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.

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Working toward a new paradigm

Volunteering, local groups, & TP web presence

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

1. Volunteering: Get involved!

We are calling for volunteers to help get the party set up; both full party members and more general supporters can volunteer. If you would like to see the Transhumanist Party succeed, then please consider what you could do to help. Basically there are four ways you could be helpful, listed below, and if you would like to talk about any of them then please do email us: contact@transhumanistparty.org.uk

  • Join a core departmental team
  • TPUK is organised around six departments; Party Secretary’s Office, Treasury, PR & Campaigns, IT dept, Fundraising, Nominations & Liaison. We are currently looking for 4-6 volunteers per department, in order to spread the workload and maintain momentum. Some of these volunteer positions would involve the volunteer taking a seat on the National Executive Committee. By being a member of one of these teams you would be at the heart of party operations at the national level.

  • Local party organisations / national network
  • We are currently planning a two-day event on the 3rd-4th of October, in London and with online-accessible elements. The first day of the event (the “Anticipating 2040” conference) will be open to the public, and the second open to party members and special guests. The decision as to whether the second day will act as our first AGM (or whether that will follow separately, later) is due to be made on July 2nd. As we work toward that event this summer, the plan is to encourage the growth of local party networks and visit local groups as they develop. The first such group – Leeds Transhumanist Party – is now on Facebook. You could be of great assistance by joining (or in most cases, creating!) your own local TP group and letting us know about it, as soon as possible.

  • Join the party and/or donate
  • As always, we need both members, and resources in order to get anything done. If you are not already a member, please do consider joining. Don’t forget that you don’t need to be a UK citizen or resident to join the party, and that you can donate without joining if you prefer. We are working on a dedicated sign-up system on our own website, but for the moment have our join page being managed by the good people at Transpolitica.

  • Get creative!
  • If you can see another way you can help that isn’t described above, then you don’t need our permission to just go ahead and make things happen (as long as your actions don’t contravene the party constitution or generally bring the party into disrepute). If you have an idea then please do feel encouraged to run with it, or get in touch if you have any questions or concerns.

    2. Navigating the TP web presence

    Some people have naturally been confused by the proliferation of Transhumanist Party groups, websites, and associated organisations on the internet. To a certain extent that’s a natural consequence of two dozen new national groups exploding into existence in a few short months, complicated by their relationships with various groups and forums which aren’t strictly speaking part of the Transhumanist Party. I would like to try to help make things clearer though, so here’s a very quick guide to the essentials, from a UK perspective (just a placeholder until someone can develop a more comprehensive “map” of this new movement):

  • Transhumanist Party (Global)
    http://transhumanistpartyglobal.org
  • Also known as TPG; this organisation is basically a hub, connecting the various national-level Transhumanist Party groups, plus some emerging partner organisations and affiliated initiatives. The website is a wiki, edited by movement members from around the world. The TPG site is not the domain of any one national-level group, and it does not tell any of those groups what to do. Instead, it exists to help us all stay connected and aware of each others’ progress.

  • Transhumanist Party (TPUK)
    http://transhumanistparty.org.uk
  • For historical reasons (i.e. following the example of the US party), the UK party is simply known as (the) “Transhumanist Party”. Our main website is still at a very early stage of development, and dealing with that is now one of our top priorities (volunteers needed, see above!). Public discussion forums are hosted on this site, and the direct link to them is http://forums.transhumanistparty.org.uk.

  • TPUK Facebook group
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/uk.transhumanistparty/
  • Our facebook group is essentially a kind of public “shop window”, where party members, supporters, and those more casually interested can discuss issues relevant to transhumanism and the Transhumanist Party. Party updates are posted in the facebook group, but you won’t see any serious planning in there.

  • TPUK members-only email list
    http://groups.google.com/group/transhumanistpartyuk
  • Unlike our forums and facebook group, the members-only mailing list is for – you guessed it – TPUK party members only. The list URL is given above for the convenience of members, and all new joiners are invited to the list (and can ask to join after the fact), but anyone else requesting to join will not be allowed access. Access is restricted in order to ensure a good signal:noise ratio, and a certain level of demonstrated commitment from all involved in discussion.

    You’ll hear more from us soon, and we look forward to hearing from you soon, too!

    Volunteering, local groups, & TP web presence