Down with the World Cup!!
Solidarity with the People of Brazil
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Brazil is the home ground of football, a place where soccer isn’t just a game; it’s a lifestyle. In June, Brazil will be invaded by hundreds of thousands football enthusiasts, when the World Cup, the biggest sporting event in the world, will be held in 12 cities throughout the country, including the final to be held in Rio de Janeiro. These events however have brought about the displacement and plunder of many thousands of urban poor in cities across Brazil, the continued displacement and plunder of indigenous peoples from their lands, and the hard line repression directed by the State of Brazil as a whole against anyone who questions or may jeopardize their World Cup economy.
The Brazilian government, under the hand of Dilma Rousseff, has spent more than 15 billion dollars on the World Cup, the most expensive in recorded history, mostly spent on luxurious stadiums, tourist attractions and security. This will all take place in one of the most unequal countries on the planet.
In the northern Brazilian city of Fortaleza alone, the richest 7% of the population own ¼ of the city’s wealth, while millions live on a bare minimum. The State of Ceara, where Fortaleza is located, invested more than 220 million dollars to rebuild the Castelao Stadium, which is roughly equivalent to the amount the State has invested in public education in the last 4 years combined. This is happening across Brazil with multi-million dollar stadiums being built next to slums; including Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium built at a hefty $670 million dollars, next to the slum of Metro-Mangeira, forcibly displacing 600 families in the neighbourhood alone.
According to various NGOs, approximately 200,000 people across Brazil will be forcibly removed for constructions relating to the World Cup. Amnesty International Brazil reports that people have been ignored by local authorities, where “the logic behind this was profit and money. Not people’s well being.”
This gentrification is also perpetuating the use of death squads, usually armed militarized police that have been known to target street children and homeless people to further social cleansing, paid for by powerful private interest groups. These tactics of repression are the inheritance of the military dictatorship that murdered and disappeared thousands of political dissidents during the 1960’s and 70’s, which continues today with the hard line repression the Brazilian government towards political activists, workers, and Indigenous Peoples trying to reclaim their rights.
Over the last year, millions of people have taken to the streets to demand not only better living and working conditions, but also the right to exist. Workers of numerous industries have been going on strike, which ruptured with Rio’s transit strike last year, seeing an outpouring of support, and continues today with striking airport workers during the World Cup itself. The indigenous Guarani Nation also took to the streets in the last few weeks to demand the State stop its plunder into their traditional territory, to expand the World Cup type economy of privatization of reserve lands and land claims.
These demands have been met by fierce State repression, enacting Antiterrorism laws for protesters, killing at least one, in which 200,000 militarized police officers have been dispatched throughout the proceedings of World Cup. Despite the militarization, the youth continue to show their strength on the streets, with outpouring of protests and riots in Thursday’s opening. As many youth on the ground would say, “Capital is worldwide, and it will come crashing down worldwide. Down with the World Cup!” We send our deepest sense of solidarity to the people on the front lines protesting against the plunder, displacement and repression caused by the World Cup and imposed by the Brazilian State. While there is misery, there will be rebellion.
NÃO VAI TER COPA!! Down with the World Cup!! Marrichiweu!
The Women’s Coordinating Committee for a Free Wallmapu [Toronto]