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Circuses without Bread

Circuses without Bread

Today another mega-event circus is about to open in Brazil at a USD 11bn cost (mostly at the benefit of monopolies and oligarchs) but there are clear signs that the organisers have forgot about the bread bit of the old appeasement equation ("panem et circenses" in Latin): Rio airport workers are on strike, there are numerous planned marches while 200,000 troops are mobilising across Brazil to prevent(?) rioting. Preparations have also involved the displacement (forced or induced eviction) of many thousands of Brazil's homeless. A good article documenting the injustice and inequality reproduced by the preparations for this mega-event in Brazil is at


There are also big worries about the Qatar World Cup, and a campaign to re-run "the vote" due to serious worker rights abuses. A people's sport has been slowly hi-jacked by a powerful and allegedly corrupt international monopoly and turned into a commercial, consumerist spectacle. Some telling numbers: the cheapest world cup ticket to watch a single game costs approximately costs a week's average pay in Brazil and about half the monthly salary of the woman that hand-stitched the official ball. A peaceful reaction: we can switch off our TVs, NOT buy any official merchandise, and go out and play soccer or any other game with our friends. And support alternatives such as the 2014 Homeless World Cup in Chile (19-26 October). Tackling the root cause of all this, i.e. globalised neoliberal capitalism, is of course a little bit harder, but it can and should also involve peaceful grassroots action including in tourism and leisure.

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