Monday, June 26, 2006

World Cup Post

I wish that I could say that the reason this blog has been so crap recently is that I've been watching the World Cup (but even that wouldn't be an excuse - Jew90 said he's taking a break, but he's still managed better than me). But - apart from the Mexico-Argentina match - I've found it so boring that I haven't bothered. But I did want to pass on Will's "Unphilosophy Football" shirts. (Slogans from this great site - needs a 2006 update!)

I also wanted to take a moment to scorn the "Marxist" lumpen-intellectuals who snear at the plebs who support their countries. SWP hack and Ipswich fan Histomat (who, I think, un-ironically takes a blog name from the term the Stalinists used to justfiy mass murder) says the only Marxist position is "Anyone but England", and calls on humourless Leninist apparatchiks like Chris Bambery to back up the argument. (Dave Renton is not humourless though.)

(Another variation on the anti-patriotic riff comes from anti-Zionist warrior Eugene P, whose blog I used to quite like but am finding increasingly irritating.)

Histomat is responding in part to what he calls the "nationalist" argument for supporting your own team, nicely put forward by Swindon Town fan Andy Newman, in a post that also reveals the true depths of the SWP's puritan witch-burning zeal. Ed Rooksby takes a middle - or "centrist" as the Trots would say - line. Even SWP loyalist Meaders sees that the Anyone but England position is daft - justifying playing a football match at a Respect meeting. Martin Wisse ditto, forcing Histomat to return to the fray.

A question: why is supporting your local team - Ipswich, Swindon - not another form of "nationalism"? Isn't local identity just as much an "imagined community"? And if the "imagined community of the nation" has no other source or function than the interests of the dastardly bourgeiosie, how can local patriotism be any different? (And for that matter, why is the nationalism of brown-skinned nations exempt from this formula?)

For what it's worth, on my working class multiracial South London street, there is no visible correlation between being white or a wanker and flying England flags. Although the white wankers at the corner of Salehurst Rd are flying England flags. And I'm not supporting England any more, just because they're simply crap.


Other World Cup stuff:

Tags: Ecuador... England... Football... germany... MEXICO... Portugal... soccer... world-cup-2006... Worldcup... world cup...


eugene plawiuk said...

Of course supporting your local sports team is a form of nationalism. We just went through that here in Edmonton with the NHL Stanley Cup play-offs with lots of local hooliganism in support of the Oilers hockey team.
Nationalism of course eventually boils down to that. hooliganism and xenophobia. And of course I am an irritating cus, thanks for noticing.

Ed said...

Thanks for link. I hope I am not too nasty and totalitarian for you.

I don't think 'Histomat' is a particularly stalinist term, by the way - historical materialism is what Marx did. Maybe 'Diamat' us what you're thinking of.

bob said...

Isn't the abbreviation histomat (like diamat) a creation of the Soviet state? And, isn't it also true that Marx himself did not use the terms 'historical materialism' and 'dialectical materialism', two isms that turned into dogmas largely after Marx's death, first in Germany under the SPD, then in Russia under the Communists?

Thanks for the good-hearted reply!

Snowball said...

Bob - thanks for the link.

You know what it is that I don't like about supporting England? It is that when English fans go and watch another game at the world cup (say Brazil-Ghana) they always seem to feel it is their God-given right to go and put their flags up all around the ground - when England aren't even playing and the competition is in another country! Yep, thats the problem I have.

As for Histomat - well, as I put it in my very first post on the blog - it is time to reclaim language from the Stalinists for a new generation. There is arguably nothing wrong with Historical Materialism - and so surely nothing wrong with 'Histomat' per se apart from its corruption by Stalinism. Hope that helps.

PS you are right about local teams - it leads not to nationalism but a form of sectionalism which is a distraction from the class struggle. Possibly.

A humourless Leninist SWP hack.

Anonymous said...