What's going on in Ukraine?

Birth, Death, and Fictive Citizenship: Citizenship and Political Agency in War-Torn Ukraine

The Editors of Anthropoliteia would like to welcome Greta Uehling for the latest in our continuing Forum, What’s Going on in Ukraine?

Parent and child shoes

As the war in Eastern Ukraine grinds on, and diplomats have forgotten about occupied Crimea, there are new realities shaping the way Ukrainians are born, live, and die in this war-torn country.

Most readers will be aware that Russian troops entered Crimea in Spring, 2014 and, without a single shot, took control of key military installations, held a bogus referendum, and set up a new government. The residents of that occupied territory are now caught, so to speak, between Ukraine and Russia. This post is based on ethnographic fieldwork with individuals coming out of the occupied territories into free Ukraine in May and June 2015..

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#Ferguson & Elsewhere

Mitch Henriquez: Death by cop in the epicenter of global justice – and the virtues of (hashtag) activism

The Editors of Anthropoliteia would like to welcome Paul Mutsaers with the latest entry in our ongoing Forum, #Ferguson and Elsewhere

 

He had come to the Netherlands for a family visit, the Aruban Mitch Henriquez. On Saturday the 27th of June he enjoyed a UB40 concert at Night at the Park in The Hague. Ostensibly, he had shouted that he had a “gun” in his pocket, which according to some bystanders was a joke: in a Caribbean context “gun” can refer to an impressive penis. The police responded and attempted to bring him into custody and later declared that he had resisted his arrest. Preliminary results from the autopsy now indicate that Henriquez died of asphyxiation after being held in a chokehold and being crushed by five white officers who sat on his body. The national department of criminal investigation has now ruled out that he had a gun. Nor had he used drugs or too much alcohol, according to the toxicology report.

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Call for papers

CFP for a Special Issue: Thinking through police, producing theory: the new anthropology of police as mode of critical thought

Abstracts are currently being solicited for a special issue of the journal Theoretical Criminology on the theme “the new anthropology of police as a mode of critical thought” (see full description below). Send abstracts for consideration by August 1st 2015 to kkarpiak@emich.edu. Full drafts should be ready to submit for peer review by September 15th, 2015.

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#Ferguson & Elsewhere, Dossiers

The Lost Space of Dissent: Amidst Charleston’s Unity

The Editors of Anthropoliteia welcome Bradley Dunseith with a report from Charleston, South Carolina

Knights of Columbus hall in Charleston, South Carolina. June 2015. Photo by Bradley Dunseith CC BY-NC-PSA 4.0

As I walked towards the Mother Emmanuel Church I found myself counting every step I took, part of me didn’t want to arrive. On June 19th I took a morning bus to Charleston, South Carolina, two days after a self-described white supremacist walked into the historic black church of AME Mother Emmanuel and, after sitting in for an hour of bible study, murdered nine black churchgoers. Reverend and Senator Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Reverend Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Cynthia Hurd, Reverend DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Reverend and Doctor Daniel L Simmons Sr., Ethel Lance, Myra Thompson, and Susie Jackson were gunned down on the evening of June 17, 2015. The shooter was able to reload five times during the attack, prompting gun rights activists and some black faith communities to argue that having a firearm within the church’s premise could have prevented the attack, while President Obama spoke in the immediate aftermath, saying that “once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.”

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In the Journals

In the Journals – June 2015

A fully armed MQ-9 Reaper taxis down an Afghanistan runway

Welcome back to In the Journals, a monthly review of just a fraction of the most recent academic research on security, crime, policing, and the law. Summer may be in full swing, and with that comes BBQs, swimming pools, and vacations, but we here at Anthropoliteia hope that you, as a reader, can still make time to check up on these publications and these topics of interest.

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Conferences

Conference Report: Global Policing at Oxford

Conference on Global Policing, Oxford UK (23 and 24 April 2015)

Recently several of us here at Anthropoliteia were able to participate in a conference organized by Ian Loader, Ben Bradford, Jonny Steinberg and our own Beatrice Jauregui in preparation for a volume they are editing, the SAGE Handbook of Global Policing.  Kate West, has a nice summary of (only a small portion of) some of the papers over at the Criminology at Oxford Blog.  Here is an excerpt that may be of particular interest to our readers:

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Commentary & Forums, Security in Brazil: World Cup 2014 and Beyond

Unravelling Goliath

The editors of Anthropoliteia welcome Christopher Gaffney with a commentary on the current crisis at FIFA and its implications

“Unfair Players” Photo by Christopher Gaffney CC BY-NC-PSA 4.0

Like most football fans across the world, I have taken a perverse and personal delight in watching the bloated, jowly patriarchs of FIFA fall, one after another. Not only do I feel that the on-going investigations into the misogynistic world of backslapping, ham-handed, wink-wink deal making are confirming my own knowledge and intuition, but also that the doors to the smoky back rooms of FIFA have been prised open, exposing a global coterie of sycophants and their clever, intertwined, and illegal schemes.

FIFA and its (two) presidents have cozied up to dictators and presidents, popes and prime-ministers, conferring upon themselves all of the pomp, power, and impunity of a head of state

For the last six years, I have been investigating how the hosting of the World Cup and Olympics impacts upon urban and social relations in Brazil. In this work, I have exposed how the intricate shell game of FIFA and the IOC extracts maximum wealth from host cities and countries while at the same time militarizing and privatizing urban space, violating human rights, and leaving legacies of debt and unfulfilled promises. For those who can afford it, the party is fantastic. Once the floodlights have burned out, the hangover lasts for decades. In Brazil, the links between big business, big government, and big sport are opaque and insidious, yet the connections to the most recent FIFA-crisis are all too clear. Brazilian companies and executives are in the spotlight, again, for all the wrong reasons.

Favela da Paz

Favela da Paz “This is the Cup that Globo won’t show” Photo by Christopher Gaffney CC BY-NC-PSA 4.0

The most surprising development is that it has happened at all. Since 1974, FIFA and its (two) presidents have cozied up to dictators and presidents, popes and prime-ministers, conferring upon themselves all of the pomp, power, and impunity of a head of state. They have showered riches upon themselves as the self-appointed stewards of the game and like the Euro-aristocracy resident on Mt. Olympus, have made others rich in the process. The complex systems of patronage and peonage that define FIFA´s political philosophy are the same as those used by colonial powers. Big egos in white bodies (with apologies to Jack Warner and Issa Hayatu) rule this world by manufacturing consent through the distribution of favours, suppressing dissent through the militarization of urban space and the curtailment of civil liberties, and choreographing their marionettes who, in accordance with the Brazilian World Cup slogan, are “all in one rhythm.”

will there be anything left of FIFA? Or rather, is it reasonable to think that FIFA can disassociate from the same kinds of oppression, violence, and injustice that define global consumer capitalism?

Predictably, it was from FIFA´s band of servile minions – morbid troglodytes like Chuck Blazer, hyperbolic shysters like Jack Warner, and half-arsed opportunists like Ricardo Texeira – that the tightly wound FIFA-world began to unravel. Too much money flowing too quickly to the wrong people though the wrong country for too long, coupled with the FBI´s charming insouciance for the real-politik of global sporting affairs has resulted in a very hard, very determined tug on a lot of rotten strings. Among the unanswerable questions is, if it all unravels, will there be anything left of FIFA? Or rather, is it reasonable to think that FIFA can disassociate from the same kinds of oppression, violence, and injustice that define global consumer capitalism? There has never been a period in the era of mass-communications when FIFA was not corrupt, so how will it suddenly emerge? Will cutting off some heads of the scabrous FIFA-Hydra change the nature of the beast? While behind the scenes deals are being struck, these desperate attempts to consolidate power are finally in conflict with an exasperated public, the FBI, and a thirsty press corps. Somehow, despite the rot, we are still captivated by football.

“Sir Blatter, Homeland of the Barefoot Gives You a Kick in the Ass” Photo by Christopher Gaffney CC BY-NC-PSA 4.0

As the events of the past weeks have unfolded, the depth and extent of FIFA´s criminal network has become evident even to casual observers. The sudden resignation of FIFA´s communications officer, Walter de Gregorio (responsible for Blatter´s 2011 re-election campaign), may be a sign that there is no message to deliver, no more damage control to be done. It is almost impossible to keep track of the threads, but some of the more intriguing are that:

  • The Germans may have swapped arms for a Saudia Ariabian vote to get the 2006 WC
  • FIFA authorized a $10 million USD bribe to then-CONCACAF president Jack Warner
  • Jack Warner split this with his deputy Chuck Blazer, who used the money to keep a Trump Tower apartment for his cats
  • The 2018 and 2022 WC votes were bought, as were 1998, 2006, 2010, and 2014. The 2002 WC was not exempt, either, but corruption allegations against corrupt officials were never pursued
  • Nike, the Brazilian Football Confederation, the ex-president of Barcelona, Sandro Rossell, and the Qatari royal families have exchanged hundreds of millions of dollars between them
  • FIFA paid the Irish FA 5 million Euros to not make noise about being wrongly disqualified from the 2010 WC.
  • All of the television broadcasting rights contracts for the WC, as well as the Copa Libertadores, Copa América, and other tournaments in Brazil, and much of South America, were illicitly gained

This list is far from comprehensive and spans several modes of corruption, ones that affect governance, publicity, as well as actual decisions on the field. One hopes that in the coming months, the details will emerge to fill in these categories. In the meantime, everything – from marketing contracts to penalty decisions to hotel accommodations – is tainted with corruption.

Journalists and academics that report on and research global sport had yet to touch the bottom of the fetid pool, but even for us it still comes as somewhat of a surprise that the rest of the world can now read about match-fixing, illegal transfers, human trafficking, money laundering, Swiss bank accounts, bribery, racketeering, falsification of contracts, etc. as an integral part of the way football is organized. With the recent politicization of labour rights for NCAA athletes, the banal cruelty of playing a World Cup on turf, and the destruction of human life in the NFL and its subsidiaries, perhaps there is a chance that sport and politics will find a place in the public consciousness.

This is not about using sport as a force for good, or as FIFA claims “developing football everywhere.” Sport is about power

In reality, the FIFA saga is a captivatingly complex morality play being acted out on a global stage with curious twist: the chorus is hundreds of millions strong and may be able to influence the plot. Will the hood-eyed prince, Michel Platini, make his move for the presidency now? Will the court jester, Zico, show that he can perform better than Texeira? This is not about using sport as a force for good, or as FIFA claims “developing football everywhere.” Sport is about power and we should be aware that our places in the audience impact on its exercise.

We know World Cup games are bought and sold. We know that the WWC is being played on turf because football associations are on FIFA´s leash and have more power than the players. We know that thousands of kids are trafficked across borders, sold into prostitution, or are molested, mistreated, or die because of a lack of medical attention. For every Dani Alves or Neymar, there are a hundred thousand broken legs and a million broken dreams in Brazil alone. We know of the bribery behind World Cup bids, the illegal and blindingly idiotic stadium building contracts, the militarization of cities for FIFA VIPs, dirty billion dollar television contracts, institutionalized racism and sexism, and a never-ending series of lies, deceptions, and platitudes. There is no “Fair Play” in or with FIFA.

2014 World Cup Protests Photo by Christopher Gaffney CC BY-NC-PSA 4.0

2014 World Cup Protests Photo by Christopher Gaffney CC BY-NC-PSA 4.0

As a reminder of how short our memories are, it is nearly a year to the day that the 2014 World Cup kicked off in Brazil. Of the twelve stadiums, in the twelve cities, ten are in serious difficulty. The only two that are not going through financial and political turmoil are the two built by clubs in Curitiba and Porto Alegre. Of all the football associations implicated in the current FIFA hullabaloo, the Brazilian federation is the most embroiled. The Brazilian João Havelange was FIFA´s modern architect and his granddaughter, an executive director of the 2014 World Cup, famously quipped about the R$ 30 billion outlay, “however much was spent, or stolen, already has been” [so why worry?].

None of the “legacy” promises made by FIFA has come to fruition in Brazil. On fleeing the country as protests erupted around the Confederations´ Cup in 2013, Blatter announced a $ 100 million USD “legacy fund”, that would be administered by the CBF. This is the Brazilian organization recently run by a man now sitting in a Zurich jail house and currently headed up by a man who fled Zurich and ran straight to Brasilia where he was honoured by senators and congressmen. Of course, FIFA regulations prevent the Brazilian government from interfering in CBF affairs, a position that is at least consistent with the surrendering of territorial sovereignty that comes with hosting the World Cup. This takes the form of tax exemptions, restrictions on advertising, and the ability to close any street in a host city, at any time, for any reason.

Above

Above “Ronaldo Fenômeno does not represent me!” Below “Football Yes. FIFA No” Photo by Christopher Gaffney CC BY-NC-PSA 4.0

And now, as if to prove the point that the Canadian World Cup doesn´t matter, the Copa America kicks off in Chile, a country with long and painful associations between football and politics. In the same way we should remember those tortured and murdered in Santiago´s National Stadium, we should also remember that the same people who organized, broadcast, and advertise at this tournament are implicated in the shambolic governance of football. The show goes on with the same delirious media coverage, the same lack of critical reflection, the same people making more money than ever. It may be that FIFA and football are beyond reform as long as the crowds pour their money in and conform to FIFA´s inexhaustible list of prohibited behaviours. Is it possible that the global chorus of football fans can only hope to sing their teams on to victory, while the dark-suited protagonists squirrel away their millions? Can anything change if we only watch the ball?

Christopher Gaffney, PhD (University of Texas at Austin) is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Geography at the University of Zurich. His work investigates the impact of major sporting events on urban centers and their populations.
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