An Open Letter to the Members of Dublin 2019 (Worldcon 77)

Dear Dublin 2019 Members,

you may already be aware, from my previous posts here and on social media, of my disquiet at the idea that we may shortly be voting to award Worldcon 79 (2021) to a bid locating it in the United States of America, in Washington DC.

This disquiet comes from my belief that the current immigration rules in place at the US border, are not compatible with the inclusive, diversity-embracing values of our science fiction community.  I believe that a vote for DC in 2021, a) sends a message to fans of certain nationalities, ethnicities and of Muslim faith that the rest of us don’t care if they have difficulties attending in 2021 or are even prevented from doing so, and b) signals that our community is, at best indifferent to, or at worst, endorses the onward march of the US towards fascism.

When political philosopher Hannah Arendt studied the rise of fascism in 1930’s Germany she was able to summarise the mechanism behind it in a single neat phrase: Participation is Support.

In the current climate, any international event organiser in the US deciding to authorise their event to go ahead is signalling that, whatever their own personal politics, they’re OK with the immigration rules currently in place.  In other words, they’re participating.


If, like me, you share these concerns, please consider voting in Dublin for ‘None of the Above,’ on the 2021 bid ballot.  A victory for ‘None of the Above’ shifts the decision on 2021 back to the Worldcon Business Meeting.  This body is largely free of constraints on how it can act, in such an instance.  The one thing that several correspondents familiar with Worldcon procedures who have been in touch with me these past few days have been at pains to point out, is that it is paramount to respect the will of the voters.  For this reason, I think it is unlikely that the Business Meeting would overrule the ‘None of the Above’ choice and rubber stamp the Washington DC bid.  ‘None of the Above’ therefore seems to me to offer the best chance of achieving a different outcome.

Thanks for spending time to read my letter,


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