Over at burningman.com, Caveat Magister’s attempts to laugh off the Burner community’s Commodification Camp concerns – Why Am I Making Fun of Burners and 12 Shocking Revelations About Ultra-Rich Plug and Play Camps – went down like a lead balloon.
Commenter Metapony likened it to the 2007 DPW workers rights protest at BMHQ, during a Regionals Conference:
This burning blog posting mocking people and misrepresenting the issue reminds me of something…
Oh yes, I remember! This is like the time there was a small protest across the street from the Burning Man office (during the spring regionals summit in 2007) and the BM Org sent a bunch of people out to make fun of them…
So carry on that fine tradition of misrepresenting and mocking folks with real issues, CM. Good job.
This is an interesting chapter of Burning Man’s history that I had never heard of before. From Bright Path:
Today, Feb. 18, 2007, a few workers, some with their heads covered by paper bags, staged a small demonstration outside of Burning Man headquarters in San Francisco to protest what they say are reductions in pay, forced “death waivers” and lack of adequate health care for the workers who primarily clean the desert up after the Burning Man event.
Now that I’ve seen the video, it definitely has some resonance with the current situation.
The protest begins in a fairly low-key fashion, with 2 of the protestors afraid to show their faces for fear of losing their jobs or future art grants. Caleb, the unmasked protestor, is very well-spoken about the reasons for their protest. Then, Burning Man HQ’s doors open and some other protestors stream out to disrupt the protest with a protest of their own: mocking the seemingly valid concerns about pay cuts, medical treatment, and possible violations of labor regulations.
At the time these events occurred, he spoke out on tribe.net about the sock puppets that were dispatched to attack him as revenge against his peaceful protest. People wondered on ePlaya if the counter-protestors were acting independently, or if they were sent out by BMOrg to misdirect the situation. Some of the protestors were identified as Regional representatives of the Org.
Does anyone know the real story behind this? Was it all just a Cacophony-style prank, another Big Farce – or were the protestors expressing legitimate concerns? Did BMOrg ever respond seriously, or was the pranking the extent of it?
If you feel like protesting today, sign the petition against Commodification Camps.
[Update 11/2014 9:32pm]
A Burner who was there that day at the Regional conference but wishes to remain anonymous contacted us and provided some further details. I asked:
Were the protestors concerns fake? Did BMOrg do anything about them? When the anti-protestors learned what the protest was about , what did you do then? Did you go back inside and report back to anyone, or did nobody care?
Anonymous Burner replied: