Guy Rundle’s Marxist guide to the World Cup
It’s only a few days in, and Australia’s already out. Which means you can kick back and enjoy the World Cup. Especially if you sell riot gear or Qatari real estate. But whom to support? If you’re a Crikey reader, the beautiful game is the great game. Forget this football shit, it’s all about the politics. So here from worst to best teams is Rundle’s entirely unauthorised World Cup guide. You will never be in a quandary about whom to support, unless Cote D’Ivoire play Korea.
Group G: The First-World Imperialist Centre
- England — The empire on which the sun never set and the blood never dried, Engerland get points for resisting Nazism and not being as bad as the Belgians. They lose them for perfecting laissez-faire imperialism, in which tens of millions were killed by the “liberalisation” of local food supply. Recent bipartisan support for the Iraq War puts them at the bottom once again.
- France — Worse imperialists than the English, and much worse at leaving when asked to, the French are the true inventors of the concentration camp, and imposed decades of unnecessary slaughter on those who didn’t want to be part of their “republic”. They nudge past the English for style, political asylum for the Italian Left in the ’80s, and because in 2010, their entire team went on strike.
- Belgium — The country invented as a port access for the British and named for a Gallic tribe that quite possibly didn’t really exist, Belgium is a post-state, which functions embarrassingly well without a government. Better in fact, for from the 1880s to the 1910s, Belgium ran the Congo as a giant tropical capitalist gulag, essentially inventing the death-work camp, murdering 8 million in the process — or, if you’re Keith Windschuttle, 17 unrelated trekking accidents.
- Portugal — They more or less invented colonialism, slaughtering their way round the Cape of Good Hope, purveyed a dour cleric-fascism, and were even more pointlessly obtuse about colonialism than the French. They nudge ahead for the 1974 carnation revolution, and the deeply depressing writing of Fernando Pessoa. And the fact that they were never a key player.
Group F: Imperialist B-League
- Spain — As bastardish bastardy as any, but that is going on for 500 years ago now, and they lost the lot earlier than any, thereafter lapsing into clerical torpor, until in 1936 becoming what Franz Borkenau called “the cockpit of the century” (i.e. the place where cockfights occur, nothing to do with those shorts). Down the list because they’ve already lost.
- Netherlands – Less rapacious than your average imperialists, they don’t get up the list for that, nor for becoming a nation of dope-smoking donkey sex bicyclists. They are redeemed for “total football”, the style that separates player from position, thus causing the entire team to reconfigure minute by minute and — well, 5-1 against Spain is “and”. “Fun” fact for Geert Wilders fans who think that Muslims introduced anti-Semitism to the lowlands: in the ’60s when Dutch Jewish team AJAX played, opponents would hiss, in imitation of gas. Brilliant, orange.
- Japan — Japan deserves a place in the imperialist ghetto for being utterly systemic bastards in the few decades of the greater east Asian co-prosperity sphere, but move up the group because they learnt it from the Europeans. They also move up because they are now a neutral-ish nation run by middle-aged men who buy picture books of kittens having S and M sex from vending machines with the English words “strawberry gaucho, I love now!” on the side. What’s to hate?
Page 1 of 3 | Next page