[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 By banning GM crop growing Scotland is announcing its intention to rely solely on outdated, cumbersome and increasingly non-competitive “natural” methods.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

[ISF] The Zero State idea & Technoprogressivism

This post is part of the Social Futurism archive, copied from the “Wavism” blog (dedicated to Social Futurism, the WAVE movement, and the Zero State idea) which existed prior to the founding of the Transhumanist Party. As an archive document originally published in May 2011, this post may contain statements which are no longer accurate.


It has been said that the Zero State Principles suggest a decentralized direct democracy with a cashless, non-market or technocratic system for the distribution of goods internally, and use of markets externally – by inference implying an opposition to national and transnational democracy.

This point of view came from a prominent TechnoProgressive, who also asked what I see as the differences between TechnoProgressivism (as outlined in the links below) and the Zero State worldview. This post is a copy of the answer I gave.

The ZS Principles can be found via http://zerostate.net

The TechnoProgressive stance is expressed via the following links:

http://ieet.org/index.php/tpwiki/Technoprogressivism/

http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/biopolitics

In a nutshell, the above provides a clearer description of the ZS stance than we ourselves have yet managed to distill. Which is to say, the ZS Principles imply an opposition to the current mode of national and transnational representative democracy, in which institutions develop in ways which block real (direct, or at least functioning representative) democracy, and we see the development of what might be considered crypto-oligarchies.

I would make clear though, that while ZS addresses global political & economic issues, our emphasis is on creating our own space, where our own rules apply, if such a thing is possible. Therefore, we’re not advocating that everyone should follow our model, but that we should be free to follow it ourselves.

Broadly speaking, there are fundamental similarities between the ZS ‘worldview’ (for want of a better word) and the TechnoProgressive stance. We’re certainly not bioconservatives of any stripe, and prefer not to get bogged down in traditional left-versus-right political categories where possible. As mentioned above, we believe in democracy up to a point, but with an emphasis upon direct (and heavily curtailed representative) democracy. Beyond these commonalities, there are three points where I can see potential differences between the politics of ZS and those of TechnoProgressivism & the IEET. There do appear to be other social or cultural differences, but in this post I will focus on political/economic points of view.

1) Animal rights & personhood

This is an interesting point, which I wouldn’t personally have picked up on, but which was repeatedly raised by ZS members I asked about this. Briefly, some of our people feel that IEET over-emphasizes the case for sentient personhood, especially as it relates to animal rights. I wouldn’t call this an outright difference, as the ZS Principles clearly state that we seek to abolish suffering, and the capacity for suffering will be considered in all judgments of sapience. What this doesn’t say, however, is that minimal sentience will automatically grant full personhood, which I gather is a strong point of view within IEET.

Another grey area here, of course, is the fact that ZS Principles state that all sentient entities within our sphere of influence will be offered the opportunity to accept ZS rights & privileges of citizenship. There’s an implicit line in the sand drawn there, in that non-communicating animals could not explicitly or meaningfully respond to such an offer, which means that they could not be recognized as full persons or citizens within ZS. That emphatically does not, however, give ZS citizens or anyone else license to cause them suffering of any sort.

2) Authoritarianism and the limits of democratic oversight

I understand that the IEET believes in democratic oversight of technological development. This presumably means democratic oversight of pretty much everything, as technological development accelerates to the point where kids can do things in garages that would have been DARPA projects 40 years ago.

We’ve already established that ZS values democracy, and therefore democratic oversight, but not full-blown representative democracy, which as you say rules out national and trans-national democratic structures. Although it slightly complicates our stance, you must also bear in mind that our focus is on the society within the Zero State. Others are free, and indeed encouraged, to choose whatever forms of political, economic or social system work for them.

That said, I must point out that ZS is not envisaged as an entirely grassroots, anarchic society. There will be institutions which work to facilitate implementation of Principle and direct-democratic decisions. These institutions are meritocratic (rather than democratic), and are not allowed any executive freedoms beyond their strictly stipulated function.

Hopefully the above gives some sense of where we’re headed when I say that ZS already has a fledgling Central Planning Committee (CPC). The function of the CPC is to lead and coordinate the democratic activities of ZS, but is not itself democratic. The CPC is not a form of central government, in that it may not interfere in direct democratic process unless that process has somehow broken or stalled, the integrity of ZS is threatened in some way, or the ZS Principles are in opposition to a decision that has been made.

3) Libertarianism and personal or collective freedoms

Point 2, above, details ways in which there is a kind of “upper bound” on democratic process within ZS, which ensures that the community does not lose sight of its initial founding Principles. I hope it is clear that this upper bound should not ‘creep downward’ due to the strict policy of meritocratic non-interference in democratic process except under very specific circumstances.

Similarly, I would like to outline a “lower bound” on ZS democratic process, which brings us to what is almost certainly our biggest difference with IEET & TechnoProgressivism. As I understand it, the IEET is opposed to the kind of libertarianism which flourishes (or flourished?) in corners of the transhumanist world such as Extropy Institute. ZS is emphatically not an attempt at some form of libertarian utopia, but there is one aspect in which ZS and libertarianism may coincide.

Just as the functions of the CPC and other meritocratic institutions are only allowed to intrude on direct democratic process under very specific circumstances, so individual citizens must be protected from a potential creep of democratic oversight mechanisms into their daily lives. Where citizens are living in accord with ZS Principle and a minimum of reasonable, local democratic laws, then they must be free to go about their business unhindered.

When we speak about individual citizens, few would object to the principle of guaranteed freedom from overly-intrusive societal control mechanisms (democratic or otherwise). The bigger problem is when we’re talking about collectives, such as companies (presumably part of the external trade economy), enjoying similar freedoms from control, and using those freedoms to cause societal damage and suffering of various types.

The ZS solution to this quandary is as follows: Citizen collectives, such as companies, are subject to no more or less democratic oversight than are individual citizens. On that level at least, such companies enjoy a remarkable level of freedom within the ZS sphere of influence. If it were left at that, we just might be talking about some kind of libertarian playground where profit and innovation were paramount. The thing is, that the kind of behaviours which companies are usually most maligned for are direct transgressions of ZS Principle. Any such transgression falls under the purview of the CPC and other meritocratic institutions within ZS, which would put a stop to it immediately, outside of democratic process.

4) Overview

So, I hope that readers can see that the IEET & ZS stances are in some ways very similar, but some of these other aspects will be, I’m sure, the cause of some difference. As I mentioned, ZS is in its earliest infancy, and so can still be significantly influenced in its development. If you have any comments or advice, or even loud opposition to voice, we would very much like to hear your point of view.

Last but not least, looking at the quadrant-graph of political schools of thought on the IEET site, I can’t help but feel that the worldview described above does not fit in any of the four regions. ZS is emphatically anti-biocon (i.e. pro-transhumanist), contains far too much democracy and meritocratic authoritarianism for the libertarians, too little democracy (especially representative democracy) for other tastes. It even complicates the question of animal/sentient rights, by drawing a distinction between personhood and capacity for suffering where others might conflate the two.

Here’s to the blooming of a hundred flowers!

[ISF] The Zero State idea & Technoprogressivism

[ISF] Zero State in under 60 seconds

This post is part of the Social Futurism archive, copied from the “Wavism” blog (dedicated to Social Futurism, the WAVE movement, and the Zero State idea) which existed prior to the founding of the Transhumanist Party. As an archive document originally published in December 2014, this post may contain statements which are no longer accurate.


The following post was written by the nominal head/coordinator of Zero State, Dirk Bruere:

Zero State in under 60 seconds

So, what is Zero State?
Well, we grew out of a dissatisfaction with modern Transhumanism which is too narrowly focused, passive and generally ignores the major cultural determinants in the world, most notably art, religion and politics as well as largely eschewing activism.

Zero State was founded with the intention of changing the world by pressing ahead actively on all fronts. Central to its philosophy is the notion of “nobody deserted” and mutual aid. We intend to become a trans-national distributed virtual state whose citizens look after each other – a kind of Freemasonry for the new millennium. We aim to bypass nations and their jurisdictions by looking to our own community for resources.

We encourage projects all across the spectrum, from alternative economies based around currencies like Bitcoin, to DIY biohacking and urban survivalism. From art and music to a-rational mysticism and mind hacking.

Who can join ZS?
Anyone who agrees with our principles and says they are a member is a member.

Who can join a project?
Any ZS member that the people in the project will accept.

Who can start a project?
Any ZS member who wants to and can find others to join in.

Our motto is “Just Do It” – you don’t need anyone’s permission (but you should inform the community).

What are our principles?
Briefly, the headings are: Change, Liberty, Construction, Action, Community, Work, Balance and Focus. Together they have evolved into a mission statement of dedication to mutual aid and global renewal in science, technology, art, politics, economics, environmentalism and spirituality.

How is it organized?
It is a mixture of direct democracy and meritocracy. At all levels of projects direct democracy is preferable, but there must be someone who acts for the group as coordinator and “tie breaker” and who will speak for the group and consult with the wider organization. Who that may be is up to the group in question.

[ISF] Zero State in under 60 seconds

AGM procedure: Get involved, have your say!

Following the public Anticipating 2040 event on October 3rd, the Transhumanist Party will be holding its first Party Day on Sunday October 4th, which will include presentations, discussion, and the formalities of our first Annual General Meeting. We will be posting a registration page for the Party Day shortly.

It is our intention to use each Party Day as a stepping stone to the next, making the event better each year and using it as a vehicle to develop the party. Certain aspects of the AGM are determined by the requirements of our Party Constitution, meaning that there are certain rules which we must follow. Within those broad constraints, however, we intend to keep things as simple and flexible as possible, for the time being at least. To that end, here are a few brief details about how voting in the AGM will work:

1. TPUK members only, & importance of the members’ email list

Although guests and journalists are welcome at the Party Day, the event is primarily for TPUK party members, and only full party members are eligible to participate in voting. Most of the logistics of voting and other AGM issues, and any announcements, will be handled via the email list which all members are invited to when they join the party. If you are not a member but would like to join in time to have some say in policy and other matters this year, you can do so here.

2. Voting cards, and voting online / in absentia

In order to differentiate between voting and non-voting attendees at AGM, party members will be given voting cards where they can record their response for all votes tabled for the day (and hand the card back by the day’s end, to be counted). Unfortunately we cannot ensure a high degree of (or perhaps any) online access to the event this year, so the use of voting cards allows non-attending party members to vote aswell. This will be done via the members’ mailing list, with all party members having the option of filling in a virtual voting card, online.

3. Before voting cards: Proposing policy, representatives, and other motions

AGM voting will cover a number of issues. Primarily, it will tell us which initial policies are to be put forward for official endorsement by the party. It will also involve voting for members’ representatives on the National Executive Committee and any other motions proposed by party members and approved by the NEC, such as possible amendments to the party constitution.

Obviously it will take time to discuss and consider such issues, and even if we were foolish enough to think that people could digest all the relevant information and vote on the same day, that would still leave those not attending out in the cold. Additionally, it will clearly take time for party members and supporters to work up policy ideas and any other proposals for submission. The key dates defining this process are given below.

4. Important dates and deadlines

We are now at the end of July, with the Party Day a little over two months away. The deadline for all proposals (including policy proposals, potential Party Officers and members’ representative candidate names, and anything else) is Monday August 31st. Virtual voting cards will be issued via the members’ email list on Sunday September 27th. Voting will be open from that point, until the close of Party Day proceedings one week later, on Sunday October 4th.

Further details will be posted in the members’ email list and in other TPUK forums over the coming weeks. If you have any questions or feel that you may have missed something important, the best place to raise a question is in the Transhumanist Party members’ email list. If you’re really stuck and don’t know how to find the list or join the party, then please don’t hesitate to email contact@transhumanistparty.org.uk!

AGM procedure: Get involved, have your say!

[TPG] Is your TP group inactive?

[EDIT: Lots of excellent progress since this was posted, I’m very glad to report! You can keep an eye on developments at http://transhumanistpartyglobal.org]

This post is on behalf of Transhumanist Party Global (TPG), the international coordinating body for all TP groups.

Let’s start with the punchline: The vast majority of currently-recognised Transhumanist Party groups are on track to be dropped from the list of those officially recognised, in a little over a week. Is yours one of them? If so, would you like to do something about it?

There are two lists at the end of this post. One is a list of early-stage Transhumanist Party groups that have shown activity beyond facebook. The critical thing that puts them on the list is that they were active enough to at least make an initial edit of their entry in the TPG wiki, giving us some sense of their initial plans, goals, and deadlines (however modest). The second list is of groups who have not yet managed to do that, and which will be removed from the TPG roster in early August if the situation hasn’t changed by then.

I know that a small handful of groups have not yet edited their wiki page, but are active in other ways or very new to the movement. In those cases I am sorry to be pestering the groups in this way, but quite simply we need to move things forward, so the same deadline (August 7th) applies to all groups equally.

Removal from the TPG roster doesn’t mean that a group has been shut down by TPG, or anything like that. TPG doesn’t run things centrally in that way, but rather works to coordinate groups which manage their own affairs. What TPG can’t do, however, is maintain and support a roster of inactive “ghost” groups which may be blocking active volunteers from stepping up in their parts of the world. Or perhaps there are would-be activists associated with some of these groups who would step up to develop the groups, but for whom the way is blocked by inactive “representatives”.

In short, if your group is on the active list, that means someone in that group has taken some (very small) effort to put some information on the group’s wiki page. We look forward to hearing much more from these groups over the months ahead. If your group is on the inactive list however, then no-one has so much as made the effort to edit the group’s wiki page, and you have approximately one week to change that state of affairs or the group will no longer be supported. If you think it is a matter of taking over from inactive representatives or stepping up to help group leaders who need a hand, then please do just go ahead and do whatever it is that you have to do! The requirement for recognition at this stage really is extremely minimal, after all, and we have no more time to waste on inactive groups.

Last but not least, we should note that if a group gets dropped from the TPG roster then that doesn’t mean all ties are severed or that it can’t potentially re-join in future. It just means that the group will be removed from the TPG wiki, its representatives will be removed from the TPG mailing list, no more information will be passed on to facebook groups etc when there are developments, and later the group will have to meet the same public requirements for listing in the roster as would any other group if it wants to be affiliated with TPG and listed in the wiki once more. Basically, the group would be cut off until it can show it is active. It is possible that in the meantime another group of people might come along, wishing to represent the same country, who would meet the requirements first. In that case, the new group would become the officially recognised Transhumanist Party affiliate from that country.

Groups on the inactive list below who have not edited their wiki page to show initial plans, goals, and deadlines (however modest) by Friday August 7th will be removed from the TPG wiki.

I very much hope that by August 7th, a good number of our groups will be able to raise their game, and reaffirm their intent to work toward establishment of the Transhumanist Party movement. It is inevitable that the TPG roster is going to be much smaller on the 7th, but better to start from a small, vigorous base than to encourage the illusion of activity.

p.s. Clearly the US party is a special case
, but even there we have a problem, unfortunately. Zoltan Istvan’s activities are high-profile, but to be frank one person is not a political party. We still need to see activists stepping up to do party work in the US, and that includes something as simple and important as maintaining communications with the rest of the movement. I do hope someone will be able to step up and do this for the US party, because otherwise we’ll have an embarrassing problem; but better to acknowledge and solve such a problem rather than ignore it.


Transhumanist Party (Global) wiki: http://transhumanistpartyglobal.org

ACTIVE GROUPS:

Germany
UK
Australia

INACTIVE GROUPS – due to be removed from TPG roster Aug 8th if no change:

Brazil
Canada
USA
Austria
Croatia
France
Greece
Italy
Kenya
Netherlands
Poland
Romania
Russia
Serbia
Spain
Sweden
India
Korea

[TPG] Is your TP group inactive?

Don’t mistake elections for political change!

I felt moved to write this post after seeing an article about the futility of Transhumanists standing in elections. As it happens I have already written a chapter addressing questions of strategy for the developing Transhumanist Party, but thought I’d lay out the essentials of my vision for the Party’s future here.

Some commentators seem to believe that there are only two ways to develop political influence in Western societies. The first is to influence decision makers through policy institutes, and the other is to become decision makers by winning elections. Six months ago we considered these two routes with regard to UK politics, and decided to pursue both simultaneously. Thus, Transpolitica and other friendly think tanks would explore the near-term possibilities of influencing established parties, while we would also establish the Transhumanist Party with a view to direct influence in 15-25 years time. I have said on a number of occasions that I expect Transhumanist Party influence to be negligible for at least ten years, but that groups like Transpolitica could potentially achieve real results in that same time frame.

There is a third way forward however, and it is the direction I believe the Transhumanist Party should be most heavily invested in (in the UK at least). Before explaining what I have in mind, first I would like to briefly lay out my own view of electioneering (from the Anticipating 2025 chapter mentioned above):

When it comes to traditional political party activity, we can see the most scope for modest medium-term success in nations where parliaments are elected by a proportional representation system, such as Germany. The examples of movements like the Pirate Party, Syriza and Podemos make this clear, whereas in “first past the post” systems (such as in the UK) it can easily take twenty five years to become the third party, even with radical and unexpected success. To my mind, traditional political attempts in the United States and Russia are little more than publicity drives (which is most certainly a thing of value in itself) because the systems in those nations allow for no real third-party influence. In effective single-party states like China there is no real potential for an independent political party at all.

Clearly, I do not believe that we are going to win the hearts and minds of the British electorate with an explicitly Transhumanist message any time soon (or in fact ever). Alexander Karran has noted that in his own electoral campaign the problem wasn’t so much people opposing Transhumanism, as not knowing or even remotely caring what it is. Of course we Transhumanists know that the big issues are going to come crashing into people’s lives whether they care or not, and part of our mission is to increase understanding of the issues, but at the same time we must ask ourselves a question:

How do we solve the problem of an uncaring electorate?

The Transhumanist Party exists for a reason, and it isn’t just to promote ideas like longevity. Our reason for existence is to help build a new societal model that can make the most of massive impending technological change. We may not be able to make any difference, but we must try, just in case it turns out that we could have made the difference between a society which thrives on the new technological opportunities, and one which descends into a downward spiral of missed opportunities, fearful knee-jerk reactions, and authoritarian control. Given that challenge, we cannot simply shrug and accept people’s lack of understanding as an insurmountable obstacle. Instead, we have to think like Transhumanists, and treat the situation as a problem to be solved by technical means.

We expect technological change to continue accelerating, and almost certainly spill over into massively disruptive societal change. We’re seeing some of that change and disruption already. It may be the case that as people feel that change and disruption more and more viscerally, then they become dramatically more open to our message. We must remain engaged via traditional democratic channels in case that happens. But at the same time, we should not be pinning our hopes on such eventualities, and should instead be focussing on direct action which we think is much more likely to make a positive difference regardless of public opinion. Political parties can be powerful organisations regardless of their ability to win elections, and we live in an age where societal problems can be solved by powerful organisations regardless of whether they so much as dip a toe in electoral waters.

In addition to a traditional political platform, then, we also need to encourage the establishment of a technological platform. A gateway for technological solutions to societal problems, composed of tools developed privately and publicly, and officially recognised by the government as a valid way for communities to make their own decisions and manage their own resources.

True Technocracy, or, the Big Society for real.

You may have heard the terms “Technocracy”, or “the Big Society”. Technocracy can refer to either a historical U.S. movement to bring an engineering approach to politics, or more recently to the kind of ‘technical’ governance applied to economic crises in European nations such as Italy. The Big Society is a term invented by UK Conservative Party strategists which was basically a cynical ploy to make dramatic social funding cuts sound like a good thing, by painting a romantic picture of communities rallying around to solve communal problems (the reality, of course, being the evaporation of government funding and communities being left to fend for themselves with only cute rhetoric to pay the bills).

What if we were to take these ideas seriously? What if we could engineer a situation in which our local communities were not simply ruled by specialist ‘technocrats’ or abandoned to a mythical Big Society, but instead given the opportunity and support to manage their own affairs using the best technological solutions available? Of course some things (such as defense) would still need to be organised on a national level, but we now live in an age where a lot of issues could be addressed by local communities directly, in a decentralised and highly democratic manner. By championing and working toward the creation of that new system we would naturally be aligning ourselves against the old system, bureaucratic 19th Century politics, and indeed the entirety of party politics. Our goal would be to build a system of direct local governance that makes party politics redundant, spelling the effective end of all parties including our own, and which effectively ends the age of the political class as we have understood it for the last three hundred years.

That could never work… could it?

Transhumanists talk about things like Technological Singularity all the time, but often forget to stop and think about the massive social disruption such ideas imply. Political parties haven’t existed forever, and to imagine their day will never pass is simply myopic. The big question we must ask ourselves here is what alternative forms of governance will be enabled by an explosion of technological possibilities over the coming decades. Such a wave of change is inevitable, barring disaster on the scale of a nuclear war or total environmental meltdown. Given such levels of change, the real issue is not whether local communities can manage their affairs with the latest tools better and more flexibly than an antiquated central government can, but whether we as a nation are able to muster an orderly transition to a new governance framework before it is too late… and a very disorderly transition sweeps over us all.

I envisage a kind of governmental network spanning the UK, ensuring that certain standards and common procedures are followed, but generally letting the regions use the latest technologies to create a true Big Society in their own preferred way, making decisions that reflect local desires in ways that a national parliament never could. Most of our policies will inevitably focus on the benefits of specific technologies (such as automation-backed Universal Basic Income, and NHS genetic screening leading to longevity treatments), but our party’s focus as an organisation would be on creating a platform through which people could use those technologies to manage their lives and communities without referring to central government or political parties most of the time. We would obviously not create the platform out of whole cloth, but instead work to draw together collaborators of many different types who are already developing all sorts of technological tools that people need to hear about.

The final step, however, brings us back to electoral politics. Any platform that truly gives people the power to manage their own affairs will be proscribed by government if the technology intrudes upon governmental authority. Aswell as helping to build the platform, and helping people understand how they can use it to directly make things better for themselves, it would be our task to arrange legal sanction for this new way of doing things. To return to our original two routes, we could do that by winning elections and rubber-stamping the new model ourselves, and/or influencing other parties to do the same. If establishment politicians can see that the world is changing and that they have a choice between making history and being left in its dustbin, I believe they will come to help us simply so as to not be left behind.

Elections are not political change, so much as gateways toward it under ideal circumstances. Those ideal conditions are rare indeed, and with accelerating technology we have the opportunity to make real change happen directly.

Don’t judge the future by the standards of the past. Join the Transhumanist Party!

Don’t mistake elections for political change!

Working toward a new paradigm

This is an update on progress from the Transhumanist Party, but not a dry technical report. Instead, this is the first in what I intend to be a new style of message, combining news of our activity with the bigger picture of the world situation. After all, we have not created a political party as a hobby or an exercise in vanity, but out of a deep dissatisfaction with the state of things and a thirst for change.

1. Volunteer teams now active

To start with practical matters: The party now has a “backbone” of volunteer teams starting to develop, and they are engaged in the first step of assessing what they need to do, and how they need to do it. All of our teams are organising their initial goals around our first Party Day in October (more on that below). If you would like to help the party at this stage, you can do so by volunteering (send an email to contact@transhumanistparty.org.uk letting us know your interests & skills), or by joining and/or donating.

2. Anticipating 2040, Party Day 2015, and voting for policy @ AGM.

It has been decided that most of our activity will now be geared toward a special weekend event on October 3rd-4th. On Saturday 3rd we are involved with the organisation of Anticipating 2040: A roadmap to sustainable abundance? This is a public, one-day conference focussed on themes central to the aims of the Transhumanist Party. The following day will be an event for party members and invited guests only, and will include a part of the day devoted to our first Annual General Meeting.

More details will follow soon, but at this stage it is important to note a crucial feature of the planned event. The TPUK constitution requires that official party policy must be presented in the form of proposals to be voted on by the membership at AGM. Provision will be made for absentee voting and online attendance by party members where at all possible.

For now, all you need to know is that details of the proposal process will be announced inside the next month, so if you have any thoughts on what Transhumanist Party policy should be then you are strongly encouraged to start making some notes and discussing them with other supporters. If your ideas are submitted and supported in AGM voting then they will become official party policy. If you don’t submit anything, then your ideas will remain nothing more than that as far as the party is concerned. We hope you will choose to get involved.

3. Ten years on: New paradigm required!

I would like to end by taking a step back to look at the bigger picture, and think about what we as a party stand for. In order to do that, I’d like to reflect on a little personal history.

Ten years ago today, terrorists killed fifty two people in London, wounding and traumatising many more. I live in London, and was sitting on a tube train when the first blasts occurred that morning. I was among around two thousand people evacuated from the trains and encouraged to catch buses to our destinations instead (at this stage we had not been told of the terrorist attack, but many of us had our suspicions). My workplace was in Tavistock Square, and I arrived moments after the notorious suicide attack on the bus there. Suffice to say that it was a day that I and many others will never forget.

The decade since has shown us a thing or two about the society we live in. It is most emphatically not a rational place, geared toward intelligently engineering a better future for ourselves and our loved ones. It is, in other words, not the world Transhumanists want to live in. We could still build that world, but sitting back and allowing things to run their course will not take us to the destination we desire.

For example, Islamists are still among us, with a large number of young Muslims having recently left the UK to fight for Islamic State. We are constantly told that these people are themselves victims, and that they should be excused, helped to return safely, re-educated at the State’s expense. It is apparently impolite to note that these are the explicit supporters of a murderous, theocratic, totalitarian ideology who have demonstrated an ability to follow through on their words with action. After ten years, we should have learned that ignoring and apologising for totalitarians in our midst is utterly unacceptable. Anyone who is serious about a triumphant Transhumanist worldview must understand that militant theocracy is its antithesis, and such a thing can never be ignored for the sake of being politically correct.

The other half of this equation is equally instructive, however. The very reason we even have this problem (of homegrown Islamic terrorism, and of other, innocent people who consequently feel persecuted for simply being Muslim in Britain) is the track record of governments who will not flinch at creating suffering for profit. We invade other countries despite a complete absence of appropriate evidence or rationale, thus creating opposition abroad and at home, because it serves the interests of certain industries. Our governing class (including all the major parties) has a common philosophy of governing for the benefit of vested economic interests, rather than the needs and desires of the British people. In short, these are governments that will drop bombs and dismantle social support without blinking if it will make a profit for their most influential friends.

This is not a rational society. It is not one governed by people who have some vision for making things better for as many people as possible. Even the most idealistic of contemporary politicians lacks true vision or determination to make deep, positive change happen. Over the last ten years we have started to see where their philosophy will take us, and it is not a place where any Transhumanist should want to go.

Transhumanists want to build a better world, geared toward more noble ideals than mere profit, constant attacks on less powerful countries, or the appeasement of authoritarian theocrats for the sake of appearing tolerant. We want a world in which such things will come to seem hopelessly antiquated, and we will work toward exactly that.

Working toward a new paradigm

TPUK official registration and logo

EDIT: Voting by full party members is now closed. You can see our new logo above!

This week we received good news: That the Transhumanist Party is now officially registered in the UK. Along with that good news, however, we were also notified that our proposed logos were not compatible with Electoral Commission rules. The “+” in “h+” contravenes a rule against ticks or crosses in UK party symbols. The issue is an interesting one, since h+ is the most common shorthand for Transhumanism.

TPUK party members will soon have an opportunity to vote for a single, new symbol to be submitted to the Electoral Commission. Voting will be between three options, as follows:

All three options will be based on the earlier hexagonal design, which has proved popular and eye-catching. The first two will be variants of well-known Transhumanist themes; some kind of h+ (or >h) version which avoids actually having a separate + symbol, and a ring of eight outward-pointing arrows (like the original WTA logo, indicating limitless exploration).

The third option is to be worked up by the open Transhumanist community (i.e. by anyone who wants to get involved, party member or not), and voted on in the TPUK facebook group. Whichever community-made symbol is voted most popular there will be incorporated into the third option for formal voting by the party membership.

The open design competition and facebook voting will close on July 1st. Formal voting for the final party emblem will close three weeks later, on July 22nd. You do not need to be a UK national or resident to join the Transhumanist Party.

TPUK official registration and logo