Thursday, 24 November 2011

Letter Of Support To FAC & Green Brigade

St.Pauli CSC is a Celtic supporters club from St.Pauli, a district of the city of Hamburg, Germany. It is open to all local Celtic fans that believe in and support anti-racism, anti-facism, and anti-sexism. Currently, all members support the local club FC St. Pauli in Bundesliga 2.

For more than 20 years, supporters from St. Pauli travel to Celtic matches all over Europe and Scotland, from Donezk to Dublin and Glasgow to Inverness. Never did any of us witness any kind of racism or sectarianism of the Celtic supporters. Religion is hardly ever a topic and never an issue, the inclusiveness of the Celtic support regarding faith or ethnicity cannot be overstated.

The coercion and criminalization Celtic supporters  face for singing songs commemorating an important part of their and the club's heritage, exercising the right of free speech and showing normal human behaviour such as standing up during a match, is a shame for any constitutional democracy. We understand that the current legislation which already allows for a wide range of oppressive measures executed by state authorities and private institutions such as Celtic FC, will be further extended to make supposedly "offensive" behaviour punishable. This legislation will give the police an almost limitless scope of interpretation when trying to justify arrests or other measures. It has to be doubted that it is really just about certain songs, standing, or truly "offensive" chanting, but more about control. The vague nature of the current and especially the proposed legislation is intended to make people feel intimidated and not just abandon behaviour that could be defined as wrong in any way, but even exercising a self-control that goes beyond what could be put into a regulation openly. This treatment of one specific social group – football supporters all over Scotland – would rather fit to a dictatorship.

Football supporters in Scotland are not alone in this – both state and footballing authorities in many countries are trying to put pressure on the fans to take total control, to sanitise and polish a sport and its culture for total marketing and maximum profitability. A culture that grew from a mostly working class background to a culture that has a place for everyone from ultrà to big business, from punk to tradesman, shall become an entertainment industry. By many in Scotland or the UK in general, the German Bundesliga is seen as a paradise for football supporters, but we are faced with similar threats and in a struggle to keep what we have and to win back what we have lost already. What has happened to football culture in Great Britain – the home of modern football – in the past and the unbelievable current developments in Scotland that put football supporters even further beyond the sphere of some basic human rights, is a warning to us all.

We offer solidarity and support to Fans Against Criminalisation and all organisations behind that, especially our comrades of the Green Brigade. To give more than just words, we donated to the FAC Legal Defence Fund and hope that many more will do so. We have a similar fund for supporters of FC St. Pauli for years; it is all important to help people that are challenged by state authorities or powerful organisations such as football clubs to defend themselves with the help of competent experts. A lot of the intimidation is created by threats that will prove to be a mere chimaera if fought properly and with the necessary resources. Solidarity is a weapon!   

St. Pauli CSC, November 24, 2011