(by: Dijair Brilhantes and Bruno Lima Rocha)
The FIFA World Cup is considered one of the biggest events in the world. It should come as no surprise then that the commands of the institution that is run by Seth Blatter should continue to make hundreds of demands against the country that is to welcome the games. In practice, this means that fundamental rights are to be suspended, especially in a country with a “leftist” government. Just another day in the tropical country.
When Brazil was selected to host the 2014 games, the Brazilian government could not imagine the magnitude of social unrest that would unfold. Curiously enough (or not), the class that is most unsatisfied is the real beneficiary of the FIFA competition. The elites that booed and insulted the president during the games’ inauguration are a constant presence in all of the stadiums. This could explain the exaggerated insults. The president of Brazil knew this was going to happen, and was likely why she avoided speaking during the opening ceremony. As you all likely know, the so-called “yellow block” (a neologism invented by a TV channel in a story of incalculable value) gave birth to a reaction even more reactionary.
The insults and the booing began in the VIP zone of the stadium. Luciano Huck, a Brazilian TV personality and owner of clothing brand “Use Huck” that created the shirts for the campaign “We are all monkeys”, was one of the first to make his disgust clear. It should also be noted that entrance to the stadium was at 900 reales (approximately 400 US dollars)! Huck defended himself in his weekly program, ranting against the offensive attitude of the public present. The rage of the Brazilian elite — which fails to coexist with a government that they did not elect and perhaps worse yet, cannot enjoy an event made specifically for their benefit — continued circulating on national broadcasts. The same people that complained of the social movements that protested outside, are now “protesting” inside the stadiums, drinking imported beer. The “coxinhas” (Brazilian snob elite) are never satisfied. Nelson Rodrigues (our great drama author) explains that foot-stomping of the Brazilian elite is a trauma that is particular to them. They would like to be Europeans or US citizens, but, for their disgrace, they are merely western créolle third world ruling class. Meanwhile, those who live at the base of the social pyramid do suffer the consequences, as they reproduce the lifestyles of those that control the ideological apparatus.
A Balance of Stadiums
The stadiums, the courts, and the fields are the spaces of polemical official contracts. All of the Brazilian stadiums built for the World Cup were put to the test, and though some problems resulted, nothing grave happened.
Itaquerão (Sao Paulo, Brasil) — Opening state of the tournament. Journalists complained that the internet signal was unstable in the media communications center and in the common areas. Bars complained that there was a lack of food and warm beverages. During the game, lights died, though not completely or enough to interrupt the game.
Mané Garrincha (Brasilia, Federal District) — Long lines formed at the metal detecters at the entrance of the stadium for the game between Switzerland and Ecuador. Many fans entered while the game was well on its way.
Maracanã (Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro) — There was a great deal of discontent towards the stands of Mario Filho Stadium, the scarcity of food and the enormous lines to buy drinks left fans impatient during the game between Argentina and Bosnia. The most severe incident occurred during the math between Chile and Spain, in which chilean fans that had no passes invaded the press center in an attempt to make it to the balconies. The Rio police needed the help of FIFA security guards to apprehend the chilean fans.
Mineirão (Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais) — There were many problems outside due to the traffic. Inside, complains revolved around the inefficient service of the bars. Complaints of long lines to enter bathrooms were also common.
Arena Pantanal (Cuiabá, Mato Grosso) — Stands had long lines and people resold items inside. An incident occurred during the game between Australia and Chile, when fans entered with fireworks. The Local Organizational Committee (COL) marked the episode as unacceptable.
Arena Pernambuco (São Lourenço da Mata Grande Recife, Pernambuco) — There was a lack of food in the stands, as well as security violations. Supports of Costa de Marfil were able to bring musical instruments (an item prohibited by the FIFA manual), something that set off a party, making the Africans happy.
Arena Fonte Nova (Salvador, Bahia) — The problem was the long lines at the entrance and the delay in the stands at the beginning of the game. During the second match, problems improved.
Arena das Dunas (Natal, Rio Grande do Norte) — Complaints were based on the lack of cellular phone reception, as there were moments when communication was impossible.
Castelão (Fortaleza, Ceará) — The problem was the 3G network, the unstable cellular phone signal was an obstacle for the work of journalists and further created complaints from the public.
Arena da Baizada (Curitiba, Paraná) — There was a great deal of delay at the entrance, fans also complained about the time spent waiting in the stands and the bathrooms.
Beira – Rio (Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul) — Problems with signal and internet phones, some turnstiles did not function, producing lines at the entrance. The biggest problem was the stadium’s sound, that prevented the singing of hymns and the transmission of information of the game between France and Honduras.
Arena Amazônia (Manaus, Amazonas) — Complaints were based on long lines at the stands and the misinformation of volunteers, such as the lack of familiarity with foreign languages. People sitting at the stairs or at the end of aisles upset those that wanted to watch the game. Cellular reception had room for improvement.
In this country, the right to protest is suspect
The wave of protests that demand improvements continue in Brazil during the World Cup, although not as large as last year. As there exists demands towards concrete claims, the objectives are similar, though not exactly the same. It is difficult for protests to increase in size in 2014 due to electoral forces (PSOL and PSTU), capitalizing on the dividends of the campaign before them, taking to the streets and multiplying public events.
More than a week ago at the commencement of the games there were protests in all of the cities that host matches. Some say that the protestors are opportunists and that they are taking advantage of communication media that the World Cup offers. In São Paulo, a clash between police and protestors left people injured, among them two reporters from CNN. In fact, the opportunity to protest is given by the realization that the Cup left a social debt that will be paid by the poor. We experienced massive geographic removals, price hikes in urban land, construction programs in places without relevant professional soccer club (like in Cuiabá and Brasilia), or the construction of stadiums where there already exists three professional clubs each with their own pitches (like in Recife). There were obvious police abuses and excesses.
While the ball rolled in Castelão, in Fortaleza during the game between Brazil and México, there was a strong clash against the military police in the stadium of Ceará and the same occurred at the Pernambuco stadium. In Recife, the occupantsof the Occupy Estelita movement suffered an eviction in the center of the city. The reason being the construction of the housing project “Nuevo Recife”, whose objective is to construct the largest towers in the city in the middle of a process of illegal acts, in accordance with federal prosecutors. The occupation was peacefully committed and they created a schedule of recreational activities. As always, the government of the state of Pernambuco sent riot police to the site, deploying tear gas and rubber bullets against the occupants. They took advantage of the fervor around the national team to execute an act that would be completely unpopular. Who was opportunist in this situation?
Dilma booed and no shared identity between the incumbent government and the elites that go to the pitch
The boos against Dilma, that came accompanied with curses and threats were sensational at the commencement of the World Cup. In that moment, following a stereotypified party of inauguration, Lulismo found itself face to face with its worst enemy.
The more they try, Lula and his followers are unable to create an identification with the Brazilian ruling class, those that would like to speak a foreign language and looks astonished and speechless at the center of capitalism as the quintessence of civilization. The biggest ex-leftist party in the continent is tolerated — and without any love — by those that dominate the country in the ideological, economic, and political sphere.
It’s a matter of a double loyalty that is never resolved by the PT, in its oligarchic coalition government. The age of Lula (and Dilma) was marked by the “win-win”, where those from above invoiced through a “Tropical Bismarkism” and social politics improve the life of those below.
The problem is at the tip of the social pyramid. As it often happens, there was a mediocre interpretation by the materialist tendency. Ex-militants associated class loyalty to the material benefits accomplished by the government. The reasoning i correct, especially when it is about winning an enormous electoral reserve.
As in the rest Latin America, most governments only act to benefit themselves and their class. Any distributive action is seen as something exceptional, garnering the loyalty (the vote and affection) of those that have obtained the minimum of what should be expected from a democratic system.
The logic of this government functions to strengthen the structures of capitalism and the resulting projection of Brazil on the international stage, understanding as necessary the increased power of national or associated companies.
The PT and its allies made a government for a capitalist country whose structure is the patrimonial state. It would be the “least worst” option for any lucid right wing person. But they forgot to combine this with the dominant class and its auxiliary faction, the upper middle class that serves as reproducer of material and symbolic controls of the nation.
Dilma was booed because there is no shared identity with her, least of all to the greater part of the public present at Itaquerão. The ex-guerrilla does everything she can to build a country oriented to the development of Brazilian capitalism, but lacks the dominant class predisposed to such an audacity. By the way, who the hell convinced her to govern trying to satisfy an elite that barely recognize themselves as being Brazilians?
Dijair Brilhantes is a student of journalism, specialized in the relationship between soccer and politics
Bruno Lima Rocha is a scholar and professor, teaches political science (Phd and Msc), international studies (focusing on geopolitics, geo strategy, international political economy and Transatlantic social movements) and is also a journalist professor (Bsc). He writes a weekly column to the most popular Brazilian political blog and is constantly present in alternative media (writing in Portuguese and Spanish, sporadically in English) and Brazilian regional and national media.