New Social Contract

Transhumanist Party prize challenge

The Transhumanist Party (UK) announces a new prize challenge: "New Social Contract".

The purpose of the prize challenge is to encourage the development of ideas that will accelerate a positive transition to a society in which automation benefits everyone, and in which people are no longer evaluated according to the extent of paid employment that they undertake.

Background

Transhumanism considers humanity to be an unfinished project.

Thanks to the application of science and technology, human nature can be dramatically enhanced. We need no longer fall victim to frail bodies and frail minds. We can transcend the cruel limits we have inherited from our biological heritage and from our social history. We can become better than well, experiencing superintelligence, superlongevity, and super well-being.

It's not just our bodies, brains, and minds that can be significantly improved. The Transhumanist Party observes that our social relations can - and must - be improved too.

As automation, robots, and AI take over more of the tasks which previously filled our hours of employment, more people will experience technological unemployment or technological under-employment. Unsurprisingly, this prospect can cause fear, alienation, and anger. That's why a new social contract is needed.

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New years message

As the year draws to its end, with it comes the time for reflection and analysis of the recent 12 month, and what a busy 12 months they have been, especially for the Transhumanist Party. 2016 saw the party’s first complete year since its official launch. In that year......

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Agile organisations for agile politics

Important announcements about the evolution of Transhumanist Party UK

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[TPG] Statement in support of the (US) Transhuman National Committee

The following is an open letter being read as an address at the (US) Transhuman National Committee convention on 27th February 2016:

My name is Amon Twyman, and I am making this statement in my capacity as Leader of the Transhumanist Party, a registered political party in the United Kingdom, and as a founder of the worldwide Transhumanist Party movement.

The Transhumanist Party in the UK and beyond is fully supportive of the work of the Transhuman National Committee (TNC) in the United States. We see that work as an essential stepping stone toward the international development of our movement and a positive future for humanity. In addition to our general support and encouragement, there are three points I would like to raise which you may choose to reflect upon while planning the TNC’s next steps as an organisation.

1. Open source, decentralization and networking, rather than ownership

The Transhumanist Party movement is a loosely organised thing, still in the process of emerging as a mature phenomenon, but already a few things about its nature are clear. One is that we represent a political aspect of the broader Transhumanist movement rather than any attempt to replace the movement as a whole. Furthermore we cannot claim to represent all politically-inclined Transhumanists, but merely to focus on Transhumanism in our political efforts, and give a voice to all those who share that focus.

Similarly, we have learned that the growth of this movement is a process of developing respectful partnerships, networking, and simply finding ways to work with people who share our values and ideals. Not only do we not want to tell anyone what they can or cannot do, but more to the point we find all attempts to “own” the movement or its symbols to be counter-productive. With this in mind, you can see that there is no global authority within the movement which must give its stamp of approval to the TNC; instead this is a matter of like-minded activists in other countries showing our wholehearted support for the emerging US wing of the movement, and looking forward to working together.

2. Transcending limits, and creating a better future

When we talk of a global movement encompassing organisations such as the TNC, we naturally find ourselves asking (and being asked) what is the idea or common factor which ties the whole thing together. After all, any truly global movement will be a highly diverse thing, and while diversity can be our great strength, we need to be sure of a certain unity too.

There is only one idea that goes to the heart of what Transhumanism must and always will be, no matter the additional baggage or interpretations it picks up, and that idea is of transcending limitation through technology. To use every means at our disposal to overcome the limitations of the human condition. Such limitations are not only biological, but also philosophical, social, legal, and political, and a mature future Transhumanist Party movement can be a powerful tool in our fight against such limitations.

3. Pragmatism, effectiveness, and strategy

Even though we are a futurist movement with a particularly high-minded ideal at its heart, our goals are concrete. We want to live longer and better, to allow as many people as possible the opportunity to achieve those things, and not to allow anyone else’s beliefs to get in the way of that. To that end, we must always remember to prioritise clear goals and action over endless debate, squabbling, and preaching to the converted… all things which, let’s face it, Transhumanism has been known for in the past. Whatever names they go by, the various groups associated with the global Transhumanist Party movement must be focussed on what specific changes they can facilitate – what tangible goals they can achieve – and actively supporting other groups with broadly compatible goals.

While remaining focussed on our common ideal of transcending limitation through technology, each group must look to its own highest priorities first, and then actively and effectively support a small selection of like-minded organisations in a kind of “local network”. That way, we can develop an effective, unified movement with the power to determine goals in a decentralised way, while yet being unified by a clear common ideal. It is in this cooperative spirit that the Transhumanist Party in the UK is making clear its wholehearted support for the TNC.

Last but not least, it is important to consider the question of strategy in determining the next steps for our organisations around the world, including the TNC. What do you hope to achieve, in specific terms, and how do you intend to achieve it? Most broadly speaking, in many ways simply having clear goals and the determination to work toward them is more important than the actual details of those goals. At the same time however, there are a few home truths which we should take into account before making any grand plans.

The first is the question of whether you’re actually trying to facilitate some concrete change, or simply to make a splash in the media. Media outreach is extremely important of course, but it doesn’t count for anything if it does not help us toward an eventual goal. Toward real positive change. The goals of any given organisation will to some extent be determined by local conditions; for example directly contesting elections is a much more viable strategy under proportional representation systems than in countries where a “big two” parties dominate. Consider alternative approaches, and direct action rather than electioneering if it would be more effective. Ask yourself what strategies your opponents are using to suppress what you would see as a positive future, and think about how you could beat them at their own game. Think about how your organisation can help other, like-minded groups to achieve their goals. Remember that social change takes time (even taking technological change into account), and so being committed to this movement means playing the “long game”. The positive change we are working toward may take some time to achieve, but it will be real, and it will be deep.

The Transhuman National Committee has taken the first step in a long and historic journey, and the rest of our worldwide movement looks forward to helping in any way we can, and celebrating your successes!


[ISF] The Jewel and the Lotus

The following post is from the Institute for Social Futurism (ISF). Although its concerns are essentially philosophical, they inform many practical realities for organisations in our network over the coming year and beyond.

If you’re looking for a quick punchline, this is perhaps not the article for you, but you could try skipping to section 1: The Jewel and the Lotus.

0. The Desert of the Real

Over the last few years, we have been developing a network of organisations which share a positive attitude toward technological change while being mindful of the serious challenges the world faces today. The idea is for that network to develop connections with like-minded others who wish to usher in a new paradigm for our society, based on a combination of science, technology, positive values and principles. During that time there has been a natural process of weaving together the ideas and views of many people, and that process has been driving the emergence of a worldview which we call Social Futurism.

Aside from the usual logistical issues of a growing movement, I have become aware of a strong need to reach beyond the complicated tangle of inspirations and concerns which have brought us together, and clearly articulate a single core idea underlying this nascent movement. To momentarily put aside our many assumptions and preconceptions, and examine the deepest ideological nexus which ties them all together. Having done that, we will be able to move forward sure in the knowledge that we are all working toward a common goal, no matter any differences in our philosophies, affiliations, or methods. In short, I have recently felt the need to cast a radically skeptical eye over everything we collectively believe and are committed to, throwing out all unnecessary assumptions in the hope of discerning a single common axiom. It seems to me that any such axiom must be extremely simple and incisive, akin to Descartes‘ “Cogito Ergo Sum“.

The key to this inquiry is to put aside every claim or belief which may not be true, or which can in any conceivable way be countered or argued against. We are of course very much in support of science and greatly value its utility, but no scientific fact can ever be our central axiom, as scientific facts must by definition be potentially disprovable by new evidence. Our common focus must be more akin to a steadfast attitude or conviction than a mere observation that could change at any time. Chinese and Indian philosophy traditionally saw the observed world as composed of myriad relative “facts”, apparent phenomena and distinctions which could change just as easily as a viewer’s perspective, and such schools of thought (particularly Taoism and Buddhism) consistently warned against identifying too closely with ephemera. The traditional Eastern view is that all identification with any apparent fact (perspective, observation, expectation, philosophy or ideal) would cast a “shadow” consisting of everything contrary to that position. Like Descartes, initiates of these religions were urged to let go of every conviction that could be doubted (both the Buddhists’ and Descartes’ conclusion was that everything could be doubted except the existence of Mind), and simply live in the world as they found it. We could learn a lot from the minimalism of this stance, encouraging activists to use the myriad facts of science and the world as necessary, but to embrace a common identity rooted only in a single, fundamental, undeniable axiom. That kind of strong shared identity would enable us to rest assured that we are all “on the same team”, no matter what disagreements we may have over any details, which would be a thing of great practical and strategic value to the movement as a whole.

A recent Western echo of these ancient Eastern ideas is particularly relevant to techno-social concerns in the early 21st Century, and to the future of our movement. In 1999, The Matrix presented such philosophical concerns about the nature of reality, along with issues involving technology and social control, in a very popular action-adventure entertainment format. The movie drew not only upon traditional Eastern thought, but among a great many other things the writings of French Postmodernist philosopher Jean Baudrillard. Baudrillard said that we are surrounded by simulacra or simulations which no longer refer to any underlying reality, such as news stories which reflect consumer demand and media manipulation rather than any deep truth. He further claimed that in this ultra-mediated environment, actual reality (i.e. unmediated, unmanipulated things-as-they-actually-are) is now extremely hard to find. We see things almost entirely through the lens of culture and technology, now. This notion of reality as an increasingly hidden, deserted place was summed up in Baudrillard’s phrase “the desert of the real”. The idea that we live in some kind of mediated bubble of false reality while an authentic reality exists “outside” is the central theme of Gnosticism, found today in the work of people such as Science Fiction writer Philip K Dick (both Gnosticism and Dick’s ideas were also prominent in The Matrix).

At this point you may well be asking what all these wild and wonderful ideas have to do with advancing technology, social progress, or indeed the real world. It all boils down to the intrinsic nature of the Transhumanist urge; to go beyond all that we have known in order to become more than human. To transcend the traditional limitations of the human condition. It is no accident that Transhumanists are regularly accused of being “neo-Gnostics”, because the idea of extending human life and health beyond current limitations is indeed reminiscent of the ancient heresy, albeit expressed in a very new way. This is a touchy issue, as Transhumanists are generally at pains to distinguish their technological hopes from ancient religious dreams, despite their clear common origin in simple human yearnings for a greater or happier existence. We should note that it is not as simple a matter as some people calling Transhumanists ‘Gnostics’ and Transhumanists themselves uniformly rejecting the idea. Not only are many Transhumanists open to spirituality of various types, even including nuanced (usually secular) interpretations of Gnosticism, but the “accusers” are often sympathetic to both (neo-)Gnosticism and Transhumanism (and therefore presumably trying to draw attention to what they see as a good thing). Perhaps the best example of this is Erik Davis, in his 1998 book “TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information” (to show the close interrelatedness of all these ideas, we may note that Davis is a scholar professionally interested in the works of Philip K Dick).

The thing that Transhumanists, Gnostics, and the heroes of The Matrix have in common is a pointed and total disrespect for the limitations of a world which pretends to be the whole of reality, but which is in fact only a subset of all that is truly possible. In other words, we Transhumanists are inherently driven to reject any convention or ideology that tells us to be content within our limits, to know our place. Instead, we seek to venture beyond those limits into the “desert of the real”, and in doing so take responsibility for directing our own evolution. I must stress that this need not imply a hedonistic, individualistic flight from communitarian responsibilities, when the very act of transcending limits makes it possible for others to follow our example; and for the whole of society to thus evolve and progress beyond its former limits.

In short, we feel that we could be more, that we could help others in the process, and that no-one has the right to impose their arbitrary limitations upon us. We would explore beyond the safe havens of the world as we know it, and out into the desert of the real… into the darkness of possibilities. This rejection of the world’s distinctions and limitations is the one and only thing that can unite our diverse movement. That movement already includes many people who do not consider themselves to be Transhumanists, and that will only become more true over time, but the common impulse that unites us is clear: To sweep away the old world that stands between us and a much better future. A person might oppose this impulse for whatever reason, but they cannot argue it to be false in any way. It simply is.

1. The Jewel and the Lotus

We have discerned the idea that lies at the heart of our movement’s many manifestations (i.e. not just Transhumanism and other forms of Futurism but all truly modern and progressive activism, and any number of related philosophies, arts, and sciences): That our salvation lies beyond the limits of the world as we currently understand it… and that by transforming ourselves we can transcend those limits. In short, that we can and should remake the world and our place within it. Paradoxically, this idea is truly ancient, and yet its combination with technology makes a powerful new revolution in human affairs possible.

At this point, we should take a moment to note a parallel between the advice offered for individual living by religions such as Taoism and Buddhism on the one hand, and the necessary way forward for any modern activist movement on the other. Followers of the ancient Eastern ways are encouraged to live in the present moment, rather than dwelling unduly on the past or future. This reduces identification with transient things, and thus reduces the suffering caused by regret over the past or anxiety over the future. Interestingly, any truly revolutionary movement would do well to heed the same advice, since the act of relinquishing the past and future (i.e. memories and expectations) is tantamount to rejecting limitation by those things. In other words, to focus on the present and to reject all unnecessary limitations are two sides of the same coin.

Having identified this central idea, our next question is of course how to simplify and condense its expression, to maintain its clarity for ourselves and communicate it easily to others. Traditionally this is the realm of symbols, or simple signs that stand for (and easily summon) complex sets of ideas. In keeping with the ancient Eastern philosophies mentioned earlier, I have settled upon two key symbols with a somewhat oriental flavour: The Jewel and the Lotus. In this section I will explain these two symbols, and their potential value.

It is common to depict an incisive axiom as a blade or sword, as in the cases of Occam’s Razor or Alexander cutting the Gordian Knot (indeed the very word “incisive” implies both clear, rational analysis and the act of cutting). In ancient Indian writings there is mention of a sword known as the Jewel of the Desert, and that strikes me as a particularly apt name for an axiom which refers to the Desert of the Real. This “Jewel” is our central idea – an article of faith which unites our emerging movement – and it can be expressed as follows:

Act Now and Be Free

(Nunc Agere et Liberi)

The only reality is action in the moment, and the bonds of the unreal demand to be cut. In other words, the individual and any movement for positive change must always focus on what they can be or do now, and all apparent limitations conjured by tradition, convention, history, hope or expectation with no solid basis in the reality of the present must be cast aside without hesitation. If an obstacle can be overcome, it should be. If a limitation can be transcended, then transcend it. This is a point of view which should come naturally to Transhumanists, Gnostics, all opponents of arbitrary and unwanted limitation, and all those who would sweep away the old to make way for a better future. It is often said that you can best know a thing by looking at what it opposes, and in this case we are utterly opposed to entrenched limitations which only exist out of a sense of history, social convention, or “natural order” rather than having something clearly positive to contribute to the future of humanity. We must tear down all such false limitations in our bid to remake civilization.

Beyond this central philosophical matter, as mentioned earlier I have become acutely aware of logistical issues that naturally arise with the growth of any movement. I won’t go into the details of these issues, except to say that they boil down to a question of resources: How to get the resources we need, and how to use the ones we have well. Perhaps the most pressing resource issue has been the question of time and communications. A lot of people have something to say or ask, but we simply cannot respond to every such contact in a centralised way. Instead, the network must scale up in such a way that local groups can handle initial contact in most cases, and important messages can be passed through the network as appropriate, meaning that no single part of the network is overloaded with messages from everybody. In order to make my own part of the network more manageable and to set an example, I will be restricting my personal engagement to the activity in eight official channels. I can no longer guarantee any response to any communication outside those channels, which are outlined briefly below.

If every part of the network were to operate in a similar manner, maintaining a small number of recognised and well-maintained collaboration/communication channels, then the result would be something like a mosaic of decentralised activity, a fractal heterarchy or holarchy. A symbol for the network (and any given node within it) which I find to be appropriate and appealing is the lotus flower. The lotus is essentially a memorable image which represents a centre connecting multiple channels or aspects. The lotus is also a symbol common to the various Eastern philosophies mentioned earlier, although a rose would be the equally appropriate counterpart traditional in the West.

Others are free to organise themselves as they see fit, of course, but the specific eight channels which I will personally be focussed upon, going forward, are as listed below. In each case I will only be working with a relatively small core team, rather than attempting to manage all functions of these wider organisations directly. Such functions represent my “close neighbours” within the network, that I collaborate with but am not directly responsible for. If we all operate in this way – with clear cooperative links but limited personal workloads – then we will be maximally effective as a network.

I am currently in the process of reorganising the core teams and preferred communications channels for these groups, and will link to further information and full contact details for all eight channels from here on Friday January 22nd, 2016. In the meantime you can still contact these groups as before.

This post has covered a number of complex and subtle ideas with an unfortunate but necessary brevity, where any of these could be the departure point for long conversations in and of themselves. My objective will have been met, however, if you remember the symbols of the Jewel and the Lotus. That the Jewel of the Desert is simply a determination to stand squarely in the reality of the moment and cut through the proliferation of illusions, distractions, and false limitations which we are constantly told to embrace and respect (or at least take seriously). And that the Lotus is merely a reminder that while remaining focussed and effective, you always have the option of being connected with others in a movement toward something greater.


Membership representatives on the NEC

The Transhumanist Party is now looking for suitably qualified and motivated membership representatives to sit on its National Executive Committee (NEC), in line with its constitution (which can be found here). Membership representatives (“reps” for short) are people who sit on the NEC for one year as full voting members, speaking on behalf of the membership as a whole, until they face re-election at the next AGM.

While we are still in the initial stages of establishing the party, our first set of five reps are being appointed by the other NEC members as they volunteer themselves, rather than pushing a full election outside of the AGM. All of these initial reps will, however, face re-election at the next AGM as required by the party constitution.

This is a chance to help the party and our movement, by providing a vital link between the membership and the National Executive Committee which makes decisions on their behalf. If you would like to be considered for the role of membership representative, then please email contact@transhumanistparty.org.uk.

We do not yet have a full role description for these representatives, but we can say the following things with confidence at this stage:

  • The position is unpaid, and carries reponsibilities including (but not limited to) engagement at NEC meetings twice per month and engagement with the party membership between those meetings.
  • All membership representatives must be full party members, and their activity is subject to the requirements of the party constitution and NEC.
  • Development of full role descriptions for the representatives will be the responsibility of the first set of reps.
  • Similarly, establishment and maintenance of AGM electoral procedures for membership representatives will be in the hands of the initial set of reps, subject to constitutional & NEC requirements.

Zoltan Istvan Does Not Speak For The Transhumanist Party

This is an open letter to the entire Transhumanist community, written in my capacity as Party Leader of the Transhumanist Party (a registered political party in the UK), coordinator of the Transhumanist Party Global umbrella organisation, and founder of multiple associated groups. I feel that it is now necessary to address an unfortunate apparent schism within the Transhumanist movement, and show the way forward toward a positive, constructive, intelligent solution to the problem. In other words, a solution which captures the intended spirit of Transhumanist thinking.

I feel that I must address the question of Zoltan Istvan. His role in relation to the Transhumanist Party, and in relation to the movement as a whole, and the mixed reactions to some of his more notable recent actions. It is not my intention to support or condemn any individual, but instead to offer perspective which will help us all move forward as a unified movement.

The Transhumanist Party is a rapidly growing, worldwide movement of organisations, some of which explicitly use that name (or some version of it) while others do not. It is effectively a network that represents the primary manifestation of Political Transhumanism, which is in turn an important current within the broader Transhumanist Movement.

The strength of the Party is the same as the strength of the wider Movement of which it is a part: Cooperation, and a sense of unity which paradoxically arises from an acceptance of diversity and pluralism. In other words, the Transhumanist Party – worldwide – is thriving because we understand that our members do not all have to believe exactly the same things in order to be on the same team and achieve common goals. The same goes for Transhumanism as a whole. The Party is just one aspect of Transhumanism, and Transhumanism as a whole thrives when we understand it to have many facets, all reflecting and supportive of each other.

I think this is important to understand, and sometimes visual metaphors can cement understanding, so you may wish to think on it this way:

Imagine a large room or chamber, effectively hidden (for now) from the eyes of the wider world. That chamber constitutes our entire movement, every aspect of Transhumanism as it currently exists. The chamber is filled with candles, each representing an aspect of the movement, a person or group or idea. There are small and large candles, candles standing alone and others in clusters, some larger than others. When they are all allowed and encouraged to shine together, their collective light might stand a chance of being seen from outside, and the world may come to see. We should not wish to extinguish any of the candles, or to imagine that the light of any single candle can ever shine brightly enough on the world to bring the changes we want to see. If we do not all shine together, we might as well not be shining at all.

Recently we have heard a lot of disgruntled mumblings about schism, and disunity within the movement. Most of this is just idle internet noise, but real issues and differences have flared up. Once such issue has involved unilateral statements made by Zoltan Istvan, ostensibly on behalf of the Transhumanist Party. People have increasingly been asking what right Istvan has to make such proclamations, and some worry that he is bringing the movement as a whole into disrepute, despite being a particularly bright-shining “candle” himself. I would like to take this opportunity to briefly sum up the situation, once only and as a matter of record.

Zoltan has a spectacular drive, sense of personal ambition, and ability to connect with mainstream media. We as a movement could all learn well from him, and intend to do so. But while his efforts gives him a unique opportunity to “brand” Transhumanism for a wider audience as he personally sees fit, he does not have any moral authority to do so. His implicit claim to moral authority comes from his claim to be founder of the Transhumanist Party, but the fact is that he is no such thing. He created and popularised the idea, to be sure, but he deliberately chose not to build a real party. He has explicitly rejected all real party-building, due process, and even democracy itself. There is a real party in the UK, and serious party organisations developing in Europe (supported by TP Global), and even a real party beginning to form in the U.S. – but Zoltan is not even a member of that U.S. Party. The simple fact is that he has his own small media group, which does what he needs to do to run a media campaign, and that’s it. Therefore, Zoltan has no mandate to speak on behalf of any other Transhumanists in terms of policy or anything else. His opinions are his own.

Now, I do not mean to imply that’s a bad thing. It’s a spectacular thing, and more of us should be doing it. But it does not make Zoltan anything more than a particularly effective advocate for the Party – one whose service the Party will always be grateful for. His personal organisation is a fraction of the size of the larger groups he inspired, but which are not under his personal control. His personal focus is on longevity, which is a great hook in media terms, but longevity technologies are only one aspect of real Transhumanist Party policy being developed… and which is not being developed autocratically by a single person, but in collaboration with multiple established Transhumanist think tanks, and in accord with rigorous, democratic due process.

Last but not least, unfortunately Zoltan has created the need for a statement like this, by starkly announcing that the Transhumanist Party believes various things which are violently incongruent with the beliefs of many bona fide Transhumanists. That would be OK if these things were true policy established by some valid process, but they simply are not. This unfortunate rupture has forced those of us working to build real Transhumanist Parties around the world to assert a positive, cooperative message, which we now extend to all Transhumanists and like-minded people:

We want to work as a fully cooperative part of the broader Transhumanist Movement, and will soon be working to extend our media and activist reach far beyond the traditional confines of that movement. We accept all the diverse branches of the movement as valid (or at least potentially so), and vigorously welcome healthy difference of opinion. That differences enriches us, rather than dividing us. We are already in full support of and in friendly relations with all the major Transhumanist organisations, and so would ask that everyone understand that there is no schism. There is just one Transhumanism, in its multi-faceted, argumentative, free-thinking glory. The Transhumanist Party is not defined by the views of even its most energetic advocates, but by due process (which you can shape by getting involved, whoever you may be), and its guiding mission is to support and carry forward the Transhumanism which already existed before the Party did. In other words, to support you.

You – all those people who we help and who choose to help us – are our mandate. Our due process ensures that it is a valid, and fair one. Zoltan Istvan’s views do not define the Party, and so there is no schism. There is justpotential, whether you are politically-inclined or not. I feel that this is a message which every Transhumanist should intuitively understand and support.

Actions speak louder than words. Support an official, due-process driven Transhumanist Party organisation or indeed any active Transhumanist organisation of note, and we are on the same team. We want for, and will achieve, the same things. Together.

http://transhumanistpartyglobal.org
http://transhumanistparty.org.uk


Official Policies Of The Transhumanist Party (2015)

Last Sunday (4th October 2015), we held the inaugural Transhumanist Party Day in London, including our first AGM to officially determine Party policy by democratic means. You can find the list of our officially approved policies below, but first I would like to make a brief comment on the voting process.

This was the first test of our party’s democratic processes, and it appears to have been an overwhelming success. The party now has a mandate from its membership, which started with policy proposals submitted by the end of August, followed by ratification by the National Executive Committee (to check that proposed policies did not contravene the Transhumanist Party Principles), and finally by an open membership vote held both online and at the AGM.

There were two proposed amendments to the party’s constitution (see below), and I am glad to report that both were accepted with 100% support. Furthermore, there were six policy packages consisting of a number of proposed policies each. We offered members the chance to accept any package in toto, or to pick and choose which policies they supported. According to our party constitution only a simple majority threshold (i.e. 50%+) is required for a proposal to pass. Some consideration has been given to applying a higher threshold for this initial meeting, but it has been decided by the party leadership that an arbitrary threshold would do a disservice to party members who support any given policy which met constitutional requirements but not an arbitrarily higher threshold (and as importantly, one not announced in advance).

As it happens, we received an overwhelming mandate from the party membership, with three packages accepted outright at the 50% threshold, and all individual policies still being accepted at the same threshold where the packages as a whole were not accepted. Where a package as a whole was not accepted and a member had voted in favour of an entire package, they were considered to have cast a vote in favour of each individual policy comprising it (if we didn’t do this, we’d have to explain why we were throwing away half the members’ votes regarding half the policies). All six policy packages are thus considered to have been adopted as official policy, in full. Anonymised voting numbers will be made available to party members upon request, once they have been properly prepared.

Even though a higher acceptance threshold has not been applied, it is worth noting that only 3 of the 27 policy proposals would not be accepted at a 67% threshold, which in the party constitution is a threshold reserved for amendments to the constitution itself. In order to avoid undermining the established mandate, I will not be commenting on which three policies those are.

These are now the official policies of the Transhumanist Party, until the next AGM or special poll of the membership. Rules for submitting new proposals toward future changes will be released shortly. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the party.

OFFICIAL POLICIES OF THE TRANSHUMANIST PARTY (2015)


A. Party Constitution amendments:

 

1.0
The Transhumanist Party’s ideological position is known as Social Futurism, which represents the integration of social and technological concerns. We adopt this position as a reminder that our central mission as a Transhumanist political party is to harness technological potential for the benefit of society.

2.0
The National Executive Committee (NEC) is responsible for drafting interim party policy where an issue is judged by the party leadership to have arisen for which there is no policy yet in place. The adoption of interim policy must be in accord with constitutional voting rules. Any such policy must be formally ratified at the first AGM following its inception, or be automatically considered rescinded in the absence of ratification.

B. Initial Transhumanist Party policies:

3.0 Political and Judicial Reform

3.1
Governance in the UK to be reformed toward greater democratic, technologically mediated participation in decision making (particularly with regard to functions which can be safely ceded to local authorities), and a greater focus on evidence-based policies rather than ideology.

3.2
Proportional representation is to be instituted.

3.3
The House of Lords to be transformed, over time, to a second chamber augmented by the most effective technological decision aids available.

3.4
No MP may take any other paid work while during their term in Parliament, and laws are to be enacted to reform the “revolving door” system of MP’s subsequent appointments and private sector political influence.

3.5
Freedom of speech will be vigorously defended, with the exception of speech that (1) constitutes a direct incitement to violence, (2) is libellous (with libel reform to have burden of proof put on the claimant), or (3) is the product of a crime designed to acquire or create the information transmitted (trading in or further transmitting such information will make one an accessory to the original crime).

3.6
Reform of intellectual property and software patent law, to allow only the most clearly justified limitation of freedoms of speech and information.

3.7
Laws addressing the regulation of emerging technologies will as far as possible prioritise the preservation of personal freedoms insofar as other people’s personal freedoms, rights, or the needs of society are not being curtailed. People should be free to use new technologies as they see fit if they are harming no-one else and there is no clear potential for such harm, and they must be guaranteed freedom from inappropriate intrusion by the state made possible by new technologies.

4.0 Economics

4.1
The highest goal of the Transhumanist Party is to ensure that the potential benefits of technological change are as widely accessible as possible across society, and to create conditions which maximise opportunities for positive technological development.

4.2
The state pension, and retirement age, to be abolished. Those who cannot work will instead be entitled to claim state benefits. This is a policy to be introduced over a fifteen year timescale and culminate in a Basic Income Guarantee for all citizens.

4.3
A Land Value Tax to be introduced.

4.4
There will be no state subsidies for mature, profitable industries – no “bail outs”.

4.5
The state will provide full grants to all citizen students. Those receiving full grants will be liable to repay them if they emigrate within a ten-year period after graduation.

5.0 Environment

5.1
Transhumanist Party environmental policies must emphasise the use of “Bright Green” technologies to improve the health and wellbeing of the natural world, and to minimise any negative environmental effects of technology. This will necessitate constant reform and improvement of environmental impact legislation.

5.2
Targeted year on year reduction in the use of pesticides and herbicides. Support for vertical farming and robotic techniques.

5.3
Factory farming of animals to be more strictly regulated. Research into tissue culture as a replacement source for meat to be actively supported and subsidised.

6.0 Health and Education

6.1
The NHS will be encouraged to evolve in a direction in which greater emphasis is placed on preventive and regenerative biotechnology.

6.2
Laws governing pharmaceuticals will be modified to allow licensing of drugs that extend lifespan, enhance intelligence or make one “better than well”.

6.3
No culturally divisive education is to be supported by the taxpayer. This includes schools charging significant fees as well as those selecting by class, race or religion.

6.4
New technologies which can significantly reduce educational & health system costs and improve performance of those systems will be subsidised by the government in order to encourage swift adoption.

7.0 Society and Europe

7.1
Although we are concerned with the wellbeing of humanity as a whole, our party focusses first and foremost on British societal needs. The demands of multiculturalism and other societies will be considered secondary to the needs of our own society. Within the broad boundaries of asserting our own societal needs first, we will strive to create an integrated, harmonious society.

7.2
Immigration policy shall prioritise skilled migrants, and while refugees will be welcomed with vigorous humanitarian support, such refugees will not be afforded the full rights or freedoms of properly recognised immigrants. Although we seek to support and enable our fellow human beings, we cannot do so in a manner which abandons our own right to future self-determination as a nation.

7.3
The Council of the European Union (AKA the Council of Ministers) should not be allowed undue control over the democratically elected European Parliament. The Council should be reduced to the status of ‘second chamber’ with power of veto over European Parliament decisions rather than direct legislative power.

8.0 Defence and International Relations

8.1
An immediate halt to the selling of arms to nations that are not democracies, or are debtor nations in the international community to an extent significantly beyond the international norm.

8.2
Retain and properly maintain an effective nuclear deterrent.

8.3
No foreign aid to governments. Foreign aid should only be given direct to people who need the aid, or NGOs which can be trusted on the basis of evidence that they will properly distribute it.

8.4
No aid to nations with nuclear weapon programs.

8.5
Support for self-determination of culturally coherent peoples, where geography allows and can be shown to be viable (e.g. Kurds), as well as devolution movements (e.g. Scotland).


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.”


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 werefoolish 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!



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