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Copyright Claims Another Victim September 3, 2012

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Despair, Technology.
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The Pirate Bay founder Anakata was recently arrested Cambodia. Reading this grim news makes me want to torrent something. Let’s keep on sharing in Anakata’s honor. Mad props to em for running away and evading capture for solid while. I encourage everybody to support eir legal struggle with a diversity of tactics. Death to artificial scarcity!

Socialist Feminist Shulamith Firestone Dies at 67 August 31, 2012

Posted by Summerspeaker in Despair, Feminism, Transhumanism.
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See the New York Times piece here. Margalit Fox frames Firestone’s story as a tragedy. I suggest we keep Firestone’s dreams of feminist revolution alive. This society destroys radicals like em in order to frighten us away from transformation. Let’s answer terror with solidarity, and burn the heteropatriarchy to unrecognizable ash.

The Internet Is a Scary Place July 29, 2012

Posted by Summerspeaker in Despair, Feminism, Queer politics.
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I’m basically out of commission because of Imperial Academy nonsense, but I’ve been reading up on the unrelenting war between trans folks and radical feminists during breaks from studying. How have I never encountered this in person? It all supports my suspicion that wildly disparate experiences, personal animosities, and status competition trump revolutionary solidarity. It’s best to die alone after exposing and renouncing everyone else as traitors to the cause. Let’s make sure the patriarchs keep on winning.

“99 Percent of the Native Americans I Have Met Are the Most Reactionary People One Could Meet” July 12, 2012

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Decolonization, Despair, Environmental justice, Primitivism, The Singularity, Transhumanism.
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So quoth Intomorrow over at IEET. I know the settler mindset dominates transhumanism but this is getting ridiculous. My response follows.

57% of the Native folks I’ve met are the most revolutionary individuals out there, but you know what they say about statistics. Remember that plenty of Native Americans reside outside of reservations for some or all of their lives. Stereotypes both perpetuate oppression and muddle our thinking. Just because indigenous people to tend to value tradition, community autonomy, and environmental justice rather than salvation via technology doesn’t make them reactionary.

This discussion illustrates where I differ with mainstream (if such a thing exists) technoprogressivism and transhumanism. Y’all seem most concerned with getting to that awesome future or at least with convincing others to thinking positively about technoscience. I want the transformation in human relationships away from hierarchy and inequality. In the absence of such change, I don’t expect much good to come from the march of innovation. I contrast “reactionary” with “revolutionary” rather “progressive.” If political project opposes the established power structure and promotes freedom, I’m down, regardless of whether it looks backwards for inspiration. All programs of reclaiming or returning to the past in fact constitute a future vision.

Peter’s suggests that I lean toward anti-progressivism. I’d need to unpack exactly what that term means to be sure, but the observation strikes me as accurate. Though decidedly both, I’m an anarchist first and transhumanist second. I hold abiding skepticism for all things related to the narrative of progress, which I view as intimately entangled with European supremacy and the associated oppressive cultural values. While also thoroughly troubled, the revolutionary tradition appeals to me over the progressive one. Yes to Ricardo Flores Magón, no to Theodore Roosevelt. I feel far greater affinity with primitivists who want to bring down civilization to end oppression than I do with elitist Singularitarians who assure us techno-heaven approaches as long as we stay the course of industrial capitalism.

To clarify, I advocate collective liberation based on solidarity, not patronizing attempts at conversion. The orientation of trying to “bring these people along with us” reiterates hierarchy. Yes, I want to spread transhumanist ideas, but not on the evangelical model. The following quotation from a Queensland Aboriginal activist group sums this up beautifully:

If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.

Few if any of us like being coded as inferior. Missionary endeavors encounter that inherent problem and at best create a new privileged class. Often they simply arouse resentment. Let’s try mutual aid instead.

Settling the Future: Transhumanism without Indians July 7, 2012

Posted by Summerspeaker in Decolonization, Despair, The Singularity, Transhumanism.
11 comments

But, again n’ again, it goes back IMO to what Fukuyama (who wants to make amends for his “End of History” folly) writes: if we encourage a motley coalition of culturally conservative oppressed—and they are in fact v. oppressed—we go nowhere fast. You can communicate with them as you please, however for me to be honest with them it would be the proper thing to say to them their culture only interests me i.e. artistically/anthropologically/archaeologically—otherwise such contains little or nothing of a progressive nature. I feel quite strongly that we go nowhere by attempting to be all things to all progressives—assuming they are even progressive as we define progressive in the first place. To put in plain language, what do ‘Indians’ have to do with technoprogressivism or even progressivism as conventions define technoprogressivism? Besides, re Native Americans, it has gone way past colonialism- you are many decades too late; we are not discussing India under the British.
White nationalists are often oppressed poor as well; what would reaching out to them accomplish? they have told me they fear the effects of transhumanism on their families, thus it doesn’t take Cheiro to foresee we would have a similar difficulty with reaching out to other oppressed primitives. Wasted motion. College students, yes, and many others who are receptive; Native Americans?: I see it as simply a waste of time in proving we are caring (or smarmy) towards minorities.
Unless any of you you possess evidence they are willing to listen. – Intomorrow

No words. This penultimate comment on my recent IEET article leaves me sputtering and speechless with indignation. The expressed derision toward the oppressed in general and Native Americans in particular on the basis of technoprogressivism reinforces my abiding suspicion of the the progress narrative. Intomorrow suggests hopping on that spaceship to awesome and ignoring the “oppressed primitives” too “culturally conservative” get on board. I’m not even sure what ey means by progressive – if you’re reading, please clarify – but I assume it approximates IEET’s broad position about ethically employing powerful emerging technologies to improve or transcend the human condition. Intomorrow describes the impoverished and brutalized masses as too poor soil to grow the glorious future. Because of backwards cultural values that incline them to mistrust the technoprogressive agenda,  these people have little or nothing to offer.

While idiosyncratic in its details, I would guess that this position resonates in the transhumanist community. Those in positions of privilege typically take pleasure in describing their others as behind the times if not downright uncivilized. Progressive white folks fixate on communities of color as homophobic and misogynist; owners and coordinators bemoan working-class racism. These tales serve to justify racial and class domination.

I argue that such claims about cultural deficiencies of the oppressed do no useful intellectual work. As an alternative conceptual framework, I recommend the intersectional approach to identity and power. Needless to say, we shouldn’t idealize the oppressed – even the super oppressed! – as sources of absolute truth or unmediated knowledge. Huge cultural barriers indeed hinder radical organizing.  However, Francis Fukuyama’s elitism and its echoes contribute nothing to overcoming these challenges and crafting successful coalitions.

In this context, Intomorrow stands out for how ey unambiguously identifies indigenous people – “Indians” – as irrelevant. As an example the racism, notice how ey juxtaposes “college students” with “Native Americans.” While I’m tempted to stress the value of indigenous culture the project of sustainability and elaborate on the revolutionary credentials of Native peoples, doing so threatens to reiterate the hegemonic dynamic that centers settler desires. Native lands, communities, cultures, and religions have too long been taken as a resource for non-Natives.

Instead, I repeat and expand on my initial claim that contemporary technoscience relies on exploitation and environmental devastation. The record of uranium mining and nuclear weapons production here in New Mexico illustrate how this plays out. Furthermore, I add that technoscience in the Americans rests on the foundation of settler colonialism. Like the Middle Eastern oil that drives the United States economy, close to every acre comes drenched in blood. As Native lands continue to be targeted for resource extraction – especially of energy resources – this dynamic belongs to our own twentieth-first century as much as the nineteenth. Any attempt to make technoscience ethical must directly confront settler colonialism to have any hope of success. As the syndicalists say, an injury to one is an injury to all.

Intomorrow’s style of futurism scares me silly. The unwashed multitudes – including poor white nationalists, as incomparable as they are to Natives – have legitimate reasons for rejecting assertions of cultural superiority from those with material power over them. Death to all domination everywhere, however rationalized. I dream of wide alliances based on egalitarian and anti-authoritarian principles mighty enough to overturn the status quo. Here’s to revolution and relationships – not progress.

Waking Up to the Nightmare and the Absurdity of Immortalism June 22, 2012

Posted by Summerspeaker in Despair, The Singularity, Transhumanism.
16 comments

This morning I read that the cops have beaten up and arrested three of my comrades in LA. Hardly anyone cares about these routine horrors; they’ve been naturalized as features of modernity. Those of us overflowing with sentiment lack the ability to do more than rage impotently on Facebook and intensify our commitment to the revolutionary cause in the hopes that we might someday gain the material power to turn our threats credible. Dreams remain dreams.

I personally exist on the margins of these spaces and connect with people only via stereotypical – if genuine – expressions of anarchist ideology. I’ve never been included in the bonds of affection of any radical community, regardless of professions to the contrary from informal leaders and my endless toil for the movement. Interactions are icy and awkward, devoid of spirit. Nobody comforts or consoles me. I’m excluded from mutual aid projects of emotional support. Neither grievous bodily injury nor imprisonment nor street harassment means anything or inspires any sympathy. I’m always an outsider, always alien and alone wherever I walk in this gray world.

My reliable prospects for the future involve perpetual social frustration and agony at the apparently adamant edifice of oppression while desperately jumping through the hoops of the Imperial Academy in order to pay rent. The ideal career path – requiring a solar mass of luck to complete – terminates at a position of privilege and comfort within the scholarly hierarchy that simultaneously allows me to struggle against state and capital. More likely I’ll continue to scrape by on the edges. The most attractive plausible trajectory includes martyrdom by way of arrest at a big direct action and suicide behind bars. Or maybe just getting hit by a bus.

Such experiential reality explains why I have a hard time relating to the folks I’m debating over at IEET. While I refuse to renounce the aspiration for indefinite lifespans and perpetual bliss, these goals seem laughably fantastic on days like today. From a negative-utilitarian perspective, engineering suicide booths strikes me as more effective and achievable than shooting for paradise. People who want to live forever must be a lot happier than I am. Under present circumstances, death looks like as positive of a singularity as I can expect. Hell, it fulfills a majority of the important promises: everything changes and there’s no more suffering.

I pray one of Giulio’s future gods doesn’t use its future magic to copy me to the future for prolonged torment. Immortality presents the genuinely chilling scenario – gleefully wielded by Christians – of torture without end. On the other hand, the possibility of enduring eons encourages determination to make life worth living. But right now I find discarding the easy escape of oblivion too terrifying to contemplate.

Transhumanists: The death worshipers may be wiser than you know.