[TPG] Statement in support of the (US) Transhuman National Committee

The following is an open letter being read as an address at the (US) Transhuman National Committee convention on 27th February 2016:

My name is Amon Twyman, and I am making this statement in my capacity as Leader of the Transhumanist Party, a registered political party in the United Kingdom, and as a founder of the worldwide Transhumanist Party movement.

The Transhumanist Party in the UK and beyond is fully supportive of the work of the Transhuman National Committee (TNC) in the United States. We see that work as an essential stepping stone toward the international development of our movement and a positive future for humanity. In addition to our general support and encouragement, there are three points I would like to raise which you may choose to reflect upon while planning the TNC’s next steps as an organisation.

1. Open source, decentralization and networking, rather than ownership

The Transhumanist Party movement is a loosely organised thing, still in the process of emerging as a mature phenomenon, but already a few things about its nature are clear. One is that we represent a political aspect of the broader Transhumanist movement rather than any attempt to replace the movement as a whole. Furthermore we cannot claim to represent all politically-inclined Transhumanists, but merely to focus on Transhumanism in our political efforts, and give a voice to all those who share that focus.

Similarly, we have learned that the growth of this movement is a process of developing respectful partnerships, networking, and simply finding ways to work with people who share our values and ideals. Not only do we not want to tell anyone what they can or cannot do, but more to the point we find all attempts to “own” the movement or its symbols to be counter-productive. With this in mind, you can see that there is no global authority within the movement which must give its stamp of approval to the TNC; instead this is a matter of like-minded activists in other countries showing our wholehearted support for the emerging US wing of the movement, and looking forward to working together.

2. Transcending limits, and creating a better future

When we talk of a global movement encompassing organisations such as the TNC, we naturally find ourselves asking (and being asked) what is the idea or common factor which ties the whole thing together. After all, any truly global movement will be a highly diverse thing, and while diversity can be our great strength, we need to be sure of a certain unity too.

There is only one idea that goes to the heart of what Transhumanism must and always will be, no matter the additional baggage or interpretations it picks up, and that idea is of transcending limitation through technology. To use every means at our disposal to overcome the limitations of the human condition. Such limitations are not only biological, but also philosophical, social, legal, and political, and a mature future Transhumanist Party movement can be a powerful tool in our fight against such limitations.

3. Pragmatism, effectiveness, and strategy

Even though we are a futurist movement with a particularly high-minded ideal at its heart, our goals are concrete. We want to live longer and better, to allow as many people as possible the opportunity to achieve those things, and not to allow anyone else’s beliefs to get in the way of that. To that end, we must always remember to prioritise clear goals and action over endless debate, squabbling, and preaching to the converted… all things which, let’s face it, Transhumanism has been known for in the past. Whatever names they go by, the various groups associated with the global Transhumanist Party movement must be focussed on what specific changes they can facilitate – what tangible goals they can achieve – and actively supporting other groups with broadly compatible goals.

While remaining focussed on our common ideal of transcending limitation through technology, each group must look to its own highest priorities first, and then actively and effectively support a small selection of like-minded organisations in a kind of “local network”. That way, we can develop an effective, unified movement with the power to determine goals in a decentralised way, while yet being unified by a clear common ideal. It is in this cooperative spirit that the Transhumanist Party in the UK is making clear its wholehearted support for the TNC.

Last but not least, it is important to consider the question of strategy in determining the next steps for our organisations around the world, including the TNC. What do you hope to achieve, in specific terms, and how do you intend to achieve it? Most broadly speaking, in many ways simply having clear goals and the determination to work toward them is more important than the actual details of those goals. At the same time however, there are a few home truths which we should take into account before making any grand plans.

The first is the question of whether you’re actually trying to facilitate some concrete change, or simply to make a splash in the media. Media outreach is extremely important of course, but it doesn’t count for anything if it does not help us toward an eventual goal. Toward real positive change. The goals of any given organisation will to some extent be determined by local conditions; for example directly contesting elections is a much more viable strategy under proportional representation systems than in countries where a “big two” parties dominate. Consider alternative approaches, and direct action rather than electioneering if it would be more effective. Ask yourself what strategies your opponents are using to suppress what you would see as a positive future, and think about how you could beat them at their own game. Think about how your organisation can help other, like-minded groups to achieve their goals. Remember that social change takes time (even taking technological change into account), and so being committed to this movement means playing the “long game”. The positive change we are working toward may take some time to achieve, but it will be real, and it will be deep.

The Transhuman National Committee has taken the first step in a long and historic journey, and the rest of our worldwide movement looks forward to helping in any way we can, and celebrating your successes!

[TPG] Statement in support of the (US) Transhuman National Committee

Membership representatives on the NEC

The Transhumanist Party is now looking for suitably qualified and motivated membership representatives to sit on its National Executive Committee (NEC), in line with its constitution (which can be found here). Membership representatives (“reps” for short) are people who sit on the NEC for one year as full voting members, speaking on behalf of the membership as a whole, until they face re-election at the next AGM.

While we are still in the initial stages of establishing the party, our first set of five reps are being appointed by the other NEC members as they volunteer themselves, rather than pushing a full election outside of the AGM. All of these initial reps will, however, face re-election at the next AGM as required by the party constitution.

This is a chance to help the party and our movement, by providing a vital link between the membership and the National Executive Committee which makes decisions on their behalf. If you would like to be considered for the role of membership representative, then please email contact@transhumanistparty.org.uk.

We do not yet have a full role description for these representatives, but we can say the following things with confidence at this stage:

  • The position is unpaid, and carries reponsibilities including (but not limited to) engagement at NEC meetings twice per month and engagement with the party membership between those meetings.
  • All membership representatives must be full party members, and their activity is subject to the requirements of the party constitution and NEC.
  • Development of full role descriptions for the representatives will be the responsibility of the first set of reps.
  • Similarly, establishment and maintenance of AGM electoral procedures for membership representatives will be in the hands of the initial set of reps, subject to constitutional & NEC requirements.
  • Membership representatives on the NEC

    [Press] TRANSHUMANIST PARTY VIEWS ON ACTION IN SYRIA

    Contact David Woods
    Email PRESS@TranshumanistParty.Org.UK
    Website http://www.TranshumanistParty.Org.UK

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    November 25, 2015

    TRANSHUMANIST PARTY VIEWS ON ACTION IN SYRIA.
    STRICT CONDITIONS MUST BE MET FOR TRANSHUMANIST PARTY APPROVAL.

    The Transhumanist Party upholds the principle of Social Futurism: the social consequences of interventions, whether technological, political, or military, should be thought through in advance, to reduce the risk of unintended outcomes. In addition we support the right of minority self determination.

    Given the lack of foresight shown by successive UK governments over the past two decades which have reduced much of the Middle East to ruin, and noting that David Cameron now wants to bomb Syrian rebels this time, instead of the Syrian government when Parliament last refused his request two years ago:

    The Transhumanist Party would only support the bombing of Syria under the following conditions:

    (a) That the military action is limited to strikes against Islamic State and will not be widened to include other factions in the civil war or elsewhere.

    (b) That it is part of a wider plan to end the war in Syria to enable refugees to return home, even if it means backing Assad on a temporary basis with Russian assistance.

    (c) It must have the consent of the Syrian government or the United Nations.

    The cessation of all military action in Syria, as soon as possible, is a precondition that will allow the people in that region to participate in the collective technological, economic, educational and social progress which is their Human Right as defined by the United Nations Charter, and their extended Transhuman Rights”.

    If you would like more information about this topic, please contact David Woods at PRESS@TranshumanistParty.Org.UK

    [Press] TRANSHUMANIST PARTY VIEWS ON ACTION IN SYRIA

    Official Policies of the Transhumanist Party (2015)

    Last Sunday (4th October 2015), we held the inaugural Transhumanist Party Day in London, including our first AGM to officially determine Party policy by democratic means. You can find the list of our officially approved policies below, but first I would like to make a brief comment on the voting process.

    This was the first test of our party’s democratic processes, and it appears to have been an overwhelming success. The party now has a mandate from its membership, which started with policy proposals submitted by the end of August, followed by ratification by the National Executive Committee (to check that proposed policies did not contravene the Transhumanist Party Principles), and finally by an open membership vote held both online and at the AGM.

    There were two proposed amendments to the party’s constitution (see below), and I am glad to report that both were accepted with 100% support. Furthermore, there were six policy packages consisting of a number of proposed policies each. We offered members the chance to accept any package in toto, or to pick and choose which policies they supported. According to our party constitution only a simple majority threshold (i.e. 50%+) is required for a proposal to pass. Some consideration has been given to applying a higher threshold for this initial meeting, but it has been decided by the party leadership that an arbitrary threshold would do a disservice to party members who support any given policy which met constitutional requirements but not an arbitrarily higher threshold (and as importantly, one not announced in advance).

    As it happens, we received an overwhelming mandate from the party membership, with three packages accepted outright at the 50% threshold, and all individual policies still being accepted at the same threshold where the packages as a whole were not accepted. Where a package as a whole was not accepted and a member had voted in favour of an entire package, they were considered to have cast a vote in favour of each individual policy comprising it (if we didn’t do this, we’d have to explain why we were throwing away half the members’ votes regarding half the policies). All six policy packages are thus considered to have been adopted as official policy, in full. Anonymised voting numbers will be made available to party members upon request, once they have been properly prepared.

    Even though a higher acceptance threshold has not been applied, it is worth noting that only 3 of the 27 policy proposals would not be accepted at a 67% threshold, which in the party constitution is a threshold reserved for amendments to the constitution itself. In order to avoid undermining the established mandate, I will not be commenting on which three policies those are.

    These are now the official policies of the Transhumanist Party, until the next AGM or special poll of the membership. Rules for submitting new proposals toward future changes will be released shortly. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the party.

    OFFICIAL POLICIES OF THE TRANSHUMANIST PARTY (2015)


    A. Party Constitution amendments:

    1.0
    The Transhumanist Party’s ideological position is known as Social Futurism, which represents the integration of social and technological concerns. We adopt this position as a reminder that our central mission as a Transhumanist political party is to harness technological potential for the benefit of society.

    2.0
    The National Executive Committee (NEC) is responsible for drafting interim party policy where an issue is judged by the party leadership to have arisen for which there is no policy yet in place. The adoption of interim policy must be in accord with constitutional voting rules. Any such policy must be formally ratified at the first AGM following its inception, or be automatically considered rescinded in the absence of ratification.

    B. Initial Transhumanist Party policies:

    3.0 Political and Judicial Reform

    3.1
    Governance in the UK to be reformed toward greater democratic, technologically mediated participation in decision making (particularly with regard to functions which can be safely ceded to local authorities), and a greater focus on evidence-based policies rather than ideology.

    3.2
    Proportional representation is to be instituted.

    3.3
    The House of Lords to be transformed, over time, to a second chamber augmented by the most effective technological decision aids available.

    3.4
    No MP may take any other paid work while during their term in Parliament, and laws are to be enacted to reform the “revolving door” system of MP’s subsequent appointments and private sector political influence.

    3.5
    Freedom of speech will be vigorously defended, with the exception of speech that (1) constitutes a direct incitement to violence, (2) is libellous (with libel reform to have burden of proof put on the claimant), or (3) is the product of a crime designed to acquire or create the information transmitted (trading in or further transmitting such information will make one an accessory to the original crime).

    3.6
    Reform of intellectual property and software patent law, to allow only the most clearly justified limitation of freedoms of speech and information.

    3.7
    Laws addressing the regulation of emerging technologies will as far as possible prioritise the preservation of personal freedoms insofar as other people’s personal freedoms, rights, or the needs of society are not being curtailed. People should be free to use new technologies as they see fit if they are harming no-one else and there is no clear potential for such harm, and they must be guaranteed freedom from inappropriate intrusion by the state made possible by new technologies.

    4.0 Economics

    4.1
    The highest goal of the Transhumanist Party is to ensure that the potential benefits of technological change are as widely accessible as possible across society, and to create conditions which maximise opportunities for positive technological development.

    4.2
    The state pension, and retirement age, to be abolished. Those who cannot work will instead be entitled to claim state benefits. This is a policy to be introduced over a fifteen year timescale and culminate in a Basic Income Guarantee for all citizens.

    4.3
    A Land Value Tax to be introduced.

    4.4
    There will be no state subsidies for mature, profitable industries – no “bail outs”.

    4.5
    The state will provide full grants to all citizen students. Those receiving full grants will be liable to repay them if they emigrate within a ten-year period after graduation.

    5.0 Environment

    5.1
    Transhumanist Party environmental policies must emphasise the use of “Bright Green” technologies to improve the health and wellbeing of the natural world, and to minimise any negative environmental effects of technology. This will necessitate constant reform and improvement of environmental impact legislation.

    5.2
    Targeted year on year reduction in the use of pesticides and herbicides. Support for vertical farming and robotic techniques.

    5.3
    Factory farming of animals to be more strictly regulated. Research into tissue culture as a replacement source for meat to be actively supported and subsidised.

    6.0 Health and Education

    6.1
    The NHS will be encouraged to evolve in a direction in which greater emphasis is placed on preventive and regenerative biotechnology.

    6.2
    Laws governing pharmaceuticals will be modified to allow licensing of drugs that extend lifespan, enhance intelligence or make one “better than well”.

    6.3
    No culturally divisive education is to be supported by the taxpayer. This includes schools charging significant fees as well as those selecting by class, race or religion.

    6.4
    New technologies which can significantly reduce educational & health system costs and improve performance of those systems will be subsidised by the government in order to encourage swift adoption.

    7.0 Society and Europe

    7.1
    Although we are concerned with the wellbeing of humanity as a whole, our party focusses first and foremost on British societal needs. The demands of multiculturalism and other societies will be considered secondary to the needs of our own society. Within the broad boundaries of asserting our own societal needs first, we will strive to create an integrated, harmonious society.

    7.2
    Immigration policy shall prioritise skilled migrants, and while refugees will be welcomed with vigorous humanitarian support, such refugees will not be afforded the full rights or freedoms of properly recognised immigrants. Although we seek to support and enable our fellow human beings, we cannot do so in a manner which abandons our own right to future self-determination as a nation.

    7.3
    The Council of the European Union (AKA the Council of Ministers) should not be allowed undue control over the democratically elected European Parliament. The Council should be reduced to the status of ‘second chamber’ with power of veto over European Parliament decisions rather than direct legislative power.

    8.0 Defence and International Relations

    8.1
    An immediate halt to the selling of arms to nations that are not democracies, or are debtor nations in the international community to an extent significantly beyond the international norm.

    8.2
    Retain and properly maintain an effective nuclear deterrent.

    8.3
    No foreign aid to governments. Foreign aid should only be given direct to people who need the aid, or NGOs which can be trusted on the basis of evidence that they will properly distribute it.

    8.4
    No aid to nations with nuclear weapon programs.

    8.5
    Support for self-determination of culturally coherent peoples, where geography allows and can be shown to be viable (e.g. Kurds), as well as devolution movements (e.g. Scotland).

    Official Policies of the Transhumanist Party (2015)

    [Press] NO to blanket bans on Genetically Modified crops

    TRANSHUMANIST PARTY PRESS RELEASE

    Transhumanist Party press releases can be found here:
    https://transhumanistparty.wordpress.com/category/press-release/

    NO TO BLANKET BANS ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS

    Why the Scottish ban on GM is bad for Scotland and the UK

    The recent announcement by MSP Richard Lochhead to ban the growing of Genetically Modified crops in Scotland is short-sighted. By banning GM crop growing Scotland is announcing its intention to rely solely on outdated, cumbersome and increasingly non-competitive “natural” methods. Indeed, this ban will more than likely increase the potential for negative impact on the very industries we wish to preserve, making the very “gamble” that Mr Lochhead says he wishes to avoid.

    In an age of accelerating technological progress, this announcement appears to be anti-science and thus anti-progress, which may have far reaching effects beyond the Scottish border. It announces to the world that Britain is insular and unable to compete, converse or engage in this area, when biotechnology research is arguably one of the UK’s greatest assets. There is no scientific evidence to support the assertion that GM crop production has a negative impact on the environment or human health, so this announcement has no basis in fact and panders only to anti-technology extremists.

    Climate change is another factor we should consider, having an impact that is not yet fully understood, and GM crops have the potential to vouchsafe the future of food production in Britain, by allowing us to control the evolution of crops in response to radical changes in climate before they occur.

    We acknowledge that sometimes the business of trading in GM crops is not approached ethically (e.g. encouraging reliance on a few large companies for seed every season), so greater and more carefully considered regulation of GM crop business is warranted. The use of these technologies should be judged on a case by case basis however, rather than simply banned altogether.

    Party leader Amon Twyman says, “The Transhumanist Party fully supports well-regulated GM crop production, and the progress being made in the biotechnology industries to provide Great Britain with methods of sustainable agriculture. We call for Mr Lochhead to reassess the Scottish position on GM crops after a balanced review of the scientific evidence.”

    [Press] NO to blanket bans on Genetically Modified crops

    The official Transhumanist Party blog

    This is the official blog of the Transhumanist Party (a registered political party in the UK) and Transhumanist Party Global, maintained by Dr. M. Amon Twyman, Leader of the UK Party and founder of TP Global.

    Posts in this blog fall into five categories. You can browse posts in each category by clicking the title links below, or clicking the menu button at the top-right of your browser window.

    1. Transhumanist Party (Category: UK)

    This category consists of posts about Party news, events, and other announcements from the UK. You can find links to a variety of Transhumanist Party resources at http://transhumanistparty.org.uk.

    2. Press Release (Category: Press Release)

    This category is for official press releases from the Transhumanist Party in the UK.

    3. Transhumanist Party Global (Category: TPG)

    In addition to Party news from the UK, this blog offers news from affiliated organisations around the world, acting together as one movement under the umbrella of Transhumanist Party (Global). Posts in this category have the label [TPG] in their titles.

    4. Guest-written posts (Category: guest)

    You can use this category to search for insights from guest writers affiliated with the Transhumanist Party worldwide.

    5. Social Futurism & the Zero State (Category: ISF/ZS)

    The Transhumanist Party is connected to a growing web of like-minded organisations, which can be broadly characterised as “Social Futurist” or “Techno-Progressive” in nature. Some of those organisations were predecessors of the Transhumanist Party, while others are its current partners. All of them have the opportunity to tell us about their viewpoints, plans and achievements in this category.

    This category is also a place where you can read posts from the Institute for Social Futurism, which is a think tank associated with the Transhumanist Party, exploring the relationship between social justice concerns and the radical transformative potential of modern technology. Posts in this category have the label [ISF] in their titles.

    The official Transhumanist Party blog