BMOrg Speaks to Address Community Concerns

Will Chase, BMOrg’s Minister of Propaganda, has made a statement in response to the community’s concerns about Commodification Camps. He wants us to know that he’s listening. And he told his bosses the right folks about our concerns.


Will Chase, Burning Man's Minister of Propaganda

Will Chase, Burning Man’s Minister of Propaganda

Hey everybody, THANK YOU for these comments. I really do appreciate it. My intention for this post was to bring some facts into the discussion that I’d seen some people missing, and to see and hear what people were thinking and feeling. And you made your thoughts very clear, and we’re listening.

Like I said, part of my job is to keep my finger on the pulse of the community, and this conversation is part of that. I needed to hear exactly this input. This is great information and perspective to bring into our discussions about this issue, and they’re being read by everybody involved. So again, thank you.

I absolutely take your point about conflating the issue of virgins with turnkey camps … that wasn’t my intention, but since they often come up in the same conversation (XYZ people are screwing up Burning Man! We should keep them out!), I thought it made sense to combine them here. In retrospect, I should’ve broken the two topics out into different posts. My bad.

The big takeaway I’ve gotten here (and shared with the right folks at BMHQ) is that you’re a) not happy, and b) wanting to hear solid facts, answers and transparency with regard to Burning Man’s policies around turnkey camps. And I can tell you that’s in the works — we’re processing a number of moving parts here.

Lastly, I stand by what I wrote here. I believe deeply in the 10 Principles (I have kinda made it my life’s work), and I don’t want (and refuse) to see them eroded. And that includes Radical Inclusion. This stuff isn’t easy, but I believe we can work together as a community to solve this problem.

Thanks again. Pulse taken.

What about the one question the community really wants answered:




Yet again, they pretend this question doesn’t even exist. Apparently, we only want solid facts and transparency about Burning Man’s turnkey camps policy. Ummm, no. How about you start calling them Commodification Camps – that would be a step in the right direction. It would make it seem like you are not only “listening”, but actually hearing. We already know the policy: it’s to place Commodification Camps on K Street, scalp them all the tickets they want for $650, and if they’re not participating, chide them in the hope that they’ll do better next time. And, pretend it’s not even a problem, since there’s a broad spectrum of Turkey camps, and at the same time there were only 25 Turkey camps…and only a very small number of those were “doing it wrong”.

Only yesterday, they told us:

We’ve received more than 400 post-event emails and hundreds of comments through the Feedback form

Was the content of these hundreds of emails and comments really so different from the 100-odd comments they’ve got on their blog in the last couple of days? Is this really all unexpected news to the guy whose job is to have his finger on the pulse of the community’s concerns? He didn’t know, but we told him, and he told the right folks, and they’re listening, so now they know?

More likely, they realized their feeble attempts to misdirect our attention away from the story, re-define the problem as a “spectrum” and “hardly noticeable”, and put their typical corporate PR spin on it weren’t working.

Solid facts, answers to the community’s questions, and transparency shouldn’t be something that only comes out of this “non-profit” when the community is assembled at their gates ready to riot, with pitchforks and flaming torches. Forget the Tin Principles, honesty, openness and integrity should be the fundamental essence of everything they do. Not just because that’s a “nice to have”: as a 501(c)3 public benefit corporation, they’re actually required by law to operate with a high standard of ethics. As well as the law, it’s on Article and Page 6-9 of their Bylaws.

Burning Man ended nearly 2 months ago. Their “community feedback” process ended more than 2 weeks ago. Sure, 400 emails is a lot, but one person can read that many in a day. And if they’re all saying the same thing, the message isn’t that hard to distill and report up the chain of command to the masters.

Once again, transparency from BMOrg is…”coming soon”.

If you’re against Commodification Camps, you might want to check out this petition. So far in our poll, it is literally the 1% that support them. A third agree with me that they should be allowed if they have a public participation area, and a majority two thirds say No.

13 comments on “BMOrg Speaks to Address Community Concerns

  1. “Narcissists (and, often, by contagion, their unfortunate victims) don’t talk, or communicate. They fend off. They hide and evade and avoid and disguise. They lecture and hector and preach. In their planet of capricious and arbitrary unpredictability, of shifting semiotic and semantic dunes they perfect the ability to say nothing in lengthy, Castro-like speeches.”

  2. This is that point where the philosophy and constitution of Burning Man has imploded in on itself. It was destined from the very first day that the concept and ten principles were first established. It was a great run, but now it is over. Burning Man will now continue to exist for only as long as rhetorical duct tape and bailing wire can hold it together, or for as long as “change is good” is acceptable to the community at large. Whatever Burning Man has, and will, become, will have to be accepted as a good enough compromise in place of whatever it ever had been before. And that will be for each individual Burner to decide.

    • the Burners are still here. It’s not too late to save our culture – just, perhaps, too late for TTITD to be the thing it once was within the new corporate structure they’ve created for whatever reason.

      It’s a big, wide, world out there, and the idea that “Burners can only go to official BMOrg regionals” is ludicrous. There’s a lot more of Us, than there are of Them, we have the ingenuity and resources and dedication…and the art.

  3. It’s probably already been said, but here’s one more for the record. We apply for, and produce a theme camp each year (since 2008). While perhaps late arrivals on the scene, we embrace the application process and do our best to give more than we take. Turnkey camps should make the same commitment – give more than they take. When I say “give” I am talking about a physical or experiential contribution that enriches Burning Man for all. I have found that a costumed individual can contribute proportionally as much as a theme camp, and collectively Burning Man is richer. It would seem reasonable that Turnkey camp applications should include a proposal or description of the proportional contribution to be made. We provide a complete description of our camp, how it relates to the BM theme, and the shows and activities we are providing. It’s understood that they may or may not be a theme camp – fine and fair enough – but Turnkey camps (since they are camps and not individuals) should include a contributing element to their participation. There are so many ways to contribute that these ticket holders should be able to put together a credible proposal that they then follow through with adding to the inclusiveness, gifting, and creative qualities and principles of Burning Man.

    • Of course that would be reasonable if that were how they got accepted, but they enter by the money door. It is the”donation” to the BMP that gets them in.

  4. “(XYZ people are screwing up Burning Man! We should keep them out!), I thought it made sense to combine them here. In retrospect, I should’ve broken the two topics out into different posts. My bad.”

    In all the discussions I’ve read to date only a very small number of people seem to be suggesting that anyone be ‘kept out’ of the event. I agree with Will (and others) that such an idea is anathema to the event. That being said, what I’m NOT hearing (crickets again) is how turnkey camps are gaming the system of ticket acquisition and ultimate distribution.

    I think it goes without saying that supposition and assumptions being bantered about are in fact just that. Facts. Unlimited, upper tier tickets ARE being scooped up by those with the sufficient legal tender only to be turned around and incorporated into an assembled package for… tour groups paying THOUSANDS of dollars to ‘experience’ the event from the comfort of catered, choreographed islands of exclusivity. I’d argue that THAT is what is anathema to the event. It’s also rank hypocrisy to argue/justify such tacit approval by the BORG by suggesting that such ticket line jumping is in compliance with the (very) nebulous 10 Principles.

    I think if more folks would remove their rose colored glasses for a moment or two that they’d see that the emperor is wearing no clothes in regards to this particular issue.

    • …this particular issue, and many others. Like:
      – supporting artists
      – supporting other charities
      – suing other charities
      – claiming credit for the work other charities do
      – Decommodification
      – transparency now that’s it’s non-profit
      – changing the world
      – Burner/DPW suicides
      – a transformative experience because people “brainwash themselves”, when 91% of them are taking illicit drugs

      I agree with you that pretending none of the above exists “because Radical Inclusion”, or blaming the New York Times “because money” and not blaming themselves for the same thing, all makes for a massive “Emperor Has No Clothes” situation.

  5. If radical inclusion of all BM attendees were part of commodification camps (required or don’t come back), I’d be ok with them. Ones with the right burner intentions could fit in just fine and add even more fun to the burn–fun for virgins, fun for everyone. They can bring a lot of resources and make a great experience for all.

    If they’re closed off, sheltered from the rest of the burn, I’d say stay the hell out. There’s no place for that, it drags down the experience for all, creates two classes, and that cannot be allowed if the burn is going to keep it’s magic.

    The tickets is a big worry. I didn’t get one and I’d hate to think someone else did because they had a VIP back door. Same issue of two classes–they will kill the magic. Burning Man cannot have VIPs. I’m for low-income discounts as a mechanism for more inclusion, and for helping artists and the greatest contributors to the burn to do so. I’m 100% against VIP treatment of anyone, no matter who they are. If they’re great, they’ll be treated well by people who know them and respect them. No one should not get systematized VIP special treatment.

    On the playa, every burner must be equal. That’s the magic of Burning Man. They must be treated equally before and after too.

  6. “Like I said, part of my job is to keep my eye on you people, and snow you as much as I can. We needed to hear exactly this intel, to best in order to best strategize our inevitable whitewash. This is great information and perspective to bring into our discussions about to deal with you people, and they’re being read by all the narcissists in the inner circle. So again, fuck you.

Leave a Reply