If you want to see capitalism in one of its rawest forms, you need to pay attention to professional sports.

The establishment of professional sports competitions in late 19th and early 20th century, and likewise, the modern revival of the Olympic games have practically served a single basic purpose: to pacify and dupe the working class, to stop them from paying attention to serious issues like politics and economy by distracting their minds and bodies with competitive professional sports. Did it work? Indeed, it did. And it's working to this day.

Today sports industry is by the nature of its work pretty much the essence of the capitalist mode of production. It generates globally hundreds of billions of dollars every year without producing anything at all in return; It has no productive value, it produces nothing except for the Spectacle. Masses flock to stadiums to watch modern gladiatorial games. They obsess over these modern gladiators, they make idols out of them, they worship them. Instead of getting out on the streets and starting a revolution, a hundred thousand people will instead fill the stadium to watch a game. This, besides profit, is exactly the desired outcome.

Ljubodrag Simonovic is a former Yugoslav basketball player who has written extensively about the true nature of sport under capitalism. In this thread i want to introduce you to him and his works. After witnessing the usage of doping substances on the 1972 Summer Olympics, Simonovic has protested and was banned from the competition and ultimately from his national team. Afterwards Simonovic left basketball and turned to Marxism, reading, studying, writing and mercilessly criticizing professional sports and the destructive influence of capitalism on the human existence and the planet itself.

Sadly his works and interviews are mostly in Serbian. There are a few English translations but they are very rare, however i did manage to find the English translation of his book The Last Revolution. I've also found a couple of other useful links about Simonovic and his work.ćć-The-Last-RevolutionОЛИМПИЗМ-И-ФАШИЗМ

Other urls found in this thread:

We've had sports since before Rome. It isn't going away anytime soon. Just because it adopts to capitalism in a capitalist system does not make something inherently capitalistic.

Sport is not inherently capitalistic, it has been hijacked and degenerated by capitalism for the purpose of profit and control.

You're over reacting. North Korea has sports, the Soviet Union had sports, sports are just part of life. If you get rid of Capitalism, chances are sports will still remain and people will criticize sports as spectacle. Which can be an argument, but this "degeneration" could mean basically anything.

Everything you just posted doesn't even begin to breach the problem of sports within the Capitalist sphere

Sports and physical exercise are indeed part of life, it is a normal and healthy human behavior. They are however just one of the things that capitalism has managed to distort and turn against humanity.

No it isn't. The problems with capitalism and sports aren't nearly this abstract. In fact it's a labor issue.

This pretty much sums up my criticism of Olympic sports in generally, it is just a giant spectacle to distract people from global politics. I think it's worse than that now, I think it goes as far as putting preconceived notions about other people in other nations. For example Russians=bad or North Koreans=underdeveloped or Jamaicans=backwards but fast etc. etc. The Olympics seem to enforce stereotypes about race so that you can continue to divide and conquer people along arbitrary lines. Yet, it is stilled touted as "the entire world coming each other." On the other hand it just stinks of dick-waving, flag-loving nationalism.

The problem is commodification of sports by capitalist forces to control and alienate society. Commodification of culture alienates us from cultural significance the same way that commodification of labor alienates us from the significance of our labor. There is nothing wrong with playing sports, especially when its at an international level. I don't see the inherent problem of letting the best athletes from around the world to compete against each other. It sounds badass and would be a great opportunity for cultural exchange, but of course porky finds a way to weaponize it. The problem is cultural commodification, which is a coherent concept because it describes a contradiction in the cultural superstructure of society arising as a reflection of an analogous contradiction in the economic base of society.
good thread OP

The problem isn't "cultural" the problem is how Capitalism has and always will chew up and throw away athletes once its done with them, with little regard for the labor. They pay them a fortune, but don't offer them much in terms of long term sustainability. Much of the money that they get paid, at least in America, quickly goes to solving the various health problems the various associations have given them, there are no rules in the matter for concussions, brain damage, muscle problems and the like. And usually these problems are long term.

You would think, great salary, they're set for life. That's just not how it works. Talking about vague ideas of "culture" and "degeneration" obfuscate the main problem with sports in capitalism, the danger to ones health and quality of life, and their labor.

In fact, wall rules have been set up to prevent the "major" problems in the past, athletes still risk a majority of problems still in the past.

If you want more information about sports and labor, and how they intertwine, read about Randall Cunningham

I was more focusing on the spectacle aspect but you bring up a fair point about the labor aspect. The sports industry is highly exploitative towards athletes. They are expected to risk their bodies and while they do get payed a "fortune" they still have to pay for training and in the states, medical expenses. Plus add the fact the American football is literally proven to give brain damage, I don' see how anyone could ignore the long term health issues. I have some pity for the players, but most do know what they are getting into, a 100% injury rate. However, they are fellow workers who rent their labor, even if they are in a better position than me right now doesn't mean we can't have the same economic interest. The coaches and the "owners" are all petty-bourg or bourgeois
Yep, sounds like capitalism.

You don't even know the half of it. In regards to my comment on Randall Cunningham, he's related to the 1987 NFL strike that nearly tore American Football to shreds. The League decided it would be a wonderful idea to smash the player's union, and give them less pay. A certifiable fuck you to anyone playing in the NFL.

They all went on strike. What did the League do? They hired replacement players, which was even more of a fuck you. The problem was, these players were not good, and worse yet, attendance was cratering, and viewers weren't watching on television.

This short sighted idea the NFL thought would discourage player solidarity had managed to unify all the players into a strike. NFL players on strike surrounded stadiums with trucks they called "Scab Busters", and even rented fucking TRACTOR TRAILERS to block entrance into the park. And not just the stadiums, the hotels the replacement players were in.

NFL players would curse at anyone entering the stadium, and it accelerated into them throwing eggs, and even fights with replacement players and the very few people who came into watch the game in the stadium (there weren't many).

They brandished unloaded shotguns while driving around the stadium shouting "We're looking for scabs!"

This was not to last. The NFL eventually broke them. And forced them to play. The gambit lost.

But out of anyone, I think athletes are far more aware of their situation than most, especially previous players. In times where the NFL screws them over, they tend to unify.

Here's a great video on the 1987 player's strike, probably the one time player's nearly ripped apart the entire NFL.

The issue here is what's the non capitalist alternative?

In fact here's a letter Cowboy's coach Tex Schram wrote to one of the player's on strike in 1987.

If that doesn't cement the issue here is not of optics and culture, but actual labor, I don't know what is.

If you don't like sports you're a fag

In fact, Tex Schram, who in fact, defended both Nazi Germany and the internment of Japanese Americans after World War II, calling anyone a "Communist Fucker" if you disagreed with him, was one of the major players in the destruction of the player's unification in 1987.

He threatened to revoke THE ENTIRE PAYMENT of players who went on Strike. Nowhere would this happen of course, but Texas. Dallas, Texas, home of the Cowboys., one of the most hated teams in the NFL even now.

For good reason. By threatening to revoke the entirety of the pay of all players who went on strike, he effectively made all of them scabs, especially due to Texas' laws on the matter of union busting. This however, would not start and end at Texas.

Tex Schram paved the way to threaten their players with not all pay withdrawn, but a majority of it. The strike lasted long enough, and enough scabs went back to play, people were watching and going to stadium's again. It was a blow. The single blow that eroded everything the 1987 player's strike hoped to achieve.

By threatening to revoke pay after a tiny bit of weakness was shown, they didn't just effect their "superstar lifestyle" as much people think happened. They effectively said "We won't pay for your injuries you've sustained."

The one of few remaining coach sympathetic and aiding the strike, was the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. He said at that point "Do what you have to do, son".

The problem isn't players, the problem is not sports, the problem is how Capitalism will chew players up, throw them away. Grind them to dust, and when they dare complain, threaten to their health and safety.

Thread related.

Novak Djokovic: "they treat us like animals in a cage"

They clearly produce entertainment, which is paid for, and is quite clearly a product. They are the best of the best at basketball, and are supremely entertaining to many people, and for good reason. It is extremely hard to be so consistently great. Seriously, go get a basketball and try to do what they do. You say (or at least imply) they get paid more than they are worth, but the most simple Marxist analysis says that isn't true! Fact is, high level sports players will continue to be wealthy in any successful socialist society. They are doing something that literally no one else can, we aren't going to suddenly transcend supply and demand just because we are against money.

Basketball Diplomacy will bring us the supreme worldwide victory of Juche.


Pro athletics where the athletes don't earn exorbitant salaries and there's no companies that manage everything. And no advertising. So no more financial incentive. The community allocates funding for sports (which people are very willing to do). Then people compete in sports only out of interest. You no longer have a bunch of poor people trying to get into sports to escape poverty. Without the crazy high salaries, pressure to move up the class hierarchy, etc., people have less stake in sports. They don't base their whole lives around it and wreck their bodies before they're 40. Everything is much more reasonable and capitalist records stand for decades until advances in medicine and understanding of physiology catch up with capitalism's willingness to sacrifice human health to the cause of a better spectacle.

Here's an interesting blog about the military industrial complex in sports:

Interesting stuff user. I was never a big /sp/ortsfag so most of this is all new to me.

This kind of "all the workers are duped by sport spectacles" is really nonsense and an exaggeration. Proles know its just sports and a time to relax. They still know theyre poor and dont like life.

No person has ever said yeah im not going to unionize because i watched the chicago bulls last night.

Exploitation is obscured at the point of production. Exploitation is legitimized through subject formation in everyday life. Exploitation is enforced with physical violence and legal structures of ownership.

Neoliberal logic portrayed in sports is so minute compare to something like the excepted cultural logic of private property. Or a decade and a half in the ISA educational system

I always hoped say a China or succdem scand country would do the Olympics where the state spends literally the same amount they would on the olympics, 20bil or w/e to set up physical fitness centres sports medicine schools, community leagues, stadiums, pools etc.

Beers with your comrades after a ball tournement would be such a good time to organize class struggle

Even the pay of athletes is totally exaggerated. The majority of athletes are quite poor - slogging away in AAA baseball and AHL hockey leaugues with almost no workers rights and 80+ hour work weeks in fully precarious contracts. The average athlete in north america has i think a 2-3 year professional sports career, then theyre fucked bc they only made 75k total and didnt learn any employable skill.

The elites in the major sports should be getting a higher pay tho too.

The MLBPA are bound to strike in 2022 when the current shitty CBA expires. Hopefully the minor leaguers will unionize as part of that.

It produces entertainment, dipshit.

Commies fail again

Commies btfo with LOGIC and FACTS

Entertainment is an intangible good tho

I recommend you watch more of Pretty Good. It's a good starting place for people unaware of football to get at least, a leftist analysis of past historic sports events, that usually ended up fucking over players, athletes, what have you.

I love Jon Bois. He manages to sneak it all in, without getting tons of downvotes because it isn't overtly political, even though the message he's making is clear. And people appeal to it.

Read the comment section to his "I Wish Everyone Else Was Dead" video if you want to get cancer.

Don't worry I already have a while back. I'm terminal now.

"Bread and circuses"



it's only pro sports which is a relatively recent phenomenon. started in like the 30s. although ncaa college sports are also becoming more commercialized

all you have to do is look at the fact that people get excited over commercials aired during the super bowl and many tune into a 4 hour long football game just because it's "american tradition TM" and they want to watch the le funny commercials

NCAA sports are exploitation as the athletes generate millions in revenue and brand name publicity for the school, but they aren't allowed to be compensated, so the players put their bodies on the line to make the school admins and coaches richer.

I don't like sports, but this is a really weak argument because you could substitute "sports" for "music" in your OP and it would still say the same thing.

Sports have minor positive value, but the negatives mainly come from it's relationship to social dominance hierarchies, not just money.

sports owners are scum

Yeah, they're billionaires.

How is this different from any commodified entertainment?

Not trying to side with bourgeoisie coaches, but could the football player not have gotten a job anywhere else? Like, is football literally the only thing he could do?

Lol wut

Nobody watches the fucking Olympics anymore, their ratings have been shit for decades

A shitton of football players come from poverty and can only go to college because of football scholarships. And keep in mind these dudes are freaks of nature. Even before bulking up with copious amounts of steroids to fuel impossible hours in the gym, they're fucking huge, way bigger than any random Joe on the street. If you win that one-in-a-million body in the genetic lottery, you have the ability to make a ton of money playing a sport that most people physically can't at the professional level. Football players know their bodies are gonna get fucked up and the owners won't care, but we're talking far more money than any potential "proper" job, and getting a proper job won't be any easier for them than it is for any other unemployed prole they're competing with for a position, but they're aren't mountains of unemployed people who can compete with them to play football.

There are a few lucky ones like Dwayne Johnson that can transition to other occupations, like "Professional Wrestling" or acting, but generally speaking, football is it. Football is a huge business, and the second these kids are discovered with the potential for it, their education pretty much stops and they're passed along through high school and college until they get to play in the NFL.

Everyone is complicit in it and no one cares. High schools rely on their sports teams for funding, and in rural areas it's almost a religious organization. Universities make billions of dollars off of their teams. The NFL makes billions of dollars off their teams. And the poor kids that slam their heads together might walk away with a hefty chunk of change too, which they can hopefully enjoy before the brain damage sets in, or they foolishly spend it all because their education more or less stopped at the 8th grade.

Not football, but pic related was a perfect example. Derrick Rose is actually retarded, his life is about to fall apart, and it's not his fault. Dude grew up in extreme poverty in one of the toughest ghettos in Chicago, but he was extraordinarily gifted at basketball and everyone knew it from the time he was a kid. His parents didn't want him getting involved with gangs - and fair enough - but they also completely sheltered him from all social interaction altogether and made him focus exclusively on basketball. Derrick is also very slow - I'd be shocked if he's not on the spectrum or worse - so besides going to shitty schools in Chicago to begin with, his parents had him ignore education and just focus on basketball. He was such a basketball prodigy that the schools didn't care because they knew his b-ball skills would rake in money for the schools regardless if he could count to five or maintain a meaningful conversation with another human being. He failed his ACT twice and paid someone else to take his SAT for him in order to go to college and play basketball. He eventually got all his college basketball records taken away from him when it was leaked that he cheated his SAT, but he was already dominating the NBA at that point so nobody cared. And when I say dominant, I mean it. He was one of the most incredible point guards I've ever seen. If he stayed healthy, he'd be having Russell Westbrook's career right now.

About that staying healthy thing. He didn't. After becoming the youngest MVP in league history in 2011, he has only played about one full season. He's injured both knees multiple times but keeps attempting to come back. He's 28 now and moves like a 58 year old, and this might be his last season before teams stop giving him a second chance at returning to glory, and when that happens, he'll be fucked because he never learned how to function outside of basketball. A couple of years ago he was accused of rape, and the charges were dropped because this was one of those rapes that amounted to a miscommunication of consent (/sp/artans will remember Kobe), except it was more than a miscommunication. Derrick Rose literally did not know what consent was. Nobody taught him. He has no idea how to socialize. A story came out the other day that he missed the 4th quarter of a Cavs game because he went to the bathroom without telling anybody. He said he didn't know you had to tell somebody. His social skills are so inept that he doesn't think you have to tell anyone about leaving for the bathroom during a game with a timer. This is what happens when you just neglect education because somebody is a gifted athlete.

I wish him the best in life after basketball, but I know he's not going to be able to handle it. Lack of booksmarts is one thing, lack of streetsmarts is one thing, but Derrick lacks both. Literally the only thing he knows about life is basketball, and if he keeps trying to play, his body is going to break down.

That's awful