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Tag Archive for 'Real Life'

Hospitality Exchange Communities and real-life campaigns

This document is created because the discussion about the relation between HospExchNetw and the real-live comes more and more into the focus. The question “So how can we reach the 5 billion people that have no computer?” rose in a discussion on the BeWelcome Forum and a post on the the Open Couchsurfing Blog with the title: “Is travelling noble? Or: “The Emperor´s New Clothers”. The replies/comments to this thread/post motivated me to publish this approach.This document is a proposal for the second General Assemly of BeVolunteer in 2008.

It does only raise one idea of how Hospitality Exchange Networks, in this case BeWelcome, could take a step into the real world. It s not intended to be the only way/step but one of plenty. It brings up reasons why BeVolunteer should be a part of The Other Campaign which is based on the Sexta Declaracion de la Selva Lacandona of the EZLN.

I m posting this on the OpenCouchsurfing Blog because most of the reasons I bring up here could be applied to Couchsurfing as well.

What is the Other Campaign?

The goal of the The Other Campaign is to create a diverse, plural and multiple world-wide network of subjects of social rebellion. The mission of the Network is the creation of another way of organizing our entire world – without exploitation, unequally, oppression or discrimination. It is explicitly anti-capitalistic and anti-systemic. Invited for participation in this network are: Truly left-wing parties without an official register of members, social movements, collectives, cultural groups, independent and critic media, civil organizations and Non Government Organizations. The organization of this network is fundamentally horizontally without any hierarchy or authorities. It refuses all uni-personal leadership. It encourages all members to take there own decisions and use there talents in their own way. The lax network refuse from the beginning all tendencies of homogenization or uniformity. It is intended to be a Network of help, solidarity and mobilization of all the members. This network should be able to create alternative ways of social communication. This is the point where BeVolunteer comes into the game. [1]

Why does BeVolunteer/BeWelcome fit in this description of participants of the other campaign?

The members of BeWelcome and all our Volunteers are creating an alternative way of bringing people together. We offer hospitality, and soon other things like bikes or books to share, without expecting money for it.

Lots of Volunteers working voluntarily for our common dream. It would actually violate statutes of BeVolunteer if any volunteer would receive money for his work. Voluntary work does not fit in the capitalist logic. In the pure capitalism you exchange your work force for other goods or money.
The organization BeVolunteer is a Non Profit Organization. An organization in the capitalistic way has to make profit to be competable with other concurrents.
BeWelcome is not a competitor to other networks. BeWelcome is more likely another option for people who care about democratic way of organizing an organization. (at least thats what I believe)

The members of BeVolunteer have all the power. This makes us, like the the other Campaign slower, weaker and lower but like this we guarantee that BeVolunteer is really driven by its members. The Board of Directors is based on annual elections and the members of BeVolunteer or lets say the General Assembly is the highest power. We refuse uni-personal leadership. Each year there are elections of the Board of Directors who are representing the members of BeVolunteer and managing the daily issues.

One of our goals is the intercultural exchange with people from all over the world. Thanks to that our members are aware of the consequences of the neoliberalistic policy in the world. We meet face to face with people who are suffering in the current system. We are desperate for a high plurality within our members to increase the possibilities of our members to really enter in a intercultural experience. One objective of the Other Campaign is to bring the political discussion into daily life. Democracy is not done with going to vote each 4,5 or 6 years not even with a vote every year at the GA of BeVolunteer. Everyday there are decisions to take. It s not always necessary to organize a huge congress or a manifestation to get people together for a discussion or for protest. That can happen everyday in the decentralized network of BeWelcome.

To be Part of the Other Campaign BeVolunteer has to subscribe the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lancandonan. I don t know yet how you sign this declaratio but thats just a formality. The question right now is if BeWelcome/BeVolunteer or any other Networj wants to take this step into real life political campaigns or not.

[1] Carlos Antonio Aguirre Rojas, Chiapas, Planeta Tierra, Mexico 2006, S.165ff

PS: I hope it s readable – the Spell Check didn t work …