ZACF leaflet: Making the 2010 World Cup work for the poor and working class

http://www.anarkismo.net/article/15661

Making the 2010 World Cup work for the poor and working class

Tuesday January 26, 2010 21:13 by Zabalaza – ZACF

The following leaflet was distributed by members of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) and the Orlando West study circle on anarchism at a football tournament in an informal settlement in Soweto.  (Unfortunately the proposed discussion after the tournament did not take place due to rain).

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Making the 2010 World Cup work for the poor and working class

Ever since South Africa won the bid to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the ANC government has been feeding us promises and creating expectations about how good this is for the country, for the economy and for the workers and poor. We were told that it would create jobs, that the tourism it attracts would generate large amounts of money that could be invested in service delivery and development. Indeed, developments such as the Gautrain and Rea Vaya are largely in preparation for the World Cup.

But who really stands to benefit, and to profit, from the World Cup and its associated developments? Who could afford the Gautrain from the airport to Sandton? And who would be traveling from the airport to Sandton anyway, the worker or the businessman and tourist? Who was Rea Vaya built for? The soccer fan living in a shack in Protea South, who still has to pay for a taxi to Regina Mundi to get the Rea Vaya to Ellis Park to watch a World Cup match he or she cannot afford, or the tourist that wants to pop safely into Soweto to see how poor Africans live?

Now, with the World Cup just around the corner, we have to ask ourselves who is really benefitting from South Africa hosting the games. Millions and millions of Rands that could have gone into service delivery and development have been spent on soccer stadiums that will probably never be filled again, after the World Cup. Even those workers that were fortunate enough to have a job preparing for the Cup are facing unemployment now that the stadiums are nearly completed, and even while they were working they were forced to go out on strike against low pay and poor conditions; against exploitation. Fifa, one of the richest corporations in the world, has banned informal traders from selling food and other produce anywhere near the stadiums, and only granted trading licenses to big companies such as Nandos and Steers. If the World Cup is really supposed to be for the people, and to alleviate poverty and create opportunities for the poor in South Africa, then why has the government not challenged this decision? Why is it not working to ensure that poor people from the communities surrounding the stadiums benefit by being able to trade at the stadiums?

    • Why are the matches so expensive that we, who built the stadiums with our hands and paid for them with our taxes, cannot even afford one ticket?
    • Why are South African taxes being used, it has been said, to accommodate Fifa officials in luxury hotels, while people live in shacks?
    • Why has the government not worked more closely with and consulted working class and poor communities to see what we expect to gain from hosting the World Cup, and how the government can make this a reality?
    • Will the jobs created to build 2010, and maybe the jobs that come after it, be secure jobs with a living wage? Or will they be short-term, low wage, dangerous work without benefits like medical aids?
    • What about those workers who will lose their jobs after the tournament? What about their families?
    • What is going to happen once the World Cup is over? Will the profits be invested into service delivery and development, and how can we put pressure on the government to do so and to ensure that it is accountable?
    • Why has the South African State been so keen to host the 2010 World Cup? Why has it chosen to spend money on an event like this, when there are so many other serious problems in South Africa?
    • Why is soccer, traditionally a working class game, becoming the sole preserve of the rich?

Join us – a group of concerned soccer fans – on the sidelines after the match today for a discussion that will address these and other questions, and try to come up with an answer to the question: “How can we force the government to make the 2010 World Cup serve the interests of the poor and working class?”. Issued by: Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) in association with the Orlando West study circle on anarchism.

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About Lucien van der Walt

I teach at Rhodes University, the Eastern Cape. I’m South African, born and bred. I am currently also involved in union education and have a background in social movement and left-wing activism, the Workers’ Library and Museum, the Anti-Privatisation Forum, and the National Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU). I’ve presented papers at more than 120 conferences and workshops, published in key journals like 'Capital and Class' and 'Labor History', have co-edited 3 journal specials (these on global labour history, African labour, and unions in the Global South), and written well over 130 other articles, papers and entries. I was Southern Africa editor for the 2009 'International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest' (Blackwell). My focus has been on South Africa, but I have also done research in Zambia and Zimbabwe. I won the 2008 international 'Labor History' thesis prize, and the 2008/2009 Council for the Development of Social Science Research prize for best African dissertation, for my PhD thesis on South African anarchism, syndicalism and black militants. I have several books, including 'Negro e Vermelho: anarquismo, sindicalismo revolucionário e pessoas de cor na África Meridional nas décadas de 1880-1920,' 'Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1880-1940: the praxis of national liberation, internationalism, and social revolution' (co-edited with Steve Hirsch, Brill, 2010/ 2014) and 'Black Flame: the revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndicalism' (co-written with Michael Schmidt, AK Press 2009).