How to Protest Against the World Cup and the State?

With the World Cup underway, the problem at hand is: How to fight state abuse during the World Cup?

We may harken back to Henry David Thoreau. He used to criticize the idea that we should expect the majority to change a law or an unfair government action, because man should live according to his conscience, not by the majority’s will.

Because of that, “when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer.” He referred to slavery and the Mexican-American War, which led him to stop paying taxes.

Lysander Spooner, on the other hand, teaches us how to resist the state peacefully, in the market. As a jurist, he argued for the unconstitutionality of the United States Post Office monopoly. Like Thoreau, he didn’t stop at words and wait for the majority to take action.

Spooner, in 1844, opened up a competitor, the American Letter Mail Company, much more efficient and charging lower prices than the government monopoly. Despite the government’s determination to close it, which it was finally able to do in 1851 with the approval of a more stringent law that closed the legal loopholes that Spooner had been exploiting, the action was successful: Government was forced to lower its prices by pressure of competition of a civil resistant!

How can we do something similar during the World Cup?

We can trespass the zones of commercial exclusion created for FIFA’s benefit, giving their partners a selling and advertising monopoly in a given area. We can also record with our cell phones every instance of police abuse against free protests during the World Cup.

As Augusto de Franco said about the occupation and reconfiguration of public spaces by free commerce:

Each one of those activities reconfigures hierarchies dominated by autocracies toward more networking (more distribution, connectivity, interaction) and freedom. There is no other way of doing that besides civil and political disobedience.

If this “entrepreneurial civil disobedience” happened in a large scale, we would be making a large step toward liberty from the coercive institutions of the state. Because the occupation of public spaces by markets and free exchange, challenging the territorial monopoly gifted to FIFA, would reverse the mentality that allowed our freedoms to be taken away and weakened the liberating potential of voluntary cooperation networks.

Again, as Augusto de Franco said, social revolution “is not that taking of some Winter Palace nor electoral victory against ‘the elites!’ It is not just a change in the people who make up the state, but something that happens at the very core of society, altering the interaction flows of social life and changing people’s behaviors.”

Individual freedom and liberation from poverty and political exploitation will only be achieved through the widening of the social cooperation networks and markets. As Thoreau would say, that’s the counter-friction that should stop the machine and break its injustice.

Citations to this article:

Free Markets & Capitalism?
Markets Not Capitalism
Organization Theory
Conscience of an Anarchist