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Detained with Dignity: Reformism in a Nutshell June 8, 2016

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Anti-imperialism, Feminism, Queer politics, Uncategorized.
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California is taking action to ensure that trans immigrants are treated with dignity at detention centers.

This quotation and the linked article highlight the absurdity of reformism. Sure, a modicum of respect is better than the alternative. But detention centers shouldn’t exist at all!

Even by liberal standards immigration law and detention centers are unmitigated bullshit. You can make a reasonable argument for prisons and cops within the liberal tradition, valuing both stability and freedom. You can’t do the same for an immigration policy any more elaborate than basic registration.

Immigrant detention and deportation are horrific practices akin to the now widely condemned WWII-era policy of interment camps. Kidnapping, caging, and forcibly relocating people based on where they happen to have been born? How can that be anything but nightmarishly illiberal?

This isn’t a difficult or complicated issue, yet representative democracy still can’t get it right.

Democracy never! How about liberation instead?

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A New Tendency February 29, 2016

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Transhumanism.
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Conservative Anarchist Transhumanism (CAT) – At least something still makes sense!

Conservative Anarchist Transhumanism (CAT) – Say no to pleasureshaming!

Conservative Anarchist Transhumanism (CAT) – Preserve your pattern from the hivemind!

Tired of William Gillis lecturing you on the cosmic mission to convert the universe into computronium? Find the conceit of persistent personal identity deeply reassuring? Love technology and rationality but also your own arbitrary desires? Dislike the taste of bullets? Join CAT today!

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Why Anarchist Transhumanism? October 29, 2015

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Transhumanism.
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William Gillis tells you why here. As much as I enjoy the appeal, I don’t completely agree with this piece. It’s not accurate to describe laptops as grenades because they can’t easily be used as such. I likewise suspect design space exists for making technologies less dangerous and intelligent beings more resilient. Simply throwing our hands up and saying it’s cool to have the ability to unleash engineered plagues strikes me as unwise. I don’t necessarily care myself, but that’s a dubious foundation for enduring social and political systems. Of course state control is worse, but individual and community measures to reduce risk seem better. While the history of technological change to date suggest a trend toward increasing risk and ease of attack – guns, explosives, etc. – that trend need not necessarily continue. Intelligent beings can make choices to reduce risk and increase safety. More freedom and intelligence potentially allows more successful striving toward lower-risk systems. At a certain point, weighed alongside potential benefits, doing things that greatly increase risk of harm to other beings is bad and should be avoided. Examples for me include the existence of nuclear weapons – at least under present conditions – and engineered plagues (depending to some extent on the details). I propose persuasion via reason as the primary way to spread this position. In some cases force strikes me as potentially appropriate, such as if somebody said they nuclear weapon or engineered plague on standby and were planning to push the trigger. I plan to write more about this when I make the time.

William Gillis also recently released a piece criticizing primitivism, but I doubt anybody reading this blog really needs that.

William Gillis Finally Finished “Science as Radicalism” August 19, 2015

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Epistemology, Technology, Transhumanism.
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Science graphic.

You can read it here. The piece provides a useful intervention. I’ll provide further commentary when I get the chance. Check out the anarchistnews.org version if you’re brave.

The March of Automation August 2, 2015

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Technology, Transhumanism.
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It’s an old story, going back to the start of the so-called industrial revolution. However, now the prospect of near-complete automation is beginning to seem more credible. This piece recounts how a factory in Dongguan City in China has recently replaced 90% of its workers with robots and seen 162.5% increase in production with a considerably lower defect rate. Various other Chinese factories plan to follow suit.

In an economy that ran for the common good – and perhaps in a genuinely free market – this sort of thing would be awesome. More efficient production could in theory make us all better off. In actually existing practice it’s more complicated. Workers lose jobs and primarily the bosses on the top benefit. As the linked article mentions, the increasing automation of Chinese factories comes at the same time as the Made in China 2025 initiative, which delightfully includes a focus on strengthening intellectual property rights.

Vastly complex technological systems of production and distribution sustain the current world economy. This article provides a fascinating look at the shipping industry. Here as with Chinese factories we see movement toward replace human labor with its robotic equivalent. Author Tim Maughan notes that “ports like Rotterdam in the Netherlands have already moved to fully automated systems, with driverless trucks and robotic cranes.”

Chinese factories, Danish-run shipping lines, and so on supply the basic necessities/luxuries that so many of us rely on on a daily basis for our comfort and survival. At the same time, these systems involve incredible exploitation and suffering. Automation seems like an ideal solution to drudgery but I doubt it will such as such by itself. It’s no answer to the questions of contamination, displacement, and distribution that continually haunt the modern economy.

The solution, of course, is revolution, but not a revolution simply destroys the industrial economy – at least not without putting up something superior in its place. When reading Maughan’s piece, disrupting supply lines seems awfully easy. It’s almost amazing the folks who want to accelerate the supposedly inevitable collapse of civilization haven’t had more successful.

Transhumanist Colonialism from the Horse’s Mouth August 9, 2014

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Anti-imperialism, Decolonization, Technology, Transhumanism.
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My recent piece on IEET has provoked Hank Pellissier to launch into a defense of colonialism:

“Colonialism”… I do not believe it is always 100% destructive

Neither do the colonized… the link below for example – its a popular chat site for Nigerians, read it and you discover that many/most of the posters think colonization provided some benefits…

http://www.nairaland.com/12021/colonialism-good-africa

also…

Untouchability in Hindu India… a long, wretched tradition that was partially alleviated by the British colonialists…

Sati – or Suttee – the burning of widows in India, also abolished by British colonialists…

or…

Albinos are occasionally killed for body parts in Tanzania – the Canadian NGO “Under the Sun” is trying to criminalize the profession of “witch doctor” there… Are they being “colonialist” in their attitude, imposing their values?

I wrote an article opposing Female Genital Mutilation – a commenter told me that I was displaying a “white, imperialist, colonialist” attitude because I was suggesting my cultural values were superior –

who is right or wrong?

is colonialism acceptable if it provides…. education, medicine, infrastructure, democracy, improvement in human rights… ?

Ey goes on describe U.S. military aid as a good investment:

Hi Kris – my essay, “Israel’s Value to Transhumanism” lists numerous ways Israeli innovation contributes to the creation of a better technoprogressive future. It was written four years ago, and Israel’s value has increased significantly since then. For example, Israelis have gotten 6 Nobel Peace prizes in Chemistry in the last decade… plus Daniel Kahneman’s Nobel Prize in Economics, for his work in Game Theory, highly valued by AI researchers.

Israel’s “Value” is deeply unappreciated by its hostile neighbors.

To guarantee Israel’s survival, the DOD provides about $3 billion in weaponry to Israel annually.

I don’t think this is a terrible investment.  Here is a list for you of
“57 Contributions Israel Has Made to the World”

http://www.levitt.com/news/2005/08/04/57-contributions-israel-has-made-to-the-world/

IMO, people who want the elimination of Israel are desiring a future scenario that delays and destroys techno-progress

Peter Wicks concurs:

Honestly, I don’t have the slightest quibble with Hank’s reflections regarding colonialism. It indeed brought benefits as well as destruction and misery. And it was entirely relevant to the discussion (including the African example) given that we are responding to an article that essentially condemns Israel for being a settler-colonialist state.

While I wouldn’t argue that literally nothing positive has come out of colonial projects, presenting colonialism as beneficial to the colonized under current political circumstances strikes me as overwhelmingly pernicious. In Pellissier’s case, it goes hand in hand with support for U.S. military aid to Israel, support for supplying Israel with the explosives that have just killed hundreds of noncombatants in Gaza. Pellissier advocates exactly what I oppose: building the fabulous future atop a heap of bones.

As I’ve argued previously, programs that demand suffering today on the basis of knowing the future assume far too much certainty. If folks like Pellissier have their way, forty years from now we may well end up with compounding misery and no magical tech to save us.

Gaza Is a Transhumanist Issue! August 4, 2014

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Anti-imperialism, Decolonization, Technology, Transhumanism.
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Transhumanists as a rule may prefer to contemplate implants and genetic engineering, but few if any violations of morphological freedom exceed being torn to pieces by shrapnel or dashed against concrete by an overpressure wave. In this piece I argue that the settler-colonial violence in occupied Palestine relates to core aspects of modernity and demands futurist attention both emotionally and intellectually.

Read it all over at IEET.