In particular, we are opposed to the increased use of professional sports as an avenue to promote an imperialistic, pro-military politics. SWW aims to challenge pro-military messaging at sporting events and in sports media through targeted information campaigns, speaking events, and public demonstrations.
Professional sports and the sporting media is a pervasive part of our lives. As sports fans, we enjoy participating in the excitement and drama of seeing the world’s greatest athletes compete at the highest level. Nevertheless, we increasingly find our enjoyment of the games interrupted by blatant military propaganda, from the presence of recruiters at arenas and stadiums, to military-themed team uniforms, to the spectacle of troops rappelling from the rafters, to solemn services honouring their sacrifices.
These services ignore the many people – often civilians – who have been killed in the course of Canada’s war in Afghanistan. In so doing, they explicitly support the Canadian occupation, which has not been driven by humanitarian or security interests but, rather, by a collusion of corporate interests that prioritize profits over human lives. In the meantime, the Canadian government is spending billions of dollars on the war machine, while ordinary Canadians are struggling in the climate of austerity, job cuts, and wage freezes.
The realm of professional sport should be reflective of popular opinion, rather than actively seeking to promote an unpopular pro-military position. But military propaganda in sports is part of a broader project to build support for a new Canadian militarism, in a country where some 80% of the population opposes its most visible military occupation, in Afghanistan.
SWW is part of the larger pro-peace, anti-war movement and understands that while sporting culture can be accessible and unifying, it can also be oppressive and violent along a variety of social divisions, including but not limited to gender, sexuality, race, and class. We will endeavor to create a non-hierarchical atmosphere at our meetings and events, and we encourage anyone interested in promoting peace and justice to participate in our organizing efforts.