Forum topic: The History of Sport Under Capitalism (Part Two) - Sport in decadent capitalism (from 1914 to today)

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Forum topic: The History of Sport Under Capitalism (Part Two) - Sport in decadent capitalism (from 1914 to today)
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: The History of Sport Under Capitalism (Part Two) - Sport in decadent capitalism (from 1914 to today). The discussion was initiated by Fred.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

WH should be thanked for the

WH should be thanked for the all-embracing trilogy on sport that the comrade has produced. So complete a critique do these articles present they don't leave much space for comment.

WH wrote:
Sport is clearly a counter to any form of subversion, aimed mainly at youth, notably in schools where it's used as a form of brain-washing.

Only last night, on Australian television, there was a program called "Three boys laughing" about 3 teenage boys and their intense efforts to become successful, and thus buyable by professional teams, in various sports outlets. The effort involved was enormous and there wasn't all that much laughing. Interviews were held to discover whether the working class boys were ideologically suitable to become professional sportsmen. That one had a father who was in long term imprisonment wasn't well received; but that he didn't have a girl-friend appeared to go down well. The degree of anxiety exhibited by the boys and their families, and the high investment they all had in "success" - which meant being signed up by some team, and getting access to the big money - was saddening, as the joy of being physically good at doing a sport was gradually lost to the fiercely taken-for-granted competitive drive.

The bourgeoisie taint everything they touch.

This 3 part analysis of the

This 3 part analysis of the history and function of sport is an important development for the marxist movement. The recent British Olympics, with its sickening nationalism, money/competition, militarism and repression, was an extremely effective demonstration of the basis of the analysis overall.

Last week, there was a stunning report from Australia - a sport's mad nation - on the scope and depth of doping and corruption across all the major sports. From the broadsheets to the tabloids in Britain, this report has been largely ignored (just earlier, reports of corruption, match-fixing and doping in European football were being made). No-one is going to seriously address these problems let alone tackle them.

They are not new. In the early sixties, one of my mate's brothers was picked to play for Chelsea. He was a thin, wispy kid but a very good footballer. They pumped him full of steroids and he played for them a long time, even becoming their captain.

i read the article, broadly /

i read the article, broadly / intuitively agree... BUT i think i see supporting my team (tottenham) as similar to participating in musical culture. both are massive diversions, but in place of communist culture, why not?


edit: no they are different, because i do make [inept] music, and never play football. but there's still a formative bond there, because i come from a family of tottenham fans and yeah - it does matter to us. perhaps my being a football fan is similar to my "music", except in the former there's no hope of the object being anything more than it is now. everyone knows, right, that your team winning something is anti-climactic.

a diversion without hope is exactly that, i guess - hopeless, of negative value - a culdesac, even if people you care about live down there, there's no point in it unless you're visiting.

sport and music

But the difference between sport and music is that while sport is easily presented as Nationalism it's more difficult to do that with music.  Though of course there's always the slimy Eurovision Song Contest isn't there  though I think this has more to do with the packaging and presentation of exuberant vulgarity rather than  music?   And then there's the last night of the proms, which used to revel in nationalism though I think that's been cleaned  up a bit, though "crowd fervour" - a dangerous bourgeois phenomenon - is still to be witnessed. 

And can't there be at times something disturbingingly sinister about uncritical total committed support for a particular football team, so that if your team loses  it is experienced as  an unbearable personal affront and an insult requiring vengeful retribution  of some sort eg. a thuggish attack on supporters of the other side, or smashing up local cafés?   The bourgeoisie may tut-tut about this, but for them it is potentially rebellious passion channelled into useless vacuity.  


In fact, the violence sometimes generated among defeated football fans is very similar to the violence that appears generally among right -wing supporters of the bourgeoisie let loose to express their anger, resentment and hate.  In the 'thirties this helped facilitate Nazism. But then the working class was already defeated.   At the present time there's a lot of this type of unthinking violence in Ukraine, where thugs and bully boys frustrated beyong measure at meaningless lives under bourgeois rule  turn to bourgeois and idiotic nationalism as something to stick up for and as an outlet for violent and pent-up anger.  This is a pent-up anger that really needs channelling into proletarian revolution against the capitalist cause of all the anger and resentment  but, in the absence as yet of a working class led response,  stupidity rules the day.  And all the "right-wingers" let fly while the bourgeoisie looks on and smiles. 

But there's nothing nationalistic or thuggish about the music of Bach, though it may be culturally specific.  And it's certainly better than the Eurovision Song Contest.