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October 11, 1985 - Image 25

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-10-11

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

OBSERVATIONS

The Hidden Conotations
Of Europe's Soccer Riots

BY FRANKLIN H. LITTELL

Special to The Jewish News

which occurred at the game be-
tween Brimingham and Leeds
would have assumed the propor-
tions of the Brussels tragedy ex-
cept for the swift and competent
counter-action of the police. A
fair proportion of the Leeds
crowd, many of them drunken,
were led by gangs of political
"activists" of fascist and racist
type.
The British investigation re-
fers to the problem of
"hooliganism"and "tribal war-
fare" in connection with the soc-
cer games but, at least in the
account released to the press,
does not specify the political
color of the incitement to mob
violence. To the student of the
Nazi terrorist movement which
finally can to power in the
Third Reich, the political color
of the planned action of
agitators is more important
than the blind actions of incited
mobs.
The intention of the British
"National Front" and allied fas-
cist and racist cadres is pre-
cisely the same as that of the
German Nazi terrorists who un-
dermined the Weimar Republic.
At first they attempt to de-
stabilize a society and destroy
One important
confidence in the public
authorities' capability of main-
dimensions . . . is
taining order, and later they
the role of racist and present themselves as the only
force tough and resolute enough
fascist gangs in the
to re-establish order for a public
incitement to riot. -
grown weary of jungle chaos.
This was precisely the successful
strategy of Hitler and his ter-
rorist movement.
Fortunately, the British re-
ity administration until the im- port proposes a number of ac-
pending elections can be held. In tions which, if taken in time
Britain, a special investigation and according to law, will sub-
was conducted for the House of stantially lessen the chances of
Commons and the full report mob violence and thereby di-
will be placed before Commons minish the opportunities for
British fascists and racists to
in November.
The demonic potential of vol- capitalize upon it. Among the
atile crowds, the political danger chief recommendations:
posed by those who know how to
• requirement of club mem-
exploit crowd solidarity and bership and an identification
mass hysteria, has seldom left card for team supporters;
the mind of thinking people
• wider use of closed-circuit
since the rise of populist politi- TV to expand off-field viewing;
cal movements in the early part
• punishment of missile-
of the 20th Century. And it has throwing as a crime;
been a leitmotiv in the works of
• widening of police powers to
a number of poets, playwrights spot-check at entry gates for
and novelists - i.e., in the works weapons;
of Elias Canetti (Nobel
• chanting of racial abuse to
Laureate, 1981), with his Auto be punished as a crime.
Although some persons who
Da Fe (on the meaningless of
numbers in the Holocaust), cannot distinguish anarchy from
Crowds and Power, Voices of liberty will doubtless oppose
these measures, citizens with
Marrakesh, etc.
sense will immediately
One important dimension, common
perceive
their
usefulness. The
which has come oat in several confused minds
of some civil
investigative reports but has libertarians in England,
as
been ignored by the general in the U.S. has led them just
to de-
press servces, is the role of ra- nounce such measures as "like
cist and fascist gangs in the in- those in a police-state." But the
citement to riot. In Liverpool,
assion for intellectual sym-
which has had an unsavory
reputation in soccer conflicts for metry, for "even-handedness of
of leather- the mind, is again misleading.
several" years, gangs -
clad "skinheads" associated with Self-defense measures under-
the British National Front -- taken by a legitimate
the same govern-
thing as
anti-semitic and anti-black — ment are not
have with their hidden agenda repressive measures initiated by
used the crowds at sports events a The
dictatorship.
Anne Frank Institute of
to appear as worthy champions Philadelphia
of a popular cause. The riot,

During the month of May,
several jungle scenes occurred in
connection with soccer contests
in Europe. To the casual ob-
server the incidents of mob vio-
lence seem to belong to dis-
cussions of police authority, con-
trol of crowds, commericalized
athletics and safety precautions.
At the European Cup Final in
Brussels, where 38 were killed
and over 400 injured in hos-
tilities between supporters of
Liverpool of England and
Juventus of Italy, nationalistic
chauvinism played some part in
the deadly scenario. Yet closer
inspection exposes to view some
of the same factors that may
lead to loss of liberty and open-
ness to the police state. There is
a political issue hidden within
the sports setting.
In Belgium, the international
riot has already produced a
major crisis in the government,
with the withdrawal of one
party from the coalition gov-
ernment and the continuation of
the present regime as a minor-

,

Friday, October 11, 1985 25

You Are Cordially Invited To Attend

THE B'NAI B'RITH INTERNATIONAL
GREAT AMERICAN TRADITIONS AWARD DINNER

Wednesday, October 30, 1985

Renaissance Center

Westin Hotel

Honorees

Alice R. McCarthy

Walter J. McCarthy, Jr.
C.E.O.
Detroit Edison

Community leader

General Chairpersons

Alan and Marianne Schwartz

General Co-Chairpersons
Hon. Damon and Rachel Keith
Paul and Marion Borman
Peter and Nicole Stroh
Leon and Heidi Cohan
Richard and Barbara VanDusen
David and Marion Randleman
Appearing

Master of Classical Guitar

CARLOS MONTOYA

Detroit B'nai Pith Foundation Committee

Louis Weber
Honorary Chairperson

Nathcin D. Rubenstein
Chairperson

Black-Tie Optional

Sharon R. Rappaport
Michigan Director
Bind Birth Foundation

6:30 p.m.

R.S.V.P.

552-8070

.Dietary laws

Convert $150 per person

Proceeds to benefit the
Bind Birth Youth Rgendes

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