Sport is the cult of capitalism. In his Olympic writings Coubertin writes of Olympism as the “cult of the existing world” which appears under the ideological veil of the “cult of humanism”. The starting point for establishing sport as the cult of the existing world, however, is not humanism, but Social Darwinism and positivism. Sport is the reaction of the bourgeoisie to the guiding ideas of the French Revolution, the emancipatory legacy of the civil society and the ideal of future which becomes the landmark of a political movement striving to overcome capitalism. It is a form in which the bourgeoisie, which came to power on the wave of bourgeois revolutions, performed a spiritual counterrevolution. Instead of of “Freedom”, “Equality” and “Brotherhood”, the principle of “progress”, reduced to the “development” and “perfectioning” of capitalism, becomes the supreme political principle; instead of a struggle to realize basic human and civil rights, there exists a conflict between nations and races and colonial expansion ; instead of a respect for cultural tradition, sport is used for destruction of nations’ spiritual heritage and thus their libertarian dignity… Sport becomes the most important “mondialist” ideology and stadium the most important “cultural” venue of the capitalist world.
Unlike the religious cults based on transcendental values, sport is a positivist cult reduced to the divination of the existing world. The prevailing symbolism in the stadiums expresses the prevailing spirit of the existing world and represents a means for integrating people into the ruling order. Not war, but life based on Social Darwinism and progressism is the source of sport. Instead of traditional religions, Olympism becomes the highest (positive) religion appropriate to the spirit of the modern world: the spirit of Olympism is the spirit of capitalism. Unlike traditional religions, sport is not an attempt to make life meaningful; it is a shock-therapy meant to alleviate the ever bigger sufferings caused by the everyday meaningless and ever bloodier life. It crushes the critical visionary mind, the idea of future and man as a living (biological) being. The “creation of future” in sport is based on the positivistic maxim “to know in order to predict, to predict in order to act” (savoir pour prevoir, prevoir pour agir). A fight between people is possible, according to the rules which are the embodiment of the ruling spirit, but not for the purpose of changing the established order. In it, there is no fight between the good and the evil, which means that the basic humanistic principle is excluded from sport, the principle without which there is no civilization. Sport is the most authentic anticipation of a capitalist “future”.
Sport is an eroticized cult of the existing world. Deerotization of man and relations between people (genders) is accompanied by an erotisation of the relation to sport and sport persons as a symbolic incarnation of the ruling spirit. The Olympic spectacle, by its aggressive choreography, represents a peculiar love foreplay in which the senses are stirred and man is kept in the state of erotic arousal. The modern Olympic Games become a supreme ritual of man’s submission to the ruling spirit, similarly to the ancient Olympic Games, at which man surrendered himself to the Olympic gods – the difference being in that now we are dealing with a deerotization of the ancient physical culture through progressivism, which involves quantification and industrial mimesis. Since the most important task of the sports pedagogy is to fully incorporate man into the existing world, it is also dominated by an appeal for harmony which is the “sister of order” (Coubertin). At the same time, great importance is attached to the rhythm as “progress” has a dynamic character. It symbolizes the throbbing of the living pulse of capitalism and a never ending renewal of its life-creating force which appears as a fatal power.
Sport has become the most important political weapon of the class domination by which the bourgeoisie destroys the class conscious of the working people, critical mind, libertarian dignity, depolitizes the oppressed, achieves “national integration”… In contrast to the earlier games, which expressed the spirit of the ruling order and had a class exclusivity, sport is a “supraclass” game which expresses the progressistic capitalist universalism by means of which the bourgeoisie draws into its spiritual orbit not only workers, but women and members of “lower races” as well. It serves to “overcome” class antagonism (“sport has nothing to do with politics”), achieves “class reconciliation” and thus “social peace”. For the ruling class, sport is an “ideological political cudgel” (Hoch) which destroys the critical mind and workers’ drive for changes. It is a vent releasing the discontent of the oppressed and preventing the creation of an organized political movement that can jeopardize the ruling order. The conflict between classes is transferred from the political (social) sphere to stadiums, the war waged in sport being the embodiment of the capitalist way of life. When a man gives vent to his discontent on a stadium, he does that in a way which does not question the existing order, but reproduces it. Sport is a capitalist ideology which “levels off” class differences based on the ruling principles of capitalism. To win! – that is the existential imperative both for those who are at the bottom and for those who sit in “blue loges”. Capitalism does not leave anybody alone. The existential uncertainty is Damocles’ sword hovering over everybody’s head. Trying to escape from the bottom and struggling not to come to the bottom – this is what makes the rich and the poor “get closer”. “Enjoying” wealth means letting off the fear of poverty. Sport repeatedly produces the awareness of an unavoidable world based on the Social Darwinist principle “The stronger win, the weaker are eliminated!” (Coubertin). It provokes a conflict between people (nations, races and genders) thus producing the existing world of injustice. Sport serves to provide the oppressed with “opponents” in the form of an “opponent team” and “opponent supporters” so that they can vent their anger at them because of their humiliating position. It absorbs the increasing discontent of the oppressed working people and their children – whose future is being destroyed. Capitalism produces an unhappy and mutilated man, and at the same time creates ever bloodier compensatory mechanisms and a need for them – which is attributed to the “evil” human nature. Sport clearly shows the truth that politics is an art of directing the discontent of the oppressed towards the realization of inhuman ends. That is why in sport everything is allowed: murder, serious physical injuries, verbal abuses… “Victory” on a sports field is the defeat of humanity.
Sports spectacles have become the chief and cheapest spiritual food for those deprived of their rights. To drive the oppressed into stadiums and sports centres has become the most important political task of the ruling regimes. Hence everything is being done to enable their regular occurrence. Those who adopt laws prescribing long-term imprisonment for children who run into the field during a game, are the main promoters of sport, which is an institutionalized violence with a spectacular dimension; those who struggle to “abolish” capital punishment as a “non-civilized” measure are the chief organizers of the ever bloodier sports spectacles in which premeditated and accidental murders as well as the infliction of serious physical injuries are legalized; the European legislation in no way tries to stop a monstrous abuse of increasingly younger children and their turning into sports slaves; the duration and intensity of trainings are not limited; the selling of players by clubs is legalized; segregation according to the gender has been institutionalized; the use of dope is elevated to the level of the state policy – hiding the interests of multinational concerns and ruling political clans; “physical culture” has been expelled from schools and “sports education” has been introduced in which, instead of cultural conscious and tolerance, prevail physical strength and the spirit of ruthless rivalry; young people deprived of their rights acquire the status of “hooligans” and thus of social outcasts; instead of pedagogical measures for preventing the violent behaviour of young people and creating the conditions for changing their ever harder social position, we are facing an increasingly brutal police oppression… All those things that express the existential spirit of capitalism – murder, physical injuries, destruction of humanity – acquire in sports fields a spectacular dimension. The principle “Victory at all costs!”, which corresponds to the principle “Profit at all costs!” – becomes a supreme and unquestionable sports principle.
Officially, “sport has nothing to do with politics” but, in fact, it is a universal political instrument of the world rulers in their attempt to preserve capitalism. “Sportivization” has become the most important ideological form of the capitalist totalizing of the world, while stadium has become the most important cult venue of the contemporary world – where to the ruling spirit a critical and change-oriented mind is sacrificed. Sport, as the chief “mondialist” religion, becomes a means for destroying traditional religions, cultural heritage of peoples and political ideas and movements which oppose the “new world order”, which means a destructive (ecocide) capitalist totalitarism. Coubertin does not hide that the chief task of IOC is to create, through sport, a global positive one-mindedness. The establishment of a total and unquestionable unique (capitalist) worldview has become the leading political principle. In the world, there are thousands and thousands of sports manifestations every day; the sports commentaries from the sports fields are given the prime time in the news and cover most of the space in public media; “sports” TV channels broadcast sports programme non-stop; sport is becoming the chief advertising billboard in an increasingly ruthless economic war and the most important political platform; sports paganism becomes a means of Christian churches (and other leading religious communities) for courting the “masses”; the ruling “esthetic model” becomes the sports body; everyday language takes over sports terminology, especially the political language and that of business; politicians and capitalists place primary importance to their sports biographies, the photos of them are taken while engaged in a sports activity, they strive to attain a “sporting image” which is meant to demonstrate their “victorious spirit”; sport becomes the chief means for “money laundering”, meaning a mafia business of utmost importance; coaches acquire the status of supreme managers of capitalism; sportsmen become moving billboards, while stadiums, sports and betting places become the temples of capitalism.
The role of a journalist is to give a “spectacular” dimension to the increasingly cruel sports reality. There is not a critical detachment from the aspect of morality, social interest or any other norms apart from sport. Sports commentators glorify violence and destruction and in a perfidious way encourage conflicts between the oppressed, which appear in the form of supporters, between nations, genders and races. They seek to establish a direct contact between sports spectacles and subconscious: a sports spectacle is meant to “draw” discontent from the oppressed and direct it towards the “opponent”. Sports articles are of an increasingly primitive character: they correspond to the sport which destroys the power of reasoning and creates a massive idiocy. The ever more aggressive sensationalism is a commercial form of ever more meaningless texts which give a “fatal” dimension to marginal phenomena and a marginal dimension to the crucial issues for humanity. Writing on the nature of modern capitalism Marcuse concludes: „The non-functioning of television and the allied media might thus begin to achieve what the inherent contradictions of capitalism did not achieve – the disintegration of the system. The creation of repressive needs has long since become part of socially necessary labour – necessary in the sense that without it, the established mode of production could not be sustained. Neither problems of psychology nor of aesthetics are at stake, but the material base of domination.“ (5) Capitalism creates not only repressive, but also (self) destructive needs. Suicidal “feats” become the biggest “test of courage” and are thus a form of dragging people away from the field of (political) fight for the realization of their human rights and the survival of the world. The same applies to boxing and other bloody spectacles. Instead of directing their dissatisfaction to the abolishment of the world of misery, people direct it to bloody clashes with other people. Sport is the most important instrument of capitalism for degenerating man. It destroys not only the body, but also the critical change-oriented (visionary) conscious and produces (self-destructive) fanaticism. By way of sport man is held outside historical space where the governing values are conserved – which is the essence of the view that sport is a phenomenon sui generis and “has nothing to do with politics”. Instead of changing the ruling order which increasingly generates evil, the order changes man by destroying in him everything that makes him human and can become the basis for the development of a critical mind and changing practice. The emancipatory legacy of civil society has been discarded and “new” fascism is being established which is the incarnation of the ecocide spirit of contemporary capitalism. By becoming the order of destruction in a pure sense (“consumer society”), capitalism cast away its “humanistic” and “progressive” mask. Sport is no longer used for preserving the faith in the “eternal values of capitalism”, the critical change-oriented mind is being destroyed which, above all, means the confidence that a free and righteous world is possible. Manipulation shifts from the ideological sphere to the psychological one: stadium becomes a psychotherapeutic institution. Instead of the cult of victory and records, the dominant cult is that of a spectacle which is the main spiritual drug by means of which the ruling oligarchy holds “masses” under control; instead of becoming “contestants” and “recorders”, sportsmen become circus players, gladiators and stuntmen.
Just as the true picture of war are not military parades, but killed and mutilated people, desperate mothers, burned houses and fields, starving children dying in mud – so the true picture of sport are not smiling faces of sportsmen at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, but their degenerated bodies, ruined health, destroyed youth, life without a future… A man deprived of rights, abused, defeated and destroyed – that is the true picture of war and sport alike.