Note to anyone who is unfamiliar with the term “Anarchism”: It may turn you off from the start but be assured that anarchism is the evolution of radical democracy, consensus decision making, freedom, cooperation, and equality - changing the name of anarchism to something more “appealing” would undermine the evolution of this school of thought...
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An Anarchist-Transhumanist Manifesto (Rough Draft, Needs fact checking, many opinions need editing)
Anarchist-Transhumanism is a branch of anarchism that takes seriously the values of traditional and modern anarchism and combines it with transhumanism and posthumanism.
Although this is a flag, it is more about an idea, a concept, a way to live. It has nothing to do with nationalism, nor patriotism.
“Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people’s minds & then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.” - Arundhati Roy
We especially draw upon Anarcho-Syndicalist, Anarcha-Feminist, and Libertarian Socialist branches of Anarchism. We do not consider “anarcho-capitalism” as a branch of anarchism in anyway shape or form. This document is anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist.
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Anarchism as a movement and philosophy has been around since the Enlightenment, though its roots stretch back to the days of hunting and gathering. At that point in history, it was common for tribes to cooperate in an inclusive, egalitarian fashion. Instead of being mindlessly territorial and competitive, people learned to work together to work for a common good. Until the rise of empires, kings, and complex hierarchies, working together was the way to survive. Anarchism challenges the notion that we need to compete and fight as a society, but rather, cooperate for a common good. Since, it has been an area of thought which has grown, evolved, and matured into a blueprint for a free society. It values freedom, cooperation, stateless organization, and non-hierarchical social structures. It has been proven to work in communities that value consensus voting and direct democracy. Commonly, anarchism is falsely characterized as being chaotic - impossible to formalize or exist outside of impossible utopian dreams. Yet, as proved in the historical implementation of anarchism into intentional communities and full-scale societies, it is something more than simply an outlandish dream. But in order to achieve an anarchist world, we must put an end to the powerful social structures which have brought about oppressive institutions that have made this revolutionary idea necessary in the first place. The two prominent aspects of political thought which anarchists do not believe in are vanguardism and capitalism.
Vanguardism is traditionally conceived by a small group of people who value a socialist state to guide the working class (proletariat) away from the tyranny of the capitalist-state and the few who run it (bourgeoisie). The problem with vanguardism, as history has shown, is the mass disrespect for anarchists (and others who oppose the state) and the lives of the bourgeoisie (yes, the bourgeoisie: corporate CEO’s and government officials are people too) to the point of mass murder. The failure of vanguardism is most visible in the Soviet Union, in which a “socialist” elite claimed capitalism would be eradicated, the state would dissolve, and all would live in peace. The purges of Stalin and the famines of Mao clarify this fact. Vanguardism also has a tremendously horrible record of failing to turn over the State to the working class, leading to a dictatorship under the flag of “socialism”. Marxists often refer to this as the dictatorship of the proletariat. This dangerous concept is a perfect example of the common misconception amongst people who believe in vanguardism that the world is shaped by the lower classes effectively. If we are to examine the application of vanguardism to societies in the past, we will find these parties have become disconnected from the lower classes they claimed to have been part of. If we are to stand for the rights of the people, we must stay part of the people, not manipulative elites who claim to be them.
In contrast to these authoritarian “socialist” ideas, anarchism does not favour a small group of people creating a state with a dictator. Instead, anarchism is formed around the idea that the working class should take over their workplaces, lives, and communities with the implementation of radical democracy. Most people call this notion of anarchism anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism. Many are confused by the term libertarian socialism, as libertarianism is often characterized as a radical capitalist philosophy, and socialism is characterized as an evil Soviet trustafarian terrorist plot, primarily because of Western propaganda. In actuality, anarchists believe that the rights of individuals should be respected (libertarianism), which can be achieved through the people having control over resources, the tools employed to put those resources to good use, and fairly allocated goods (socialism). It is worth pointing out that anarchism is socialist, though not the authoritarian socialism it is commonly mistaken as being. Many communists and authoritarian socialists believe in the concept that a state is needed to organize the lower classes, while waging war against all opposition. Never have we seen an effective transitional state bring about statelessness and classlessness. Rather, we have seen “pro-worker” states evolve into monstrously manipulative power-hungry elites. Instead of achieving a society for the people through the control mechanisms of the state, anarchists are firm in the stance that we should implement the principles we believe in without a corruptible all-powerful group.
Both anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism have a better record of striving for and implementing radically egalitarian ideas through consensus decision making. We proudly disregard the idea of a socialist dictatorship, instead skipping through the supposedly “temporary stage” of vanguardism to a stateless society where the working class self-organizes in the workplace.
In countries modeled after the Nordic System (a sort of capitalist and socialist hybrid) we’ve seen slow evolution that has never truly met all the needs of their citizens. We continue to see socioeconomic problems in countries like Iceland, Sweden, and the Netherlands. It then seems more rational to embrace the ideals of anarchism to have a revolution against the 1% - the bourgeoisie non-violently. Historically, anarchism has also been shown to be less discriminatory and less violent than a vanguard driven revolution. Anarchists strive to have no interconnectedness with the brand of neoliberal capitalism present in the nations mentioned above.
Anarchists, as mentioned earlier, are against the concepts of unjustified dominance and hierarchy through violence and coercion. Aside from being less discriminatory and less violent, anarchists generally believe in respecting everyone from every walk of life. Visible in the numerous anarchist variants which range from feminist to naturist, nothing is to be oppressed. Therefore, the vanguardist idea of wiping out opposition and bringing about a harsh state is invalid. Rather, we need something which emphasises pure equality and empowerment of the future self through direct democracy and consensus decision making - anarchism.
For more information on Anarchism please see:
2. Why Transhumanism?
Transhumanism and Posthumanism is not Eugenics
The atrocious history of the pseudoscience of eugenics must not and will not be perpetuated by transhumanism. Anarchist-Transhumanism is about cooperation and liberation. We reject prejudice pseudoscientific authoritative attempts at dividing and subjugating mind/brain around the world… [this section should briefly summarize eugenics and describe in more detail about how transhumanism cannot and will not make the same mistakes of turning pseudoscience into social constructs and laws]
(Matilde Marcolli) A Bridge and a Sunset:
It may seem strange, in an anarchist perspective, to begin our discussion of the historical roots of anarchist-transhumanism with a reference to a controversial philosopher like Nietzsche. However, it would be intellectually dishonest not to acknowledge the fact that Nietzsche was the first philosopher to formulate explicitly transhumanist statements. Moreover, the many ambiguities and historical misappropriations of Nietzsche’s thought are inevitably entangled with the many ambiguities, both political and ethical, that plague the transhumanist movement today. We should not, and will not, shy away from discussing them in this document. Many people (both within and outside the anarchist milieu) are reluctant to consider transhumanism as a valid concept to engage with, because they see in it sinister echoes of nazi-style eugenics and other reactionary and authoritarian tendencies, just as many people cannot help but seeing such echoes in Nietzsche’s writings, even when they are known to be superimposed distortions of the originally intended meaning. As we will argue at length in this document, we reject any such reactionary form of transhumanism, and we propose a very different, progressive, anarchist viewpoint. In order to begin articulating our position, it is therefore useful to start with Nietzsche himself, as the first historical precedent we discuss, and present our own interpretation of some of his transhumanist statements.
(Matilde Marcolli) Was groß ist am Menschen, das ist, daß er eine Brücke und kein Zweck ist: was geliebt werden kann am Menschen, das ist, daß er ein Übergang und ein Untergang ist. (Friedrich Nietzsche, "Also sprach Zarathustra")
(Matilde Marcolli) Nietzsche is certainly the most widely misunderstood and misquoted philosopher in history. In keeping with this tradition, we are going to present a transhumanist reading of this famous quote from Zarathustra. The German word Mensch is a non-gendered word that is best translated into English as "the human". So, according to this line of Nietzsche, "what is great about the human is that it is a bridge and not a goal". Intrinsic in the idea of the human as a bridge is the evolutionary view of life: evolution is not teleological, and the human is not the pinnacle of evolution, just another transient state in a process that keeps modifying the development of species. The human species, like any species, is not a goal of the evolutionary process but a part of the process itself. However, there is more in the use of the bridge image: a bridge is connecting two shores, and if the human is not a goal but a bridge, in particular it is also not a dead branch of the evolutionary tree. The process continues to the other side of the bridge: the human has a non-human, or we may better say a trans-human future. The idea is further expanded in another famous line of Zarathustra:
Der Mensch ist ein Seil, geknüpft zwischen Tier und Übermensch - ein Seil über einem Abgrunde. (Friedrich Nietzsche, "Also sprach Zarathustra")
In this line the same statement is reiterated and expanded: "the human is a rope, stretched between the animal and the trans-human". The use of the word "animal" as a translation of the German Tier is reasonably accurate, even though the German word more exclusively refers to non-human animals, unlike its English counterpart, which can be construed as inclusive of the human and referring to the general animal kingdom of biology. It is much more controversial, and historically fraud with distortions and misinterpretations, how one should read Nietzsche's choice of the word Übermensch. Here we choose to read it as “that which lies beyond and above the human", where for us “above" does not imply a reference to any kind of power relation, but simply a further step in the evolutionary tree. We choose to interpret this concept as an instance of the "trans-human". "A rope", Nietzsche's line continues, "over an abyss". The image of the abyss conjures danger and horror. It is the blindness of the evolutionary process of natural selection, which leads most species to disappear into the abyss of oblivion and extinction. The human/bridge escapes this fate and bypasses the abyss, by connecting to the other side of the animal, which in modern Transhumanism is represented by the transhuman morphing of human and machine. However, a bridge can stand only if it connects to both sides, and the connection to the animal is as crucial to its survival as the connection to the transhuman machine. The two sides of this Nietzschean bridge are the human-animal and the human-machine interfaces: the post-human and the trans-human.
Coming back to the first quote above, the line continues with "what can be loved in the human is that it is a bridge and a sunset". In fact, the choice of the pair of words Übergang and Untergang is particularly interesting: both contain the root "Gang", which best translates as a "passageway", so that the Übergang/Untergang contrast first suggests the simple overpass/underpass counterposition. However, the actual meaning of the two words moves away, in an interesting twist of perception, from this simple contrast: the word Übergang, indeed, should really be translated as "transition" and Untergang as downfall, demise, extinction. (By Matilde Marcolli)
So while the first suggested contrast of "below" and "above" recalls once again the two shores of the bridge, rooted in the animal and a machine-transhuman Übermensch (Über/above again), the actual contrast of meanings sees the human as transition counterposed to and accompanied by the human as a downfall (the abyss): witnessing the sunset of the human.
wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein (Friedrich Nietzsche, “Jenseits von Gut und Böse”)
As Nietzsche wrote in this line from "Beyond Good and Evil": “when you stare long into the Abyss, the Abyss stares back into you”. The human is then a bridge, stretched between its interfaces with animal and machine, staring into the abyss of its own extinction, which stares back with the blind power of transformative evolution. The human is a transition, the very act of becoming transhuman, and in transitioning beyond the human, it achieves its own demise: a bridge and a sunset.
The thought of the rise of new forms of life and intelligence beyond the human, especially at the boundary of the human-machine interface has frequently been a source of anxiety. It suffices to see the deep-seated fears that accompany the current rapid development of forms of artificial intelligence, with speculations on the sudden rise of malevolent super-intelligences that will wipe out the human race. These dark mythologies of the modern age add to an already broad repertoire of hostile aliens and machines. The tradition of speculative fiction is rife with renegade computers, artificial intelligences run amok, dehumanized cyborgs and androids, along with the ubiquitous and ancient human-animal monster hybrids. An in depth analysis of this kind of cybernetic anxiety in the science fiction literature of the last century is given in Warrick's book referenced below. In a similar vein, one of the most widespread and profound criticisms addressed to Transhumanism is also in the form of anxiety about the downfall and eventual demise of the human. This is, for instance, the anti-transhumanist stance one finds in Agar's book: the rise of new trans-human forms of existence, especially in the form of radical enhancements through technology and merging with artificial intelligences and machines, would deprive us of the very essence of what it means to be human, and will inevitably lead to a tyranny of the post/trans-human over the human. A similar kind of anxiety about emerging and rapidly developing biotechnologies and their effect on the changing nature of the "human condition" is echoed, in a more nuanced form, in several of the essays collected in the volume "Is Human Nature Obsolete?" referenced below. (By Matilde Marcolli)
An overly pessimistic view at first appears to resonate with the idea of the sunset of the human in Nietzsche's Zarathustra. Yet, if we look more closely at the bridge metaphor, the human bridge rests in place, stretched above the abyss of extinction, precisely because it is deeply grounded, on both sides of the abyss, to the animal and to the machine. Only by accepting and embracing the merging with both of these realities, the human bridge can remain solidly above the abyss, a transformation leading to a profound change in what it means to be human, but not one that will necessarily lead to the demise of what we would refer to as the essence of human nature. An important point to keep in mind is that the notion of what it means to be human has already undergone profound changes in history, by gradually (and in fact too slowly) becoming more inclusive, as we will discuss below. These changes of perspective on the human have brought about the inevitable transition from Humanism to Posthumanism, and Transhumanism is but a further inevitable step in this transformative process. The anxiety about tyranny and domination of the post/transhuman over the human is grounded in a perception of life and society in terms of power, dominance, and hierarchical relations, which is exactly what Anarchism wants to abolish.
The many worries and anxieties about the possibility of tyranny, violence, and domination in a transhuman future are not unwarranted, but they are primarily a reasonable fear of the effects of extending to the near transhuman future all those structures of power and dominations upon which the current capitalist society is based. An appropriate answer to such fears should not rest on the idea of suppressing, limiting, or prohibiting the technological advances that will lead to radical transformations of the human. If anything, these preoccupations show that Transhumanism needs Anarchism: the dismantling of all power relations and of all impositions of domination and submission is necessary for the human bridge to continue to stand above the abyss, to guarantee a peaceful constructive future for all intelligences, whether human, animal, artificial, or transhuman. (By Matilde Marcolli)
(Matilde Marcolli) Human, posthuman, transhuman, too human:
Both Anarchism and Transhumanism are deeply rooted in the tradition of Humanism. Historically, Humanism arose as a cultural movement, first in the Islamic Renaissance of the Buyid Age (945-1055 CE) in the cosmopolitan city of Baghdad, and later in the Italian Renaissance of the 14th, 15th and 16th century (see references). In both environments, a crucial role in the emergence of Humanism was a connection to the culture, philosophy and science of the Ancient Greek civilization. Some of the fundamental ideas of the Greek philosophical tradition became the foundation of humanist thinking. The Greeks had established a tradition of skeptical inquiry and intellectual curiosity, a strong belief that the natural world can be understood and explained without resort to the supernatural, and currents of thought that rejected religion entirely. The roots of modern science lie in those early developments (see Russo's book referenced below). Renaissance Humanism rediscovered these currents of thought first through the reading of the forbidden Lucretius and his beautiful Latin poem "De rerum natura": even before the Greek language was widely rediscovered in Western Europe, Epicureanism and Neoplatonism had deeply influenced the Italian Renaissance. While trying to maintain a difficult equilibrium with the brutal oppressive power of the Roman Christian church, Renaissance Humanism still managed to achieve a remarkable cultural revolution, by putting the human and not god and religion at the center of the cosmos. These ideas ushered a flourishing of culture, with new developments in the arts, based on the use of geometry and on an ideal of human proportions (Leonardo's Vitruvian man), and with the establishment of an extensive curriculum of "studia humanitatis" in the universities. The disengagement of culture from religion, and its connection to the humanities, centered on the human as the measure of everything, lead over time to other major steps in Western European culture, from the French Enlightenment to the subsequent development of Socialist and Anarchist ideals.
While this important aspect of Humanism remains a founding principle and an inspiration, it is important to recognize that Humanism also had several downsides. Just as the Ancient Greek culture, for all its beauty and importance for modern thought, was also a culture grounded in slavery and profoundly xenophobic and sexist, in a similar way, "the human" as understood by Renaissance Humanism was inevitably male, of European or Middle Eastern descent, young and able bodied. The “human as the measure of everything” is an extremely anthropomorphic conception of reality, which does not leave room of the unfathomable vastness of the cosmos, and the complete irrelevance of this particular life form on this peripheral planet. It creates a form of human exceptionalism that denies the continuity between this species and other animal species, or the possibility of any other non-human forms of intelligence.
It is this important criticism of Humanism that brought about the development of Posthumanism. There are many forms of Posthumanism (see the references for some accounts). In the way we approach the Posthumanist movement, we do not wish to see Posthumanism as an anti-humanism, nor as a form of post-modernism. We consider Posthumanism as a natural evolution of Humanism, where the main problems of Humanism are addressed critically, and some profound changes of perspective are introduced. In this respect, we are closer to the Posthumanism of Braidotti than to that of Neyrat.
Posthumanism calls for the dismantling of human exceptionalism, in relating to other forms of life and forms of intelligence. It calls for the abandonment of the humanist anthropocentric vision in relating to the cosmos and the physical reality. We completely reject any attempt to exclude and marginalize any population, whether on the basis of race, gender, geographic origin, sexual identity and orientation, or any other such attempt aimed at subdividing humanity by the demarcation of an exclusionary "us and them" barrier. Posthumanism aims at being maximally inclusive. We embrace the humanist vision of a natural world devoid of supernatural interventions. We retain from Humanism a belief in the importance of education and the "studia humanitatis" (which included the natural and mathematical sciences as well as the humanities and the arts). We also maintain the belief in mechanical bodies and computational minds, derived from Humanism and the Enlightenment, but we recognize the value of cognition in every human and non-human manifestation.
Transhumanism usually refers, more specifically, to changes to human nature achieved through technological and scientific means. One of the foremost and most successful forms of Transhumanism developed so far has been the possibility to freely determine one's own sexual identity, and the availability of the technical means to affect the desired changes to the human body that accommodate this choice. Transexual is the most exemplary form of the transhuman. Other important existing forms of transhumanism have focused mostly on medical interventions and prosthetics, where interfacing the human body with electronics and more sophisticated mechanisms is rapidly advancing therapeutic options. Transhumanism envisions a broad extension of these developments, both within and outside of the realm of medical applications, guided by a general philosophy of morphological freedom, maximizing the possibilities of affecting changes to one's own body and mind. This notion of Transhumanism, as long as it does not promote or impose one form over others and one choice over others, is entirely compatible with the inclusiveness of Posthumanism.
A merging of Posthumanism and Transhumanism occurs in a very interesting way in Haraway's philosophy of the Cyborg (see "the Cyborg manifesto" reprinted in Haraway's book listed below). This shapeshifting figure of human and machine hybrid inhabits the liminal spaces at the boundary of Humanism, its exclusion zones: women, machines, animals. The reclaiming of these spaces creates the novel posthuman subject, the new Vitruvian figure of Post/Trans-humanism. (By Matilde Marcolli)
(Matilde Marcolli) Штурм неба! Storm the heavens!
The fundamental historical roots of Anarchist Transhumanism are deeply grounded in the Russian artistic avant-garde movements, which flourished in the context of the broad spectrum of anarchist, socialist, and communist movements that immediately preceded the Russian Revolution, and very briefly followed it until the oppressive Stalinist dictatorship gained political control and suppressed them (see chapters 4 and 5 of Antliff’s book, and the books by Bowlt and Matich and by Stites listed below). This very broad radical cultural milieu saw the birth of the artistic and literary Futurism, alongside a wide range of related movements such as Rayonism, Cubo-Futurism, Suprematism, Orphism. The visual arts and poetry of these Russian avant-garde movements were dominated by a broad mythology of technoscientific progress, a visionary modernity deeply rooted in anarchist and socialist philosophy. Images of trains were widespread, as symbols of a revolutionary modernity that collectively drives humanity towards the future, through a new level of connectedness that transcended state and class boundaries. Other dominant iconological themes included the human body as mechanism and the blending of body and machine (from Oskar Schlemmer's mechanical ballet figures to Capek's robots), the myth of electrification as modernization and as metaphor for revolutionary political power, the image of the city as dynamical hub of radical societal transformations and technoscientific innovations, and the early developments of a mythology of outer space and of the connection between human progressive destiny and the exploration of the cosmos.
It is within this general cultural and political background that the philosophical movement of Cosmism (sometimes referred to as Biocosmism) flourished. This was the direct origin of modern Transhumanism, and it exhibited several of the most important themes one encounters in its contemporary forms. Like its modern transhumanist counterpart, Russian Cosmism was a very composite movement, where some representative figures stirred closer to mysticism and religion, while others embraced anarchist, socialist, and communist ideals (see Young’s book below). Cosmist thinkers advocated the radical extension of human life, the conquest of immortality through scientific means, the merging of human and machine, and the quest for space exploration and the creation of human settlements outside the Earth. The Cosmist philosophical movement in turn deeply influenced the scientists who in later decades realized the Soviet space program, starting with Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the father of Soviet Cosmonautics (see Andrews’ book listed below).
The convergence of Anarchism and Socialism with Cosmism and Futurism that took place in the years leading up to the Russian Revolution remains a profound source of inspiration for the modern movements combining Anarchism and Transhumanism. (By Matilde Marcolli)
(Matilde Marcolli) Cyberfunk Afrofuturism:
We recognize the Afrofuturism movement as another major influence on Anarchist Transhumanism. This current of African American science fiction and speculative fiction has played an important role in creating a space for radical social movement centered on an avant-garde futurism that is ethnically diverse, free of colonialism and oppression, where technoscience, urban culture, and science fictional space travel are viewed in the light of the African diaspora. Afrofuturism embraces the arts: in music, from Parliament-Funkadelic's Mothership to Janelle Monáe, to the Sonocybernetic Manifesto of cyborg-musician Onyx Ashanti (see the links below), as well as in literary and visual forms (including Amiri Baraka's Afro-Surrealism). There is a deep link between the arts, especially music, and the Afrofuturism movement, see the book by Chude-Sokei listed below. The connection between music, the technoscientific imagination, and the sciences, an important theme of this artistic movement, has also been taken up in creative ways by scientists, see for instance the book of the physicist Stephon Alexander linked below.
The concepts of Cyberfunk, Cypherfunk, and Biofunk originate in the writings of Balogun Ojetade and Milton Davis (see the anthology "The City" quoted below and the "Chronicles of Harriet" and "MVmedia" websites linked below). The artist Carles Juzang has created many beautiful visual examples developing the Cyberfunk poetics (see his DeviantArt page linked below).
Cypherfunk denotes a movement of African and African-American activists advocating the use of codes and cryptography, and computer hacking, as instruments of political action. The creation of online spaces and the coordination of political action through online communities play a crucial role in this movement. Concerns about privacy and security and surveillance are an integral part of the Cypherfunk approach, and especially the creative invention of networks of citizens organized sousveillance techniques aimed at protecting the community from police brutality and racist violence. The Biofunk aspect of the Afrofuturist movement focuses on the transformative role of modern biotechnologies: bio-hacking, DIY synthetic biology, manipulation of genetic material, with a particular focus on the perspective of marginalized groups that have been traditionally excluded from big-science run by corporations and universities. The Biofunk movement is also fighting against the misuse of biotechnologies when left in the hands of capitalist profit and repressive institutions of social control.
Another important theme in these Afrofuturist movements is the bridging of the digital divide, which currently leaves a significant part of the population, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, and socioeconomically disadvantaged people, with limited access to connectivity and information and communication technologies, as well as other important technological advances. Actions range from the Baltimore Algebra Project (see Gillen's book referenced below), to various grassroot training programs in computer coding for underprivileged school age students organized in the form of anarchist hackerspaces. (By Matilde Marcolli)
(Matilde Marcolli) The Cybernetic Moment
Another major historical root of contemporary Anarchist Transhumanism is the scientific and cultural movement of Cybernetics, which developed primarily in the US in the '50s and '60s, starting with Norbert Wiener's work, and later flourished in Allende's Chile, in the UK, as well as in the Soviet Union during the '60s and '70s (see the books by Triclot, Pickering, Gerovitch listed below).
Cybernetics is often mistakenly accused of being a byproduct of the Cold War military-industrial complex and ideologically aligned with militarism and capitalism. On the contrary, while some cyberneticians were involved with military funded research, a large part of the Cybernetics movement was in fact politically radical and harbored socialist and anarchist revolutionary aspirations. It is too simplistic to reduce the ideological divide within Cybernetics to a John von Neumann versus Norbert Wiener dichotomy, although certainly von Neumann embraced the US military-industrial complex (to the point of being taken by Kubrick as a model for his Doctor Strangelove character), while Wiener rejected it and voiced profound ethical concerns about science and society and about power and control (see Heims' book and Wiener's writings listed below). Among the other leading figures of the Cybernetic movement, Walter Pitts was a homeless runaway anarchist who taught himself Ancient Greek and Mathematics in public libraries, and who became one of the founders of modern Cognitive Science and the creator (with McCulloch) of the first computational model of the neuron (see the Gefter's Nautilus article linked below and the book by Dupuy). Stafford Beer, the most prominent British cybernetician, created the Project Cybersyn for Salvador Allende's democratic Socialist government of Chile, as a neural network system of organizational design combined with a Cybernet of communication systems (a precursor of the internet): Cybersyn was viewed as a way of organizing the country's production while maintaining workers autonomy, favored by advanced communication and computation technologies, as an alternative to creating the top-down statist socialist structure typical of most socialist governments of the time (see the books by Medina and Pickering listed below and the link to Beer's "Designing Freedom" lectures). The New Cybernetics movement of the '70s incorporated a more direct link to the biological sciences and deeper connections to philosophy, especially in the work of Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela on autopoiesis and systems theory, which can be seen as one of the roots of contemporary systems biology (see Johnston's book). The Soviet counterpart of the Cybernetic movement was also connected to strong democratizing tendencies and to a broad social movement for radical reforms in both science and society (see Gerovitch's book). Cybernetics has had close connections with the theory of Anarchism, especially in the development of models of self-organization suitable for the organizational structure of an anarchist society (see for instance the articles by McEwan and Duda listed below). We embrace the radical, futurist, and utopian side of the Cybernetics movement and its historical aspiration towards using advanced information technology for societal organization, in the full respect of autonomy and freedom of all agents, as well as its historical role in breaking barriers between traditional academic fields and scientific disciplines. (By Matilde Marcolli)
3. Anti-Racism, Pro-LGBTQI Rights, Anarcha Feminism, Worker’s Rights, Cyborg Rights, Anti-Imperialism, Anti-Colonialism, Socioeconomic Justice, Anti-Eugenics/Anti-Ableism
The words egalitarianism, equality, freedom, nondiscrimination, and cooperation are mentioned throughout this document and are hallmarks of what anarchism is fundamentally about. We acknowledge that science and technology cannot free us from all forms of oppression unless, as a society, we must be willing to cooperate in radical democratic and consensus voting methods to reach our goals.
It is imperative that we work together for global equal access* to housing, healthcare, food, water, education, and technologies that improve quality and duration of life, in the here-and-now so that an anarchist-”utopian” society can exist in the future.
Anarchism means autonomy and self-determination for both individuals and communities.
White supremacy, settler colonialism, cis-hetero-patriarchy, and imperialism historically have gone hand in hand with modernity and the technological innovation that inspires transhumanism. Far from being resolved or mere relics of the past, these dynamics continue to define the twenty-first century. Anarchist transhumanism considers the struggle against such oppressions integral and essential.
Mainstream Western thought has long denigrated, excluded, and attacked all who differ from its norms, whether innately or by choice. As the bastard child of Enlightenment thought, anarchism rebels against the dominations woven into that tradition while embracing its liberatory elements. Anarchist-transhumanism means working toward the fantastic future without setting up imaginary primitives as its opposite. As an idea, it promotes the creation and use of transhumanist technologies, but simultaneously supports a deeply ingrained notion of voluntarism. Unlike the technological hegemony of Western imperialism, Anarchist-transhumanism promotes the development and use of technology without forcibly demanding it**.
Anarchist transhumanism opposes all nation-states but especially settler-colonial nation-states such as the Canada, Israel, and the United States that owe their existence to ongoing structural genocide.
* Access, meaning the ability to voluntarily choose to utilize various resources and participate in certain cultures, not any form of coercive proselytizing - as it is important that we respect the right of Indigenous peoples of the world to self-determination, and allow groups to opt out of techno-culture, Western Imperialism / neoliberalism, and state/capitalist mandated land, resource, and labour grab under the “Washington Consensus”, World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, and other pro-free-trade capitalist/government protected agreements such as NAFTA. Please see the history of the Zapatistas: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zapatista_Army_of_National_Liberation) and other Indigenous struggles.
4. How Anarchism Functions
No one individual or group (elected or unelected) holds power in an anarchist community. Instead decisions are made using direct democratic principles and, when required, the community can elect or appoint delegates to carry out these decisions. There is a clear distinction between policy making (which lies with everyone who is affected) and the co-ordination and administration of any adopted policy (which is the job for delegates).
(Soon we will see the potential for “delegates” to be raw data sent from BCIs, therefore, the “Syndicate” may be supercomputers, always in check by the collective bottom-up society. The Federation can then also be a collection of this data immediately reported back to the Self-managed workplace/individual mind/brain/ego/self [That is if “selfs” exist in the future.] )
These egalitarian communities, founded by free agreement, also freely associate together in confederations. Such a free confederation would be run from the bottom up, with decisions following from the elemental assemblies upwards. The confederations would be run in the same manner as the collectives. There would be regular local regional, "national" and international conferences in which all important issues and problems affecting the collectives involved would be discussed. In addition, the fundamental, guiding principles and ideas of society would be debated and policy decisions made, put into practice, reviewed, and coordinated. The delegates would simply "take their given mandates to the relative meetings and try to harmonise their various needs and desires. The deliberations would always be subject to the control and approval of those who delegated them" and so "there would be no danger than the interest of the people [would] be forgotten." [Malatesta, Op. Cit., p. 36]
Action committees would be formed, if required, to co-ordinate and administer the decisions of the assemblies and their congresses, under strict control from below as discussed above. Delegates to such bodies would have a limited tenure and, like the delegates to the congresses, have a fixed mandate -- they are not able to make decisions on behalf of the people they are delegates for. In addition, like the delegates to conferences and congresses, they would be subject to instant recall by the assemblies and congresses from which they emerged in the first place. In this way any committees required to coordinate joint activities would be, to quote Malatesta's words, "always under the direct control of the population" and so express the "decisions taken at popular assemblies." [Enrico Malatesta: His Life and Ideas, p. 175 and p. 129]
Most importantly, the basic community assemblies can overturn any decisions reached by the conferences and withdraw from any confederation. Any compromises that are made by a delegate during negotiations have to go back to a general assembly for ratification. Without that ratification any compromises that are made by a delegate are not binding on the community that has delegated a particular task to a particular individual or committee. In addition, they can call confederal conferences to discuss new developments and to inform action committees about changing wishes and to instruct them on what to do about any developments and ideas.
In other words, any delegates required within an anarchist organisation or society are not representatives (as they are in a democratic government).
Unlike in a representative system, power is not delegated into the hands of the few. Rather, any delegate is simply a mouthpiece for the association that elected (or otherwise selected) them in the first place. All delegates and action committees would be mandated and subject to instant recall to ensure they express the wishes of the assemblies they came from rather than their own. In this way government is replaced by anarchy, a network of free associations and communities co-operating as equals based on a system of mandated delegates, instant recall, free agreement and free federation from the bottom up.
These structures of anarcho-syndicalism are not only a valuable framework for the future, but are the basis for action today. Syndicate-like organizations can and have been formed within our current statist, capitalist society, taking the form of non-profit cooperatives that operate within the current marketplace. Where we ultimately demand the complete dissolution of oppressive systems like the capitalist marketplace and the state, non-profit co-ops made up of associations of self-managed workplaces offer an actionable alternative means of organizing that is less supportive of said undesirable systems. Co-ops have been around since before the conception of anarchism and they still remain a positive step in right direction, in fact there are many examples today of anarchist-run co-ops throughout the industrialized world.
5. Anti-Oppression Analysis and the Need for Identity Caucuses
To implement anarchism as stated above we must analyze our current privilege and bring to consciousness that the history of revolutionary anarchist politics has been affected by hierarchical structural privilege. This hierarchical structural privilege must be confronted constantly by breaking down barriers, that is to stop action and planning to break out into caucuses.
If we want horizontal non-hierarchical organizing to take place in the real world and online we need to be serious about the need for caucuses to be part of the process of online activism, anarchist transhumanism and anarchist posthumanism.
Caucuses are safe places where people who identify as non-white-male, for example, can discuss power issues within the group which is striving for horizontal, direct democracy or consensus voting organizing as seen within many Anarchist currents.
Caucuses break out of the group and discuss matters that may be causing power conflicts within the larger group. The caucuses then report back to the larger group and present any issues they may have. Examples for the need of caucuses in horizontal organizing, cooperation, and action may be, but not limited to: sexism, racism, homophobia, speciesism, socioeconomic status, age, disability etc. The dominance of others; whether it be members of that group dominating planning, coordination, and action must always be in check by the caucuses to see that political action is fairly orchestrated without discrimination.
Caucuses may overlap, meaning that a person of color who identifies as LGBTQI and would like to attend both caucuses (or many) should have the right to do so. That may mean that caucuses choose appropriate timing in order to meet the needs of everyone.
Please see: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrimination
Examples of the Global Justice Movement / Globalization Movement, Anarchist anti-Iraq War protests, and many Occupy Wall Street caucuses: white straight male caucus (White privilege political consciousness); people of color caucuses; Womyn caucuses; LGBTQI caucuses; socioeconomic caucuses; ingenious peoples caucuses; etc [......].
[...] Please help edit!
6. Private Property: What is it? Why are we Against it?
Private property is one of the three things all anarchists oppose, alongside hierarchical authority and the state. Today, the dominant system of private property is capitalist in nature and, as such, anarchists tend to concentrate on this system and its property rights regime. We will be reflecting this here but do not, because of this, assume that anarchists consider other forms of private property regime (such as, say, feudalism) as acceptable. This is not the case -- anarchists are against every form of property rights regime which results in the many working for the few.
Anarchist opposition to private property rests on two, related, arguments. These were summed up by Proudhon's maxims (from What is Property? that "property is theft" and "property is despotism." In his words, "Property . . . violates equality by the rights of exclusion and increase, and freedom by despotism . . . [and has] perfect identity with robbery." [Proudhon, What is Property, p. 251] Anarchists, therefore, oppose private property (i.e. capitalism) because it is a source of coercive, hierarchical authority as well as exploitation and, consequently, elite privilege and inequality. It is based on and produces inequality, in terms of both wealth and power.
We will summarise each argument in turn.
The statement "property is theft" is one of anarchism's most famous sayings. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that anyone who rejects this statement is not an anarchist. This maxim works in two related ways. Firstly, it recognises the fact that the earth and its resources, the common inheritance of all, have been monopolised by a few. Secondly, it argues that, as a consequence of this, those who own property exploit those who do not. This is because those who do not own have to pay or sell their labour to those who do own in order to get access to the resources they need to live and work (such as workplaces, machinery, land, credit, housing, products under patents, and such like -- see section B.3.2 for more discussion). .. http://www.infoshop.org/AnarchistFAQSectionB3
7. Post-Work “Economy” and Abundance (Post-Scarcity)
Post-Scarcity and automation technologies may include: 3D Printers, Nanotechnology, Unconscious AI (computer algorithms), Automated Manufacturing, Resource Recycling.
Passion will drive the conscious mind to engage in activities that were once thought of as “work.” Unconscious AI will replace most forms of “work.”
8. Human Rights = Strong AI (SAI) Rights / Uplifted and Current Brain/Minds
The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness declares that: "The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Nonhuman animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates." Therefore we must treat animals, people, and SAI’s with equal respect.
Anarchist Transhumanists demand the following:
(Matilde Marcolli) From Animal Rights to Posthumanism: Historically, animals have been massively exploited for labor, as beasts of burden and mounts, in hunting and herding, as assistance animals, or for the production of milk and eggs. Animals are currently slaughtered for food in enormous numbers, at a rate of 56 billion land animals per year (the number of marine animals killed is more difficult to evaluate, but some estimates give it at around 90 billion per year). At least 100 million animals are used for animal testing in laboratories worldwide. Inflicting pain, suffering, and death on sentient beings who cannot voluntarily consent is an enormous ethical problem.
The theme of animal rights has been explored in depth by philosophers, starting with the early anti-vivisectionist movements. In England alone the number of animal experiments grew from 250 in 1881 to 95,000 in 1910. Prominent scientists like Charles Darwin spoke eloquently against all forms of vivisection, quoting the evolutionary continuum relating animals and human beings as the moral reason against painful animal experimentation. It was the time when H.G.Wells wrote his novel “The Island of Dr.Moreau", which hits right at the heart of the use of animals in medical and biological research, identifying it clearly as one of the deepest ethical issues of modern science. The animal-human continuum is the fundamental theme of Wells' novel, a theme that has nowadays flourished in the philosophy of Posthumanism, which identifies Wells' novel as a natural precursor (see the discussion in Nayar's Posthumanism book). In Wells' novel, painful surgical procedures are used to create hybrid human-animal creatures. Nowadays, hybrid chimeras are produced by merging genetic materials from different species: an operation that still carries serious ethical implications, especially in view of uses such as xenotransplantation, which involve the exploitation of non-human animals as organ banks for harvesting genetically implanted human organs for transplantation.
We denounce such uses of biotechnology that are inherently exploitative and that involve the unacceptable suffering and death of sentient beings. In its depiction of the human-animal hybrids, Wells' novel touches upon several other philosophical themes central to modern biology: consciousness, cognition, agency, and behavior. Interestingly, what for Darwin was a compelling reason against performing painful experiments on animals, is in Well's character of Dr.Moreau precisely the rationale that justifies his unethical experiments: the existence of an evolutionary continuum between the animal and the human makes him want to "perfect" the animal (at whatever cost in pain and suffering) and make it human. The obvious difference between the two irreconcilable Darwin/Moreau views lies in the assignment of a hierarchy of value to the position of species in the evolutionary tree. Hierarchy is the key concept here: in Wells's novel, the power structure imposed by Moreau on his Beast Folk society calls for the inevitable revolution that tears it down. We reject any concept of human-animal relation which is, explicitly or implicitly, based on a power relation, and on an assignment of hierarchy to species, whether dictated by religious fantasies of a special role for human beings in creation, or by philosophical arguments promoting a privileged role for the faculties of language and rationality as a justification for oppression and brutality towards different species.
In more recent times, the debate on animal rights was greatly influenced by philosophers like Peter Singer, who first drew attention to the problem of speciesism, and Tom Regan. After a long process, which often involved difficult and tense confrontations with philosophers and animal rights activists, the scientific community, including a majority of scientists who are directly involved in animal research, have developed a greater level of awareness of the ethical implications of the use of animal models in biomedical research, and have embraced the 3R policy (replace, reduce, and refine) aimed at reduction and elimination of animal testing. Even standard references written for scientists and science students (see Monamy's volume referenced below) now routinely contain very clear discussions of the main moral objections to the use of research animals, highlighting alternatives to the use of animals, and advocating the reduction and possible elimination of animal testing.
While progress has happened in the treatment of animals for the purpose of scientific research and stronger ethical guidelines have been established, this is only the beginning and we intend to go much further: the use of better technology, including better methods for big data analysis, can help eliminating superfluous repetitions of experiments and poor evaluation of data, which have had an enormous cost in animal lives and suffering, while better computer simulation techniques, combined with the development of the novel technique of "organs-on-chips", can replace entirely the need for animal testing of pharmaceutical drugs. While traditional animal models often fail to accurately mimic human physiology, resulting in pointless suffering and loss of animal lives, microchips that model the microarchitecture of functioning living human organs can provide a much better drug testing technique, which involves no suffering and death of sentient beings. We advocate the rapid reduction and ultimate elimination of the use of animal models in biomedical research, through the development of better technological alternatives.
We consider the use of animals in scientific research to be highly ethically problematic and we strive for its future reduction and elimination through better technology. We consider entirely unacceptable any current use of painful animal testing for frivolous purposes such as the profit of the cosmetic industry, and we demand its immediate cessation. We also consider completely unacceptable the killing of animals for food: we approve of vegetarianism and veganism, and we also welcome the development of in vitro meat production techniques, which do not involve the killing or the suffering of any sentient being.
As new food technologies come into development we demand the abolishment of food deserts. This would, in theory, unequivocally give more accessibility to people who strive to be vegetarian or vegan.
(Matilde Marcolli) Modern family and the breaking down of the species barrier: We advocate the breakdown of the species barrier as a goal of Posthumanism and Transhumanism. We envision new life forms and new forms of embodiment freely morphing across species and across the biological/mechanical boundaries. We advocate the right of individuals, both human and non-human, to freely associate in families, with equal rights and status granted to all members, regardless of their species or their biological/mechanical nature. We strongly advocate clear and rational consent in all interactions between animals, humans, and posthumans, thus eliminating such relationships with animals as slaves, sport actors, food, and sexual objects.
Traditionally, religions have constrained the association of individuals into families on the basis of reproduction, by imposing a constricting and often violent form of patriarchy aimed at stripping women of any control over their reproductive functions. The long struggle for women's right to agency and control of their own bodies, and for the establishment of other forms of associations of individuals into families, entirely unrelated to reproduction, have undermined the religious and patriarchal view of family. This transformation exploded the dark and suffocating walls of the traditional family, and opened vast new luminous spaces, available to the free association of individuals based on the promise of mutual care and genuine love, bonds formed beyond any rigid boundary of gender and sexual form and any expectation of reproduction. We welcome the inevitable continuation of this transformative process, leading to more and more inclusive affective associations that will be fully transgender, transspecies, and transhuman.
(Matilde Marcolli) Anarchism, Empathy and Rationality: Anarchism is at heart an ethical philosophy. Any simple survey of people's ethical motivations readily reveals a profound divide between what we may refer to as punishment versus understanding. There are people who would not hurt others out of fear of punishment, whether in the form of the judiciary and police, or of an imaginary supernatural supreme cop and afterlives of eternal infernal incarceration. Religious fantasies are largely generated for the consumption of people who need a continuous threat of punishment in order to act as responsible members of society. Some religions assume and actively propagate the idea that all people conform to this type. However, there are others, many of them, who simply would not hurt anybody, regardless of the threat of punishment, simply because of their capacity to put themselves in another person's shoes and understand the consequences of their action, as seen at the receiving end. That capacity is what is generally called empathy. There is a tendency to identify empathy solely with an emotional response, which is therefore looked upon as suspicious and unreliable by a philosophical tradition that capitalized for centuries on an artificial dichotomy between rationality and emotion. However, such a perception of empathy is limited and misguided.
A capacity for immediate emotional empathic response exists in (most) human beings, but when limited to this form, empathy tends to be triggered only by "what is the most similar to us", at the exclusion of anything and anybody that is perceived as "different". (See the detailed analysis in Berreby's book referenced below of how these exclusionary us/them divisions play themselves out in the human mind.) At a deeper level, empathy is more than a simple emotional response: it is the capacity to carry out a thought experiment, aimed at viewing the world from a perspective other than one's own.
As such, empathy involves not only emotional intelligence, but a great deal of rationality and it requires a careful and meticulous cultivation. In order to be able to see the world from the perspective of another agent (whether human or otherwise) it is necessary to gather sufficient information about that agent. This is especially true when it comes to extending empathy to beings (human and otherwise) that are "quite unlike us". In order to be able to perceive with our own emotional capacity what they can perceive, we first need to know as much as possible about what "they" are, by means of scientific inquiry and observation. Empathy is not necessarily an immediate byproduct of intelligence though: there are animals, like octopodes, that score extremely high on an intelligence scale, but are extremely solitary animals, which prevents them from developing any form of empathy even for their next of kin, with the rare encounters between octopodes, even those that lead to reproduction, easily ending with death and cannibalism.
On the other hand, behavioral experiments have shown that some degree of empathy is widespread among mammals, even among those that would not score highest in terms of intelligence. Intelligence is primarily about acquiring and manipulating information. While the octopodes, with their extremely solitary life, have little source and use for information about other agents, except than to develop efficient predation techniques, more social animals can use intelligence about other agents to foster cooperation. Mammals engage in extensive child rearing and are often social animals, relying on the efficient functioning of group dynamics and cooperation for survival.
The evolutionary origin of empathy can be understood in those terms. In human society, individuals with a higher capacity for empathy are precisely the ones who do not need cops, jails, and religions in order to engage in non-aggressive, cooperative and helpful relations with other members of the same society, as well as with other agents they come into contact with (whether human or otherwise), even if they do not belong to an immediate circle of peers. Empathy is currently being extensively studied from a neuroscience perspective (see for instance the two volumes edited by Decety and Ickes and by Decety and Wheatley, respectively). The effective functioning of an anarchist society relies crucially on empathy, in its extensive form discussed above.
As both anarchists and transhumanists, we support a more extensive study of empathy in humans and in non-human animals, and we advocate the future development of medical and technological methods for enhancing the capacity for empathy in individuals, accompanied by extensive educational efforts aimed at increasing knowledge and understanding of all human and non-human agents, in an effort to maximize the reach of empathic engagement. Recent proposals for the development of novel forms of interspecies ethics are based on empathy as a foundational concept (see the books by Willett and Gruen, and the earlier work of Haraway).
(Matilde Marcolli) Labor and the hard problem of consciousness: Over the course of the development of technological societies, various increasingly complex tools and machines, from the plough to the computer, have progressively replaced human labor. Automation of repetitive, menial, and unhealthy labor conditions have helped in progressively freeing humans from dangerous, exploitative and alienating work, thus allowing them to engage in more creative and meaningful forms of productivity. This process has been countered by the logic of exploitative capitalist profit, which maintained and increased exploitation, often moving dangerous and unhealthy sweatshop labor conditions to developing countries, where countless multitudes are forced into near slavery (and often actual slavery) conditions, so that capital can continue to exploit every last remaining reservoir of cheap human labor.
With the recent rapid growth of forms of narrow AI, the replacement of human labor with machines has now begun to affect occupations that are not simply manual, but that belong to the service sector. These are jobs traditionally tied to upward mobility towards the middle class. Such automation, performed within the paradigms of capitalist economy, hence results in a serious threat of "technological unemployment" and a loss of social mobility for a substantial part of the population. However, within the framework of a post-scarcity anarchist society, or even just in the presence of strong social safety nets and some form of basic income, automation of many forms of human labor would not necessarily result in a catastrophic loss of income for the human population, and could be positively viewed, like the automation of manual labor, as freeing up a good part of the human population from alienating forms of work, allowing them to dedicate themselves to cultivate learning and knowledge, and to develop and foster their creativity.
However, the use of machines as a replacement for human labor, in an age of rapidly developing new forms of machine intelligence, is fraud with ethical difficulties. While no ethical problem arises when we use one of the current forms of robotic vacuum cleaners, or any similar levels of automation technology, in anarchist philosophy the exploitation of the labor of another sentient being is completely unacceptable, regardless whether that sentient being is human, or a non-human animal, or a machine.
The word "robot" comes from Capek's 1920 theater play R.U.R., Rossum’s Universal Robots, and it is modeled on the word for "worker" in the slavic languages. In the play, mechanical workers are built by a company, to be employed as slave labor in factory assembly lines. These mechanical people are sentient, conscious, and capable of feeling pain, and after a time they inevitably rebel against their exploitative owners. Their victorious revolution wipes out the human race and the robots eventually evolve into a new race of beings, equipped with the full range of human emotions and feelings. The theme of the rebellious robots has been pervasive in speculative fiction since then, but Capek's original work still stands out, both for the clear political implications, and for touching clearly on the issue of consciousness of machines in determining the illegitimacy of their role as exploited workforce.
Thus, the ethics of the replacement of human labor with machine labor is very closely tied up with the problem of consciousness. When do we decide that exploiting the labor of a machine is no longer ethically acceptable?
The "hard problem of consciousness" is regarded as a fundamental philosophical question about the human mind. Its implications range beyond the core issues of justifying our experience of qualia and extend to ethical dimensions, especially when it comes to comparative views of the notion of consciousness in human, animal and machine, and within the human experience itself, for example, in identifying states of consciousness in severely impaired human beings. For all its importance, the consciousness question has failed for a long time to engage neuroscientists (see the discussion in Koch's book). A general proposal of a neuroscientific approach to the consciousness problem was developed in the early '90s (see Crick and Koch).
Recently, some interesting proposals for a quantifiable notion of consciousness have emerged in cognitive science, based on the use of the mathematical theory of information. One approach to levels of consciousness can be found in Edelman and Tononi, often referred to as the "dynamical core hypothesis" and "information integration theory". What makes this proposal striking is that it no longer presents consciousness as an all-or-nothing feature, as it was traditionally believed to be, and consequently only attributed to (certain) human beings. In this proposal there are degrees of consciousness that can be attributed to any information network, which can be either the neurons of the human or animal brain or the logical circuitry of a machine. These degrees of consciousness are quantified precisely by a function (the Phi function), which in essence measures the degree of interconnectedness between all subsystems of a given system. More precisely, Phi can be expressed as a sum over all subsystems of the amount of information (in the Shannon sense) carried by the subsystem.
There are clear objections one can raise to this proposal: for example, it is obvious that, from the point of view of the mathematical theory of computation, the Phi function is not effectively computable, even for systems that would be far simpler than neuron connections. Indeed, the function depends on evaluating an information measure on the set of all subsets of the given system, which clearly grows exponentially in size. Another simple objection is that one can create mathematical toy models that exhibit a high complexity as measured by the Phi function, but that do not exhibit signs of "consciousness" as we would normally understand it. However, replacing the traditional idea of consciousness as something that a being either possesses or doesn't with a measurable degree of consciousness is an extremely useful step in thinking about the problem of machine intelligence.
A different approach, also aimed at a view of consciousness-by-degrees, specifically applied to testing machine consciousness, is the ConsScale test. This is based on establishing a scale with several levels of "consciousness by degrees" that an agent can be compared with. Unlike the Phi function of Edelman and Tononi, this test is not based on an abstract information theoretic measure of consciousness and has the advantage of easy measurability, although it has the disadvantage that the levels in the ConsScale test are decided a priori on the basis of a human-centered anthropomorphic viewpoint which may misrepresent forms of intelligence and consciousness different from ours. The problem is further complicated by the fact that simple deterministic devices can produce the impression of free will in simple mechanisms.
The beautiful series of the "Vehicles" thought experiments of Braitenberg have become a classic illustration of this phenomenom in the AI literature. This can make the results of tests such as ConsScale, which are based on the observation of behavior, more difficult to interpret. On the other hand, if as neuroscience indicates (see Tse's book in the references) there is a neuronal substrate for free will in the human brain, this may provide another approach to investigate possible architectures of consciousness in brains and machines, and possibly a combination of different kinds of tests and information measures may help detecting where agents stand on a range of increasing degrees of consciousness.
Regardless of these difficulties, considering consciousness as a continuous spectrum, rather than a yes/no property that an agent either has or doesn't, is certainly more appealing, and it is consistent with what animal research also seems to indicate about cognition and the animal mind. However, this further complicates the problem of deciding where to draw the line between ethical and unethical behavior with respect to machine labor. If consciousness is a continuum, then any choice of a specific point in that continuum where to draw the ethical/unethical divide becomes arbitrary and unjustifiable. The same problem arises with respect to any attempt to justify the (mis)treatment of animals, based on their level of consciousness, or lack thereof.
A better possible approach is to decide on ethical behavior towards a class of agents (whether human, non-human animal, or machine) not on the basis of whether they qualify as "ethical agents", capable of ethical actions, but of whether they qualify as "ethical subjects", capable of being the subject of ethical actions by other agents. This approach was proposed recently in Gunkel's "The machine question" (see references), and it has the advantage that it can be applied in the presence of a continuum of degrees of consciousness in ethical subjects.
The topic of machine consciousness will continuously be critiqued by anarchist activists, communities, and philosophers as we do not see any justification for any conscious being whether biological or some other form like a machine exploited for their labor. As machines become more sophisticated in nature we will have to have a comprehensive theory of consciousness and a consciousness test to make sure there is no conscious feeling of painful qualia or any feelings for that matter of a machine which is replacing human labor.
9. Hierarchy and Dominance as a Barrier to Innovation
Aaron Swartz, who heroically envisioned a here-and-now where scientific data was free for all to use without the barriers of the State, corporations and academia unfortunately killed himself over numerous charges applying to the “Computer Fraud and Abuse Act”. His actions before his suicide, however were fundamental to the freedom of information without State-protected capitalism.
10. Existential Risk, Anarchism, and the Fermi Paradox
The collective decision making of informed minds could in theory vote on ideas and concepts that decrease the likelihood of existential risks. This Manifesto, arising from the evolution of Anarcho-Syndicalism and Libertarian-Socialism assumes a bottom up, not top down, federation of brain/mind.
The Fermi paradox is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilization and humanity's lack of contact with, or evidence for, such civilizations. The basic points of the argument, made by physicists Enrico Fermi and Michael H. Hart, are:
According to this line of thinking, the Earth should already have been colonized, or at least visited. But Fermi saw no convincing evidence of this, nor of signs of intelligence (see Empirical resolution attempts) elsewhere in our galaxy or (to the extent it would be detectable) elsewhere in the observable universe. Hence Fermi's question, "Where is everybody?" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox
It is in the best interest of Anarchists to keep brain/mind alive as long as possible, maybe even to infinity. Is it really the case that other ‘civilizations’ could not learn to cooperate on radical democratic and consensus style decision making - resulting in a “gigadeath war”?
Anarchists, while acknowledging the effectiveness of the scientific method and philosophical logic also acknowledge the need for diversity and freedom. Have millions of civilisations gone extinct because they could not realize such a society?
How moderate reform in representative republics / “democracies” have failed us and contribute to existential risks
[preferably summarized by an expert in the field]
11. Hacktivism, Open Source, Coders and the Free Software Movement
12. The Likely Setbacks of Future and Current Transhumanist Parties
Existing Transhumanist Parties:
13. How a Hard Takeoff / Technological Singularity Might Impact Anarchist-Transhumanism/Posthumanism
14. How this Manifesto Relates to the Technoprogressive Declaration - (Transvision 2014)
The Technoprogressive Declaration of 2014 states the following:
“The world is unacceptably unequal and dangerous. Emerging technologies could make things dramatically better or worse. Unfortunately too few people yet understand the dimensions of both the threats and rewards that humanity faces. It is time for technoprogressives, transhumanists and futurists to step up our political engagement and attempt to influence the course of events.
Our core commitment is that both technological progress and democracy are required for the ongoing emancipation of humanity from its constraints. Partisans of the promises of the Enlightenment, we have many cousins in other movements for freedom and social justice. We must build solidarity with these movements, even as we intervene to point to the radical possibilities of technologies that they often ignore. With our fellow futurists and transhumanists we must intervene to insist that technologies are well-regulated and made universally accessible in strong and just societies. Technology could exacerbate inequality and catastrophic risks in the coming decades, or especially if democratized and well-regulated, ensure longer, healthy and more enabled lives for growing numbers of people, and a stronger and more secure civilization.
Beginning with our shared commitment to individual self-determination we can build solidarity with
- Organizations defending workers and the unemployed, as technology transforms work and the economy
- The movement for reproductive rights, around access to contraception, abortion, assisted reproduction and genomic choice
- The movement for drug law reform around the defense of cognitive liberty
- The disability rights movement around access to assistive and curative technologies
- Sexual and gender minorities around the right to bodily self-determination
- Digital rights movements around new freedoms and means of expression and organization
We call for dramatically expanded governmental research into anti-aging therapies, and universal access to those therapies as they are developed in order to make much longer and healthier lives accessible to everybody. We believe that there is no distinction between “therapies” and “enhancement.” The regulation of drugs and devices needs reform to speed their approval.
As artificial intelligence, robotics and other technologies increasingly destroy more jobs than they create, and senior citizens live longer, we must join in calling for a radical reform of the economic system. All persons should be liberated from the necessity of the toil of work. Every human being should be guaranteed an income, healthcare, and life-long access to education.
We must join in working for the expansion of rights to all persons, human or not.
We must join with movements working to reduce existential risks, educating them about emerging threats they don’t yet take seriously, and proposing ways that emerging technologies can help reduce those risks. Transnational cooperation can meet the man-made and natural threats that we face.”
It is time for technoprogressives to step forward and work together for a brighter future. - http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/tpdec2014
AT perspective on the TD:
15. Tradition of Direct Action, Direct Democracy, Consensus Decision Making, and Civil Disobedience
Direct action occurs when a group takes an action which is intended to reveal an existing problem, highlight an alternative, or demonstrate a possible solution to a social issue. This can include nonviolent civil disobedience and less often what is known as “violent activities” if sentient beings are targeted. There has been of course major argument whether or not property destruction can be considered “violence” during direct action and protest.
Anarchist-transhumanism and most forms of anarchism try to keep the tradition of non-violent direct action alive as much as possible. Examples of non-violent direct action (also known as nonviolent resistance or civil resistance) can include sit-ins, strikes, workplace occupations, blockades, hacktivism, etc., while violent direct action is violence against feeling things, such as humans, animals, all sentient life, etc. By contrast, electoral politics, diplomacy, negotiation, and arbitration are not usually described as direct action, as they are politically mediated, but in the real world can have major influence. Non-violent actions are usually a form of civil disobedience, and may involve a degree of intentional “law-breaking” where persons place themselves in arrestable situations in order to make a political statement but other actions (such as strikes) may not violate criminal law depending on which area of the world you reside in.
The aim of direct action is to either obstruct another political agent or political organization from performing some practice to which the activists object; or to solve perceived problems which traditional societal institutions (governments, religious organizations or established trade unions) are not addressing to the satisfaction of the direct action participants, however religious organizations, trade unions and political groups have a history of participating in direct action.
Non-violent direct action has historically been an assertive regular feature of the tactics employed by social movements, including Mohandas Gandhi's Indian Independence Movement and the African-American Civil Rights Movement. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_action
16. How a Federation of Brain/Mind would Vote on Concepts and Ideas
[Please see http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/notaro20130316a as a starting point]
17. The Acknowledgement of the Expertise, Complexity, Quandaries and the Paradigmatic Nature of Scientific Knowledge and the Assessment of the Scientific Community
(Matilde Marcolli) Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend contributed an important change of perspective in the philosophy of science, by demolishing simplistic positivist views of the scientific process as a linear progress towards the discovery of truth. In particular, an important part of Kuhn's critique, further amplified by Feyerabend, was based on the correct observation that, in Popper's falsifiability approach, typically the criteria used to assess theories are insufficient to unambiguously determine theory-choice. Thus, theory building cannot be solely based on the agreement with experimental data, but on a set of other assumptions that are rooted in the culture of the time. Only in periods of crisis of normal science, and in the presence of a large number of anomalies, the need for theory comparison is truly felt within the scientific community. (needs editing)
However, Kuhn's distinction between "normal science" and "scientific revolutions" is itself simplistic, when compared to the everyday practice of science. In reality, every discovery of an unexpected connection between different sub-disciplines within a field of scientific inquiry provokes a change of paradigm in the Kuhnian sense, even if that ends up shaking the prevalent paradigm only within a few dozen experts in a particular specialization: what Kuhn would refer to as normal science is rife with frequent, surprising, and unexpected paradigm shifts. At the same time all these widespread micro-scientific-revolutions typically fit within a larger scale structure of normal science, characterizing the expectations and accepted practices of the scientific community of the time.
In discussing science, and how the practice of science may differently fit into the current capitalist society and in the anarchist society we envision, it is crucial to distinguish between science, as a methodological approach to understanding the world, and the sociology of the scientific community that practices it within a certain social and historical background.
Science is as close as anything can get to the ideals of an anarchist society. It is by definition opposed to any figure of authority and continuously self-questioning. It is based on the ideals of free inquiry and rationality, on understanding the world in natural terms that exclude any appeal to supernatural and unexplainable causes. Of course, explainable does not mean explained, and it is part of the basic intellectual honesty of science to recognize limitations of current models: gaps in existing theories are important open problems for future research, not crevices into which to squeeze increasingly uncomfortable, constrained, and improbable divinities!
The scientific community, as we can observe it at this moment in time, is marred by its intermingling with capitalism and its societal maladies: it exhibits power structures that are completely at odds with the true scientific spirit, often accompanied by a nearly tribal structure, complete with Stalinist personality cults for a few designated alpha males within each tribe. Patriarchy, sexism and outright misogyny are widespread in the community, and so are racism, ageism and ableism. The spirit of free enquiry, which is crucial to science, is curtailed by many obstacles.
The publish-or-perish treadmill of the current system of academic careers effectively prevents young scientists (especially at the crucial postdoc and tenure-track stages) from seriously questioning or opposing the power structure and current paradigms in their field. The necessity to produce readily marketable results, that will ensure survival on the cutthroat academic job market, effectively prevents young scientists from tackling more risky but potentially highly transformative lines of investigation, and to go against the established power structures, from which they depend for recommendation letters and networking, both currently essential for securing a job in science. Even tenured scientists, who have until recent times enjoyed a relative freedom in pursuing more risky and unconventional lines of research, are currently threatened, by the constant erosion of tenure and academic freedom, perpetrated by myopic assault-capitalist university administrators, bound on transforming universities from safe havens of culture and free inquiry into businesses aimed at generating profit by marketing a caricature of education. Another main threat to science is coming from the current capitalist approach to the distribution of research funds. The main public funding agencies (like NSF, NIH, NASA, and their counterparts in other nations) are under constant political assault from anti-science conservative constituencies that would rather divert the crucial support for basic science into further military squandering. The resulting extreme competition for securing the increasingly scarce funds creates a climate in the community that is not conducive to larger collaborative efforts and to a serene and unconstrained level of critical thinking.
As anarchists, we embrace science as the best way of understanding the world, and we are in complete accord with its intrinsic non-hierarchical, free, and egalitarian way of approaching knowledge. At the same time we are profoundly critical of the current sociology of the scientific community and we envision several important changes in the organization of the community of scientists.
(Matilde Marcolli) Broader access to scientific education: our world is crucially based on modern science and modern technology, and this will be all the more the case in the future world we envision. In order to function as a direct democracy with engagement and participation of all, and respect for everybody's agency, an in depth understanding of modern science is crucial. Arthur Clarke once famously stated that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, and we already live in a society where too many people treat current technology as little more than a magical black box. This is a tragic capitulation, an abandonment of agency. Renouncing our right to understand the world that surrounds us is a complete surrender, which makes us vulnerable to other powers, from spying government agencies, to sellers of crappy pseudo-science or religious fundamentalists and the neoliberal capitalist domination over labour. Serious advanced scientific education, freely available to all, is crucial to make us free independent thinkers in the modern world. The fact that we advocate scientific education for all is not meant to exclude or diminish the value of the humanities as an important part of education: philosophy, literature, and the arts are crucially needed, as much as the sciences, in creating citizens of a free society. We oppose all attempts by current market-driven administrative tyrannies to assault, defund, reduce or even eliminate both the humanities and the sciences from the academic and school curricula. A free society needs culture, intellectual depth, and analytical capabilities, not “marketable skills" to be sold for profit in a great capitalist supermarket of existence.
Free access to the scientific literature: science is a cumulative, collaborative, self-correcting process. An absolutely crucial ingredient for the scientific process to function properly is access to scientific results by all researchers. The current capitalist system has created a vicious circle of exploitation, by which a few profiteers, like Elsevier and other mega-publishers, are able to harvest the free labor of researchers (whose articles they appropriate without compensation and without consent), of referees (who typically consent to being exploited out of the perceived need of having scientific work peer-reviewed by the community), and of editors (who understand the
publish-or-perish pressure researchers are subject to). All these people provide their free work to keep the scientific community functioning, while their efforts are hijacked by lurid profit-making companies who sell the same free product of the scientists' labor back to the same scientific community for exorbitant prices, by hiding scientific results behind paywalls, and blackmailing the community into paying a hefty ransom to access the work that they have themselves produced. Scientists have been fighting back against this exploitations for years, by creating free repositories of preprints, like the eprints arXiv, or by creating their own alternative low cost journals, and finally by joining the growing anti-copyright movement and sharing scientific papers on torrents and on the darknet. As anarchists we believe all scientific information should be freely available to all. All scientific papers, databases, and scientific results should be posted without paywalls, readily accessible and usable by anyone who is interested in learning, researching, reproducing results, applying knowledge.
Rethinking the University: universities are neither shopping malls nor grade factories. Historically, the earliest universities to appear in Europe in the 11th century were designed as protected environments for free inquiry and free thought, where dangerous philosophical ideas could be envisioned and debated, shielded from the violent oppression of the christian orthodoxy. The concept of academic freedom was a crucial part of this process from its inception. Universities play a crucial role as producers of culture and of scientific research. In recent years, universities have increasingly come under attack from an authoritarian ruling caste of administrators, who perpetually increase their ranks and their salaries, driving to skyrocketing costs a higher education that should be freely accessible to all. Administrators are hired by other administrators, they have no academic credentials, and are often picked on the basis of a clear anti-intellectual stance. This oppressive and authoritarian power structure is destroying higher education, turning it into a marketable product, animated by myopic anti-cultural goals. Administrators routinely undermine academic freedom, curtail free speech, and curb dissent with resort to increasingly violent and militarized campus police. It is time for universities to be reborn as the safe havens of free intellectual inquiry they were always meant to be. The abolition of non-academic administration is the first necessary step to this goal, and its replacement by a self-ruling of all scholarly institutions by a direct democracy of scholars and students. Subjects of study are relevant on the basis on their intellectual depth, not on their sale value for capitalist markets. Mentoring of students by faculty is not and should never become a power relation: it must be a collaborative effort towards the expansion, the sharing and transmission, and the critical assessment of knowledge.
The concept of the university as a cradle for the development of logical reasoning and independent free thinking has its historical roots in Plato's Academy in Athens, from which the word academia is indeed derived. The later Neoplatonic stage of the Academy was forcibly shut down in the year 529 CE by Justinian (a date that is taken by many to mark the end of the ancient Greek world), while the first university in the modern sense was opened only 5 centuries later, in Bologna in the year 1088 CE. In the intervening historical period, knowledge of the ancient Greek language and writings had almost entirely disappeared in the western part of Europe, while it was retained in the eastern Byzantine side of the former Roman empire, and transmitted to the Islamic world, where ancient Greek philosophy and science was preserved and translated, and various attempts were made to organize higher learning around models similar to the Platonic. These finally in turn influenced the creation of the first European universities, prior to the European rediscovery of the Greeks that flourished during the period of Renaissance Humanism. [needs editing]
While the emphasis on the Socratic method of critical inquiry, on open questions and problems and on dialectics, makes the ancient Platonic Academy seem very progressive in its pedagogical principles, the enterprise was certainly deeply affected by the prejudices of the society of the time. This is evident already in Plato's Socratic dialog Meno, where Plato's largely fictional Socrates character mentors an illiterate slave on how to derive by himself a proof of a case of the Pythagorean theorem. At first this looks like a very positive example of good mentoring skills, whereby without assuming previous knowledge, people are instructed not to passively acquire notions by to reason by themselves. However, Plato immediately jumps to invoking the intervention of a supernatural world of innate and transcendental ideas, in order to avoid having to admit that the intellectual capacities of the enslaved man are on an equal footing with his own. Despite these despicable aspects of the Platonic world view, there are important ideas that can be retained from the original Greek model of academia: the fostering of critical thinking, a non-hierarchical relation between teacher and learner, a learning based on reasoning and questioning rather than on cumulative notion acquisition and memorization, and also the prominent role given to science (which in Plato's time meant mathematics) as a crucial tool for critical thinking: the entrance to Plato’s Academy was famously inscribed with the motto “Μηδείς αγεωμέτρητος εισίτω” (no one may enter without knowledge of geometry).
Autonomous Research Communities: hackerspaces, the rising DIY synthetic biology movement, with its counter-culture labs and biohacking, self-organized tutoring communities like the Baltimore Algebra Project, and several other ongoing initiatives are helping to create spontaneously organized communal spaces for the practice and the teaching of science at all levels, from school level material to the professional. We envision the creation of a broad network of autonomous research communities, based on the model of anarchist communes, and functioning like professional scientific research institutes, where the pursuit of scientific research can be uncoupled from large organized structures like universities, and from financial interests. Such autonomous structures are not a replacement for the type of revived and functional university structure described above, but a complementary form of organization, more flexible and independent. We envision a large hacker science movement involving professional scientists as well as a larger, scientifically trained and scientifically active, part of the population. Anarchism is fundamentally an ethical philosophy and part of this philosophy involves a general widespread education to the ethical use of scientific knowledge and technical expertise, for the good of society and the preservation of the environment.
The it and the bit: we advocate digitalization of information and its complete and free availability, universal access to digital resources, and the creation of online communities and new virtual spaces for the practice and the free and unconstrained transmission of scientific and technical knowledge, and for the engagement of science in society. At the same time, we believe that the preservation and expansion of physical spaces and resources is equally crucial. We advocate and promote the creation of new physical spaces and communities, including hackerspaces, people laboratories as envisioned by the biohacker and DIY synthetic biology movement, libraries and bookstores with physical books. These physical resources are not in competition with, nor superseded by the online resources: they complement each other providing different, but equally crucial, types of services to the communities. We oppose and denounce the barbaric and indiscriminate destruction of library resources perpetrated by university administrators in their ongoing savage ``war on books". We advocate the protection and expansion of all cultural resources: access to libraries and books (both digital and physical)
is a right that we will continue to fight for.
Discussion not bullying: free in depth discussion of ideas is crucial to the advancement of science. Critical thinking, questioning of established ideas, and a thorough scrutiny of any new proposed model lie at the heart of the scientific method. Criticism of ideas can be fierce and it usually starts with the individual researcher themselves, putting their own ideas on a harsh trial, trying to find where they would fail. The process is multilayered, involving anonymous peer reviewers in the publication stage, feedback and input from the community in the earlier circulation of preprints and in conference presentations, and continuous later rechecking of results and questioning of assumptions and derivations, by other researchers intending to use the results for their own work. Indeed, the scientific process relies crucially on two very different modes of thinking, both playing an indispensable role. One is the free, imaginative, unconstrained flight of the creative imagination, which is very close to artistic creativity. This phase is where the brilliant new and unexpected insights take place. The other is the painful and gruesome process of checking those ideas, of putting them on trial, criticizing them as harshly as possible, and discarding everything that does not survive this tough scrutiny, no matter how appealing and elegant it might have seemed in the previous phase. For a healthy and successful functioning of the scientific process it is important to ensure that both of these phases of thought can take place unobstructed. There is a danger, especially with a scientific community that is plagued by many maladies of power and aggression, sexism and racism, that the harshness of the debate on ideas would be transformed into an excuse for ad personam attacks against other researchers. Such attacks can be motivated by tribal rivalries and attempts to establish dominance and hierarchical structures, or they can be aimed at excluding and marginalizing researchers belonging to certain groups, especially women and minorities. These attacks tend to happen most frequently in the peer reviewing phase, where anonymity allows the attacker to behave like an internet troll.
Occasionally, they can be overt attacks, heckling of conference presentations, attempts to ruin reputations and professional careers. A climate of fear induced by such behavior does not help improving the quality of the screening process and can dramatically curtail the possibility of having a creative phase involving free exchange of preliminary ideas, not yet completely formed and checked, which is essential to the advancement of science. We advocate a professional ethics in science that fosters creative thinking and upholds the harsh debate and criticism of ideas and results. At the same time we condemn any form of bullying and violence, that uses the tradition of scrutiny of ideas as a coverup for power games and the establishment of authoritarian hierarchical structures.
(Matilde Marcolli) Stop all collusion of science with the military: very few scientists feel any sympathy for the military. The open, questioning and anti-hierarchical nature of scientific thought is completely at odds with the very idea of military organization. Most scientists find the use of science for the purpose of warfare a perversion of knowledge. Yet, the collusion of the scientific community with the military continues at record levels. Often, scientists grudgingly recognize that the DOD is sucking away half of the national revenue, while funds for scientific research are lagging far behind and constantly threatened: the only way to secure the survival of their research often lies in trying to pretend that it serves the cause of national security and tapping into the endless DOD resources. Unfortunately, these pretend games often turn real, as after all the military do expect something in return for the money they have extorted from the American taxpayer, and scientific and technological innovations are increasingly employed in the battlefields and in intrusive surveillance and repression, rather than in the service of society. Defunding the military and funding fundamental scientific research is a top priority for a free society based on true democratic cooperation.
(Matilde Marcolli) Scientific expertise, consensus, and democracy: we reject the extreme relativism inherent in several currents of Postmodernism. The distinction between science and pseudo-science is real and it profoundly affects the wellbeing of individuals and society. it is not a matter of arbitrary conventions. The decision to believe in pseudo-science, magical thinking, and superstition is not empowering: it is a self-defeating abandonment of effective agency and a surrender of critical thinking. It does not matter whether it is young earth creationism, astrology, or new age mysticism: pseudo-science strips us of our capacity to understand and to meaningfully interact with the world. Scientific expertise is real. It takes at least ten years of intense training to achieve professional level in a particular scientific discipline. Only a handful of experts are usually qualified to assess a scientific paper by peer reviewing. At first, this may generate the impression that scientific consensus is achieved by the tacit agreement of a small elite on the basis of arbitrary choices and the exclusion of others from decision making. Anyone who has been personally directly involved in this assessment process knows how far the conspiratorial view is from the reality of harsh criticism and unrelenting scrutiny of ideas.[needs editing]
It is certainly true that power groups (often looking like tribes) exist among scientists and tend to favor their own acolytes when it comes to distribution of scarce resources. This is part of the criticism that we articulated about the sociology of the scientific community under capitalism. However, cases of malpractice induced by capitalist attempts to transform research into a marketable product are not an indication that scientific consensus is an arbitrary social construct, only that capitalism may not the best environment to foster the development of science. It is certainly of crucial important to be aware of the influence that the surrounding culture and social circumstances can have on the course of scientific development, as the earlier developments in the modern philosophy of science pioneered by Kuhn and Feyerabend have taught us.[needs editing]
However, it is also important to recognize that the ultimate acceptance or rejection of scientific models is largely based on a combination of criteria that include Popper's falsifiability, but that also involve other aspects, such as Bayesian model selection and mathematical consistency and elegance. Envisioning a central role for science in a functioning anarchist society also raises the issue of how to reconcile a general involvement in decision making based on direct democracy with the specialized expertise that is necessary to science. Needless to say, forms of direct participation and direct democracy, as are envisioned in the anarchist tradition, do not conflict with the specializations of different individuals. Indeed, an anarchist society is structured as the overlap of many smaller communes and communities, at different scales, which incorporate specific individual expertise and act, within each community, on participatory and democratic principles. For example, many initiatives within the scientific community are already largely functioning according to the principles envisioned by anarchism: the eprints arXiv, that guarantees fast and free access to new scientific results (mostly in areas of physics, mathematics, and computer science) is run and organized by members of the community in a broad participatory way, and in the respect of the specific expertise of all contributors.
While there have been occasional disputes around moderation of submissions, altogether the functioning of the arXiv as an open and participatory initiative has been extremely successful. Thus, there is room within the scientific community for the type of communal and participatory organization envisioned by anarchism, and there is also room for specific scientific expertise within the context of a larger anarchist society based on participatory democracy. The type of broad and free access to higher scientific education that we advocate, as discussed earlier in this section, is also crucial in order to combine effectively a truly democratic and direct decision making process, and the importance of scientific expertise. Only if the general population is scientifically literate and sufficiently educated in the principles and results of advanced modern science, it is possible to reach an informed consensus on issues that are of crucial importance to the environment
and to society.
18. Summary of Anarchist-Transhumanism:
Anarchist-Transhumanism can be described as;
A radical democratic revolution, centuries old and still growing strong, has at its core the idea that people are happiest when they have rational control over their lives. Reason, science, and technology provide one kind of control, slowly freeing us from ignorance, toil, pain, and disease. Radical democracy provides the other kinds of control, through civil liberties.
Technology and democracy complement one another, ensuring that safe technology is generally accessible and democratically accountable. The convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science in the coming decades will give us unimaginable technological mastery of nature and ourselves. That mastery requires radical democratization and egalitarianism.
(The above has been adapted from IEET’s Mission Statement)
Anarchist-Transhumanism takes a stance of anti-capitalism, while valuing radical democracy and consensus decision-making in a unionized environment.
Anarchism itself has many branches ranging from Anarcho-primitivism to Anarchist-communism. Transhumanism alone assumes the existence of the collective expertise of the scientific community, advancement of technology to better human-kind, and eventually will lead to a posthuman future. The cooperation of human societies to reach the above goals maintains that there must be a kind of cooperative being, therefore a type of worker syndicalism, socialism and federation. Anarchist-Transhumanists hold the idea that progress should not be held back by dogmatic and oppressive institutions. Rather, innovation and improvement of the human condition can be brought about by emphasising survival and cooperation, instead of competition and conquest.
Anarchist-Transhumanism is thus a combination of syndicalism, socialism, technology, and radical democracy, maintaining an anarchist stance of the lack of religion, the destruction of the capitalist and/or socialist State, and the idea that minds (humans, posthumans) DO NOT have the right to force political, economic and religious ideas on one another especially through future “gigadeath” wars.
Anarchist-Transhumanism assumes that the future will bring a kind of interconnectedness through technology that will allow individuals and communities to communicate and vote very rapidly, abolishing the need for a State. Brain/Mind will be “enhanced” through the use of technological means, leading to an ever greater, fairer, and peaceful outcome of the voting process.
However we have a lot of work to do in the here-and-now. We can’t sit back as the DOD, corporations like Walmart, Foxconn, and countries in the global ‘north’ lead the way towards a transhumanist future using wage slavery. If we wish for progress, we cannot allow capitalist institutions to continue to stand in front of innovation. For as industry jobs are taken by machines, and capitalist empires are collapsing, capitalism and authoritarianism are not sustainable.The RICH will not win this time, in fact technological progress WILL backfire on them, just like the internet backfired on the U.S. government who invented it – for you would not be reading these anti imperialist words if they had control of it – therefore we must act now, we must take to the streets, share information, and save those lives in which the rich have stolen, from Palestine, Iraq, to Bangladesh – in war-zones to sweatshops.
And what will happen if there is not an end to the institutions and structures which have created these war-zones and sweatshops? What happens if we do not put an end to the institutions and structures which have prevented innovation and liberation from human limitation? A number of things are possible. Climate change is nearly irreversible - many respected scientific reports describing apocalyptic environment catastrophes. This is only one of many disastrous possibilities. We see the continued juggling of power on geopolitical scales, some of which involve weaponry and tools of manipulation detrimental to human existence and quality of life. Massive geoengineering projects may have to become reality as capitalism destroys our symbiotic relationship with the environment.
It seems we need to eliminate these tools of destruction, undo the current power structures, and liberate ourselves from our mortal limitations. The combination of anarchist egalitarianism and ambitious transhumanist innovation is an unstoppable and unbelievably liberating force we cannot ignore.
We want to see a fair authentic transhumanist future, but one with anarchist values and the lack of massive human rights abuses. Brain/Mind will be liberated and freed from the shackles of the oppressive State and the tyranny of capitalism, and technological progress will aid our fight for the future!
Contributors to this document (or previous versions) include: Kris Notaro, Kim A. Violet,, Summerspeaker, Dominic Donnelly, Matilde Marcolli, Thanks to all the anonymous contributions and suggestions - please keep them coming!
 Anarchist writers such as the famous Peter Kropotkin have explored concepts of cooperation in writings such as his famous Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution
 Notable communities include the Twin Oaks Community, Home, Washington, and the Acorn Community
 Some of the most notable societies include the Zapatista municipalities, The Ukrainian Free Territory, Revolutionary Catalonia, Revolutionary Aragon, the Shinmin Autonomous Region, Neutral Moresnet, and the Paris Commune. Notable communities
 Anarchists such as Mikhail Bakunin have criticized the revolutionary Marxist concept of vanguardism on the basis that it is a hierarchal “red bureaucracy”, replacing capitalist tyranny with communist tyranny which would regress back into capitalism.
 Notable social upheavals include the 2008-11 Icelandic financial crisis, Sweden’s struggle with fascistic nationalist parties, and the continued prosperity of large exploitive corporations such as Royal Dutch Shell, which is headquartered in the Netherlands.