Olympic Movement and the New World Order
The following article is a review of the book Olympic Movement and the New World Order by Ljubodrag Simonovic, translated from Serbian to Russian by Tatiana Dzhurashkovich and published by "Lorka", Belgrade, in 2000, first edition.
Ljubodrag Simonovic was a member of the Yugoslav Olympic basketball team, which in 1970 won first place in the World Championship in Ljubljana. Several times he played for the Team of Europe. He was a participant in the Olympic Games in Munich (1972). Simonovic protested against the concealment of a doping scandal in Puerto Rico he left the games, after which he was removed from the team. Simonovic is a candidate of juridical sciences and doctor of philosophy, author of the books "Uprising of Robots", "Professionalism or Socialism", "Olympic Fraud", "Sport, Capitalism and Destruction" and the "Philosophical Aspects of Contemporary Olympic Movement". He taught at universities in Yugoslavia and abroad. He is married and has three children. He lives in Belgrade.In 2008 the XXIX Olympic Games will take place in the PRC in Beijing. As the games come closer, a campaign for successful performance of the athletes developed in many countries in this most important sport contest within a four year cycle.
It is important for all progressive forces worldwide, and first of all, all conscious representatives of the working class, to determine its relation to this international event. A big help in this process can offer the book by Ljubodrag Simonovic Olympic Movement and the New World Order published in Belgrade in Russian.
The book sharply contrasts the media’s optimistic picture of the Olympic movement and sport at the highest level. It not only calls for serious consideration of the subject, but also to action.
The essence of the book is reflected in the introduction, which I will provide here in its entirety.
Introduction (entirely quoted from the book)
Sport acquired social importance and in this sense it became a complex phenomenon, that the thought about sport can no longer be held within the framework of traditional phenomenological analyses. And in spite of the persistent insistence of the media to reduce sport to "fact", "information" and to commonplace "entertainment", it increasingly ties serious scientific and philosophical thought as the phenomenon, in which the basic contradictions of capitalist society reach the highest expression and in which basic questions of existence of humanity and social development refract. Unfortunately, such reflections have mostly an academic nature and are insignificant to wider society. Sport issues further remain the "property" of the semiliterate and corrupt journalistic clans. It is known that they are the prolonged hand of capitalist and political centers of power, they are advertising agents of the show business “mafia”; everyone understands their angle of looking at sport, just as everyone understands their merciless destruction of the thought, which attempts to expose the inner side of sport, and at the same time the true essence of their activity.
Serious critical theoretical reflections about sport appeared also before World War II, but only after sport became a weapon in the Cold War between the power blocs and became commercialized, did it obtain that "completeness" and value, which will become significant for sociological and philosophical thought. The present breakthrough of the sociological and philosophically substantiated criticism of sport, which it reached after the student movement of 1968, which opened the doors of the frontal (first of all, spiritual) of violence with the capitalist society and sport as its ideology. The radicalization of the criticism of sport is developed in parallel with the development of "consumer society", i.e., with the formation of capitalism as the order of destruction. The criticism of sport becomes the criticism of capitalism.
Until recently the people listened enthusiastically to communications about ever higher "results", reached in the exploitation of "natural resources". This was one of the main indices of "progress". Today, with the development of consciousness about the dimensions of the destruction of nature, people increasingly overwhelmed before the new "exploits". It is exactly the same concerning sport records. Once they were indices of "human power". Looking at the disfigured bodies of athletes, man increasingly asks himself a question, what is the price of these "achievements" and what is their real meaning? Once a powerful means of propaganda of the capitalist order - sport increasingly becomes the starting point of the criticism of capitalist society, the mirror, in which is reflected the present face of capitalism. This is the origin of the civil theory of defence: the greater the "negative phenomena" in sport, the greater the tendency to protect the basic values of capitalist society. Civil theory goes even as far as decisively rejecting professional and record-setting sport - the favourite spiritual child of today's capitalism, with the purpose of preserving moral integrity of the principle of competition and production, i.e., the faith in the "initial values" of capitalism. Blind defensive logic yields its place to theoretical maneuvering, to save what still can be saved of.
The criticism of sport becomes one of the forms of spiritual integration and the struggle of people for transformation, the people, who define themselves as freedom-loving, who realize the perniciousness of further development of capitalism. The ever louder and more uncompromising anti-Olympic world movement opposes the Olympic movement- the personification of the spirit of capitalism and the symbol of the destruction of people. It is a component part of the ever more organized tendency of people to prevent the destruction of the planet and to direct scientific development and processes of production toward the eradication of poverty and misery, and also toward development and satisfaction of the authentic needs of man as the universal creative essence of society. The liberational criticism of sport becomes the part of the world anti-capitalist front.
When western capital with the "disinterested" aid of the local economic elites made increasingly merciless attempts to convert our country into its colony, then becomes clear the perniciousness of "training" of young people in the stadiums and sports halls. The final effects the creation of the insane euphoria of the fans – a creation not of young people love for freedom, but the idiotisation of the "mass", which sooner or later will become the "dirty" work force of Europe. In this context it becomes clear how pernicious, especially for the economically undeveloped countries, are maxims such as “sport is the best ambassador.” "National assertion” via sport is the wrong way to fight colonial enslavement because the priority is given to the sporting activity, without anything being accomplished besides occurring from the a period national euphoria, but which destroys authentic spirituality and leads to the end of activity without development of which there is no existence (economy, science, art), and converts young people into the modern hordes of barbarians. International sport becomes the advertising space of capital and "show business", which delivers final blow to the tendency to use sport as a means of national emancipation. It is one of the pillars of the New World Order and as such, is the means of national enslavement.
"Sport of the highest level" is the field in which capital established global domination.
"Cosmopolitanism" under the wing of multinational capital makes man into a deracinated turbo of capital. Concealed under an "apolitical" mask are the so-called "international sport associations" which are the prolonged hands of the mighty capitalist clans and, as such, are the means for establishing domination over the so-called "national forms of sport". When there is in the form a value with what form of sport deals society, it is clear that the discussion deals with the most ruinous appearance of the spiritual colonization of peace, with the creation of the cobweb, in which national cultures disappear and the liberational thought.
The trend of development of sport had to be examined in the context of the ever more obvious disintegration of the "welfare state" and sharpened struggle of capitalist corporations for markets. It is logical to assume that capitalism still more aggressively will attempt to use sport as the means of distraction the people from main questions of life and for the sterilization critical and change-bearing thought. The less bread the bloodier the circuses. Like all areas of public life, which fall into the hands of capital, sport becomes an ever dirtier business.
Our spiritual existence cannot be based on the creation of nationalist hysteria nor on the exaltation of medieval myths, but in the fight for the retention and development of the emancipatory characteristics of popular creation and liberation struggle, or European culture, which capitalism systematically destroys. Let us give shelter to heroes such as Shakespeare, Thomas Moore, Rousseau, Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Goethe’s Faust, Brecht's Mothers of Bravery, who in the West are banished by the creators of "Coca-Cola culture" - the spiritual symbol of barbarism, which to us in the form of the New World Order imposes today's capitalism. Let us be heroic, but not sufferers. Let us be on the liberational side of humanity, with the bearers of the Promethean flame, not the Olympic fire, whose flame threatens to burn peace.
The end of the quote from the book
We may not agree with the author of the book with some of his conclusions, but the unprejudiced study of this subject makes it necessary to accept the main conclusion by Simonovic: contemporary Olympic movement and sport at high level became a powerful brake for the progressive development of the society.
As it is convincingly shown in the book, the sport at high level and Olympic movement with the advent at the end XIX century could not but bear character of reaction and decomposition. However, as the crisis of capitalism deepens in the XX century the signs of rotting imperialism (which is called in the book “destructive capitalism”), these features of reaction and decline appear entirely. Among them total penetration of money into sport, which contradicts the founding principle of the Olympic movement, that is non-acceptance of professionalism in sport; subordination of the Olympic movement to propaganda of capitalist order, which replaces honest contest with shameless rivalry.
It is not accidental that the founder of the modern Olympic Games baron Pierre de Coubertin found his spiritual motherland in Fascist Germany.
The author gives the destructive analysis of this worshipper of the misanthropic ideals of war, social and racial superiority that flourished in Hitlerite Germany. For the devotion to fascism Pierre de Coubertin not only obtained decent cash resources, but also upon his agreement he was nominated by the Fascist Germany as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.
"Pierre de Coubertin saw in Hitler’s Fascist regime the personification of the ideals, for which he fought his entire life. The similarity between Fascist outlook on life and "practical philosophy” of de Coubertin was obvious. Reading Hitler and de Coubertin one gets impression that one plagiarised from another.
Therefore, it is too far from the truth to say that de Coubertin was "tempted" by Fascist ideology; first of all, we may say that de Coubertin was one of the predecessors of Fascist militarist- racial ideology " (page 30), sums up Simonovic.
Other leading activists of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) also had extreme reactionary views. The Presidents of IOC Baillet-Latour, Edstrom, Brundage and Samaranch were also worthy successors of the pro-Fascist "practical philosophy" of Pierre de Coubertin. This is what the author notes about the American, Avery Brundage who became IOC President in 1952: "... it is necessary to say that he provided open support to Nazi regime in Germany before he joined IOC. Actually, we may say without exaggeration that for Brundage the pro-Fascist policy served as a visa for being accepted into IOC (page 28). In particular, the big merit of Brundage before the fascists was his energetic activity for the participation of American delegation in the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936, which passed in the spirit of open Fascist propaganda.
And, of course, the author could not but pay attention to the personality of the IOC President in the period starting in 1980, Juan Antonio Samaranch. To the reader Samaranch appears as orthodox fascist who was one of the pillars of the bloody Fascist dictatorship of Franco; the chameleon who replaced the political career of a fascist with the advantageous post of the IOC leader.
As the author notes, rotting capitalism suppresses all progressive tendencies, inherent to the previous epoch of the formation of bourgeois system.
And therefore the healthy tendencies of amateur sport under the management of the IOC increasingly are changed by "show business", and athletes increasingly resemble "circus gladiators", as characterized professional athletes by Coubertin himself.
If in the Olympic movement different ideological myths are accommodated, then one prominent myth is that "sport has nothing in common with policy".
In the period when the USSR and the socialist countries prevailed in the Olympic Games, bourgeois propaganda claimed that the West, in contrast to the socialist countries, followed this commandment.
In reality, there is no great sport, and there has never been. Members of the IOC are managers of the capitalist class, implicitly carrying out its will. It is here appropriate to give the words of Simonovic, reinforced by actual data: "... members of the IOC from its establishment were proven anti-communists dedicated to violence with the working class and the world progressive forces” (p. 101).
Therefore it does not cause surprise at the enthusiastic estimate of Coubertin of the Berlin Olympics of 1936, in which he named Hitler "one of the greatest builders of the contemporary epoch" (p. 104).
Only the interest of certain members of the IOC to promote President Samaranch to his post prevented them from joining the boycott of the Moscow Olympics of 1980, undertaken by a number of NATO countries.
The final word regarding the shameless hypocrisy of the IOC, which presents the Olympic Games as the holiday of youth, health, beauty, and the completeness of the human spirit, are given by the author of the book: “While around the world tens of thousands of athletes sacrifice their health and lives for the achievement of Olympic medals and, thus, try to take themselves out of the ghetto of poverty, in which they die from hunger and diseases, the gentlemen from the IOC together with their families stay in five-star hotels, in which only one night costs several thousand dollars, are arranged legendary feasts and receptions. Millions of dollars yearly are expended on the "representative" gatherings, for the world elite of power, which uses the Olympic Games as the means of the creation of the New World Order” (p. 79).
One question is worth looking at in detail. This is the non-acceptance by Simonovic of the system of physical culture and sport in the former USSR and other Eastern European socialist countries.
In this case Simonovic not only presented physical culture in a false light writing that sport life in these countries, its moulding by the state power of the obedient masses, but also subjected to criticism the wide application in them of gymnastics and sport for the comprehensive development of a man of labour.
It created the impression, that in his non-acceptance of bourgeois sport Simonovic does not see the progressive role of competition as the objective need of social development (in which rotting capitalism placed many obstacles).
As far as the attitude of the USSR towards the Olympic Movement and the Olympic Games is concerned, one should recall that the Soviet athletes were included in the Olympic movement in 1951, when the Olympic Committee of the USSR was created. Until this time the Olympic Movement in the USSR it was considered a reactionary bourgeois institute. Eloquent is the fact that the second edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, which was published from 1949 through 1958, even does not mention the contemporary Olympic Games.
The reaction of the Soviet Union to the holding of the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936 best testifies to this fact.
During the opening of the games on August 1, 1936, in which Hitler intended to picture to the world peaceful Germany, the newspaper "Pravda" published the editorial "Fascism Is War! Socialism Is peace!" which accused Fascist Germany of a feverish preparation for the new bloody world war. Of the Olympic Games themselves not a word was said.
For the sake of
fairness one should say that the non-acceptance of physical culture does not
lead the author into despair. "The idea of socialism (communism) was
and remains the only present answer to the ever deepening crisis of existence,
which capitalism creates and which it cannot solve", concludes
Simonovic (p. 131).
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