The images of supporters huddling together may have provoked once more surprise, especially when in other sectors affected by corona measures private restaurant and café owners as well as theatre and show people have to see their business to be closed down.
“The measures do not impose that supporters should be spread all over the stadium.”
The attitude against or for sport has not changed since 25th January 1930, when Rajani Palme Dutt, wrote an article in the new Communist Party of Great Britain newspaper The Daily Worker (now The Morning Star), condemning the inclusion of sports news:
“Capitalist sport is subordinate to bourgeois politics, run under bourgeois patronage and breathing the spirit of patriotism and class unity; and often of militarism, fascism and strike breaking.”
This time, the political leaders of Belgium are afraid of offending the working class and cancelling their favourite football matches. They did not dare to have the same covid-measures for the football or soccer fans as for the children and for the adults who want to go to the theatre. Those loving to go to soccer matches often belong to the right-wing political parties and to those who oppose any measures taken by the government. In 1930 it was written:
Sport is a hotbed of propaganda and recruiting for the enemy. Spectator sports (horse racing and football) are profit run professional spectacles thick with corruption. They are dope; to distract the workers from the bad conditions of their lives, to stop thinking, to make passive wage slaves. You cannot reconcile revolutionary politics with capitalist sport!”
Today, we can still say, nothing has been changed. Both the Flemish nationalist right-wing populist Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) and the regionalist separatist N-VA (the New Flemish Alliance) do not want that the Federal State would touch the sport’s heart of the people. Under the leadership of Bart De Wever, who succeeded the N-VA founding leader Geert Bourgeois, the N-VA advocates free-market economics and immediate tax reductions to stimulate the economy. Those two parties prefer to keep the people under control by giving them their dope and fun, like the Roman emperors did in the old age.
Bread and Games
The other political parties, in particular, the liberals with on the Flemish site the Open VLD or Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten (Flemish Liberals and Democrats, EU member LI, ELDR) and the French-speaking nowadays centre liberal MR or Mouvement Réformateur (Reformist Movement, also member of LI, ELDR) as one of the major parties in Belgium are pulling the string to promote personal gain and capitalisation. With soccer there is too much money involved to bring it to a halt or standstill, therefore those political parties did everything to keep it out of lockdown.
With the the German-speaking liberal party, the PFF – Partei für Freiheit und Fortschritt (Party for Freedom and Progress) those liberals say they are committed to build and safeguard free, fair and open societies, where people should not have to face all those Covid-19 limitations. Though some of them agree that at this moment of the health crisis, we have to find a balance for the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community.
Strangely enough, they do not find it too burdensome to restrict theatres and museums, but they do find it too burdensome to shut down the national popular sport that involves a lot of money.
Clearly, liberalism puts the capital in the first place and aims to disperse power, and to sustain a market economy, which should be there for the bosses and those who are able to invest capital. For them, the interests of the poor and of the community as a whole are not the first concern for our country.
Those people who have to earn their living with not so much money as those liberals who pull the strings, can see how some political parties make good use of the present CoViD-19 pandemic to undermine a reasonable feasible state system. Already three decades we are witnessing the rise of fascist parties that aim not only to divide the country but also to throw out and keep out all those who they think do not belong there.