Velo, Rapido | This is about a few different things.
This call for essays inspired me to look back at my own writing from South Africa and think about whether I should be writing something myself.
All extra interesting in the context of the sometimes exasperating debate over revolutionary tourism amongst the friends, here in NYC and now in Oaxaca, of Brad Will. Al Giordano had some sharp (venomous, even?) words on the list (which I’m not going to repost because it is a list and if they wanted the archives public they’d publish them) about the impact of activist arrogance (I’m so radical that you should make room for me right in the middle of the action) in Oaxaca. So I’ve been thinking a bit about solidarity and tourism and consumption.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
Less Than Settled: Critical Perspectives on Travel and Privilege
What compromises do activists, organizers, and those actively pursuing social justice make when traveling internationally? How does the experience of living in a global super power, either “legally” or “not”, affect our reception in countries that make up the global south? How do we own (or not own) our privilege, be it race, class, age, gender, sexuality, citizenship, body type, or ability in another cultural context? What happens when our identities are anything but simple and we experience oppression simultaneously with privilege? What does contemporary colonialism look like and what is our responsibility to its existence and perpetuation while traveling? What does traveling respectfully, accountably or even radically look like? Is it possible?
This anthology seeks to address critical questions around western privilege and international travel. Specifically, bruin wants to investigate how activists, organizers, critical thinkers, radicals, progressives, and subversives bring or don’t bring their politics with them when they travel to the third world/two-thirds world/global south. bruin wants to hear specifically from those who have decided not to travel and from those who travel but feel less than settled about it. How do folks negotiate steadfast beliefs about social justice and oppression when in different cultural contexts that don’t share such beliefs or share them differently? What is open to compromise and what will never be compromised?
Other questions hoping to be explored include: critiques of eco-tourism or “activism”-based tourisms, critical experiences around international summit hopping and “solidarity work,” especially in the global south, participation in other countries’ revolutionary movements, the romanticization of such movements, thoughts about sexual opportunism, associating with other travelers/responsibilities around other travelers, and thoughts and experiences of ex-patriots of those who struggle with desires to become ex-patriots. What do our projects with other international activists look like? How does our privilege and power enter into our cross-border romantic relationships as well as cross-border friendships? How does this affect our work at home? How do we travel to countries that we’re from or our family of origin is from, where the distance is less and potentially more at the same time?
bruin is less interested in political theory and well-worded rants and more interested in the complication and contradiction of your lived experiences. Please be honest. Let’s create a space for our mistakes and visions. Less Than Settled hopes to emerge as a resource and the continuation of a conversation that is critical to better living what we’re hoping to create.
bruin christopher runyan is a white, genderqueer, trans, urban queerbo and organizer in seattle, washington who thinks too much. He is committed to having conversations that make him uncomfortable but further the creation of fabulous, critical, sustainable, and transformative communities. He has traveled in latin america, southern africa, and throughout north america and feels way complicated about it.
Please submit non-fiction essays up to 6,000 words. Essays must be typewritten, double-spaced and submitted via mail. Please include a short bio. Send essays to:
Less Than Settled
c/o bruin christopher runyan
1643 south king street
seattle, washington 98144
Feel free to contact bruin with questions at bruinator @ gmail.com Deadline for submissions is: (June 31, 2007), but really, the sooner the better.