Boycott Commodification – or Just Give Us Your Money [Updates]

Thanks to our eagle-eyed readers who spotted this post at The Burning Blog Voices of Burning Man. It seems they posted it, and as soon as there was a critical comment, yanked it again. Not before one sharp Burner could capture it, though; thanks Grey Coyote.

The irony of their Minister of Propaganda being censored on the Voices of Burning Man is one of their best jokes yet.

It seems they are trying very hard to shut down any discussion of Commodification Camps, preferring Burners talk about Halcyon’s Mom instead. Or maybe they don’t want to piss off Billionaire Burner (and Amazon founder) Jeff Bezos.

If you don’t want to donate a share of your Amazon purchases to BMOrg, they accept stock transfers now too.


 

November 27, 2014      | Filed under Participate!.
Black Friday? Well, if you must …
Posted by Will Chase

We’re not huge fans of Black Friday, which puts the unseemly side of rampant consumerism on exhibition, shamelessly turning over-consumption into a spectator sport.

Yep, it’s like that.

Not to get all sanctimonious, but we prefer “Buy Nothing Day”, which was invented in 1992 by Vancouver artist Ted Dave, and subsequently given amplification by the folks at Adbusters (all hail Adbusters, who also initiated the Occupy movement).

It’s simple to participate: buy nothing on Black Friday. Well, it can be less than simple of course — sometimes you find yourself in a pinch, and you gotta buy diapers for the little one. But a massive flat screen TV? An X-station-Wii box? Pass. You get the idea.

Instead, we’ll get all hippy and stuff and — brace yourselves — make gifts for our family and friends. Or not. Sometimes we go for a hike in the fresh air or something. But we’re sure as hell not going to set foot in a box store.

Sure, it may be the equivalent of pissing in the ocean, but it’s something. And it feels as good as it is quixotic.

Now, if you’re committed to playing your part in America’s capitalist dream, great — have at it. But if you do, maybe consider making some good stuff happen with your purchasing power? If you’re shopping on Amazon, do it through AmazonSmile, and Amazon will donate .5% of your sale price to the Burning Man Project, supporting our year-round efforts to share Burning Man culture with the world. You get your stuff, and more people get to experience Burning Man. Win win.

Either way, however you roll, we wish you and yours a happy holiday season.

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase first attended Burning Man 2001. He volunteered as the Operations Manager for the ARTery (Black Rock City’s art HQ) and was on the Burning Man Art Council from 2003-2008. He was Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004-2009, then transitioned to the Communications Department in 2009 to become Minister of Propaganda, working on global communications strategy. He’s the editor-in-chief for the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter and the Voices of Burning Man blog, and content manager for Burning Man’s websites. He also manages the ePlaya BBS and Burning Man’s social networking efforts.

One thought on “Black Friday? Well, if you must …”

Grey Coyote says:
November 27, 2014 at 2:25 pm

I can’t believe it, Will. Are you freakin’ serious? Given everything the BMORG has been caught at recently (ie, selling out to Commodification Camps, scalping tickets from STEP to “special VIPs” at far beyond face value, having a board member RUNNING such a camp, etc, etc, etc) you have the nerve to pen this:

“…Now, if you’re committed to playing your part in America’s capitalist dream, great — have at it. But if you do, maybe consider making some good stuff happen with your purchasing power?If you’re shopping on Amazon, do it through AmazonSmile, and Amazon will donate .5% of your sale price to the Burning Man Project…”

No thanks. Not a PENNY for the BMORG until they ANSWER THE QUESTION.


 

[Update 11/27/14 10:10pm] Grey Coyote has done a nice job re-wording Will’s post, from a more Burner-y perspective:

———-

Burners are not huge fans of Commodification Camps, which puts the unseemly side of rampant consumerism on exhibition, shamelessly turning over-consumption into a spectator sport.

Yep, it’s like that.

Not to get all sanctimonious, but we prefer “Radical Self Reliance” which was invented in 1998 by a group of burners and subsequently given amplification by the folks on Eplaya and http://www.burners.me  (all hail Burners.me, who also initiated the BMORG Accountability movement).

It’s very simple to participate: Shun all commodification Camps. Well, it can be less than simple of course — sometimes you find yourself in a mood, and you gotta whip out a can of whup-ass for the little people. But a toilet that flushes? A sherpa to shine your shoes? Pass. You get the idea.

Instead, you guys could get all hippy and stuff and — brace yourselves — make a real camp and actually interact with your Burner family and friends. Or not. Sometimes ya just gotta get out the water balloons and go for a hike out by Avenue K. But we’re sure as hell are not going to set foot in a CommieCamp.

Sure, it may be the equivalent of pissing in the ocean, but it’s something. And it feels as good as it is quixotic. Rich fuckers paying 20 grand to hide from the dust. Epic FAIL.

Now, if you’re committed to playing your part in America’s capitalist dream, great — have at it. But don’t do that shit on the playa. If you do, you’re a Fair Target, and we are watching.  Your ass may be jumped by a bunch of Burners with weed-blowers, tar and feathers. If you’re camping with a Commodification Camp, you’re fair game and its open season.  It doesn’t matter if you’re “donating” part of your ticket price to the Larry Harvey Retirement Project, you’re still a total chump in our book.  You’re not supporting the year-round efforts to share Burning Man culture with the world. Instead you’re getting a turnkey camping experience complete with hookers and blowjobs and sherpas to wipe your ass.  This isn’t how you should experience Burning Man.

However you commodifiers ultimately choose to roll, rest assured your Burner Bretheren can’t wait to meet you on the playa.  We wish you a happy holiday season. Try the caviar.  Feel free to choke on it.  See you in the dust.


 

[Update 11/28/14 12:36pm]

They’ve trotted out Halcyon to try again, with the warm fuzzy version:

http://blog.burningman.com/2014/11/tenprinciples/gifting-vs-gift-exchange/

 

26 comments on “Boycott Commodification – or Just Give Us Your Money [Updates]

  1. Pingback: BURNILEAKS: Asking for Gifting, 2015 Edition | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. Solution? Start a new festival that remains true and will not compromise the ideals that are being trodden on in this latest development. The rich get richer and fat. Then they become a burden on the heath care system… Oh yeah but you poor Americans can’t receive free health care… So those fat, rich burdens on the health system are really parasites.

    Like

  3. My thoughts? I was happy to send a little image of my art to burning man confident in the assumption that any money the image generated would go to a not for profit charity and that at least my name would be included as acknowledgement of myself the artist. If this is what burning man has become, a money hungry corporate enterprise, who fails to acknowledge artists they utilize to generate income… well I for one am appalled.

    Above poster mentioned Silk Road??? Well that era is past now we have Evolution and Agora who are true free markets. One in which the consumer can make purchases without limitation based on ethical belief. Is that what burning man has become? An unethical corporate money grabber? Even those two examples I have listed have more ethics then what is purposed here…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: All We Want For Chri$tma$ Is Your Money | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  5. Thank you for reporting on things like this. Is there proof that this was actually posted on the Burning Blog, or do you just have a copy of the text? Screenshots would be helpful! Anyway, I’m thankful for burners.me!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. prop·a·gan·da
    ˌpräpəˈɡandə/
    noun
    noun: propaganda; noun: Propaganda

    1.
    derogatory
    information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

    It is very interesting that the BMorg would choose a title most closely associated with Nazi Germany to describe their public relations manager:

    “In 1933, the year Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, he named Joseph Goebbels, his trusted friend and colleague, to the key post of minister for public enlightenment and propaganda.” ~ from http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/joseph-goebbels

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My Kool-Aid years were between 1999 and 2003. But I was lucky to find Spock Science Monitor early on, which helped me keep a distance from the Borg. My campmates, however, bought into the Borg hook-line-and-sinker. A lot of namedropping and sucking-up. 2003 was our second year placed on the esplanade and it was actually a lot of fun. But there was this drive amongst my campmates to get closer and closer to the inner-circle, like an obsession. Well, many years later after being chewed up and spit out, used and abused by the Borg, none of my ex campmates attend the event anymore.

    Borg is just as it reads. Their narcissism and greed knows no bounds. Once anyone stops drinking the Kool-Aid for whatever reason they are OUT. It matters not how much you contribute, you’re just gone. The whole organization is purely made up of yes-men. All the no-men are six feet under.

    There’s no repairing this. It will get worse and worse until something breaks, like a local revolt or the governor decides to shit-can the whole thing.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Every time I think I have a handle as to just how out of touch with the present reality Will & Larry & The BMORG are, they go and pull something like this. Will’s post was a slap in the face of everything and everyone that is Burning Man. I honestly can’t cite a more direct self-contradiction in recent memory. Will says: “Don’t commodify today, but if you do, you should pay us so we can preach decommodification at next years Commodification Camps”.

    UNREAL!

    Liked by 3 people

    • the timing is interesting too…while most of us are thinking about all the things we’re grateful for, the Minister of Propaganda for Burning Man is thinking “how can we cash in on Black Friday, and spin it that it’s in line with the Principles?”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! It was interesting to see that a well known member of eplaya recently stated that Larry & Co. are about to announce their response to the ComCamp Controversy. But then Will’s latest blog post pops up and makes me think that no one is actually in charge over at THE BORG. Have they not gotten the message that we, the Burners, still have our eyes and minds squarely fixed on THE BORG and that every time Will or AnswerGirl trot out some BS post they’re going to get slaughtered by the angry mob that’s waiting at the virtual doors to Larry & Co.’s mansion?

      The phrase “tone deaf” is starting to seem like a compliment when it comes to Larry & Co.

      Like

  9. This is the act that started the event in a larger and more eloquent way. Larry Harvey burned a man on a beach (the playa) to let go of the love that he knew. Only this time the man he is burning is the event “burning man” in order to let go of the old frame of the event and shift this overgrowth that makes TTITD an exclusive event into a inclusive global community. 2011 core projects started uniting regions of burners who were neighbors but never knew. Their “rite of passage” we were for the first time on our own making sure we got a ticket to go much like parents cutting off allowance. 2012 we were fertility we were pollinating the globe with our culture with one simple concise idea, similar to a hive mind effort. In 2013 we were cargo cultists, we continued the traditions and rituals that once brought unimaginable illumination in hopes that it would return and they would be among the magic. With our tickets reading “we will return”. In 2014 we were a caravansary, we were the transit point of all things absurd, enlightening, healing, shaming, challenging, thought provoking non physical goods. We were a Silk Road of ideas, ideals, values, and beliefs without any sale, without any fear of loss, without any peddling we changed our minds. This coming year is a carnival of mirrors and I’m hoping we all reflect on the things we have achieved and the things we have lost and learned, most of all the friends you have made and the community’s you have built. We are all authors and we all wrote ourselves into this book. I’m hoping we see the reflection of that magic and light in every one of us that we have connected ourselves with and take this new level of awareness with what we have learned, lost and achieved into this new chapter of burning and burn our own “men” here in the community’s that we created ourselves. It’s the one gift the organization could leave us is the infrastructure to do it your way live we have always on on playa year after year.

    Liked by 1 person

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