Day 24: In Brisbane.

Phuong driving me round Brisbane in the quadOur meeting doesn't start until 9am, or 10am as it turns out Beck lied in an attempt to get the group somewhere on time. Phuong and I left early so we could chase train tickets, she's now going home on Sunday morning so gets to spend Sunday on the train. And she has to check in at 6:30am which means leaving Beenleigh at about 5:45am. Ow! But at least she gets sleep on Sunday night rather than arriving in Sydney just before her first lecture. We catch the group in a cafe next to the HQ and Phuong has breakfast number two with everyone else.

Meeting starts more or less on time, by a bit after 10 we have a plan for the pre-11am checkin, the Evan and Cassie go to do a school visit while everyone else works on the script for the presentation tonight. The check-in is even worse than usual, Valerie starts with a 20-minute dramatisation of her solo ride to Paul's place from CREEC the other night, which basically means she rejects the idea of minimising motor vehicle use on the ride, she would rather not have to make hard choices. But since the original discussion was framed in terms of sustainability, she can't attack that directly and CANC in a cafe in Brisbane instead focuses on the "counting grams of carbon" obsession of certain members of the group, their white male privilege and how that allows them to have better gear and thus an easier time of the riding. June's talk is more about her struggle yesterday and being made to feel guilty about using the train. People give me dirty looks, assuming I was involved. Beck is concerned that the ride focus more on anti-nuke issues and less on sustainability and other "mixed messages". Phuong is brief, so am I (we're running out of time), I mention that attacking straight-white-males is an easy out for the group but also frees me from any responsibility for my actions - it's not as if I can stop being a SWM. Evan is also unhappy about that attack, but more politely. We discuss the vehicle thing a little, then the group decide that once again motor vehicle use is entirely up to individuals. After this we get into a justification spiral, where people are purely competing for victim status, which prompts Cassie to make a particularly nasty personal attack that is one step too far for me, on top of all the other shit, so I leave.

Phuong and I bail back to Mandy's place and I vent for a while, then chat to Mandy briefly before we ride off at about 3pm to bush camp near Mount Gravatt.

This is the end of CANC III for me. This sort of uncontrolled encounter group stuff is not comfortable for me, and the personal attacks were just too much. Similar things happened on CANC II, which makes me suspect that this ride will not get any better. At some point I'll do a more analytical retrospective, and a bit of a write-up of what went wrong.

Sorry to those who were expecting me to ride the full distance.


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