Reading through all of the comments, Gina posted something very interesting:
2014 is showing the slippery slope that Burning Man is on.
The Burning Man principles include 1. de-commodification, 2) radical self-reliance,3) communal effort, 4)participation, 5)leave no trace, 6)radical inclusion 7) communal effort
gifting 9) civic responsibility 10)radical self-expression.
The Burning Man organization supports plug and play camps…because they argue its a way to spread the culture of burning man. But its seems rather than spreading Burning Man’s culture…they are distorting it, bastardizing it, poisoning it.
Instead of building off the notions of de-commodification and communal effort, the plug n’ play camps begin from the idea of PROFITING off of burners.
So Plug N’ Plays exist to PROFIT. And inherent in that model is the total disregard for the principles of de-commodification, self-reliance, inclusion, communal effort, participation…
It seems it hasn’t taken long for so many of these camps (Lost Hotel, Caravancicle and others on the map) to decide –if we can ignore five principles, why not ignore other principles…such as Leave No Trace. Thus, the piles of MOOP.
Whether the people organizing the camps are making money off of $25,000 dues or off $350 dues… the driving force is NOT to set up a participatory community that self-expresses and gifts, but rather to set up a camp from which they can make a PROFIT, the antithesis of de-commodification and gifting.
And some unscrupulous organizers figure that if they are allowed to make a profit with their theme camp.. why not make a greater profit by scamming and not delivering what is promised? Gypsy Flower Power is not the only when were people were scammed. The Burning Man facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/burntheman/
) has a number of other examples including Basshenge and an unscrupulous chef who took thousands of dollars for meals that were to be distributed at a camp that didn’t exist.
The question of course is what is the way forward? How dear do we hold our principles? How much are we willing to defend them and uphold them? What are the benefits and costs of allowing plug n’ play?
An artist friend who has worked at plug n’ play camps for the last three years defended them as his means of getting to the playa so he could gift his performances on the playa.
Is there another way to spread the authentic burning man culture to those afraid to make a self-reliant trip to the playa? Is there another way to financially support artists who could otherwise not come to the playa? One idea is for Burning Man to ban theme camps that hire workers and ban theme camps that make a profit…and to ask theme camps to set aside part of their dues to support artists coming to the playa.
What are other ways to make this all work in a manner that upholds our principles and remains inclusive both to those financially unable to support their playa gifts and those who are able to give more financially to the playa?