[Press] CORBYN HAS GOOD IDEAS, BUT THE NATION CAN DO BETTER

TRANSHUMANIST PARTY PRESS RELEASE

Transhumanist Party press releases can be found here:
https://transhumanistparty.wordpress.com/tag/pressrelease/

CORBYN HAS GOOD IDEAS, BUT THE NATION CAN DO BETTER

Labour is changing with the times, but we need a true vision for the future

We welcome the return of the Labour party to its ideological roots, which will hopefully introduce real choice between the major parties for the first time in decades. However, it remains to be seen if this new leadership can truly move politics into the 21st Century. We applaud Mr Corbyn’s stance on environmental issues; notably climate change, carbon neutrality, and a clean nationalised energy supply. Furthermore, we support the view that the National Health Service (NHS) should remain publicly funded. However we oppose the offer of support for homeopathy, for which there is no scientific basis or evidence of efficacy.

Moving forward, it remains to be seen if Labour, even under new leadership, can make a positive impact in the areas of democratic reform (transparency and proportional representation), technological unemployment, accelerating technological change, and funding for necessary scientific research which fuels true growth. The Transhumanist Party calls for cross-party dialogue to explore and address these issues, and so inform evidence based policy and ensure that accelerating technological progress brings positive social change, to balance the inequalities currently seen across our society.

Party leader Amon Twyman says, “It is refreshing to see the re-emergence of true political choice in Britain, but Nineteenth Century notions of social justice are not well matched to the realities of the Twenty First Century. The Labour Party can demonstrate its commitment to properly engage those realities by inviting cross-party discussions of new issues in democratic reform, education and employment. The Transhumanist Party is ready to contribute to that debate.”

[Press] CORBYN HAS GOOD IDEAS, BUT THE NATION CAN DO BETTER

[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

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!

The last political party

This is an update on progress from the Transhumanist Party in the UK, focussing on the question of policy. Another post on recent practical developments can be found here.

Two kinds of policy

I have already briefly mentioned the question of Transhumanist Party policy elsewhere (see this blog post, and this book chapter for more detailed analysis), where the bottom line was that Transhumanist Party policy in the UK is not decided by one person, unilaterally. Instead, policy is developed by the party membership as a whole, and votes to confirm official party policy are held at our Annual General Meeting. We believe that this is necessary in a modern, ethical, democratic organisation. Of course we can make educated guesses about the likely broad strokes (Universal Basic Income, more funding for science, evidence-based policy, defense of augmentation rights and so on), but the point here is that we are building a serious organisation, and if you want to help determine its platform then you should get involved now.

Such slow, ethical, democratic foundation-building doesn’t make for snappy headlines, however, and despite being necessary does not really reflect the radical nature of the Transhumanist program. After all, we stand for nothing less than total transformation of the human condition and society. As it happens, there is another way of thinking about Transhumanist Party policy which goes to the heart of who we are and what we stand for.

A new platform, and the last political party

Traditional political processes are obsolete, at best. They are quite simply unfit for dealing with the challenges of the 21st Century. More to the point, our political systems are often corrupt, and set up with all the wrong motivational incentives. In short, the system is broken, and the need for an alternative is becoming increasingly urgent. Of course others can see that too, but Transhumanists are particularly well-placed to see the bigger historical picture: That our civilization can no longer be well managed by political parties and other systems developed in Seventeenth Century Britain. It’s high time for a new evolutionary step.

Transhumanists are as a rule wary of traditional party politics, and rightly so. We look forward rather than back, and seek direct technical solutions rather than to get dragged into the more pointless rituals of contemporary society where we can help it. After all, we want to solve the big problems, not merely “play the game”. The Transhumanist Party is no different, and that’s why we should think not just in terms of specific policies decided upon at AGM, but the bigger and more revolutionary picture that they fit into.

That idea, essentially the context all of our policies fit within, is to switch society over to using new tools to make its decisions and allocate its resources in the most intelligent and compassionate manner possible. To create a new platform not just in the sense of a policy platform, but also a technological platform through which all decisions which could be made directly by citizens, human experts and software, would be. Our more specific policies (and those of other parties who are on the right side of History, collaborating with us in this effort) would shape the nature of that platform. I hope that non-governmental organisations will join the effort too, both charitable and business-oriented, to help us build a powerful and uniquely modern platform for decentralised governance of the UK, and technological empowerment of its citizens.

The eventual goal would be to entirely phase out the current political system, which has been a powerful engine in our civilizational development, but which has now led us to the brink of financial, ecological, and military disaster. Over time we would attempt to use Transhumanist Party influence to sanction the decentralization of government, having its functions transferred to more modern, rational institutions where appropriate. Eventually the entire traditional political class could be dismantled or at least radically transformed, and political parties abolished… including, of course, the Transhumanist Party.

This desire for the Transhumanist Party to make itself and all other parties obsolete to pave the way toward a better, more rational mode of governance is why I refer to it as the last political party. A vote for the Transhumanist Party is a vote to end pointless, circular, tribal and exploitative patterns of “governance”, and inaugurate a new political age to complement the new era of technological possibility unfolding across our culture.

The last political party

The birth of Political Transhumanism

A footnote in History: The first explicitly Transhumanist candidate

Political Transhumanism is beginning to coalesce, and will become a force to reckon with as accelerating technologies increasingly transform society, and people seek a new paradigm to handle the wave of disruptive change.

In the past we have seen Transhumanists standing in elections, espousing futurist ideas in general (such as Natasha Vita-More and Gabriel Rothblatt), even one or two elected politicians with Transhumanist views (e.g. Giuseppe Vatinno), and of course the first person to develop and promote the Transhumanist Party idea – US Presidential candidate Zoltan Istvan. Last night we saw the latest development of this trend: The first electoral candidate to face an election on an explicitly Transhumanist platform. That person is Dr Alexander Karran.

Alexander stood as an independent, albeit one with the support of the nascent Transhumanist Party in the UK. His final vote count was 56, coming second last in the constituency, which sounds underwhelming until you stop to think about what we were actually trying to achieve here, and how we went about it. We were never so much as attempting to run a serious electoral race here, and even went so far as to deliberately support a candidate in a safe seat. Instead, we wanted to make a symbolic statement of intent on behalf of a party which only began to exist in the early months of this year, and make some regular people aware of Transhumanist ideas for the positive transformation of society. Also, it was a chance for us to learn something about electoral rules and processes, which we’d had no experience of whatsoever.

Frankly, the very fact that 56 people would vote for someone and something they’d never heard of, with no warning or sense of familiarity, out of simple support for our vision of a Techno-Progressive future is very encouraging indeed. Now, initial statement made (and all of our very modest goals achieved), we can begin the real work of building the party and developing serious, long-term strategy.

The bigger picture: New paradigms wanted!

Stepping back to look at the bigger political picture in Britain, we see a nation-wide thirst for change, and a rejection of old-fashioned political platitudes. People don’t trust politicians anymore, and they want new ideas (take a look at this post from TPUK member, Humanity+ board member and Transpolitica founder David Wood on the kinds of ideas we might offer). The short version is that there’ll be a Conservative government (although whether majority or minority remains to be seen as I write), support for the likeliest “third parties” (the Liberal Democrats and UK Independence Party) disintegrated, the Scottish National Party secured a remarkable 8% of the vote, and that was at the expense of the Labour Party, who will probably have sacked their leader by the end of today.

This is a remarkable result, which among other things has sadly more than decimated much (subtle, implicit, and potential) Transhumanist support in the form of Liberal Democrat MPs such as Julian Huppert. That is a shame, but the bigger picture is that people have made it clear that they want serious change and cannot stomach broken political promises. This underlines the need for the Transhumanist Party to not develop into just another traditional political party, but instead point out a different way forward for society, in which 19th Century models of governance are phased out in favour of direct technical solutions to society’s problems, where possible.

It may be controversial to say so, but I think that with a full Conservative government and a recession that isn’t going anywhere (despite all the obfuscatory talk of “green shoots recovery”) there will be plenty of societal problems for people to think about solving in the coming years. It is our duty to meet those problems head-on, with a radically new and different way of thinking. For further thoughts of mine on the birth of Political Transhumanism and future strategies for the Transhumanist Party, please take a look at this chapter from the recent “Anticipating 2025” Transpolitica book.

What next for the Transhumanist Party?

Globally, the Transhumanist Party movement is just getting started, and the various organisations constituting it are all looking for active and enthusiastic members, so please do check out the TP (Global) website and follow the links there if you’re interested.

In the UK, now that the party’s registration is in the government’s hands and the election is behind us, we are embarking on Phase 2: Our “hard launch” event and first Annual General Meeting, in late summer (date TBC). We need members and supporters, volunteers and donors, so we can build a network of teams putting together something truly special. You can watch this blog for developments as they unfold, or you can go one better and become a party member now, no matter where you live in the world! (Please note that by joining the UK Transhumanist Party you do not automatically gain membership of any other party or group within the movement).

In order to celebrate the launch of this new phase, an anonymous supporter has pledged to match the next £200 received in donations, so please consider making a donation today, to help us get this ball rolling!

Transhumanism needs a voice in the political arena, in order to defend our vision of the future. You can help make that happen.

The birth of Political Transhumanism

The Transhumanist Candidate

The following is a post written by Dr Alexander Karran, who is standing as an independent electoral candidate in the UK constituency of Liverpool Walton. For more information about Dr Karran’s campaign, which is being supported by the emerging Transhumanist Party, please see this earlier post and watch this blog for developments.

The Transhumanist Candidate

Voters are more open to transhumanism than you might think

My name is Alexander Karran and I am an independent Transhumanist candidate for the constituency of Liverpool-Walton (UK) fully supported by the Transhumanist Party UK (full disclosure, yes they paid my registration fee and campaign leaflet printing). Issues beyond Party control necessitated that the Party must run an independent Transhumanist candidate if we wanted to make any impact in the current election. After some internal debate, I was voted in as the best candidate out of the choices available, which after much searching of that which may be termed the “soul” I accepted.

I could use many expletives here to convey the sense of absolute terror associated with a task of this magnitude (personally), but suffice to say the charge of becoming an independent candidate standing for Transhumanist goals and philosophy has been one of struggle and education. I would like to share some of things I have learned about the practicalities and the insights I gained from talking to the people within the constituency.

Practical lessons  

Documentation

  • Do official paper work early, and if you think it’s too early it is really not
  • Check paper work not once, not twice, but thrice (and then check it again before you hand it in)
  • When reading the UK electoral committee documents be sure to face magnetic north and if you believe in gods have at least one pantheon in your corner. Ok, I jest but the electoral documents created to aid a candidate in standing for an election require a certain amount of patience and must be read stepwise, any speed reading or skimming will result in a mistake that can set back a campaign significantly
  • Leaflets are probably best as A4, 1 fold to allow for more “glitz and glamour” i.e. “in the community” photo ops, standing by road sides with the name of the constituency etc. (this seems a really popular approach even though it is a really cheap shot).
  • Have a PR and Campaigns manager, it is very hard to keep track of what is going on externally to a particular campaign and opportunities for engagement can be missed

Leaflet / Poster

  • One cannot simply put up a political poster anywhere, if it is in a city centre then you need council permission, locally shop windows etc. are acceptable
  • Leaflets simple design, simple message, as few words as possible to get the point across, depending on your tastes, inflammatory defamations aimed at other political parties seem the norm, but is rather déclassé in my opinion so I avoided it
  • To use the “free” Royal Mail election distribution service, if you are an independent (even if supported by a party, like in my case) you must avoid any advertising, that includes any mention of websites .com,.org etc. You can have open endorsements but they must be specific to the individual, if you stand for a party then you must have party branding and you can include the party website
  • Check the Royal Mail candidate documentation, not once, not twice but …… (I hope you see the recurring pattern here)
  • Line up a printing service before sending any leaflet to the Royal Mail artwork verification service, you need to ask the printing service if they will allow you to place their full address on the front of your leaflet, furthermore you should ask the print service if they can label the boxes appropriately (said label is in the Royal Mail document) and package it to the Royal Mail stringent packaging requirements (it will be refused and then binned if it doesn’t), not a problem if you are doing it at home, but again time will be a factor.
  • Have your leaflet ready at least 5 weeks in advance of the closing for candidate nominations, do this to stop the absolute and terrible panic that accrues from running out of time, the Royal Mail Artwork checking service (where you send your leaflet for vetting) takes 48 hours to process an email, and if they request changes this then takes a further 48 hours and if further changes are required …… after this is complete you get a verification code, and you can send your leaflet to a printing house
  • Learn how to read a catch 22 situation and deal with it effectively, the Royal Mail prefers to give out delivery time slots for the collection of leaflets at the distribution office (DO) (the label mentioned above must include the DO on every box or it will be refused), they also prefer the leaflets to be delivered by a service and not an individual, which is strange because they also require form EL1 to be associated with the delivery notice which you can’t fill out until the royal mail gives you a delivery slot, which you can’t know until you know when it is going to be delivered…..  So your choices: pay through the nose for a guaranteed delivery service that gives exact time slots and send your EL1 to them via special delivery or just get it sent straight to your home / business (see above “get a campaign manager”) and go against preference and take it personally where you can guarantee a time slot.

A final note on leaflets: do not under any circumstances deviate from the vetted design in any way, even the smallest change will result in it being returned or binned, they have the vetting code and a copy of your artwork and will further vet it to check its authenticity.

Media

If you get an opportunity to talk about what you are doing and the party message, take it, no questions asked. Try to have a conceptual framework that you will work within when you talk and try not to deviate from it, journalists will always ask leading questions in order to get that juicy sensationalist sound bite, and this could then play against you at some future time. With that said however, go full bore, give concise answers yes but if you have leeway enjoy the moment and talk around the subject. I’m told any publicity is good publicity by trusted sources, I remain sceptical on the issue.

Personal Lessons on a Journey Not Yet Over

So not only did I have to canvass for signatures to support my nomination as an independent Transhumanist candidate from my local constituency but I also needed to speak to the people on general principles (this after all is supposed to be the basis of politics). I was very nervous about this part, not that I have a problem opening lines of communication with people just that, after talks with other Transhumanists and the general feel from the Facebook population there is a belief that “the general population” just doesn’t get Transhumanism and as far as saying the words goes, in this they are right but they are also dead wrong. I will explain my reasons for such a statement, the internet Transhumanist community likes to pontificate upon how “out there” Transhumanism is, when in fact only the more esoteric arms can be seen in those terms (i.e. cryopreservationists, singularitarians). However, I would argue what could be more natural than our technology? it IS an extension of our humanity in and of itself, needing no label and no real philosophical debate. We are a tool-using species, the very basis for our big brains is tool use and communication.

So the reason for my nervousness? What does Transhumanism and Transhumanist philosophy mean to non-Transhumanists? Well having talked to around 250 people in my local constituency, I found that in essence it means nothing! and this is a good thing. The time is now to start pressing ahead with the Transhumanist message, to move as part of a “movement”… The Transhumanist movement has thus far failed to externalise its philosophy in such a way as to appeal to a greater audience of “non-Transhumanists”, if indeed such a thing can be said to exist. As with all things, agreement appears to be a matter of degree and not philosophical difference, after all technology is one of the pillars western civilisation is built on. So when I explain to the so called average person (who is anything but average) that I stand for the core principle that “technology can and should be used to overcome human limitation in all its forms”, specifically to manage and shepherd the accelerating changes happening in the world around us (and relating this principle to personal issues such as accelerating technological unemployment, poor education and health care), Transhumanist thought suddenly became relatable.

To tease apart what I mean by relatable in this context, not a single individual made any link to transsexualism or other negative connotations, all were open to having the terminology explained and when it was explained that I advocated the use of technology to overcome problems and enrich their lives and the lives of their children the Transhumanist message was well received.

You will note the word “transcend” is missing from the above principle (which was part of the original central unifying meme proposed by Amon Twyman and discussed at great length) was replaced by “overcome”, in my opinion transcendence be it technological, spiritual or other, and arguably the end goal of the Transhumanist ideal, is sadly hard to conceptualise and relate to. However, to “overcome” is almost instantly relatable, in our day to day lives each of us aims to overcome many obstacles, no less so for the hard-working electorate of Britain who face many challenges from an ailing NHS, heavy taxation, a system of governance seemingly interested only gaining financial and societal status through the selling off of public services, to more personal issues such as affordable housing, access to education, finding employment and subsistence.

Now I am aware that this may appear to “water” down the full gamut of Transhumanist philosophy and goals, thus rendering the message somewhat unrecognisable to the extreme polar advocates of the movement. However, I believe, and the Transhumanist Party in the UK believes that this central unifying principle provides a valid middle ground which we as Transhumanists can get behind, and moving forward can provide the bedrock for well-reasoned evidence based policy in a whole host of areas.

This approach also has a fringe benefit as, at the moment the mass media are in complete control of how transhumanism is perceived by the general public, if we as advocates of transhumanism in the UK (and indeed worldwide) push this unifying principle and relate it to real world issues, then that is the message that the mass media receives and when sensationalist headlines, replete with killer bots, head transplants, pictures of the terminator are created in our name we in an attempt to demonise the movement, we can point to them and validly claim misrepresentation.

In the UK there appears to be a large nascent population that want political change and they don’t appear to care where that change comes from, providing their issues are addressed openly and transparently. So let’s make it happen!

The Transhumanist Candidate

Making history: Transhumanist Party supports first candidate!

We’re still in the very earliest days for the Transhumanist Party around the world, but things have been particularly hectic in the UK, where we have been trying to get the party set up in time for the national election in early May. As it happens our registration with the government is still in progress, but we are happy to announce that the party will be supporting an independent candidate in the election this May. The details of this candidacy will be officially announced in a few days time.

You may wonder what the point of this exercise is, when the party is so new and our hope of actually winning this election is – to be frank – infinitesimal. We have two key goals at this stage:

The first is to loudly announce the existence of the Transhumanist Party in the UK, to show that we are serious, and that this is the beginning of organised political Transhumanism in the UK and around the world. To show that standing on a Transhumanist platform is possible.

The second is to spread Transhumanist ideas, and show people that the technological possibilities unfolding before our very eyes have the potential to change society for the better. Since announcing that UK party membership is open this week, we have been very pleased to receive enough support to stand a candidate and print 20,000 leaflets, which will be mailed out to the public by the government as part of the candidacy.

More details will be announced very soon. If you would like to join the party and help us move forward with this and further efforts, we would be very happy to have you aboard!

Dr. Amon Twyman
Transhumanist Party (UK) Leader

Making history: Transhumanist Party supports first candidate!