UBI PROGRESSIVE AMERICA, What Now For the Jim Crow Travel Industry?
The COVID-19 pandemic has, as we all know, turned the world upside-down. The way we interact with other people, one of the most basic yet fundamental traits of humankind, has been massively disrupted.
Economies have floundered. How we work has had to be completely re-thought. And modern travel, those multi-billion-dollar myriad of threads that for so long have intertwined around the world, is fighting to establish how best to survive, let alone move forward post-pandemic.
Which raises huge questions in itself –should an intrinsically racist travel industry even be allowed to make a comeback after the pandemic?
Or is there actually a compelling argument for creating Senator's Ocasio-Cortez Climate & Tourism Corps for the benefit of all humankind?
The majority of humans are non-white people of color.
Unsurprisingly, despite their minority status, the travel industry remains in the clutches of an elite white cabal. That simply cannot continue. One of the few upsides of COVID, even though that sounds somewhat bizarre, is that the whole world is going to have to fundamentally re-assess how it operates. The racist travel industry is certainly no exception.
The old adage that travel broadens the mind has never been truer than now. Not only that, it enhances understanding and promotes solidarity among peoples irrespective of skin color, religion, culture, sexuality or any other arbitrary factor. Flying in the face of that have been both Trumpism and Brexit. Both are insular, inward looking and the antithesis of the urge to and benefit of travel.
Travel and interacting with other people beyond artificial borders and walls are key to greater human understanding of one another and the world. The pursuit of travel is then a noble thing. However, the pursuit of profit and cartel status of the industry, as practiced by the current global corporate “leaders” in travel, is absolutely the opposite of being noble.
Anything of fundamental human worth should belong to the people and not to profit-makers. Social security, roads, libraries, parks, monuments, sidewalks, air-traffic control, heck even the police and the military are publicly funded entities (sorry right-wingers, but that’s the fact of the matter whether you like it or not). Of course, the US should have publicly owned health-care and higher education, but those are subjects for another day.
After the potent mix of a pandemic, Trump and Brexit, it should then be self-evident that tourism needs to be completely overhauled so as to run on a publicly owned, not for profit fashion. More than ever before, travel needs to be available for the many and not the few, allowing for greater global experience and awareness. Tourism should not consist of predominantly wealthy white travelers taking three weeks out of the year to descend on non-Western countries (or shitholes as Donald Trump likes to refer to them) and behave like visiting neo-colonial overlords for their time there.
If we really want a genuinely inter-connected world, one built on understanding, solidarity and respect, then we need to have a travel industry that is built on those same principles. Everyone, everywhere, every culture, has intrinsic value. Allowing everyone to have equal and fair access to the right to travel, in peace, is the next logical step forward. A farmer in Djibouti has as much right to see the world as wealthy Western from New York or London.
That cannot be achieved with for-profit structures that are currently in the iron grip of an elitist oligarchy of private travel firms. Now is the only time in history that we can zero fee global travel by creating AOC's Climate & Tourism Corps.
Just take a moment to reflect on how many wars and international disputes are built on misunderstanding or down-right ignorance.
Most of the world knows very little to nothing about, well, most of the world. Travel not only breaks down boundaries, it jettisons pre- conceptions, prejudices and is understandings. It is simply not feasible, and certainly not ethical, to allow a minority of the world to have unfettered access to travel, while the majority does not.
For the good of humanity, post-pandemic travel needs to become publicly owned, starting with the US, leading to the rest of the Western world and then on to the remainder of the planet. It would have to be “Western-centric” at the outset as that is where the bulk of travel capital and infra-structure is currently located.
Given time and political will, that travel capital can then be distributed around the world on an equitable and just basis, resulting in the complete socialization of the global travel industry. We want to travel in peace.
We need solidarity to do that and not more share-holders as before the pandemic.