The Tennis New Deal
Club Leftist Tennis 2022 Policy Platform
This year, tennis is on the ballot. While tennis players across the country have watched the cancerous growth of fascist pickleball with horror, our own tennis courts fall into disrepair, and public tennis communities are neglected by all levels of government. To combat this dire situation, Club Leftist Tennis has developed a policy platform of 10 common sense reforms that can be implemented immediately.
We hope that those running for office, especially those who call themselves progressive or even socialist, take up this platform and stand up for tennis players. We’re counting on you.
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Immediate pickleball moratorium on public land
To put it lightly, pickleball is a parasite on our public spaces. All over the country, public tennis courts and other recreational facilities are being destroyed to make room for this venture capital-backed “sport.” At Club Leftist Tennis, we stand firm against everything that this astroturfed trend stands for: gentrification, tech industry-led disruption, the rolling back of labor protections, and the eventual abolition of leisure time.
To stop this reactionary spread, we are calling for a full moratorium on pickleball on all public lands. Existing pickleball courts on public property should be seized and returned to the previous use of that land. In addition, no public funds should go towards building any pickleball courts or programming.
Mandatory tennis court minimums for any new upzonings
We’re in the midst of a dire tennis court shortage across the country. While we’re still holding out for the tennis revolution, it’s important to mitigate the worst effects of neoliberal austerity in the meantime by harnessing the power of private development to build more courts.
By requiring tennis courts to be built by the developer of new privately owned housing that goes through a discretionary land use process, we can at least ensure that total court space in a neighborhood increases as more residents move into the area.
Abolish tennis permits for public courts
Permits are the front line of the commodification of tennis, as well as a tool of discrimination against the working class. Just as we don’t need permits to use public parks, we shouldn’t need them for our courts. Instead of extorting tennis players in the name of keeping courts available, invest in more courts so all players can play when they wish (see: the Public Tennis Authority). Abolish permits now!
Universal court lighting
The working class has limited hours in the day to play tennis. Especially as the weather begins to chill and the days start to shorten, those who are bound by wage labor are forced to forgo tennis plans before clocking in or after clocking out.
To rectify this, we are calling for stadium lighting to be installed at all public tennis courts so that the hardworking people of this country can play tennis well into the night or in the early morning.
Fund local tennis organizations
Local tennis organizations, especially those that support youth tennis and players in underserved communities are in dire need of funding. We are calling for additional funding to be allocated for procuring tennis equipment, court space, and lessons.
Nationalize Tennis Channel
As pickleball cannibalizes coverage of exciting tournaments, lackluster programming fails to engage viewers, and fans must pay ransom to various streaming services to watch each Grand Slam, one fact is abundantly clear: the (so-called) Tennis Channel is proof that a leftist sport such as tennis can never be properly covered by the agents of capital.
The Tennis Channel must immediately be nationalized, made free, and reimagined as the People’s Tennis Channel. Programming must be revamped, banning pickleball from the airwaves, and instead celebrating the channel’s namesake in innovative and exciting ways.
Allow all ATP or WTA-sanctioned tennis tournaments to be viewed in the workplace
One of the most beautiful aspects of tennis is its reach as a global game. However, this can lead to far away tournaments taking place during the work hours of tennis fans. Just as employees are mandated time for lunch or a cigarette break, their right to watch tennis on the job must be protected by labor law.
Create a Works Progress-style jobs program for tennis infrastructure
Capitalism has created twin crises wherein there exists an incredible amount of productive work to be done to grow the sport of tennis, yet millions sit at home, unemployed. We propose the creation of a major Works Progress-style public jobs program in order to build and maintain tennis infrastructure. Good, high-paying jobs can be created to maintain courts, build new ones, construct other infrastructure like rain bubbles and lights, staff local organizations or create ones in areas without them, create great tennis art, and more.
Establish a Public Tennis Authority
It will take a tremendous amount of labor, planning, and financial power to accomplish the goals proposed in this document, and thereby radically alter the role of tennis in our society. Furthermore, we acknowledge that a key component of capital’s assault on tennis has been a hollowing out of state capacity. Therefore a Public Tennis Authority (PTA) must be created, funded by taxes on the rich as well as any private pickleball facilities. The PTA will govern the sport (including its rules, courts & organizations), oversee the WPA-style jobs program, and operate the People’s Tennis Channel.
Free Universal Healthcare
Tennis elbow affects more than 200,000 players a year. With a single-payer universal healthcare system that’s free at the point of service, we can get people back on the court faster, regardless of their ability to afford costly health insurance.
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