more symbolic protests on the day, where the crowds kicked footballs over a police cordon towards the Brazilian parliament, the Congress.

Scolari’s churlish reply about the London Olympics and “not my area” was his instant retort following his team’s emphatic and impressive win. Until that, Brazil’s players had been far more sympathetic to the protestors with its rising star Neymar, saying in his Instagram microblog, “I want a Brazil that is fair and safe and healthier and more honest”. Once the flush of the Confederations Cup victory has died down (along with Scolari’s anger), the questions asked by Brazilians throughout June are bound to return. The first protest had centred around bus and metro fare hikes in Sao Paulo, but in the space of three weeks, the outcry around the country grew over failing social services, rampant corruption and misplaced expenditure. The crowds grew from tens of thousands to those totalling a million-strong on 20 June in many cities, with the World Cup and the Olympics turning into symbols of everything wrong with the government and the country’s elite. 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

Biggest protests in 20 years sweep Brazil

Hundreds of thousands march in Brazil

By Todd Benson and Asher Levine, Reuters | SAO PAULO | Tuesday June 18, 2013

(Reuters) – As many as 200,000 demonstrators marched through the streets of Brazil’s biggest cities on Monday in a swelling wave of protest tapping into widespread anger at poor public services, police violence and government corruption.

The marches, organized mostly through snowballing social media campaigns, blocked streets and halted traffic in more than a half-dozen cities, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia, where demonstrators climbed onto the roof of Brazil’s Congress building and then stormed it.

Monday’s demonstrations were the latest in a flurry of protests in the past two weeks that have added to growing unease over Brazil’s sluggish economy, high inflation and a spurt in violent crime.

While most of the protests unfolded as a festive display of dissent, some demonstrators in Rio threw rocks at police, set fire to a parked car and vandalized the state assembly building. Vandals also destroyed property in the southern city of Porto Alegre. Continue reading