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Sleepless Nights and Starry Skies
The World Cup in Brasil and international surges of insurrection
THE World Cup is not about football. If a country becomes a candidate for organizing this event, it is because football absolves the same function today as the spectacle of the gladiators did in ancient Rome, and because it is a golden opportunity for the managerial State to extend its economic development and political influence by leaps and bounds. The Cup incurs a monstrous cost, however the returns on investment will almost certainly be juicy. Brasil, considered one of the world’s major economic powers, is counting on moving up the echelons by organizing the Cup and the Olympic Games.
The World Cup is also a project of power to bridle social tensions and worship the spectacle. For State bodies and economic interests, it is an opportunity to create the conditions to open up new markets, put an end to certain kinds of resistance and achieve a qualitative leap in the occupation of the territory and capitalist exploitation. This is the modern High Mass of the State and Capital, where the arrogance of power is exhibited in the spectacle of the stadiums, the howling masses, screens, live broadcasts and national pride.
The granting of the organization of the 2014 World Cup to the Brasilian State has meant an immediate systematic intensification of the management of “social peace.” New police units, the Unidades de Polícia Pacificadora (UPP), have emerged, created along the model of the infamous “pacification operations” implanted since 2008 in dozens of tough neighbourhoods and favelas of Rio de Janeiro. The State has regained military control of the neighbourhoods in the name of the war on drug trafficking. According to official figures more than 5,500 people have been killed by police in Rio de Janeiro alone in the space of four years. In neighbourhoods where gangs of traffickers have been hunted down, the paramilitaries are now calling the shots.