[Marxism] Renato P. on soccer

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Feb 14 13:04:08 MST 2012

Lou, my niece which lived in New York and now lives in Los Angeles 
gave me a Knickerbockers shirt which I use sometimes.
But I want to tell you about my theory about soccer, published in 
1978. A summary:

Soccer is not a sport, it is a dramatical spectacle. It 
distinguishes itself from other dramatical spectacles for two main 
reasons: in the first place, soccer does not portrait a conflict 
between individuals, but it portraits a conflict between two 
institutions. Secondly, it does not follow a previous script, its 
"actors" do "create" the "script" at the moment they perform it.

As it portraits a conflict between two institutions, soccer may 
symbolize any social conflict. So, in São Paulo, Corinthians is 
the "people's team"; in Glasgow, the Celtics are the "Catholic 
team", in Rome the Lazio is the "rightist team".

But in this soccer does not distinguish itself from other ball 
team sports. So, in the States, a basketball or baseball team can 
represent the New York people, or the Chicago people. What is 
unique to soccer is the absolute preponderance of the foot. On 
another hand, soccer developed itself during the Industrial 
Revolution in England. For the first time in history, a big number 
of human beings began to work motionless, not using their feet, on 
a machine, or at a desk, not able to move as they please, as 
ancient land labourers or artisans. Soccer inverts this situation: 
makes feet free to move endlessly and hands free to "rest", as 
they overwork in labour time. So, soccer symbolizes workers that 
go on being workers out of the labour place, and basketball and 
baseball symbolize a working class that exists only during labour 
time, does not exist off the labour place. So soccer triumphed in 
Europe and South America, and basketball and baseball in North 

Well, I could extend myself, if there is someone interested. This 
theory is well accepted among a small circle of intellectuals and 
academics in Brazil. What do you think?

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