22 October 2010

The World Cup and the Elimination of Public Memory

The Maracanã is one of the most famous stadiums in all of human history. Constructed to host the 1950 World Cup final, its official capacity was 179,000. Brazilians happily referred to the colossal stadium as “O Maior do Mundo” – the biggest in the world. Over the years, hundreds of thousands gathered in the Maracanã to watch football. To create football. To live football. It was in the Maracanã that Santos F.C. and Pelé won the World Club Championship in 1961. Flamengo and Zico did the same in 1981. Pelé chose the Maracanã as the place to score his 1,000th goal. Since then, the goal itself has been known as the “Gol de Pelé”. The other goal is known as the “Gol de Garrincha” because that is where, in the 79th minute of the World Cup final in 1950, with the score tied 1-1, the Uruguayan winger killed the dreams of a nation.

This is not a tale of romanticized melodrama, it’s culture. It’s living, breathing, screaming, flag-waving, carnavelesque culture, and it’s being killed as you read this. . The reforms underway to “prepare” Brazilian stadiums to host the 2014 World Cup are literally eliminating the spaces where Brazilian football culture takes place. The Maracanã has undergone a series of hatchet jobs. In 1999, the capacity was reduced from 179,000 to 129,000. Before the FIFA World Club Championships in 2000, the Maracanã suffered the idiocy of “luxury boxes” that only served to cut off the air circulation and eliminate the use of the monumental ramps that define the stadium’s exterior.  In 2004-2005, a R$450 million reform reduced the capacity to 85,000, eliminated the standing only section, lowered the field by 3 meters, and installed big screen tvs that are about to be thrown out. Why? Because the “Maior do Mundo” is undergoing a projected R$720 million reform that will reduce the capacity to 75,000, install a roof so no one but the players get wet, and will actually reduce the length of the field by 7 meters and its width by 5 meters. Both the Gol de Pelé and the Gol de Garrincha will die. Those spaces, those places, the goal line where history and culture were made and remembered and recreated and forgotten and relived and renewed week after week, season after season, year after year, for six decades – gone. Poof. Já era. Public memory, public culture, one of the constituent elements of civil society – extinguished with a torrent of public money.

This is not only happening in Rio de Janeiro. The Minerão in Belo Horizonte is undergoing the same process. The Fonte Novo in Salvador, already reduced to rubble. The Vivaldão in Manaus is no more. The stadiums that are going up in their place are temples of consumption, sanitized environments that facilitate the circulation of capital, VIP salons where culture is consumed and not produced, air-conditioned fortresses, highly securitized off-worlds, crystalline shopping malls that require one parking spot for every six spectators. The 2014 World Cup stadiums in Fortaleza, Cuiabá, Manaus, Natal, and Brasilia will have no post-cup functionality. The World Cup stadiums will have such high maintenance costs that they can only be supported though public subsidy. We just saw this happen in South Africa, where residents of Cape Town are debating whether or not to implode the Green Point stadium. This is as revolting as it is sickening and immoral.

Why are public officials so willing to invest BILLIONS in public funds to erect stadia that :
1)      have no relationship to the urban environment?
2)      have no post-event uses?
3)      are undertaken with no input from those who use the stadiums?
4)      forcibly dislocate communities to make way for a “clean” television shot?
5)      will never have any economic viability, never make a return on the public investment?
6)      become privatized during the World Cup, where only FIFA security forces operate, where the only profits accrue to FIFA and their rapacious partners?
7)      destroy the very places where public culture and memory are created, preserved, lived, and transformed?

It doesn’t have to be this way. There is a different model. There is a way to make the democratically elected officials wake up from their soporific state of infatuation with corrupt FIFA overlords. The Minster of Sport and Culture, a member of the Communist Party of Brazil, is leading the way towards the destruction of sport and culture. O que isso?!?!! The project of ANT (torcedores.org) is to change the direction of these projects, to democratize the World Cup, to make it something Brazilian, not something from Switzerland. Within two weeks of ANT’s foundation the association has nearly 1,000 members throughout Brazil. One by one, the march of the formigas (ants) will grow, and by sheer force of numbers the white elephants will be consumed.

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