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Lions and tigers and radical inclusion, oh my. - Tactical Ninja

Feb. 9th, 2012

10:27 am - Lions and tigers and radical inclusion, oh my.

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Last night pombagira and I were charged with the job of barcoding all the animals on the savannah. All was going well - lions, tigers*, antelopes - until the lions started eating the antelopes and then it all got a bit confused. I figure it was a modern day version of Adam's task. "Yeah, naming is all very well but now we have to inventory them too."

*cough*

Also, a line spoken by someone in the dream is sticking with me: "When you're driving home from town out here at night it's comforting to see another set of headlights because it shows you you're not completely alone."

* Yes, this savannah had tigers. They were Savannah Tigers. Duh.


This morning I cut all ties with Occupy Wellington. I considered carefully before looking for further info, but I wanted to know how the group would deal with "Mr Elliot". Based on the Facebook page where discussion seems to have taken place, folks said he should apologise so he apologised and then most of them forgave him and he was allowed to continue with the group, including attending last night's GA.

Which makes it pretty clear to me that this is a group I can't be part of. Oh, I understand why they did it. It's the same reason that the thugs in the camp ended up being able to take over - this idea of inclusivity as a main principle. I've been involved with other groups *cough*Kiwiburn*cough* that value radical inclusion as well - however sooner or later there comes a time when the idealism has to be tempered with the reality that not everyone is A Happy Utopian That Considers Others Too and then you have to decide just how inclusive radical inclusion actually is.

Does radical inclusion really mean everybody? Or does it mean everybody whose behaviour stays within certain parameters? This is not a new dilemma. Kiwiburn began by including locals for free. After too many locals started coming and blagging the free stuff and causing trouble, only those who bought a ticket and camped were welcome. When this rule wasn't respected, security was hired to exclude gatecrashers (who were still offered the option of buying a ticket). However, when a few got in anyway, they were generally radically included and 'kept an eye on'. As the festival grew, this became more difficult as the fundamental differences between the crashers and burners became evident (use of too much alcohol and the propensity for belligerence and violence being a big one), and the police were enlisted once or twice to deal with trouble among these people.

This year, I'm told that Kiwiburn had its first cases of trouble from within the community, and that at least one person was expelled from the festival. I also hear that the excom is considering creating a 'blacklist' of people who are not welcome. This means that certain people will be banned from Kiwiburn*.

This is not radical inclusion. But it is defining a set of behavioural parameters within which one must operate to be part of the community. I believe that this is necessary, otherwise you don't have a community, you have anarchy - sure, an anarchy within which most people will still not be dicks, but there will be a few and if they are allowed to remain and continue being dicks, the ones who are hurt by that will leave, and sooner or later the balance will tip and you'll end up with a 'community of anarchy' where being a dick is tolerated and therefore the dick:not-dick ratio favours the dicks**. Being a dick has become the norm.

This is what I think happened at the Occupy Wellington camp. And the continuing involvement of "Mr Elliot" in Occupy, to me, is evidence that the community hasn't yet got a handle on 'practical inclusion' - therefore, I'm out.

* Please be aware that this is only a rumour and I have no desire to get involved in these sorts of decisions again.

** And not in a good way.


I don't envy anyone who has to deal with that dilemma. It feels like compromising one's principles for a start - and when a lot of kiwis are brought up to at least believe we are an egalitarian society (whether this is true or not is another debate), we often really struggle with excluding people. It's something I learned to do in my personal life for my own safety and wellbeing, but it took me nearly 40 years to figure out what those parameters were and how to reinforce my boundaries. Group boundaries are harder and those making the decisions don't usually get 40 years.

Which is why instead of trying to change this group, I've just removed myself. Personal decision. Much easier.

Comments:

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From:tatjna
Date:February 8th, 2012 09:44 pm (UTC)
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Well, yes. And the prioritisation of radical inclusion above other principles is a double edged sword. Many people find the inclusion aspect of burner culture to be one of the big attractions: "Hey, they accept me as I am, pink tutu, goat horns, bad poetry and all."

People who've been accepted in this way (and are civically responsible as a matter of course without thinking too much about it) will naturally elevate radical inclusion above civic responsibility based on their own experience/paradigm.

And when someone comes along who is less civically responsible, people really struggle to reprioritise, and you get the problems KB had (most people didn't even witness the first inclusion dilemma on the excom), and the problems I believe have led to the disintegration of OW.

You're right of course that prioritisation of multiple, sometimes conflicting principles is the crux of the dilemma. That's why it's hard - and even harder in groups, especially groups that often originate from the fringes to start with.

I'll be over here, changing the world with my principled group that has cohesive norms and prioritises integrity.
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From:richdrich
Date:February 8th, 2012 10:55 pm (UTC)
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I suspect that having "radical inclusion" in the BM principles was a bit of a reaction to the way that various other scenes were deliberately exclusive. For instance, clubs that only allow people in who dress a certain way, are friends of the organisers, etc. (I don't think that's ever gone on much in NZ - partly because club nights are so rarely oversubscribed).

My view (and I'm not involved in any way either) is that the bottom lines for KB should be dishonesty, violence or vandalism (plus a few specific things that threaten safety and compliance). I wouldn't like it to go further than that.

Otherwise you'd get like Rainbow Gathering where it's forbidden to wear shoes near the fire coz it's like, sacred. Look, we made a prescriptive religion! Catholicism 2.0!
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From:tatjna
Date:February 8th, 2012 10:58 pm (UTC)
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I'm with you on those guidelines and would support them.

Also, you will never catch me at Rainbow Gathering. From what I have heard secondhand and witnessed in its proponents, it sounds bloody awful.
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From:tatjna
Date:February 8th, 2012 11:21 pm (UTC)
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Aw come on, a tank is serious overkill. A unimog would do.
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From:eipi10
Date:February 9th, 2012 11:11 pm (UTC)
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Vaguely tank-like. Has damn fine sound system.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/30078245@N00/6273010559
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From:tatjna
Date:February 9th, 2012 11:13 pm (UTC)
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Can we have the manic driver too?
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From:eipi10
Date:February 9th, 2012 11:40 pm (UTC)
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Manic driver likes your thinking and awaits KB 2013 dates with interest :-)
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From:richdrich
Date:February 10th, 2012 02:36 am (UTC)
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I thought I recognised that mud..
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From:pombagira
Date:February 9th, 2012 01:10 am (UTC)
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i don't beleive that the term radical inclusion in all reality actually means everybody no matter what. there is a thing with a community, some theroist, dirkheim i believe said, that in order to belong to a community you must in essence obey, so to speak, the community accepted way of behaving. and that every community has a slightly different take on what the accepted way of behaving is.

for example putting a pair of underpants on your head and running down the street yelling "pants on patrol pants on patrol" would be considered acceptable behaviour within the burningman or kiwiburn community, however not so much say in paraparaumu where it would be considered deviant behaviour and probably someone would call the cops of at the very least the psyic team.

so with that in my mind for radical inclusion for KG does not include violence, wilful damage to another persons property, and other similar behaviours, as they are not included in the character, or accepted behavioural parameters of what 'radical inclusion' means for KB community.

besides radical is a word that to mean is more about expressive creativity, undies on head running down the street, rather than violence or similar behaviour.

so while BM and KB are festivals about having no rules, as such, there are distinct community behavioural etiquette which in all reality probably need to be addressed, and written down..

err.. yeah.. clear as mud yet?

also tigers much easier to barcode cause of the stripes.. just saying..
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From:tatjna
Date:February 9th, 2012 01:24 am (UTC)
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Sounds like durkheim was talking about morals.
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From:pombagira
Date:February 9th, 2012 02:03 am (UTC)
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yes, morals, but also actions as well.. errr.. there is words but i lost them currently.. *ponders this*.. but yes!!
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From:pombagira
Date:February 9th, 2012 03:23 am (UTC)
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yes wot alphamatrix said.. with the good words..

social contract *nods*

do be do
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From:clashfan
Date:February 9th, 2012 03:27 pm (UTC)
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For several years, I've had 'Rule #1 . . . Don't be a dick," as my standard. Good to know I'm not alone in that phrasing!
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