Duroyan Fertl

The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa began its final round of 16 on June 26. it came amid the unrelenting drone of vuvuzela horns, the knockout of big teams such as Italy and France, and street protests by local residents angry at the 40 billion rand the government has spent on the corporatised event.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s poor suffer substandard housing and access to basic services.

Football, or “soccer” in Australia, is the “world game”, played by millions of people around the world and watched by hundreds of millions more. But is it truly the “people’s game”?

The government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in crisis, following the resignation of Germany’s president Horst Koehler on May 31.

Koehler — a former head of the International Monetary Fund, and German president since 2004 — resigned after a public backlash against comments he made connecting the German economy with increased overseas military deployments.

Feet of the Chameleon: The Story of African Football
by Ian Hawkey
Anova Books, 2009, $24.95

More Than Just A Game: Football v Apartheid, The most important football story ever told
by Chuck Korr & Marvin Close
Harper Collins, 2008, $25.99

The world is in the final stages of counting down to the biggest show on earth — the football World Cup in South Africa — the first time it has ever been held on the African continent.

On May 15, German left-wing party Die Linke held its national congress in the eastern city of Rostock, electing a new national leadership and debating its new draft program.

At the conference, charismatic left-wing firebrand Oskar Lafontaine stepped down as the party’s co-leader for health reasons. Lafontaine, the former head of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and finance minister, quit the SPD in 1999 because of the party’s neoliberal policies.

Germany’s ruling centre-right coalition suffered a double defeat on May 9, when it lost its ruling majority in an important state election in North-Rhine Westphalia.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU) scored its lowest ever vote in the state, dropping 14 points to only 34.6%, on a par with the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), which slipped to 34.5%.

Support for the arch-neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP) — the CDU’s coalition partner on a state and federal level — stagnated at 6.8%. The Greens emerged as the big winners, doubling its vote to 12.1%.

On February 26, parliamentarians from the left-wing party Die Linke were expelled from the Bundestag (the national parliament) for holding a protest against the war in Afghanistan.

On February 13, a neo-Nazi march through the German city of Dresden was prevented when more than 15,000 locals braved freezing temperatures to oppose them.

On January 19, German political police raided the Berlin and Dresden offices of several anti-Nazi groups, including the Dresden Nazi-Free Alliance, No Pasaran, Red Stuff and the left-wing party Die Linke.

On September 10 a British jury acquitted six Greenpeace protesters who were on trial for trying to shut down a coal-fired power station on the grounds that they were trying to stop global warming.

On September 30, violent clashes between indigenous protestors and police in Ecuador left at least one protester dead, and nine protesters and 40 police injured, the October 1 Latin American Herald Tribune said.

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