Alienation in the Marxist sense of the word and alienation in the lay sense are not a million miles apart. For Marx, the term had a specific economic content, whereby humanity under the capitalist mode of production was becoming increasing alienated from the production of life's necessities because the capitalist owned the entire process of production and the worker was reduced to a mere cog in a machine, forced to sell his/her labour power in a heartless labour market, with little or no prospect of gaining any satisfaction from the completed product, a product that was produced for profit rather than human need. In short the worker under capitalism, was separated from the most basic of human activity; that of conscious work the very thing that defines our humanity.

 Alienation in the popular sense of the word still contains those connotations of separateness, of being cut off from the decision making, of feeling like a pawn in a much bigger game, of being on the outside looking in. The so called 'masters of the universe', locked up in their corporate citadels and finance boardrooms seem to pull all the strings, the politicians dance to their tune, while the rest of us are buffeted around by the harsh global economic winds. Interest rates fluctuate; unemployment rates fluctuate, inflation rates fluctuate; but we have no say. We survive the best we can and fill our minds with booze and drugs and pills and pop to dull the pain. We are truly alienated from the decisions that can crucially and cruelly affect our lives. Even our cherished community football clubs have been expropriated by our corporate masters.

And then came FC United of Manchester. Three or four thousand Mancunians got together to defy the Glazers, to defy the entire corporate world, and to defy their own sense of alienation. These heroic souls have set out to recreate their own community based football club and in so doing have created a template and a living example to the rest of the humanity, not just in the sporting realm but for life in its totality. At Rochdale last week, in the first round of the FA Cup, there was some icing on the cake, but it is the cake itself that is so delicious, so nourishing to the human soul, so welcoming in an alienated world.

The key features of FC United are its, one supporter one vote policy, it's policy of the fans voluntarily working for the club and for the wider community, and most significantly, its constitutional guarantee that the club cannot be sold. Suddenly, everything has changed. This is not a case of bartering and bargaining with potential corporate owners to get the most favourable deal with the least leveraged debt. This is not even a case of the fans gaining 51% club ownership (though that would be a huge step forward), this is much, much more significant. This is a rare case of the producers retaking control of the very thing they produce; in this case a community sports endeavour. This is a rare case of an alienated community confronting its alienation and re-appropriating that which has been taken from it. This is a rare and wondrous case of use-value triumphing over the market; where sport is played and enjoyed for its own sake rather than to pay the interest of an ever growing debt mountain that has absolutely no bearing or connection whatsoever with the good people of Manchester. FC United of Manchester will always win, no matter what the final score. That is a team truly worth supporting. May the concept grow and prosper.

End JPK 9/11/10 Copyright

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 27 May 2018 12:09 )