14 October 2010

ANT: o formigueiro positivo (The positive anthill)

The National Fans’ Association (Associação Nacional dos Torcedores) has launched a campaign to fight for the rights of sport fans in Brazil. The group has already received criticisms for being elitist, leftist, Marxist, out of touch, etc. Tudo bem, bring the criticisms. However, within a week of its founding, ANT has more than 500 members and is growing daily. The organization has laid out a series of criticisms and demands that are a reaction to the visible and invisible changes occurring in Brazilian stadium culture. Many of these changes are stimulated by preparing Rio de Janerio and 11 other Brazilian cities to host the World Cup. In Rio, the changes are multiplied, intensified, and accelerated because of the looming Olympic and Paralympic Games.
ANT received criticisms of elitism because it is provisionally headed by university professors. The reality of mega-event production in Brazil, is that the events are being carried off by a handful of cloistered, neo-liberal, privatizing, real-estate speculating, five star hotel tourist, Rudy Giuliani adoring, cruise ship loving, luxury box cavorting, prawn sandwich eating, out-of-touch elites (protected by private and state security apparatuses). I have been cataloging for some time now the radical transformations happening in Rio de Janeiro to prepare the city for the World Cup and Olympics, including the bulloxed 2007 Pan American Games.

It is quite easy to be against everything that is going on with the World Cup and Olympics in Brazil. The events are forced upon cities (with the consent of a nominally representative government); they take money from public coffers and spend it on sporting infrastructure that has little or no local context or post-event usage; the “legacy” benefits are not equivalent to the money spent; there are much more serious problems that need to be addressed that public money should be going to; everything is run out of a black box; there’s no public accountability; there is real violence taking place in order to shape urban space to accommodate the event; notions of “security” are limited to economic accumulation; no attempt is made to consult the very people who will have to live with the consequences of the reforms; the benefits are exaggerated and the costs hidden. In the case of ANT, we’re talking about football fans, but we should extend that categorization to include anyone, everyone who will be impacted by the preparations for the World Cup and Olympics.
So, given that the World Cup and Olympics are going to take place (and change space), what are the alternatives? What would a more just mega-event look like? What are some counter-proposals? Here are some ideas, each of which link up with items put forward by ANT:

  1. The post-Games sale of housing projects developed for the Olympics should be regulated, allowing for mixed income residences. These projects should also be spread throughout the city. Why just build Olympic housing in Olympic zones? Is it really necessary to spend TENS OF BILLIONS of Reales to restructure such a limited area of the city? 
  1. Less than 20% of Rio de Janeiro’s public schools have recreation areas, yet the Maracanã reforms alone will cost more than R$ 1 billion ( and will reduce the capacity of what was once the world’s largest stadium to an anorexic 75,000. The mantra of Marcia Lins, State Secretary of Sport and Leisure, is that “we have to comply with FIFA’s demands.” The use of BILLIONS of public funds to create a stadium for a private event, for private profit, when that VAST MAJORITY of Rio’s schools are without basic spaces for play is a criminal violation of the basic rights of all citizens, not just football fans. What about attending to the basic social contract of a democracy first?
  1. In the same way that large sections of the population have been excluded from football stadiums because of an increase in ticket prices, millions will also be displaced because of an increase in rents. Since Rio “won” the Olympics, rents across the city have increased by 81%. In “pacified” communities, they have increased 400%. The stadium is a reflection of society at large. The city should be a place that exists beyond the realm of consumer consumption – everyone should have the right to frequent spaces of leisure. The “elite-ization” of Brazilian stadiums and is not an inevitable outcome! The indirect expulsion of people from the center of Rio because of real-estate speculation can be avoided! Has anyone looked into renting an apartment here? Don’t even think about coming here to buy anything until the bubble bursts in 2017. Rio is already one of the most expensive cities in the Americas and it’s only going to get worse unless there are legislative measures put into place to control real-estate speculation. 
  1. Mega-event transportation projects should treat the whole of the metropolitan region, not simply restructure urban space to bring people from tourist centers (Zona Sul), or pockets of cheap labor (Deodoro, Santa Cruz) to Barra de Tijuca. The current transportation projects will further fragment the city, increase dependence on outmoded forms of transportation, and will not provide long term solutions to Rio’s already grave traffic problems. Water-based transport should play an integral role in Rio’s preparations for mega-events. Current plans to extend service: 0. (This item attends to ANT items 5 and 7, game times and game transport. Last night , for example. São Januário, Vasco x Corinthians, jogasso. Kickoff 10pm. The metro closes at midnight. Why 10pm? It’s after the novellas. Why midnight? No one has any idea as Metrô Rio is run by a private concession.)
  1. The jeito (style, manner) in which the cheap, standing-only sections of Brazilian stadiums (geral) were removed is the same jeito that the government uses in relation to lower income communities throughout the city. The urban redevelopment projects slated for the Zona Portuaria have been handed over to a private company (CDURP). Around 30,000 people live in this part of town but their urban, work, and residential futures are going to be shaped by a privatized form of urban governance. The same kind of process is at work with the 119 favelas slated for forcible removal by the municipal government. The complete absence of public involvement in the process of re-structuring the Maracanã is EXACTLY the same lack that we can see in other social sectors. The Maracanã will likely be privatized after the Olympics. The Zona Portuaria is turning into a zone of private enterprise and private urban governance. Long (and short) -standing communities are being cleared form the map in order to produce “Olympic Space”. The public needs to become more involved in these decisions. ANT is demanding to participate in the conversation regarding stadiums. Civil society has been slow to react to the larger changes under way.
  1. Football is not democratic, we get it. But seriously, in Brazil we’ve taken things to the next level. Ricardo Teixeira has been the president of the CBF for 21 years. That’s longer than Neymar has been alive. For the first time in the sordid history of the World Cup, the president of the national football federation is also president of the World Cup organizing committee. This double papel is already having some dire consequences for transparency. Oh yeah, his daughter (former FIFA president João Haveleange’s grand-daughter) is the Secretary General of Brasil 2014. There are 5, F-I-V-E, CINCO, people on the Brasil 2014 Organizing Committee! There must be some kind of independent entity that holds this cabal accountable, represents the interests of Brazilian fans, and ensures that the World Cup will leave something, anything behind other than 12 white elephants that spend the next 50 years eating up a million R$ a month in maintenance costs.
  1. Since forever, human beings have gathered in public places to watch other human beings play games. Since then, which is a very long time indeed, they have eaten red meat and consumed some kind of fermented beverage. Since June of 2009, the basic human right to consume alcohol and watch people do things in a space and place specifically designed for that activity, has ceased to exist in Brazil. That’s right, you cannot drink beer in a Brazilian stadium!!!!!! Until 2014, that is, when the “less violent, less criminally inclined” come to visit. If there is any proof whatsoever that banning alcohol reduces large or even medium scale violence at football matches, someone please send it along. Otherwise (you football overlords) treat people as adults, not criminally inclined juveniles, and you’ll be able to make some more R$ for AmBev! Jaysus Mary and Joseph – let the beer flow! Respetiam o torcedor!
ANT will have its first public manifestation at the Fluminense x Botafogo match this Sunday, October 17. 

No comments:


2014 World Cup Rio de Janeiro Maracanã FIFA 2016 Olympics 2016 Summer Olympics Eduardo Paes CBF Copa do Mundo 2014 Rio de Janeiro Olympics Ricardo Texeira World Cup 2014 Vasco da Gama 2010 World Cup White Elephants mega-events APO UPP BRT Brazil football Flamengo Lula Orlando Silva violence ANT Aldeia Maracana Carlos Nuzman Dilma Eike Batista Rio 2016 Sergio Cabral 2007 Pan American Games Campeonato Carioca Corruption IOC Jerome Valcke Novo Maracanã stadiums BOPE BRASIL 2016 Brasil 2014 Engenhao Joao Havelange Maracana Policia Militar Vila Autódromo Aldo Rebelo Botafogo Henrique Meirelles Medida Provisoria Metro Revolta do Vinagre Sao Paulo Sepp Blatter World Cup 2010 forced removal Carnaval Elefantes Brancos Fechadao Marcia Lins Minerao Morumbi Odebrecht Porto Maravilha Rio+20 Romario Security Walls South Africa South Africa 2010 TCU Transoeste protests public money public transportation slavery transparency x-Maracana Andrew Jennings Argentina Audiencia Publica Barcelona Brazil Carvalho Hosken Comitê Popular Confederatons Cup Copa do Brasil 2010 Cost overruns Crisis of Capital Accumulation EMOP FERJ Favela do Metro Fluminense Fluminese Fonte Novo IMX Jose Marin Leonel Messi London 2012 Marcelo Freixo Maré Museu do Indio Olympic Delivery Authority Perimetral Rocinha Soccerex Transcarioca bicycles consumer society debt idiocy militarization transportation 1995 Rugby World Cup 2004 Olympics 2015 Copa America Banco Imobiliario Barcas SA Belo Horizonte Bom Senso F.C. Brasilerao CDURP CONMEBOL Champions League. Mourinho Complexo do Alemão Copa Libertadores Cupula dos Povos ESPN England FiFA Fan Fest Istanbul 2020 Jogos Militares John Carioca Kaka Manaus McDonald's Obama Olympic Village PPP Paralympics Providencia Recife Russia Salvador Soccer City Taksim Square Tatu-bola Urban Social Forum Vidigal Vila Olimpica War World Cup Xaracana attendance figures cities corrupcao drugs estadios football frangueiro futebol mafia planejamento urbano police repression porn privitization reforms shock doctrine taxes 201 2010 Elections 2010 Vancouver Olypmics 2013 2018 World Cup 2030 Argentina / Uruguay ABRAJI AGENCO ANPUR ANT-SP Amazonia Ancelmo Gois Andrade Gutierrez Anthony Garotinho Arena Amazonia Arena Pernambucana Athens Atlético Paranaense Avenida das Americas BID Barra de Tijuca Blatter Brasil x Cote d'Iviore Brasileirão 2013 Brasilia Brasilierao Bruno Souza Bus fares COB COI COMLURB CPI CPO Cabral Caixa Economica Canal do Anil Cantagalo Celio de Barros Cesar Maia Chapeu Mangueira Chile 2015 Choque do Ordem Cidade da Copa Class One Powerboat Racing Clint Dempsey Comite Companhia das Docas Copa do Brasil Corinthians Cuiabá Curitiba Dave Zrin David Harvey Der Spiegel Eastwood Edge of Sports Escola Friendenrich Expo Estadio Expo Urbano FGV Fonte Nova Gamboa Garotinho Geostadia Ghana Globo Greek Debt Crisis Greek Olympics HBO Hipoptopoma IMG IPHAN ISL Iniesta Internatinal Football Arena Invictus Istanbul Itaquerao Jacque Rogge Jefferson John Coates Jose Beltrame Julio Grondona Julio Lopes Julio de Lamare Knights Templar Korea Lei Geral da Copa MAR MEX Manchester United Mangabeira Unger Maracanã. Soccerex Marina da Gloria Mexico Milton Santos Molotov Cocktail Mr.Balls Neymar Nicholas Leoz Nilton Santos Olympic Flag Olympic Park Project Oscar Niemeyer Pacaembu Pan American Games Parque Olimpico Pernambuco Plano Popular Plano Popular do Maracana Plano Popular do Maracanã Play the Game Pope Porto Alegre Porto Olimpico Porto Seguro Portuguesa Praca Tiradentes Preview Projeto Morrinho Putin Qatar Quatar 2022 RSA Realengo Regis Fichtner Roberto Dinamite Russia 2018 SETRANS SMH Santa Teresa Santos Sao Raimundo Sargento Pepper Security Cameras Smart City Sochi 2014 South Korea Stormtroopers São Januário São Paulo Teargas Templars Tokyo 2020 Tropa do Elite II Turkey UFRJ/IPPUR URU USA USA! Unidos da Tijuca United States government Urban Age Conference VVIP Via Binário Victory Team Vila Autodromo Vila Cruzeiro Vila do Pan Vilvadao Vivaldao Volta Alice Wasteland Workers' Party World Cup 2018 Xavi Zurich apartments atrazos barrier beer bio-fuels bonde capacities civil society comite popular copa sudamericana crack crime dengue dictatorship estádios favelalógica feira livre fiador flooding freedom of information furos geral graffiti guarda municipal host city agreement identity infrastructure ipanema istoe labor rape riots schedule school shooting security segregation social movements stadium state of exception supervia tear gas ticket prices torcidas organizadas tourism traffic tragedy trash trem-bala velodromo wikileaks xingar