Christopher Culver has written an impassioned essay, “Why Esperanto Suppresses Language Diversity”, about why he has withdrawn from the Esperanto movement. Basically, his point is that despite its rhetoric about supporting language diversity, the movement is actually interested only in supporting Esperanto use, and in practice works to suppress diversity as exemplified by the use of other languages. He says:
Esperanto is so strongly obligatory that its use is expected among any two Esperantists even if they speak the same native language. The act of using one’s native language with an Esperantist of the same mother tongue, referred to with the Esperanto neologism krokodilado, is one of the great taboos of the Esperanto movement and generally invites a scolding from other members of the movement.
The argument may arise that people attend congresses for the sake of practicing Esperanto and therefore it is inappropriate to speak other languages. The first response is that, provided that they understand one another, it is never inappropriate for two people to speak the native language of one or the other, for to do otherwise is to rule out any true cultural exchange. A second response is that Esperantists cannot be expected to limit this insistence on Esperanto to congresses, for many Esperantists look to congresses as ideal environments. Many times have I heard some Esperantist say “How I wish the whole world were like an Esperanto congress!” The norms of congresses, including the censure of the use of any language other than Esperanto, would serve as models for all international communications, as well as for communication in international contexts between two people of the same native language.
He also says that “in sheltering them entirely from the local language, congresses give participants no true contact with the host country.” An interesting take on a movement I don’t know much about, and I’ll be curious to see what better-informed readers have to say.