A is for England?

Lineker 90

Article about anarchism and supporting your national football team.

I wrote this aimed for Shift magazine readers, then their website doesn't work so I've put it on here. Feel free to print it other places. I've done a search in Libcom and don't reckon it's been discussed before, so thats why i put it in the library. I will try and check in regularly to try and offer a catenaccio defence to your criticisms.

I've been around The Movement' for a few years now, and have been made to feel very at home, I definitely think we're on to a winner with this Anarchism thing. But, as i came late to it, i have always felt a bit of friction between what could be called my 'old self' and the person The Movement has helped me become. For example, i used to be a man, now i refer to myself as a person. I used to work full time and then get high and play computer games on the weekend. Now i do paid work 3 days a week and don't seem to have ANY spare time anymore!

I used to fill my boring days dreaming of scoring the derby winner, jumping into the a terrace boiling with joy, pitch invasions. I used to go to the home games, one minute calling for patient football, building from the back, then the next minute be screaming “Get into 'em! Fuck 'em up!” Every two years, i would dream of England. Through the qualification campaigns, then into the tournament, pure excitement, a nation holds it's breath. Me and my brother trudging up to bed in tears after Keegan missed the header. Lineker with his arm in a cast making Jimmy Hill scream in orgasmic joy. Platt over his shoulder, Gascoigne-Sherringham-Shearer-goal, Beckham sliding on his knees pumping his fists after slotting the free kick in the last minute of the must-win.

When i joined The Movement, i was forced to accept that this simple pleasure wasn't so simple. Was i really proud to be English, proud of a history of racism, plunder, rape and murder? Do i really think God should Save 'our' Queen? Was i happy that women were so unwelcome at football matches, could i turn a blind eye to monkey chants and hardcore homophobia? Didn't i see that money was the real master, that Capitalism had conned me with it's circus diversions, that TV was the pinnacle of the passive spectacle? All the rage on the terrace, the unhealthy competition, the drunken violence - surely this is the patriarchy we want to destroy, not protect?

It felt like club football was tolerated, but England was strictly off-limits. Half convinced, half peer-steered, i backed off. I still watched but in secret, dreading the clash between a meeting and a match, always choosing the meeting (i'd watch the match highlights later). When i met a fellow football fan anarcho we would both begin with a clear rejection of England, instead nodding respectfully to Saint Pauli or Athletic Bilbao, before praising grass-roots kickabouts to the skies.

England football was a guilty pleasure. I was made to feel that this was just part of the nationalist, patriarchal baggage that i had picked up in my previous incarnation as an unreconstructed working class man. And who was i to argue when this argument was so right in almost every other sense? Time and time again i faced epiphanies as i was helped to uncover the motivations behind my thinking, my subconscious reactions, to accept the advantages i had in being a white man in a patriarchal, racist society, and the role i play in supporting that society.

This hasn't been easy. At every challenge i bridled, smelling bullshit, before thinking it through, accepting it, and trying to adapt to this new understanding. I'm still doing it, nowhere near the end of the journey, and am very glad of the wisdom of others in The Movement in prodding and guiding me through it.

As i said, I've been around for a few years now, and feel that I'm starting to get a bit of wisdom of my own. The most major slice of that is understanding that there is no one answer to any problem, no 'right way' of doing something. Everyone has a different code of morals, a different outlook, and I see Anarchism as all about fighting to be true to yourself, while at the same time accepting the need for us all to get along. What your heart tells you is right and what your head tells you must be done. It seems to me that almost all of the arguments we have amongst ourselves are over where the balance between the two lies.

The referee of these ideological arguments should be practicality, based on knowledge of the subject. There is no Perfect Knowledge in the real world, only in the fantasies of religions and other delusions, such as Free Market Economics. All arguments are subjective, I am well aware of that

But. But. Read the second paragraph of this article. If it doesn't make any sense to you, you do not know about football. You may know about nationalism, racism, patriarchy, group dynamics, or working class culture but you do not know about football. If you have never been in a football terrace you do not know about terrace culture. if you have never been a regular in a working class pub you do not know about working class drinking culture. If you have never supported the England team, you do not know about supporting the England team. To think that you do is the same as me thinking five years ago that women have the same rights as men - it is an ill-informed position to take.

Football is not just a blank screen on to which the symptoms of Shitty Britain are poured on thick. It is not a shop dummy dressed with the worst excesses of Capitalism. Football is a thing in itself, a collective expression, a joy to behold and a nightmare of it's own making, separate from all the things attached to it. If you don't know that, please, take my word for it.

Following on, England football, the national team, is a thing in itself - a national team in an international tournament, the highest level of expression and quality, eleven men or women against eleven. We may not want to live in a world of nation states, but that is the reality at the moment, and all it really means for football is that's the way you use to pick the sides.

Of course. Nothing exists in isolation, i know that. England football is a dirty word with Anarchists for a reason, the evidence is there for all to see - nationalism, racism, aggression, division. The Bomber Song, God Save the Queen, No Surrender to the IRA, We Want Our Country Back. The sunburnt bonehead flapping his cock about in the bar, while his mate pukes over the side of the veranda. The German tourists locked in a nightclub to protect them from a howling mob, the Iraqi Kurdish kebab shop smashed up when we lose to Turkey.

I am aware of all of this. In fact, when i was a young man, i was a lot closer to all of this than i would care to relate. But this is not the whole story, these are the negatives, but there are positives.

I've been in pubs watching World Cup matches as a neutral, where people find out that there are, say, a couple of Romanians in the corner and so the whole pub starts to cheer Romania on. I've talked tactics with taxi drivers who support England in the football and Pakistan in the cricket, and watched games in Wales where half boo an England goal and the other half cheer. Why shouldn't someone who hates the state cheer a Wayne Rooney hat-trick? The state is the state, the football is the football. Don't underestimate people's ability to be perfectly aware of that, and to think maybe its you who has got the wrong end of the stick if you can't see the difference.

Some football fans are racist, more are sexist, and most are homophobic, but that's because a lot of people in this country are racist, sexist and homophobic. How do we change that? Distance ourselves from them, judge them, shout at them? As the rise of the EDL and the misguided response from the Left shows, if you're not part of these communities you find it much harder to affect them. Also, don't underestimate the power of football to change things for the better. Football changed people's minds when black players started being terrace heroes, now the England captain is black and it's not even seen as worth mentioning. The same (slow) process will also happen with South Asian and openly queer players, and will have the same positive effect.

France hosted the 1998 World Cup against a backdrop of rising support for anti-immigration, nationalist politicians. King rat Le Pen tried to harness the mood of the nation when he criticised “immigrant” players for not singing the national anthem. This 'mixing of football and politics' was rejected by the French fans who were looking for these players to win the cup for them, the long-suffering fans, not for France. When they did, Le Pen's vote collapsed and he was made to look like the arsehole he was. Football fans may act stupid but they're not. Take comfort from that.

England, like France, could do with a win. As an ex-power, nationalists harness a backward-looking viewpoint. “44 years of hurt” refers to the time since we last won the World Cup, but sums up the decline of everything English in the eyes of many. A World Cup win would go a long way to ending 'the past' and starting 'the future' for these people, who's lack of hope forms part of the present problem. I certainly would take a lot of convincing that it would lead to the rise of fascism, but the chances are even less if the Left are active supporters and claim the win as our own as well.

Let's cut to the chase. If you don't like football, fine. If you think the whole thing is stupid, grown adults chasing a ball around etc, fine. I'm not asking you to change your mind on that. What i am asking is that you reflect on your assumptions about the role that football plays in life, and in particular the role of the national team. As i have gained wisdom from others in other areas, i'm asking you to consider mine in this.

England football is not something to fear, or to despise. It is something to criticise, for sure, at times, but it is also something to celebrate. Come June, come join the party, feel the unity - remember, as the old saying goes - “it's only a game!”(ha.ha.ha). If you can't see it that way, i at least hope you will not judge me and Anarchists like me for doing so. For you, maybe if you can't dance it's not your revolution. For me, if i can't play and watch football, it definitely won't be mine.
Boydell

Posted By

Boydell
Apr 2 2010 18:52

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Comments

Steven.
Apr 3 2010 16:38

I can appreciate you spent a good deal of time writing this, and it's well written. However, I don't have any problem with people supporting their national football team - it's only a game. None of the other anarchists I associate with would either. I would think if people did have an issue with it they are being a bit stupid.

It doesn't mean that you hate foreigners or like the government or anything, it's just wanting a team to do well in a sport.

That said, thinking that if England win the World Cup it might help to undermine racism... that's very wishful and unrealistic thinking on two levels!

Boydell
Apr 4 2010 09:41

Fair points. Your experience is obviously a lot different to mine - i do believe that there is a healthy minority / majority that thinks that supporting England is 'unanarchistic' if you like. I have come across that many times, and i don't think people are stupid for thinking it, i just think they haven't got enough experience of the positive aspects to have an accurate opinion.

Quote:
That said, thinking that if England win the World Cup it might help to undermine racism... that's very wishful and unrealistic thinking on two levels!

I think that is realistic, in fact it's been proven. Ron (oh, the irony!) Atkinson at West Brom in the 70's introduced black 'heroes' into the team and a set of fans who were infamously racist were forced to face their prejudices, and came out the other end much less intolerant. Bert Trautman, the German keeper who played for Man City in the 50's, helped draw some of the post-war poison out of fans in the 1950's.

I think England football success would 'scratch an itch' that is irritated constantly at the moment by the corporations, the media and other undesirable elements. Look at the jingoism of the adverts on TV, they all use the past as the point, harking back to Glory Days, 1966 and all that, and it's all a viewpoint with a lot of underlying bitterness.

Compare that to the viewpoint of fans comfortable with their team's success - Liverpool in the 80's, Man U ever since, Brasil or Italy on the world stage. There is an arrogance there, for sure, but there is also a lack of brash defensiveness and intolerance that being comfortable means you have no need of.

Many Man U & Liverpool fans have distanced themselves from the Ingerlund fan culture as they see it as too negative - booing the anthem of the country your club player comes from is seen as ridiculous, and many would go as far as rejecting their (negative) national identity in favour of their club or city. This positive identity comes from their success.

That's my point - an England win would make us a culture more comfortable with itself, maybe only in a small way, but in an important way. I believe a culture more comfortable with itself is more comfortable with other cultures as there is less need to define them as different. Therefore i think that a succesful England team would lead to less racism.

As for the 'other level' of wishful thinking - we've got a chance mate, keep hope alive! Capello (where are the 'England Manager for England' mob now eh?) is the right man, and as long as Brasil and Spain go out early (ahem!) we've got as good a chance as anyone.

Devrim
Apr 4 2010 10:16
Quote:
Many Man U & Liverpool fans have distanced themselves from the Ingerlund fan culture as they see it as too negative

My impression in England is that the people who are really into it, not just people who watch England on the telly or don't bother watching them , but want them to win, but the people who are really into it, and go to the matches and constitute what makes up 'Ingerlund fan culture' are people who support small town clubs. If you look at the banners at an England match, you are much more likely to see a Bournemouth banner than a Man U one.

I don't think that this is anything to do with seeing the fan culture as 'too negative' though. Why on Earth would anybody bother with England if they had Manchester United (or Arsenal, Chelsea, or even Liverpool)? The Standard of football is better, and the team is more successful.

Put simply, I can see why England just isn't that attractive if you are a United fan.

Devrim

Devrim
Apr 4 2010 10:20
Quote:
That's my point - an England win would make us a culture more comfortable with itself, maybe only in a small way, but in an important way. I believe a culture more comfortable with itself is more comfortable with other cultures as there is less need to define them as different. Therefore i think that a succesful England team would lead to less racism.

I am not sure that I agree with this at all. It is not as bizarre as your next statement though:

Quote:
and as long as Brasil and Spain go out early (ahem!) we've got as good a chance as anyone.

It is a bit like a Spurs fan saying that as long as the United, Arsenal, and Chelsea teams are all kidnapped by aliens, they have a good chance of winning the title.

England have no chance. They are a mediocre quarter-final level team. A good year for them is going out to Germany in the semis on penalties.

Devrim

gypsy
Apr 4 2010 10:43

Im not sure about this Devrim. Man united supporters are now infamously a rag tag of glory hunters from around the UK with usually alot of money to burn and are more likely to come from Milton Keynes than around old trafford. Its extortionate to buy a ticket so alot of local Man United fans are priced out. If anything the smaller clubs want there moment of glory so bring their flags with them to the games whilst the bigger teams supporters don't bother.

Also I think England have a good chance of winning the World Cup. Capello is a great manager and they have Wayne Rooney who was on fire until recently suffering an injury. Argentina have the best squad but have a crap manager in Maradona. Fabregas may be injured for Spain. France are shit. Brazil and Spain are probably Englands biggest rivals. IMO.

I think a successful England team may lead to a rise in Nationalism and feelings of superiority. I hope it does not happen as the media here will not shut up about it for the rest of my life. When they won the rugby world cup that was bad enough. laugh out loud

Devrim
Apr 4 2010 11:04
Quote:
Im not sure about this Devrim. Man united supporters are now infamously a rag tag of glory hunters from around the UK with usually alot of money to burn and are more likely to come from Milton Keynes than around old trafford. Its extortionate to buy a ticket so alot of local Man United fans are priced out. If anything the smaller clubs want there moment of glory so bring their flags with them to the games whilst the bigger teams supporters don't bother.

I don't think that in this way it they are particularly different from any big club. I think the stereotype of United having no supporters from Manchester is pretty much little more than that, a stereotype, but even if you are right, why go to England games for Glory if you already go to United.

Quote:
Also I think England have a good chance of winning the World Cup. Capello is a great manager and they have Wayne Rooney who was on fire until recently suffering an injury. Argentina have the best squad but have a crap manager in Maradona. Fabregas may be injured for Spain. France are shit. Brazil and Spain are probably Englands biggest rivals. IMO.

Capello is a good manager, though I wouldn't go as far as great. Rooney is fantastic this season, and I think you could uncontroversially say that he is one of the three most exciting players in the world at the moment. Apart from Rooney, England don't appear to me to have much to offer though.

Spain are a wonderful team and probably the best national team in the world by far at the moment. It doesn't mean they will win the World Cup as there is always an element of chance and luck involved. Describing them as England's rivals seems to imply that they are in the same league. Despite playing in the same tournament they are not.

Quote:
I think a successful England team may lead to a rise in Nationalism and feelings of superiority. I hope it does not happen as the media here will not shut up about it for the rest of my life. When they won the rugby world cup that was bad enough. laugh out loud

I agree. The English media are still going on about 1966, which happened before many of the people going on about it today were even born.

Devrim

freemind
Apr 4 2010 16:17

Firstly United fans are and always have been local and the majority in Manchester!They have the biggest support base on the planet and so the majority will come from outside the city itself.Many local kids are priced out of following United due to the Club's complacent attitude and rapacious hunger for profit(another example of Capitalism killing the game).
I used to be an England fan in my youth but became estranged with the detrimental effect on my club ie;injuries,hostile anti-United etc;The Nationalism and hype was a big turn off too but i know many Libertarians and anti-fascists who are England fans-recognising the great things about your country and it's culture is not being reactionary but declaring Patriotism(love of state)is.I'm paraphrasing Rudolf Rocker here but i see no inconsistency in the sentiment from a communist view.
England is my country of birth and it's scenery,customs,idiosyncracies and regional mix are things anyone will feel a kinship for but my constituancy is my class and i share nothing in common with Patriotism/Nationalism which dictates that i have something in common with the capitalist parasites that make my life a misery!They seek to force my mind under a bloody Union Jack and browbeat me into adherence to the State.

FOR THE CLASS OF ALL COLOURS AGAINST THE BOSS OF ANY COLOUR!

baboon
Apr 5 2010 18:56

I declare an interest as an Arsenal supporter first and supporter of a local pub team that plays down the park, second. I don’t live anywhere near Highbury (now).

I think football is a beautiful game; dramatic, exciting and emotional. Watching it live at different levels, in small groups or large crowds, makes even dull games a pleasant, humorous, shared experience with an edge. It’s a team game above all else, a collective expression that is made to spur on individual performance which in turn gives confidence to the coherence of the team and so on. No surprise that I’m with Arsene Wenger when, at its best, he calls football “art”.

What I don’t like about England matches is the nationalistic and patriotic sentiments that are shoved down our throats. I think that the idea that England winning the world cup will “end the past” and “begin the future”, as Boydell says, is a glorious oversimplification and a real underestimation of the stakes involved if we are to have any future. The only way to address the “lack of hope” that undoubtedly exists is the unified class struggle. Addressing this question of the lack of hope and “starting the future” can’t be put on the backs of any football team but can only begin with a confidence and solidarity in the working class to take on the bourgeoisie – the ultimate match. That doesn’t mean I want England to lose the world cup. If they play well enough and deserve it – I like to see any football team fight back and win. They’re not favourites and they are not outsiders. They were unlucky to get knocked out in 1998 when Sol Campbell’s bullet header was disallowed because of a stupid elbow by a trademark elbow in the face of a defender by Alan Shearer in the box at 2-2 with Argentina. That’s what annoys me about the coverage of the match in England; the ref was lambasted by the English media, but no-one criticised England’s favourite son for his unnecessary foul that cost England the game. Similarly, Shearer, because of his England connection, was allowed to kick a league opponent in the face when he was on his knees and get away with it. I agree that some of the anti-foreigner stuff is not as bad, but it’s still extant. There’s also the idea foreigners were “effete” and that only they dived whereas Michael Owen could dive in the opposition’s penalty box for England – as he did, frequently.

I think that every team have their “prawn cocktail” culture, executive boxes and so on but the vast majority of Liverpool, Man U, Arsenal and Tottenham fans are mainly working class and come from those two cities and North London, as is the local make up of most fans. I think that given the Irish “influence” on the first two, it’s no wonder that they don’t support expressions of what they see as the English state exemplified in the England football team. It is the expression of genuine historic resentment from events of the past misdirected.
As Boydell says, I think that Ron Atkinson was brave bringing in black players back them and that their involvement was a move in the right direction. But I don’t think that it had anything like the force of the embrace of black music by white working class youth in England at the time for breaking down barriers. And the early black players had a real tough time. His introduction of black players didn’t stop Atkinson stereotyping “niggers” a couple of decades later. While those that make it from Africa are on good wages now, they start off cheaper for the clubs. It’s not entirely through altruism that Craig Bellamy has set up an academy in one of the poorest parts of Africa. Having said this, I welcome Arsenal’s inclusion of black players a while ago that got black and white supporters together on the terraces.

I don’t think that Bert Trautman, mentioned above by Boydell, is a good example either. Apparently he was ideal Third Reich material; Hitler youth, venerated the Fuhrer, paratrooper, “killing machine” (Caterine Clay, 2010), liked to beat up and steal from Italian soldiers, regarded Nazi sceptics as traitors and thought that the Jews had it coming to them.
Would have gone down a bomb at White Hart Lane.

Capello seems to have his head screwed on but we were mystified by Sven whose record was impeccable until the games that mattered. How did people get taken in? I can’t stand all the nauseous jingoism that surrounds “England” and there are much more profound games to win to give us a chance of a future.
On the venue, I see that the gangsters of the ANC have unleashed even greater forces of repression on the poor blacks of South Africa; forced “relocations” to unsanitary “camps”; closer attention from the police with their own clubs and dogs a nightly occurrence.

While there might be some good football, the possibility of the emergence of a team like Brazil or the Dutch national side at their best, this will mainly be a celebration of nationalism rather than football. Whether England comes close or not, it will be someone’s nationalistic orgy along the lines of “the nation unites”, “the coming together of the nation” and other such fraudulent crap.
In the meantime, my hopes and fears lie in the battle at Camp Nou tomorrow evening.

gypsy
Apr 5 2010 19:19

No offence but I hope Barcelona give yous a hiding in the Camp Nou.

Boydell
Apr 6 2010 10:19

Cheers for your comments Baboon.

Quote:
I think that the idea that England winning the world cup will “end the past” and “begin the future”, as Boydell says, is a glorious oversimplification and a real underestimation of the stakes involved if we are to have any future

You've deliberately misquoted me there. I said it would go a long way for doing it for a certain group of people. I agree that class unity is the ultimate aim, but in order to achieve an aim you need a strategy that is tactically applied. In my view, too many anarchists stand on the sidelines comparing the whiteness of their ideological whites, and shouting "wrong" at everyone, whilst being strategically and tactically completely ineffective.

I don't know what will lead to class unity, but i do know it will be a collection of small shifts and increments, i.e the same way it was fractured.My article raises the idea that anarchists showing public support for England football may lead to one of those small shifts in the way that we are perceived, and improve our reputation slightly in the eyes of some.

Bert Trautman was a nazi. Ron Atkinson is a racist. Paul Gascoigne is a wifebeater. Fabio Capello is a right wing authoritarian. John Terry is a pathetic excuse for a man. David Pleat is a sex-fiend. Lee Trundle is a wanker.

So was Proudhon, and Hakim Bey, but we still accept some of what they say to be enlightening and important. Back in the day, Ian Bone was a pisshead prick by all accounts, but he did quality work as part of Class War. Bert Trautman may well have been a nazi but the effect he had on the anti-German racism of the 1950's was completely separate to that. If i ever ended up in a conversation with Ron Atkinson, i would know it was time to drink up and go home. But I've talked to Black Country lads who were on the West Brom terraces at that time and so my information is first-hand about the effect it had.

I totally accept what you say about music being a bigger driving force tho, fair point.

Also, fair point about the anti-foreign stereotypes, but that just proves my point about the power of football to change stereotypes and COMBAT racism. The reason is, 20 years ago, the stereotypes were even worse because they were based on myth rather than fact - cheating italians, lazy south americans, stupid africans. Again, greater exposure through football (for many, the only window to the outside world) has gone SOME WAY to changing these stereotypes in general. Italians are all cheats? How bout Zola? South Americans lazy? How bout Maschereno? Africans stupid? How bout Drogba? Reality beats stereotype like Stone beats Scissors.

Quote:
this (the world cup) will mainly be a celebration of nationalism rather than football

Thats exactly the kind of shallow, judgemental thinking that i want us to examine in ourselves. How do you know what millions of people are thinking? More like that is what YOU think and so you assume everyone else must think the same. Fans aren't stupid. They know the difference between the state and the starting eleven. A win for England football won't have an effect on the council cuts. It won't reduce unemployment or build more council houses, and it definitely won't lead to a greater level of faith in the state or party politics. It will make people happier, for a short while, and more comfortable in their cultural identity once this 44 year old open wound has been healed. What I'm saying is that, on balance (i.e. balanced against the potential problems you mention), that would mean it would be a good thing, and so worth supporting.

Hope i haven't come across as too harsh, but you came across pretty harsh on me, so ..... square it away basically! smile

Steven.
Apr 6 2010 10:51

I don't think many people on this site would accept that Hakim Bey has anything useful to say - he is a completely worthless child abuser.

Back to the World Cup, on your argument that an England win will help forge class unity (which like I said I believe is completely incorrect) you are forgetting that the working class is international. So even if you were correct in saying that a country winning helps it be more comfortable in itself as a multi-racial culture or whatever, even if England don't win another country will, so the effect on the global working class will be the same either way. You see what I mean?

Boydell
Apr 6 2010 15:27

I haven't read Hakim Bey's stuff but i thought his idea about setting up Temporary Autonomous Zones had some merits? Anyway, thats for another time. Again, the fact that he is a child abuser doesn't have much to do with what he says - that's sort of the point i was making, wasn't it?

So, the aim for us all is class unity, but what is the strategy? Not accept anything that doesn't lead straight to victory, a direct cause and effect, do not pass go, do not collect 200 pounds? For me, that smacks of the 'staying pure on the sidelines' attitude that has led anarchism down the cul-de-sac of ideological perfection and practical impotence it currently finds itself in.

My argument is that a working class more comfortable with itself would lead to some people having an improved cultural image of themselves that isn't so bitter and twisted. So, as it's a step in the right direction,and so i feel it should be supported.

As for the effect on the global working class - let's be honest, who the fuck knows?! I'd rather look at making small, practical steps based on observation, than cutting open a dog and reading its entrails, which is pretty much the level we're at when it comes to working out what's best for the global working class! smile

So again - my small practical step would be for anarchists who don't understand the motivations of England football fans to stop assuming they are unwitting tools of nationalism, or that England football success is a victory for the nation state. On the back of that, anarchists who follow football should not feel bad about supporting England if they feel a historical or cultural connection with it, as it is not a negative activity for them to be involved in.

So, yeah, i see what you mean, but do you see what i mean?

Steven.
Apr 6 2010 15:57

Yes, I see what you mean regarding anarchists shouldn't feel bad about supporting England - as I said in my first post, this should should be obvious (although I acknowledge that for some anarchists this might not be obvious).

But still your argument that England winning the World Cup would be good for workers' unity is incorrect. The dog's entrails analogy is only actually accurate regarding your assertion, that an England victory would help undermine class divisions. But even being generous to you that that might be the case - it still doesn't mean that this is a justification for supporting England, because if Italy won it - according to your logic - it would undermine racism etc in Italy. Thus the effect on the international working class would be the same.

On Hakim Bey, no I don't feel his ideas have any merit at all, he is a muppet.

Joseph Kay
Apr 6 2010 16:08

Yeah TAZ is a crock of shit, his desire for temporary spaces without law or social norms probably have as much to do with his sexual attractiion to pre-pubescent boys than any strategy for social revolution (which iirc, he explicitly rejects).

Ed
Apr 6 2010 17:28
Steven. wrote:
Yes, I see what you mean regarding anarchists shouldn't feel bad about supporting England - as I said in my first post, this should should be obvious (although I acknowledge that for some anarchists this might not be obvious).

I went to the the last World Cup in Germany and when I came back and talked to an anarchist at my uni he looked at me funny and said "ah, that's nationalist"...

roll eyes

Boydell
Apr 6 2010 17:49

Ahaaaaaa.

I live. I learn. Hakim Bey is definitely off the christmas card list.

What does iirc mean by the way?

Steven - yep, I've had a lovely walk, picked some daffodils (and mini-daffodils, or are they called something else?) and now feel much more amenable to contradiction. I see what you're saying - by my reckoning the benefit for england would be matched by a disadvantage for another part of the global working class, and so its not a worthwhile argument for an internationalist to make.

But, i still stand by my disgusting dog's entrails metaphor (is that a metaphor?). My own experience has led me to believe my argument about England football. I have little or no practical experience of thinking at the global working class level,apart from ideological beliefs about the universality of oppression, all cousins in the human family, the need for one big union etc.

I don't know if the Italian tifosi think the same way as the English fans. They won the world cup 4 years ago, and they haven't got a decaying post-imperialist nutcase culture, so at a guess i'd say that the effect an england or Italy win at the world cup wouldn't be the same as for us, so the 'win/lose' formula is hard to agree with.

Anyway, back to firmer ground - i don't know what effect an England win would have on the global working class, but i think it would have a positive effect on the english working class, based on my own personal knowledge of the english working class. On that basis, i am prepared to gamble that it will have an overall positive effect, and so it is worth supporting.

I feel like i should have some kind of algebra formula to represent that, but unfortunately i don't!

As for anarchists accepting their number following England football - you must live in a much more enlightened anarchist community than me, so take a crumb of comfort from that.

Nice to talk to you. I appreciate you taking the time to comment on the article, and to everyone else who did as well, but i feel like we've started to talk in circles so it may be best to stop there unless any new issues are raised.

I'm off to watch Arsenal Barcelona in the hope that football will be the winner, enjoy your evenings!

Joseph Kay
Apr 6 2010 19:06
Boydell wrote:
What does iirc mean by the way?

if i recall correctly

just for reference, info on Hakim Bey's dodgyness is here (criticisms of TAZ are my own).

Ed wrote:
Steven. wrote:
Yes, I see what you mean regarding anarchists shouldn't feel bad about supporting England - as I said in my first post, this should should be obvious (although I acknowledge that for some anarchists this might not be obvious).

I went to the the last World Cup in Germany and when I came back and talked to an anarchist at my uni he looked at me funny and said "ah, that's nationalist"...

roll eyes

but you went to one of the only unis in the UK with a (then) active Maoist group wink

Joseph Kay
Apr 6 2010 19:11

back on topic, worthwhile article yeah, there's a lot of mentalness around supporting national football teams being 'nationalist', often from people who have no problem supporting armed nationalists in far off countries. nobody's ever explained how watching a game on TV requires me to side with the bosses in the class war...

freemind
Apr 6 2010 20:18

There's only one United so get over it wink

Devrim
Apr 7 2010 06:59
Quote:
back on topic, worthwhile article yeah, there's a lot of mentalness around supporting national football teams being 'nationalist', often from people who have no problem supporting armed nationalists in far off countries. nobody's ever explained how watching a game on TV requires me to side with the bosses in the class war...

There is more to it than that though. In Turkey, which admittedly is an extremely nationalist country, national team matches, and European club matches are surrounded by an immense amount of nationalism. The incident with Leeds fans came up on another thread the other day here. When it gets to the point that working class people are stabbing other working class people to death on the streets because they 'insulted our country and our flag' there is a problem.

I am not saying that people shouldn't watch their national team on TV. I watch the Turkish team on TV, and even went as far as wanting them to win in the European Championship before last (as opposed to in the WC in Japan/Korea where they came third and played some awfully turgid football). It is used to reinforce nationalism though, and pretending that it has nothing to do with it, is bending the stick too far (not that I am saying that you are).

Devrim

baboon
Apr 7 2010 13:02

No offence taken Allybaba, but given the possibility of a Spanish league strike then I wish Messi had gone on wildcat before last night.

And Boydell, no offence intended and none taken, it's a good point you've raised. I see from re-reading your post that you were referring to nationalists when you said about 'ending the past... and starting the future' through a world cup victory, but I didn't really deliberately misquote you because you seemed to extend this idea to the whole of the working class - re the responses above.

Selfishly, I usually start off wanting England ("my" nation) to get beaten as quickly as possible because it stops the nationalist hysteria and the flag-waving; a "united" nation in this case where the ruling class are about to give the working class its biggest shafting since WWII. When this has happened in the past the media and its revolting pundits displace their propaganda to some other part of the United Kingdom if they are still involved, or patronise some underdog. The same sickening nonsense goes on and, at any rate, the same "nation united" campaign applied to the winners would be foisted on some other nationalist entity. The all-inclusive, nation-uniting victory of the French in the world cup showed how shallow and ephemeral this sort of campaign is.
If we get beaten in the world cup we can always look forward to the Olympics - another good example of sickening capitalist corruption and nationalism.

gypsy
Apr 7 2010 14:12

Hey baboon, I would not worry to much about that defeat last night. Messi would have ripped any team apart yesterday.

flaneur
Feb 20 2011 16:02
gypsytimetraveller wrote:

Also I think England have a good chance of winning the World Cup. Capello is a great manager and they have Wayne Rooney who was on fire until recently suffering an injury. Argentina have the best squad but have a crap manager in Maradona. Fabregas may be injured for Spain. France are shit. Brazil and Spain are probably Englands biggest rivals. IMO.

What was you on when you wrote that? It's only in this country that England are considered anything better than an average team. This ageing gold plated generation will never win anything. And if France who have won both a Euro Championship and a World Cup in my lifetime are shit, what would that make England?

Devrim
Feb 20 2011 17:32
gypsytimetraveller wrote:
Also I think England have a good chance of winning the World Cup.

It is hard to believe the way the English media hypes up their team. If you look at their record, the last time they were in a WC semi-final was 1990, and a Euro semi-final 1996

If you compare that to a country like Turkey WC semi-final 2002 and Euro semi-final 2008, it gives a bit of perspective. England are not up their with the top teams in any way. They may well be a little better than Turkey, but they are down there with them in the second rank of European national teams.

Devrim

gypsy
Feb 20 2011 17:43
flaneur wrote:
gypsytimetraveller wrote:

Also I think England have a good chance of winning the World Cup. Capello is a great manager and they have Wayne Rooney who was on fire until recently suffering an injury. Argentina have the best squad but have a crap manager in Maradona. Fabregas may be injured for Spain. France are shit. Brazil and Spain are probably Englands biggest rivals. IMO.

What was you on when you wrote that? It's only in this country that England are considered anything better than an average team. This ageing gold plated generation will never win anything. And if France who have won both a Euro Championship and a World Cup in my lifetime are shit, what would that make England?

France in the last World Cup were shite. Obviously during the time they won the Euros and the World cup they were great. Also I tipped Spain to win it in a roundabout kinda way wink

gypsy
Feb 20 2011 17:44
Devrim wrote:
gypsytimetraveller wrote:
Also I think England have a good chance of winning the World Cup.

It is hard to believe the way the English media hypes up their team. If you look at their record, the last time they were in a WC semi-final was 1990, and a Euro semi-final 1996

If you compare that to a country like Turkey WC semi-final 2002 and Euro semi-final 2008, it gives a bit of perspective. England are not up their with the top teams in any way. They may well be a little better than Turkey, but they are down there with them in the second rank of European national teams.

Devrim

I think they still have some top players in their team. Rooney's bicycle kick the other day against Man City just proves that. Obviously collectively they just ain't good enough.

flaneur
Feb 20 2011 19:00

But the previous WC before that, they were in the final. What have England done to merit calls to win anything, with their recent bests being quarter final finishes and even that's going miles back.

Rooney's goal proves he can score, well a shinner. It's no Trevor Sinclair fandabadoozy. On the whole though, scoring isn't something he's doing a lot of. I think even if you take them individually, they're not all they're cracked up to be. Also, Glen Johnson.

gypsy
Feb 20 2011 19:37
flaneur wrote:
But the previous WC before that, they were in the final. What have England done to merit calls to win anything, with their recent bests being quarter final finishes and even that's going miles back.

Rooney's goal proves he can score, well a shinner. It's no Trevor Sinclair fandabadoozy. On the whole though, scoring isn't something he's doing a lot of. I think even if you take them individually, they're not all they're cracked up to be. Also, Glen Johnson.

Rooney is great off the ball and his work rate is second to none, this season he may not have scored that many for Man united but he has been involved in many of the goals. I was not talking about France in the past- they were great with djorkaef and zidane etc. I was talking about France just before the last world cup who went on to prove to be more of a mess than England and actually most of the teams in the last competition.

flaneur
Feb 20 2011 20:39

It was only 5 years ago that they were in a final and Djorkaeff didn't play in that team. Even if I think you're right, the hubbub about their lack of form is because they've had some in recent years.

As for Rooney, he's scored 1 goal out of 10 for England this season. I don't think a cup is going to be won thanks to him.

gypsy
Feb 20 2011 21:09
flaneur wrote:
It was only 5 years ago that they were in a final and Djorkaeff didn't play in that team. Even if I think you're right, the hubbub about their lack of form is because they've had some in recent years.

As for Rooney, he's scored 1 goal out of 10 for England this season. I don't think a cup is going to be won thanks to him.

I didn't say Djorkaeff played in the 2006 Final. Are you saying that Rooney is not a world class striker/player? If you don't think he is I think you really ought to take a reality check.