Maçaranduba! Organized cheer and Police in Brazil - PDF

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DOI: /TEM X eng Revista Tempo Vol. 17 n. 34 Dossier The history of sport for a sports country Maçaranduba! Organized cheer and Police in Brazil Marcos Alvito[1] For Simoni Lahud

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DOI: /TEM X eng Revista Tempo Vol. 17 n. 34 Dossier The history of sport for a sports country Maçaranduba! Organized cheer and Police in Brazil Marcos Alvito[1] For Simoni Lahud Guedes, an expert at the NEPESS (Center for the Study and Research on Sports and Society), and a pioneer of soccer anthropology in Brazil Abstract The first part of the article presented a bibliographic analysis of groups of soccer fans that are called torcidas organizadas in Brazil. The second part was dedicated to a critical comparison between what the bibliography states about policing and the lessons of fieldwork in Brazil. Keywords: soccer violence; soccer fans; policing. Maçaranduba neles! Torcidas organizadas e policiamento no Brasil Resumo A primeira parte do artigo analisa a bibliografia acerca das torcidas organizadas no Brasil. A segunda examina as contribuições da bibliografia à luz de uma pesquisa etnográfica desenvolvida a respeito do policiamento no Brasil, contrastando de maneira crítica os resultados com as observações da bibliografia atualmente existente. Palavras-chave: violência no futebol; torcidas organizadas; policiamento. Maçaranduba en ellos! Torcidas organizadas y policía en el Brasil Resumen La primera parte del artículo analiza la bibliografía acerca de las torcidas organizadas en el Brasil. La segunda examina las contribuciones de la bibliografía a la luz de una investigación etnográfica desarrollada respecto al control policial en el Brasil, contrastando de manera crítica los resultados con las observaciones de la bibliografía actualmente existente. Palabras clave: violencia en el fútbol; torcidas organizadas; control policial. Maçaranduba! Supporters organisés et la Police pour le football au Brésil Résumé La première partie de l article est dédiée à une analyse de la bibliographie sur les ultras au Brésil. Dans la seconde partie j examine les contributions de cette bibliographie sous la lumière d une recherche ethnographique à propos du maintient de l ordre au Brésil, en confrontant de manière critique les conclusions de cette étude avec les observations de la bibliographie actuelle. Mots-clés: football et violence; ultras; mantient de l ordre. Article received on September 22, 2012, and approved for publication on November 04, 2012 [1] PhD, professor at Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF). Entering the field It was a triumphal arrival. The two buses of cheering crowd A,1 duly escorted by a vehicle from the Grupamento Especial de Policiamento em Estádios (Special Group for Policing in Stadiums - GEPE), 2 approached the stadium surroundings to the sound of fireworks lighted from the bus windows. As soon as they parked, the buses were surrounded by GEPE policemen led by their commander in chief. Right away, the morteiros (fireworks) were confiscated, and an argument ensued between a soldier and a tall and strong young man. The officer interrupted shouting that he was the boss there. With a commanding voice, he sent the fans that had already left the bus back inside. Only the fans that had purchased their ticket were initially allowed to exit the bus. One by one, they stepped down, lifted their shirts, and underwent an inspection of their bodies and belongings. The unsuspecting anthropologist started taking pictures of the whole process, and was alternately mistaken for a reporter or, which is much worse and more dangerous, a police spy. This, in turn, caused some soccer fans to gesticulate in a threatening way, and others recommended that I took pictures of the other team. And thus began, inauspiciously, my field work with one of Brazil s oldest organized cheering crowds, and, as in their own say, the most feared. After four months, it was possible to invert my position towards that cheering group. Now I embarked on one of their own buses headed to Volta Redonda for a classic match. 3 After hours waiting, two of the rented buses had not arrived, or better yet, the driver had left as soon as he noticed that he was dealing with an organized cheering crowd. A third bus appeared, with some members of the crowd who had come from Niterói, and we travelled on it, duly followed by a GEPE vehicle. A former director of the cheering crowd one of the people that had showed me their middle finger some months before explicitly urged me to sit on one of the bus front seats: sit down at the front, professor, go at the front. Wise suggestion. As soon as I entered, a young man sitting behind me put his face out the window and proceeded to curse at everyone, addressing the men with scurrility, and the women with obscene comments. What admired me the most was the anger he demonstrated, the veritable fury with which he verbally attacked the passersby. Then, all the fans in the bus started singing: Crazy crowd, Inhales, inhales, inhales, Inhales nonstop, Smokes, smokes, smokes, Smokes nonstop, Crazy crowd. 1 For reasons that will be obvious in the text, I named this cheering crowd A. All that can be said is that it is one of the main cheering crowds of one of the four big clubs of Rio de Janeiro. The match took place at Cidadania Stadium, Volta Redonda, in September GEPE is a special deployment of the Rio de Janeiro s Military Police, created in 1991, and currently subordinate to the Batallion of Shock Police, with approximately 70 men. 3 A game between two prominent groups that have been rivals for a long time. Although there are exceptions, in Brazil the most important classic matches usually happen between clubs from the same city or, at the most, from the same state. 82 On the road, the newbies of the group were taken to the back of the bus and went through a baptism, composed alternately of slaps and yelling, in addition to trips to the washroom, where many teenagers were piled up. 4 One of them, upon leaving that place, seemed to have a broken arm, and spent the rest of the trip with a terrorized expression of suppressed cry. He improvised an arm sling with his own coat. Yelling, somebody ordered the driver to turn on the television. Upon learning that the TV did not broadcast any channels, it only read DVDs, the person sitting next to me tried to yank it off, but was advised to do so on the way back. It was also said that that was the only transportation company that currently rented their vehicles to the group, which seemed to dissuade the young man of his purpose. At Baixada Fluminense, the bus stopped in front of Favela do Lixão (The Garbage Slum), and other 30 members hopped on, worsening the overcrowding. The veterans started collecting voluntary contributions from the novices (and also from the ethnographer) in order to purchase beer. By means of roaring, the driver was ordered to stop at a gas station. In addition to Cannabis, beer was also consumed. Besides that, a person decided to throw a beer can at a transvestite who displayed his gifts by the side of The unsuspecting anthropologist started taking pictures of the whole process, and was alternately mistaken for a reporter or, which is much worse and more dangerous, a police spy the road. There was also a traffic jam. Every once in a while, a song animated the environment: group A, killing is the order of the day. On the course of the trip, which lasted twice as long, it was impossible to hear any comments about that night s game, the club s position in the championship or about a certain player. Thus, I did not hear anybody talk about soccer in over three hours. Stories about other excursions were told, such as the one that had happened a few weeks earlier: they couldn t make it to Santos (the buses were detained by the police), but we stole everything, we ate like fuck!. Another individual detailed his sexual adventures and feats, and some recalled a true anthology of the worst moments of police violence. However, what strongly mobilized all of them were stories of conflicts with other organized cheering crowds. The main antagonist of that day was crowd B, regarded as a playboy crowd, that is, white middle-class young people whom they called Bambis. Somebody claimed to have seen crowd B s escorting car with hired policemen that showed their pieces (that is, guns). There was an intense debate about how and when there would be a confrontation 4 For an analysis of the trip as an exceptional moment of loosening of the rules and about the baptism, see Rosana da Câmara Teixeira, Os perigos da paixão: visitando jovens torcidas cariocas, São Paulo, Annablume, 2003, p From a less ethnographic perspective and more in the vein of a bibliographical analysis (including international) about the cheering crowd members trips, see Da aventura: caravanas e narrativas de viagem, In: Bernardo Buarque de Hollanda, O clube como vontade e representação: o jornalismo esportivo e a formação das torcidas organizadas de futebol no Rio de Janeiro, 7 Letras, 2009, p with the playboys. At a certain point, a young man believed that somebody went through his backpack and began to threaten another crowd member. With the exception of a terrified ethnographer, everyone took sides, and a few got up from their seats, crowding the aisle with young men threatening one another, at the verge of a general conflagration that would have been tragic under those circumstances. A saving voice, belonging to the only woman among about 80 men, was raised in the turmoil of voices: We ve arrived! We ve arrived!. Immediately, everyone started singing their song animatedly, as if nothing had happened. Once again, we encountered the SGSP policemen waiting. Concerned about avoiding the possibility of a confrontation with the opposing crowd s members, the commander in chief placed us in the stadium, where we were inspected separately. The first half of the game had already ended, and their club was losing with a score of one-nil. Upon arrival at the bleachers, I was impressed with the energy with which cheering crowd A sang their songs: Illuminated path, good blood, I belong to crowd A, I belong to team A s crowd Crowd A s arrival ignited the stadium, giving the club s cheering crowd a new liveliness. The lyrics of the songs established bizarre associations, referring to the Peruvian guerrilla or with a punk-style choreography of bounces, pushes, and punches simulated among themselves: An, an, an, crowd A is Taliban. There are certainly worse ones, affirming that crowd A whacks everyone, it is Rio s terror. There are even those who ironically defy the opposing cheering crowd: Tiny cheering crowd B, fits in a tiny kombi or obscenely challenge: Crowd B, come suck my dick. But the ethnographer was surprised and became emotional when hearing crowd A sing: Oh, club A is my life, Club A is my history, Club A is my love First half: death as a challenge The possible analysis of the trip as a rite of passage for the novices, and as an exceptional moment of rule-bending and affirmation of hierarchies within the cheering crowd will not be discussed here. 5 I believe that this episode demonstrates the complexity of studying organized cheering crowds. On one hand, it is undeniable that these organizations constitute a type of fight club to the young people disposed to practice what José Miguel Wisnik called a radical sport for the poor [ ] for whom the inclusion in a cheering crowd and its emblems, in a field battle with the other crowd, makes more 5 The ex-president of crowd A reported that the most common scenario would be the existence of two buses, the first only with the directors and the people who were more disposition, the so called warriors. The other would carry the newer members and/or the fools, people who are not especially inclined to fight. 84 sense than the symbolic tournaments of the game. 6 On the other, the organized cheering crowds are the party engine at the bleachers, with their percussion instruments, their songs of encouragement to the team or provocation to the opponents, 7 their choreographies, their flags of different sizes, themes, and special effects. 8 Without them, the atmosphere in the stadium is significantly less vibrant. Moreover, it is important to highlight a few points in order to eliminate the idea that they are simply a gang of criminals, as they are usually portrayed by the media. To begin with, it is necessary to remember that their emergence dates back to the end of the 1960s, a moment of great political effervescence for What strongly mobilized all of them were stories of conflicts with other organized cheering crowds. The main antagonist of that day was crowd B, regarded as a playboy crowd. the youth in Brazil and in the world. 9 Therefore, many of the first organized crowds had the word young 10 in their names and questioned the status quo of clubs and politics, 11 protesting against directors, vindicating a drop in the price of tickets or organizing boycotts to games. One of the pioneering intellectuals in research on organized cheering crowds and violence in soccer, sociologist Maurício Murad, affirmed that, within these crowds, the violent, quarrelsome or rowdy people are only 5% of the total of members. 12 Given that the game was outside Rio de Janeiro, two hours away by bus, only the most dedicated members of the cheering crowd were there, a sort of shock battalion of an admittedly and confessedly violent crowd. 13 Therefore, this behavior must not be generalized to all organized cheering crowds. 6 José Miguel Wisnik, Veneno remédio: o futebol e o Brasil, São Paulo, Companhia das Letras, 2008, p There are many songs: some are reserved strictly to moments when the cheering crowd is in a reserved space, without the presence of other cheering crowds; others are to be sung in the stadiums. 8 Such as fireworks, luminous signs, whistles, smoke of different colors, balloons, plaques that form gigantic mosaics, colorful inflated balls, etc. Currently, many of these items (or even all) are forbidden in certain stadiums. 9 For an exhaustive, erudite, and brilliant history of the formation of cheering crowds in Rio de Janeiro, with mention of other states (especially), see Hollanda, op. cit. For a more summarized text, see A festa competitiva: formação e crise das torcidas organizadas entre 1950 e 1980, In: Bernardo Buarque de Hollanda, João M.C. Malaia, Luiz Henrique de Toledo, Victor Andrade de Melo,, A torcida brasileira, Rio de Janeiro,7 Letras, 2012, p In Rio de Janeiro: Young Cheering Crowd of Flamengo (1967, initially called Young Power), Young Cheering Crowd of Botafogo (1969), Young Force of Vasco (1970), Young Flu (1970; in São Paulo: Santos Young Cheering Crowd (1969), Young Cheering Crowd Shirt 12 (1971), and many others throughout the country, for instance, Young Cheering Crowd of Grêmio (1977). See Hollanda, op. cit., p , and the second part of the book, entitled O drama do Jornal dos Sports e a formação das Torcidas Jovens. 11 In the second semester of 1978, when the campaign for Amnesty was in its early stages, the crowd Gaviões da Fiel performed its first public act during a match against Santos. After the fireworks, they unrolled a banner that read: Amnesty, ample, general, and unrestrained. The military police acted immediately, but the corintianos protected the banner by locking their arms. 12 Maurício Murad, Futebol e violência no Brasil, Pesquisa de Campo, n. 3/4, Rio de Janeiro, 1996, p More recently, the same author updated these numbers to 5 to 7%, according to research conducted in 2009/10, see Maurício Murad, A violência no futebol, São Paulo, Saraiva, 2012, p During a visit to the headquarters of crowd A, one of the members of a subdivision complained about the lack of quarrelsome people, i.e., we only have 20 warriors on the floor, the rest are fools. 85 Reducing the phenomenon of cheering crowds to violence results in an impoverishment of understanding. In a meticulous and sensitive ethnography, anthropologist Rosana da Câmara Teixeira shows the web of reciprocity that exists among these young people, who experience their belonging to an organized cheering crowd as a passion, in the sense of a generous and total surrender, anchored in feelings of loyalty and dedication to the group. 14 The fight, in this case, unites the group against their opponents and serves as a test representing moral obligation. Author of another remarkable ethnography, this time focusing on the cheering crowds of São Paulo, Luiz Henrique de Toledo had already reached a similar conclusion, namely: in soccer, and, above all, among the cheering crowds, sociability and conflict are two sides of the same coin. In his words, in terms of sociability, soccer opposes and gathers, cheers up and saddens, unites and separates, establishes differences and similarities, and creates situations of socializing and conflict that surpass the perimeter determined by the lines of the field. 15 It is fundamental to perceive violence, beyond common sense, as a constituting element of soccer, which in the manner of Bali s cockfighting, is a way of playing with fire, but without the risk of being burned. 16 Arlei Damo, one of the many researchers of soccer to approach Geertz s text, highlights the fact that the spectacle-soccer 17 is a disjunctive game that aims at establishing winners and losers, 18 but not only that: Neither is the victory, pure and simple, what interests soccer fans. What captivates them is the drama inherent to the possibility of winning and losing alongside the team linked to the club, which represents an affective community. 19 Love for the club is the mainspring that functions as a social mask. 20 This identity linked to the club is contrasting and, therefore, intrinsically conflicting, although, ideally, it is a confrontation marked only by symbolic, not literal, violence. The symbology has a strongly male connotation, supposing 14 Rosana da Câmara Teixeira, Os perigos da paixão: visitando jovens torcidas cariocas, São Paulo, Annablume, p Luiz Henrique Toledo, Torcidas organizadas de futebol, Campinas, São Paulo, Autores Associados, ANPOCS, 1996, p For more recent ethnographies, including a few dealing with the formation of groups of soccer fans that deny the qualification of organized cheering crowds, see two interesting dissertations: Isabella Trindade Menezes, Entre a Fúria e a Loucura Análise de duas formas de torcer pelo Botafogo Futebol e Regatas, Dissertação de Mestrado em Memória Social, Rio de Janeiro, UNIRIO, 2010; Francisco Carvalho dos Santos Rodrigues, Amizade, trago e alento: a Torcida Geral do Grêmio, da rebeldia à institucionalização. Dissertação de Mestrado em História, Niterói, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Other works are also worthy of mention: Tarcyane Cajueiro Santos, Dos espetáculos de massa às torcidas organizadas: paixão, rito e magia no futebol, São Paulo, Annablume, 2004; Carlos Alberto Máximo Pimenta, Torcidas organizadas de futebol - violência e auto-afirmação, Taubaté, Vogal Editora, Although he does not dedicate many pages to organized cheering crowds, the second part of Hilário Franco Jr. s book is important for their contextualization, see Parte 2. Futebol, metáfora do mundo contemporâneo, In: A dança dos deuses: futebol, sociedade, cultura, São Paulo, Companhia das Letras, Clifford Geertz, Um jogo absorvente: notas sobre a briga de galos balinesa, In:. A interpretação das culturas, Rio de Janeiro, Guanabara, p He distinguishes four matrices of soccer: school, community (unofficial championships), bricolada (games with rules agreed upon ad hoc), and spectacle, which happens to be professional soccer. See Arlei Sander Damo, Do dom à profissão: a formação de futebolistas no Brasil e na França, São Paulo, Aderaldo & Rothschild, ANPOCS, 2007, p Even when there is a tie in the score, there is unending discussion among the fans to point out the team that should have won or, at least, that left the conflict in advantage (which is the case of teams that ti
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