For those of us who had a smattering of the history of ancient Rome in our earlier years in school, the overarching lesson was the eventual decline of a great empire brought about through hubris and moral decay, the result perhaps of obscene opulence and total disregard for the lives of those upon whose backs that empire was built.
Today the US sits on top of a global empire that dwarfs the Roman Empire exponentially. And yet little has changed in the behavior of those who servilely served that empire with those of us who do the same today leading the Transnational Corporations to ascendancy over all its subjects within its global reach.
Rome diverted the consciousness of its citizenry away from the realities and consequences of world domination of its time with the gladiatorial games of the Coliseum. The people of Rome indulged themselves in these violent diversions at the expense of their country and their culture.
The 1% will do much the same in staging international spectacles meant to divert the microscope of self reflection away from the abuses and economic failures of global economics, with today’s opening of the World Cup in Brazil.
So let the games begin…..but at what price almost two centuries later do they blind us to the Realities of Workers’ lives sacrificed in the Modern Global Coliseum of Transnational Devourings?
And at what price to the Planet?
In most Latin countries soccer is one level above religion. No church would dare interject itself when futbol fans celebrate their tournaments.
Brazil is no exception.
But this year Brazilians have taken to the streets not to celebrate the greatest of all tournaments in international futbol, the World Cup, but to protest the capitalistic injustices that prioritize spectacle, sport, and tourism over decent living conditions, hospitals, education, and the simple services of garbage removal in the poorer favelas of the cities and towns of Brazil.
For wealthy Brazilians their World Cup will be to showcase their ascendancy into the conscienceless world of capitalistic opulence for the few. But in order to do that they have already filled the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, Salvador, etc. with over 200,000 military troops armed with the latest weaponry for dealing with terrorists. It will be their job to escort the tourists to and from the stadiums through the streets between the hotels and the spectacles. Talk about guarded communities that the Few and the Greedy hide behind in their fear of those they exploit.
Jihan Hafiz a TRNN correspondent, has video taped and chronicled the clearing of whole neighborhoods of undesirables, mainly the homeless, and moving entire communities out of their homes in the interests of the greedy developers who have a different vision for their Brazil, one different from the average citizen who doesn’t have the equal voice of the moneyed class in stopping these evictions. Like the poor who get in the way of the profits of the 1%, they will be swept away under the shock and spectacle of a flag waving tourist attraction for mostly foreigners who come to indulge themselves in the elite playgrounds of the world’s forgotten ones.
In recent weeks, police forces have gone on strike, transportation workers unions have shut down bus service_10 cent fare hikes drive the workers into the street in protest, 2000 teachers in Rio have left their classrooms on strike, sanitation workers have walked off the job, in San Paulo at least eight protests took place last week spontaneously erupting at their indignation of their paying the price for these games while their living conditions continue to deteriorate_Why?
While the wealthy exploit and play, the families of the Brazilian 99% struggle to put food on their tables, to educate their children for a better life, to have the basic services communities need for protection, good health and sanitation, and hope for their children’s futures.
This is the failure of the capitalist system. Only the more well off reap the benefits. The rest get used and abused and foot the bill. It’s as always a stacked game. So, do the planners not have the wherewithal to see a revolution brewing under these conditions? Or do they think that they can strengthen their police state machinery to deal with those who don’t play along with the Circuses, and prevent the rising up of the disenfranchised?
For the local vendors, the Brazilian People themselves, have been restricted from even participating in the profits that pour in from foreign tourism and that the developers, bankers, and investors hoard among themselves and their cronies by not being allowed to sell their small fare within a two-kilometer radius of those restricted zones the FIFA World Cup personages have established; and this militarily enforced by local security forces.
Brazil is a microcosm of the decaying rot of capitalism that has finally reached its pinnacle of unconsciousness and as it descends into its own suicidal bloodbath, taking with it the last shekels from the hands of the Poor, it pays off those in the military establishment to mug anyone who gets in their way.
Whether it be Spain or Greece or Ukraine or Bahrain, fascism always needs an enforcer and the security state-military complex wants its cut in the profits also.
So welcome to the Brazilian World Cup which will be televised worldwide for all to lose themselves in as the world economy drains into the economic gutters where destroyed families, communities, and whole countries end up. The price is exacted and paid by those who close their eyes and for one month take their eyes off the futbol of reality to revel in the diversion of nationalistic fervor and escape.
We will not see or hear the undercurrents of unrest, protest, and dissent in the next month. The 1% will not allow it. They control the cameras and the security forces. They have the keys to the prison cells and the money to pay the pundits to amuse the crowds with sports’ froth.
As is their sole purpose, they will divert, deflect, deceive, and deny the world from seeing the real game (SCAM) being played out on the under maintained streets of the working classes where the homeless hovel up against chipped plaster walls to sleep covered with their only possession, a thin blanket, while in the far distance stadium will howl
with the mindless insanity of those who can afford the costs of International Spectacle. And after their exhilarating catharses they will be escorted back to their hotels by armed troops, insuring them that they won’t have to see the price their tickets really costs on the lives of the Working Poor.
And the sad reality of all of this is that in the next two years, Brazil will once again be hosting another spectacle, the Summer Olympics of 2016, and the behavior of the inhabitants of the Planet will probably not
have learned anything the history of the decline of the Roman Empire had to teach us almost two centuries earlier in mankind’s wistful search for progress, higher purpose, and universal justice.