“The Crew Belongs to Columbus”: Save the Crew as a Politics of Economic Possibility

Authors: Andy Walter*, University of West Georgia
Topics: Economic Geography, Urban Geography, Political Geography
Keywords: sports geography, community economies
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 2:35 PM / 4:15 PM
Room: Washington 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

While capital undoubtedly exercises predatory control over today’s economy, geographers, highlighted by Gibson-Graham’s “diverse economies” research community, have been at the forefront of re-envisioning the capitalist economy as a space of possibility. In this paper I examine the politics of economic possibility performed by Save the Crew, a movement of soccer fans that coalesced in the wake of news in October, 2017, that the “owner” of Columbus Crew, a Major League Soccer franchise, intended to relocate the team to Austin, Texas. Immediately, Save the Crew rejected the owner’s desired project and began to chip away at the aura of inevitability surrounding it. In the months that followed Save the Crew conducted a vibrant social media campaign, engaged in varied forms of embodied local and non-local activism, and strategically partnered with community groups, locally-embedded capital, and the local state. Save the Crew’s creative and irrepressible contestation has generated a sense that the impossible is possible and has harrowed the ground for a profound critique of the wealth-extraction model of professional sports. Following Gibson-Graham (2006), I interpret Save the Crew as a performance of postcapitalist politics. I will, first, highlight the ontological reframing and resubjectification that enabled Save the Crew to viably critique of the valuation regime underlying the sports business, and, second, discuss the visions that emerge from Save the Crew of a reconfigured professional sports industry grounded in community economies.

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