Thursday, October 10, 2013

Capitalism and Sport - Book Launch

Despite the fact millions of working class people regularly enjoy playing and watching sports, the left seemingly has had little to say on the subject. On those occasions when socialists and Marxists have not wilfully ignored sports their attitude has all too often been characterised by a dismissive or disdainful tone.

For this reason the release of Capitalism and Sport: Politics, Protest, People & Play, edited by Michael Lavalette, is most welcome. It contains 42 short essays by a range of  writers on the history, politics and economics of sport. It tackles issues of sexism, racism and homophobia in sport, globalisation, and the role of big business. Importantly it also looks at how the world of sports can become a venue for struggle and resistance, including pieces on: Palestinian footballer, Mahmoud Sarsak; the 1968 Mexico Olympics; the on-going campaign for justice for those killed at Hillsborough; Celtic's Green Brigade and more besides.

As Lavalette outlines in his introduction: "Collectively the book is about opening up debate on issues of capitalism and sport. It presents a series of different takes on sport in modern society from people who see themselves as political activists who enjoy sport, and think that those of us on the left have something important to say about the various worlds of sport and the resistance it can generate."

To mark the book's launch the London Socialist Historians Group will be hosting a Capitalism and Sport event as part of their series of October seminars. Four of the people who contributed pieces to the book will be speaking: Hazel Potter, Keith Flett, David Renton and myself.

Despite writing a chapter on the birth of modern sport and another on the physical culture debate in Russia post-1917, I've been asked to talk about something I'm currently doing some research on. So you can expect either a rambling contribution on the history of anti-Olympic protest, or a rambling contribution on the life of Lindy Delapenha - Portsmouth Football Club's first black player. No doubt the discussion will see a host of sporting topics covered and a huge range of questions asked. The left doesn't talk about sport very often - so don't miss this opportunity!

Capitalism and Sport - Some Histories
Book launch with Gareth Edwards (Portsmouth), Keith Flett, Hazel Potter, David Renton
21 October 2013, 5.30pm
Venue: Bloomsbury Room G35, Ground floor, Senate House.
email Keith Flett, for more information.