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From England, France and Germany to Palestine, South Africa and Brazil, the ‘beautiful game’ has been a powerful instrument of emancipation for workers, feminists, young people and protesters around the world. Football has often found itself at the heart of anti-colonial struggles; a tool of repression and cooptation, as well as liberation and resistance.

In October 2023, Pluto published the English language edition of A People’s History of Football by Mickaël Correia. We are joined on the panel today by the book’s translator, Fionn Petch, as well as Kevin Blowe, from Clapton CFC, a North London community-owned football club; and Andy Gittlitz, author of the Pluto cult classic, I Want to Believe: Posadism, UFOs and Apocalypse Communism. We talk about the early origins of football in feudal Britain, its role in the formation of working class identity, the repression and resurgence of women’s football, as well as the unique trajectory of soccer in the US. We also talk about fan-owned clubs, and the international response of supporters’ groups and clubs to the ongoing destruction in Gaza.

A People’s History of Football is 40% off for listeners of Radicals in Conversation with the coupon PODCAST. Find out more at: plutobooks.com/podcastreading.

Clapton CFC:

https://www.claptoncfc.co.uk/about-clapton-community-fc/

The Reservoir Journal:

https://autonomedia.org/product/reservoir-communion/