We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Olympic Capitalism: Bread and Circuses Without the Bread

Click here to access article by David Swanson from The PeaceWorker.

Systems by definition are made up of inter-related, inter-acting parts. If one acknowledges that societies are social systems, and that current societies are dominated by ruling classes, then it is relatively easy to understand that a ruling class's influence is pervasive throughout societies. 

In this piece, Swanson examines the history of the Olympics and how the Brazilian ruling capitalist class is hosting the World Cup of soccer this year and planning for the Olympics in 2016. Instead of arranging sports events as a celebration of athletic prowess and bringing nations together, capitalist interests see it as another opportunity for profit-making, promoting nationalism and the military establishment, and even an excuse to cutback civil liberties.
At some point the prestige and the profits and the corruption and the commercialism seem to take over the athletics.  “[T]he Olympics aren’t about  sport any more than the Iraq war was about democracy,” Zirin writes. “The Olympics are not about athletes.  And they’re definitely not about bringing together the ‘community of nations.’ They are a neoliberal Trojan horse aimed at bringing in business and rolling back the most basic civil liberties.”