Soccer vs. the State: Tackling Football and Radical Politics

Overview

Citing the professionalism and commercialization that dominate the multibillion-dollar soccer industry, this fascinating study also describes the game's rebellious side—from its working-class roots and political protests from fans and players to the current resurgence within radical communities. Documenting a complete history of the sport, this perceptive work also reflects on common criticisms, including the ways that soccer ferments nationalism, serves right-wing powers, and fosters competitiveness. ...

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Overview

Citing the professionalism and commercialization that dominate the multibillion-dollar soccer industry, this fascinating study also describes the game's rebellious side—from its working-class roots and political protests from fans and players to the current resurgence within radical communities. Documenting a complete history of the sport, this perceptive work also reflects on common criticisms, including the ways that soccer ferments nationalism, serves right-wing powers, and fosters competitiveness. Acknowledging these concerns, alternative perspectives on the game and practical examples of how to achieve egalitarian matches are explored. Serving as both as an orientation for the politically conscious football supporter and as an inspiration for those who try to pursue the love of the game away from television sets and big stadiums, this thoughtful examination reclaims the notion of soccer as “the people’s game.”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Kuhn is impressive in his global and historical scope, and in acknowledging gender and sexuality questions as well as those of class and race, as he looks at issues ranging from the exploitation of African players to the way the World Cup has been abused politically." —When Saturday Comes (September 2011)

"Alright, good soul of football, now you have your own classic. . . . Soccer vs. the State reaches so far beyond the limits of mainstream left-wing football discourse that its purchase is no less than a must." —11 Freunde (May 28, 2011)

"One has to be a cynic not to be touched by many of the heart-warming stories in the book. Sometimes football does indeed stand for freedom, equality, and togetherness." —Offside magazine

"Kuhn's wonderful, accessible and necessary book develops football's beginnings through the tribalism, sexism, and bigotry that qualified the game during much of the 20th century." —Freedom newspaper

"This collection of essays by various hands seems a daunting rag-bag of radical ideas at first glance but, helped by deft linking commentaries from Gabriel Kuhn, a common theme soon emerges: fans worldwide have a duty to fight attempts by government and big business to control football for their own ends." —The Independent (August 2011)

"Kuhn knows soccer and is a fan of the game. His book will help you understand why soccer is and can be more than simply a corporate spectacle." —www.SocialistWorker.org (October, 2011)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604860535
  • Publisher: PM Press
  • Publication date: 2/24/2011
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 777,212
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Gabriel Kuhn was one of Austria’s youngest semiprofessional soccer players in the 1980s and is the founder of the Alpine Anarchist Productions publishing company. He is the author of Life Under the Jolly Roger, the editor of Living for the Revolution, and the editor/translator of Gustav Landauer: Revolution and Other Writings.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Boff Whalley 7

Introduction 9

History: Truths and Myths about Football as a Working-Class Sport 13

Radical Debates on Football

Football and Politics 51

Football's Role as an "Opiate of the Masses" 57

Nationalism and Sectarianism 59

Fan Violence 65

The Commercialization of the Game and the "New Football Economy" 70

Bigotry in Football Culture 93

Radical Interventions in the Professional Game

A Stage for Protests 105

Social Justice Campaigns 108

Personalities 109

Teams 132

Supporters 143

Clubs as Cooperatives, Not as Corporations 177

Alternative Football Culture

Grassroots and Underground Football Culture 183

Football for Radicals 226

Conclusion 238

Appendix 239

Notes 251

Images 255

Articles, Essays, Interviews 258

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