The meaning of Hillsborough
The following article originally appeared in the January/February 2013 edition of Canadian Dimension to commemorate the Hillsborough disaster, a fatal human crush that killed 97 Liverpool fans during an FA Cup semi-final match at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, on April 15, 1989. It remains the worst disaster in British sporting history.
The World Cup is a crime scene
But it’s because the World Cup, much like the Olympics, has become a profit-hungry corporate behemoth. Its crimes are not unique but those endemic to global neoliberal capitalism; a gangster capitalism of “free” markets, lax state regulations, and low taxes that enriches the global one percent and leaves the rest of us behind. Here’s a rundown of the World Cup’s crimes.
Professional sport as sacrifice
Athletic labour provides an important part, although not the only part, of the emotional sustenance fans need. There is a tremendous cost to the athlete who performs this social reproductive labour. The body becomes so damaged that it is unlikely to ever fully recover its former capacities. The toll is also mental/emotional, for the loss of the physical capabilities that once served as the foundation for the athlete’s identity is profoundly dispiriting.
The NHL and the new Canadian militarism
An entire nexus of ruling-class power, the team owners, the league, the Canadian state, and the media has zeroed in on the NHL as a perfect site to promote the new militarism to Canadians who might otherwise insist that we drop fewer bombs and use that money to rebuild homeless shelters and mental health institutions and support our librarians, our teachers and our nurses.