Nanotechnology: Armed resistance

<table><tr><td>From <a href="http://www.nature.com/news/nanotechnology-armed-resistance-1.11287">Natu... - by Leigh Phillips

<em>Nature assesses the aftermath of a series of nanotechnology-lab bombings in Mexico — and asks how the country became a target of eco-anarchists.</em>

The shoe-box-sized package was addressed to Armando Herrera Corral. It stated that he was the recipient of an award and it was covered in official-looking stamps. Herrera, a computer scientist at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in Mexico City, shook the box a number of times, and something solid jiggled inside. What could it be? He was excited and a little nervous — so much so, that he walked down the hall to the office of a colleague, robotics researcher Alejandro Aceves López, and asked Aceves to open it for him.

Aceves sat down at his desk to tear the box open. So when the 20-centimetre-long pipe bomb inside exploded, on 8 August 2011, Aceves took the full force in his chest. Metal pierced one of his lungs. “He was in intensive care. He was really bad,” says Herrera's brother Gerardo, a theoretical physicist at the nearby Centre for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (Cinvestav). Armando Herrera Corral, who was standing nearby when the bomb went off, escaped with a burst eardrum and burns to his legs.</td><td><img title="The only ppl who take us seriously..." src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/waterman_snake.jpg"></td></...

The next day, an eco-anarchist group calling itself Individuals Tending Towards Savagery (ITS) claimed responsibility for the bombing in a 5,500-word diatribe against nanotechnology that it published online. Police found a charred copy of a similar text in the detritus of the explosion. The bombers said that Herrera had been targeted for his role as director of the technology-transfer centre at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (commonly known as Monterrey Tec), “one of the major universities that has staked everything on the development of nanotechnology”. The text talked of the potential for the field to cause environmental “nanocontamination”, and concluded that technology and civilization as a whole should be held responsible for any environmental catastrophe. Chillingly, the bombers listed another five researchers at Monterrey Tec as presumptive targets, as well as a further six universities.

The incident had precedent. The ITS had already claimed responsibility for bomb attacks in April and May 2011, both targeting Carlos Alberto Camacho Olguín, head of engineering and nanotechnology at the Polytechnic University of the Valley of Mexico in Tultitlán. The first bomb wounded a security guard; the second was identified and disposed of before anyone could be hurt. Last December, the group struck again — this time at the Polytechnic University of Pachuca, where a package containing gunpowder exploded in the hand of a teacher, causing minor burns (see 'A litany of letter bombs'). No other developing country has suffered a comparable string of anti-technology attacks.

Closing ranks

One year on from the bombing at Monterrey Tec, the repercussions are still being felt. Armando Herrera Corral and Aceves will not speak to Nature about what happened. “It's too sensitive, you understand?” is all Aceves would say. Herrera has left his job as director of the university's technology park and is now head of postgraduate studies. Other Mexican universities with nanotechnology research programmes have evacuated campuses in response to bomb threats, and universities across the country have introduced stringent security measures. Some researchers are anxious for their own safety; some are furious about being targets. But all the researchers that Nature spoke to in Mexico are adamant that the attacks will not discourage them from their research or dissuade students from entering the field.

So far, there has been little explanation of where the vitriol is coming from. Why are radical environmental groups targeting nanotechnology? Is this field being confronted with the same sort of militant hostility that has dogged genetic-modification research and animal testing? And why Mexico?

Reporting by Nature suggests that several broad trends have come together to precipitate the violence. Over the past decade, Mexico has invested heavily in nanotechnology relative to other developing countries, because it sees the field as a route to economic development; mainstream green groups worldwide have grown increasingly concerned about nanotechnology's health and environmental risks; and there has been a shift towards extreme ideas and tactics among radical environmentalists critical of technology. In Mexico, this has been set against a general background of growing violence and political upheaval.

The bombings come at a pivotal moment. Those who study public perception of risk say that the public discourse about nanotechnology is currently fairly moderate but could easily become more polarized. Until the bombings, the radical environmental movement had mostly restricted itself to non-violent actions and property destruction, says Richard Widick, a sociologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. But, he says, the global economic crisis and the growing perception that ecological catastrophe is imminent could fuel further attacks. “More and more people who have hitherto been able to restrain themselves will just go over the edge,” says Widick. “We are going deeper still into an era of deepening and proliferating extremisms. I see a future of environmental struggles marred by violence of every variety.”

That violence leaves scars. According to Gerardo Herrera Corral, Aceves “still has problems and will do for the rest of his life. There's a piece of shrapnel in his lung they couldn't take out, close to his heart.” And only amateurism by the bombers prevented the attack at Monterrey Tec from having more tragic consequences: the police say that only about 8 centimetres of the dynamite in the pipe detonated. The bombers had packed it in such a way that the rest did not burn.

If all the dynamite had gone off, the police say, it could have destroyed the whole building — as well as Herrera, Aceves and dozens of researchers who work alongside them.

Mexico started a concerted nanotechnology push in 2002, when the government identified the field as a strategic sector for development. Dozens of public research institutes signed agreements with foreign institutions, companies and the military, and many opened graduate courses focused on nanotechnology research. Along with other Latin American countries that have invested in the field — Brazil and Argentina, in particular — Mexico views nanotechnology as a pathway to a more powerful research and industrial base. “They see it as a recipe for transition to the knowledge economy. It's less an option than a necessity,” says Guillermo Foladori, an anthropologist at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas in Mexico and coordinator of a group of academics studying the regional growth of the field. The most important university in Mexico for nanotechnology, says Foladori, is Monterrey Tec.

Technology backlash

As nanotechnology has been growing in Latin America, a violent eco-anarchist philosophy has taken root among certain radical groups in Mexico. Mexican intelligence services believe that the perpetrators of the bombings last year were mainly young and well educated: their communiqués are littered with references to English-language texts unlikely to have been translated into Spanish. Intelligence services say that the eco-anarchist groups have been around for about a decade. They started off protesting against Mexico's economic and political system by setting off small explosives that destroyed bank machines.

But around 2008, certain groups began to adopt an 'anarcho-primitivist' perspective. (Locally, they are called primativistas, says Gerardo Herrera Corral.) This philosophy had won little notice until the past few years, but with increasing media reports of looming global climate disaster, some radical green activists have latched on to it. California-based environmental writer Derrick Jensen — whose popular books call for an underground network of 'Deep Green Resistance' cells — is a highly influential figure in this otherwise leaderless movement, which argues that industrial civilization is responsible for environmental destruction and must be dismantled.

In their writings, anarcho-primitivist groups often express deep anxiety about a range of advanced research subjects, including genetic engineering, cloning, synthetic biology, geoengineering and neurosciences. But it is nanotechnology, a common subject for science-fiction doomsday scenarios, that most clearly symbolizes to them the power of modern science run amok. “Nanotechnology is the furthest advancement that may yet exist in the history of anthropocentric progress,” the ITS wrote in its first communiqué, in April 2011.

The same network of 'anti-civilization' anarchists has graduated to violence elsewhere. Attacks include the 2010 attempted bombing of IBM's flagship nanotechnology lab near Zurich, Switzerland, and the non-lethal shooting in May this year of Roberto Adinolfi, a nuclear engineer for a subsidiary of Italian industrial conglomerate Finmeccanica, which was targeted for its links to nanotechnology (see Nature 485, 561; 2012).

In Mexico, the existing social and political climate may have helped light the fuse, says Miguel Méndez Rojas, coordinator of the department of nanotechnology and molecular engineering at the University of the Americas Puebla in Mexico. He says that the bombings cannot be understood outside the context of what he describes as a dangerous cocktail of poverty and poor education, widespread ignorance of science, ongoing social upheaval and a climate of violence. In July, Mexico City saw some of the country's largest-ever protests, over alleged fraud in this year's presidential election. And since 2006, wars with the major drug gangs have resulted in around 55,000 deaths. Human-rights groups have accused the military and police of illegal arrests, secret and prolonged detention, torture, rape and extrajudicial execution. “I think we are in just the moment for a social explosion,” says Méndez Rojas.

Taken together, all these developments made Mexican universities, with their burgeoning nanotechnology industry, a target for violence. In its communiqué from May last year, the ITS warned professors and students: “It would be best for them to walk carefully within and outside the university, that they take warning of every suspicious shape in rooms, buildings, parking areas and campus, because one of these days, we are going to make them pay for everything that they want to do to the Earth with these kinds of nano-scale technologies.”

Escalating tension

The “boom in eco-anarchism” — as CNN Mexico describes it — has had widespread consequences. In the wake of the bombings, officials at Monterrey Tec introduced a slew of security procedures, including sniffer dogs and campus sweeps. Similar procedures have been put in place at the University of the Americas. The institution's Puebla campus was home to the first nanotechnology lab in Mexico, and its site in Monterrey was the first campus in Latin America to offer an undergraduate programme in the field.

“We were very worried that we could be a target,” says Méndez Rojas, whose research encompasses the development of nanomaterials for tackling cancer and simple toxicology tests on nanoparticles. After the first attacks last year, he was warned that the ITS was going to target campuses outside Mexico City. On his suggestion, he says, the university formed a task force of professors, security staff and administrators to respond to threats. The campus implemented car checks and a policy that visitors can meet professors only with an appointment; a visitor today undergoes a 15-minute identity check, and is escorted to their meeting by two security guards. Méndez Rojas says that he doesn't receive some visitors as a result, but that, despite the hassles, “I feel safer”.

There have been false alarms, including one at Méndez Rojas' university last August. In all, at least ten campuses have received bomb threats, although it is unclear whether they were sent by the ITS or copycats. Greenpeace Mexico, criticized by the ITS for having a soft stance on environmental issues, received an incendiary device from the group last November. Universities in seven states and the capital city have implemented increased security controls, including random bag checks and bomb-evacuation drills, but the Mexican National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions warns that only one-third of campuses in the country have taken sufficient action.

The increased security has met with criticism from some quarters. In March, Hugo Aboites, an education specialist at the Autonomous Metropolitan University in Xochimilco, told La Jornada, one of the country's leading national daily newspapers, that stringent security precautions could create an environment of “institutionalized fear”. The role of universities, he said, is to “train and impart knowledge, not to reproduce police control of the population”.

But Méndez Rojas says that research activities have not been thrown off course. Despite the attacks, he says, the number of students enrolled in nanotechnology programmes across the country rose to 800 this year, up from 500 in 2011. “Apart from the fear some people may be feeling about the subject, not much will change in the academic community. Researchers in nanoscience and nanotechnology won't switch. They'd lose decades' worth of work and millions in investment,” he says.

Some researchers in Mexico say that more-moderate groups are stoking fears about nanotechnology. One such body is the Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC, pronounced et cetera), a small but vocal non-profit organization based in Ottawa, Canada, which was one of the first to raise concerns about nanotechnology and has to a large extent framed the international discussion. Silvia Ribeiro, the group's Latin America director, based in Mexico City, says that the organization has no links to the ITS. The bombings were a “sick development”, she says. “These kinds of attacks — they are benefiting the development of nanotechnology,” she says. “It polarized the discussion. Do you want nanotech or the bomb?”

ETC wants to see a moratorium on all nanotechnology research, says Ribeiro, who is the lead author on many of the group's reports criticizing nanotechnology research and commercialization. She says that there have not been enough toxicological studies on engineered nanoparticles, and that no government has developed a regulatory regime that explicitly addresses risk at the nanoscale.

However, ETC also infuriates researchers by issuing warnings of a more speculative nature. For example, it has latched on to the concept of 'grey goo' — self-replicating nanorobots run wild — that was raised in the book Engines of Creation (Doubleday, 1986) by nanotechnology engineer Eric Drexler. In ETC's primer on nanoscale technologies, it says that the “likely future threat is that the merger of living and non-living matter will result in hybrid organisms and products that are not easy to control and behave in unpredictable ways”.

Ribeiro has also criticized genetic modification and vaccination against human papillomavirus in a weekly column in La Jornada. Méndez Rojas says that ETC “promotes beliefs, but they are not based on facts, and we need a public discussion of the facts”.

The sentiment is echoed by Beatriz Xoconostle Cázares, a biotechnology researcher at Cinvestav, who is experimenting with transgenic crops resistant to drought and insects — and who regularly debates with ETC in public forums. Last September, Xoconostle arrived at work to find that her lab had been set on fire. A month later, arsonists attacked the lab of a neighbouring researcher.

Open debate

Xoconostle does not accuse ETC of responsibility for these acts, but she worries that the organization's communications are helping to spread fears about technology. “These are small groups. But they know how to communicate, and that's a huge advantage. It's becoming a larger group of people who oppose these things.” Xoconostle fears that extremist groups might adopt such views and use them to support their acts.

Ribeiro denies that ETC's reports are not based on facts and says that “we have nothing to do with ITS and we strongly and publicly have condemned their violence. Those who exercise violence and those who bluntly and uncritically defend nanotech coincide in hindering a real public open debate on the facts.”

The real question now is whether the violence will recur — or spread. The nanotechnology-activist movement does seem to be gaining momentum. For the past four years, nano-critical groups have held an annual International Nanotechnology Activist Summit; the one last October welcomed 14 environmental and consumer-advocacy groups worldwide, including the European Environmental Bureau — a Brussels-based federation of European green groups, which says it represents a combined membership of 15 million people.

Opposition to nanotechnology has sometimes been hostile outside Mexico. In 2009 and 2010, protesters in France shut down public debates on nanotechnology in Grenoble, Rennes, Lyons and Marseilles. Pièces et Main d'Oeuvre (Parts and Labour), a Grenoble-based group, has organized protests in the city outside Minatec, France's flagship nanotechnology research centre.

But Barbara Harthorn, director of the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara, says that most debate about nanotechnology so far has been measured. She has tracked 125 green groups around the world in an ongoing study of engagement in nanotechnology by non-governmental organizations. She says that most groups restrict themselves to issues of environmental health and safety rather than the more speculative scenarios painted by ETC and the ITS.

At the same time, public awareness of the topic is extremely low, says Harthorn. She collaborated on a meta-analysis of 22 surveys done in the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan between 2002 and 2009, which found that, on average, more than 51% of survey respondents report that they know “nothing at all” about nanotechnology (T. Satterfield et al. Nature Nanotechnol. 4, 752–758; 2009).

“There's a huge public that is undecided, which means that opinion is still highly malleable,” says Harthorn. Her own surveys have shown no evidence that the public in general has the same aversion to nanotechnology that has been seen for genetic engineering, because nanotechnology is not viewed as 'messing with nature' in the same way. But subjects' reactions depend on the type of nanotechnology being considered: applications in clean energy are embraced, but uses in food or the far-reaching idea of human 'nano-enhancement' elicit a sharply negative reaction. All this means that there is still a lot to play for in public perception, says Harthorn. If the discourse becomes framed by more speculative notions, the moderate public stance could be lost.

And that creates an opportunity for scientists to tip the debate. Most nanotechnology researchers acknowledge that some areas of their work raise legitimate environmental, health and safety concerns. The most important response, says Gerardo Herrera Corral, is for scientists to engage with the public to address and dispel concerns. Herrera is head of Mexico's only experiment at CERN, Europe's particle-physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, and he points to how CERN dealt with public fears that its Large Hadron Collider could create a black hole that would swallow Earth. “We set up a committee to deal with this. We looked into the real dangers. There were journal articles and we answered all the e-mails we got from people. I mean top-level physicists answering thousands of e-mails.”

“But this is work we should all be doing,” says Herrera. “Even if it's extra work on top of all the other things we have to do. It's just part of our job now.”

In Mexico, bomb threats are also becoming part of the job. On 31 May, a hoax threat forced evacuations at the University of Xalapa. The same day, emergency services and military forces descended on the faculty of engineering at the University of Veracruz in Boca del Rio after a suspicious device was found. It turned out to be a professor's forgotten briefcase.

For Xoconostle, the fear is taking its toll. “The fact is I am kind of worried. I'm terrified of these people,” the soft-spoken scientist says. “We are in a fight.”

Nature
488,
576–579
(30 August 2012)
doi:10.1038/488576a

Comments

Anyone who engages in terrorism, by which I specifically mean attacks like this designed to kill, should not be considered an anarchist.

Oh yes, indeed: an example drawn from another country, in another century, is totally and completely applicable to today. That sure makes things easier for us! Whew! What a relief.

Dude if people who have committed or supported political violence are out of the anarchy club that excludes like... all of the historical anarchist movement. From Goldman to Bakunin to basically everyone except Kropotkin. We get the point you don't like ITS. Chillax bro.

Missed my point entirely, which concerned the applicability of an event from France in the late 1890s to the situation today in North America. But who knew that, didn't you?

As for the "anarchy club," it sounds like something that would appeal to like totally radical high school students. So kewl!

so the person claiming a particular tactic void of usefulness no matter what the context is now saying that someone else's examples don't count because of the context. gotcha.

No one said anything of the sort. But you knew that already, didn't yoy?

can you please explain why someone who engages in violence, specifically killing, is not an anarchist? (today, because somehow the uneducated people of yesteryear couldnt fathom your morality)

Because killing is the ultimate act of authoritarian power? Because strength consists in convincing people? Because it is the ultimate sign of weakness that you must kill people, rather than convince them? Not a issue of morality, obviously, but tactics.

some are not going to be convinced by a pamphlet or banner they're never going to read. i, personally, do not condone murdering people, but there is something to be said about not letting the bastards have a monopoly on violence and murder. sometimes people might want to speak to them in a language they're fluent in: violence.
i think it is also good to, once in a while, remind people in power that they are not as completely safe and immune to violence as they might think they are. disrupting the crib of safety is a pretty strong message, and may do something to convince a few people that there are those who threaten the current system, perhaps something they should question. but more than that, it brings inspiration to others that they are not alone in their struggle. that they have power behind them that can rival the power and motivation of the bosses and their dogs.

This is double-talk: "i, personally, do not condone murdering people, but there is something to be said about not letting the bastards have a monopoly on violence and murder." At least have the courage of your convictions, and say that you do in fact condone murdering people.

i suppose i was just trying to keep in the good practice of saying that i 'do not condone or encourage people to do such illegal actions.' get me?
it's not something i would do, nor would i tell someone else to, but i can appreciate the action as a brutal signal of disorder, and can see it's legitimacy. i think it would be rash to cast such actions out of the realm of anarchism.

Cast rash actions out of the realm of anarchism and there's nothing left.

assholes, pacifism is not a tactical vantage point of any kind that should be included in an overall discussion of revolutionary strategy. revolution is a violent event and the moments leading up to revolution also include violence. Often times, it is tactically more appealing to organize above ground, openly, and peacefully. But there will always be a need for violence as long as the police, the military, and militia stand in the way of social transformation.

anyone who considers themselves a pacisfist and an anarchist is delusional in consideration of the nature of power. Its almost as oxymoronic as calling oneself a "christian-anarchist".

as for ITW or ITS or whatever the fuck they are calling themselves, my concern isn't with the morality or ethicity of their actions. rather, they don't seem to have really thought out their position. I can't think of anything more idiotic than blowing up scientists. My only guess is that they have very little knowledge of modern science. Of all the ills in the world and especially mexico, they chose to blow up scientist..

lots of dumb stuff here...good, good...

why dont we just murder some doctors while we're at it. afterall, doctors are often engaged in bio-medical research, including nano-technology.

I would not shed a single fucking tear if that was done. In fact, I would probably erupt with joy.

^ Psychopath, and proud of it, too. ^

like those corporate mad scientists of the biotech/nuke industry... who don't give a fuck of how many lives they're putting at risk with their grand flamboyant discoveries???

This is the life of one man Vs the lives of millions.

Of course it's really questionable what the ITS dis.... but if you got a better plan, why not doing it?

WHY, your highness?

are you in anyway familiar with the history of anarchism at all? it seems as if you have no idea.

Wait... trolls have ideas?

Yep.

HEY EVERYONE HEY EVERYONE, LOOK AT THIS FUCKING LIBERAL!

I can't believe I'm suggesting someone read (ewww, I know), but...: You Can’t Blow up a Social Relationship... But you can have fun trying!

Is it lonely up there, on your high pedestal?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFT2n2uGvgc

(you have to watch the whole thing)

"Greenpeace Mexico, criticized by the ITS for having a soft stance on environmental issues, received an incendiary device from the group last November."

Kewl! Set liberals on fire!

If all you queers were seriously pissed at assimilationism you'd attack the fuck out of the HRC and similar orgs. I dgaf, hard, about queer and the HRC still pisses me off.

"But around 2008, certain groups began to adopt an 'anarcho-primitivist' perspective. (Locally, they are called primativistas, says Gerardo Herrera Corral.) This philosophy had won little notice until the past few years, but with increasing media reports of looming global climate disaster, some radical green activists have latched on to it. California-based environmental writer Derrick Jensen — whose popular books call for an underground network of 'Deep Green Resistance' cells — is a highly influential figure in this otherwise leaderless movement"

ZERZAN GON' BE SO PISSD OFF!!!!!!!

he jelly. he jelly that dj won all the libtardzzz with the scrilla ova....

For real. And anyone who has read the ITS communiques knows that they have total reverence for Uncle Ted.

And I'm proud of them. They knew I needed company (awful lonely where I live)!

Yours truly,
Theodore Kaczynski

So true... if they'd be inspired by His Grand Wise Majesty Derrick Jensen, Ascended Master of the 12th realm, they'd still be doing tea & crumpets at their local ABC.

In the United States they just call that The Tea Party.

Jensen?? Who wet his pants a year ago over an anonymous email death threat and called the FBI,
who has never addressed technology? THAT Jensen?

Yeah that Jensen, actually I think he would probably be about as pissed off as Zerzan reading this... If he doesn't want to be associated with black bloc tactics because they are 'criminal' I can only imagine what he must think of ITS.

http://archive.org/details/AnarchyRadio09-04-2012

Zerzan actually directly addresses these events in the first half hour of his weekly radio show which is archived at the above link. No mentions of Jensen

He does unsurprisingly however clown on liberal library anarchist, Naom Chompsky for telling us to vote the republicants out.

Liberal anarchist? No, that doesn't exist. You're anarchist, or you aren't. You are for one or another version of the State, or you're against the State altogether.

Chomsky's a liberal socialist, who sermons from his academic office at MIT. How even that he's been working for one of the top think tanks of the techno-industrial society in the US, in what's still one of the most important field of the totalitarian technology research, that is cognitive linguistics. And the only field that I know to ne more wicked than applied linguistics is neurolinguistics, which is the tie-in of cognitive with domains as diverse as linguistics, IT, psychopathology, pharmacology, mathematics, and soon nanotech as well. If there would be a real-life Big Brother, Chomsky would be its programmer.

You have no idea what you are talking about.

This is sooo full of righteousness, professor. Your intellectual authority is overwhelming, I must say...

The ITS claims totally read like all of my favorite Marxist-Leninist-Maoist communiques from the armed vanguard in the protracted People's War from the 1970's a la Red Brigades, RAF, etc.

Cool. What are you trying to say?

that once we achieve full communization

Carmelization?

once we achieve full carmelization of these onions our food with be so much better!

we just wanna party and bullshit. and party and bullshit. and party and party.

and rupture and bullshit.

How do you know this was done by real anarchists? It was a bombing, which is our signature.

Yours truly
Ted Kaczynski

Don't claim my name you faggy leftists.

Yours truly
Ted Kaczynski

It's true. I committed ultra-macho acts of violence to show the whole world that I wasn't a fag. Like many other anarchists, I might add.

Yours truly
The Real Ted Kaczynski

will the real Slim Shady please stand up?

no, but the fat capitalist sure has legs

omg kill me or stop commenting

Where are you now? I can arrange for your first request. It will cost you 5 dollars. Ironic eh, that capitalism in the end destroys you? Were you EVER an anarchist really?

“The fact is I am kind of worried. I'm terrified of these people,” the soft-spoken scientist says. “We are in a fight.”

Funny, that pretty accurately describes my feelings about Monterrey Tec.

It's those darn impoverished, ignorant folk that have been inundated with media induced fear that has led them to extremist views: paranoia and anxiety over technology.

Yep. I believe now. I swear to Fukashima it's just feelings caused by lack of proper indoctrination...errr, I mean education. Nano-tech is good because it's good.

Your floor is now clean. Your floor is now clean.

Nanotechnology is just small technology. Instead of a medication of certain sizes, it's smaller; instead of a machine like a roomba, which is the size of a cat, it's a machine the size of a blood cell, or whatever. The medical applications are potentially endless - we're talking potential cancer cures, among other routes currently being investigated. I really, genuinely suggest that you study this technology in more detail before you start endorsing disgusting tactics like bombing universities.

Do you know how to read? I'm concerned. Seriously.

But this is a fine example of how academics are indoctrinated to dumb things down and flip them to protect empire.

But "nanotechnology" is literally a way of saying "Nano-scale technology," which is to say, small technology (ballpark figure: ~1-100 nanometers in size). There is no magical difference between things made on the nano-scale and things made on a larger scale, except for the scale itself. For instance, instead of making a pill the size of an almond to deliver a drug, you could make it on a nano-scale and tailor it for more precise delivery to the specific cells you want to target. Scale is the only difference.

Here are a few examples of recent & ongoing clinical trials that use nanotechnology:
http://singularityhub.com/2010/01/05/nanotechnology-creates-artificial-a...
http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=24829.php
http://www.wcclinical.com/hivefire/oncology-trials/manhattan-scientifics...
http://nano.cancer.gov/learn/now/clinical-trials.asp

Holy fucking shit, they're doing clinical trials!!!

Omg, before I thought it was field of research with the potential to have far-reaching damage to the environment and people's health while enriching multi-national corporations and the military industrial complex, but if they're doing clinical trials then that must not be the case.

Now thanks to your hugely lucid explanation I realize it's just technology... but small. And what anarchist could take any issue with technology, am I right?

Hey when you respond to my snarky comment can you please leave a bunch of links to transhumanist and government websites? You're the best bud. Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Firstly, I'm not going anywhere. Secondly, you have yet to present an actual reply, or an argument, or any indication otherwise that you have the slightest idea what you're talking about. Typically, the way a debate works is that people present arguments, followed by citations and evidence to support those arguments. If you research this subject and provide a coherent explanation of your problems with it (cited of course), you will fare much better in debate. At the moment, you're coming off like an ignorant fool who's heavy on moralistic diatrabe but utterly vacant on facts and evidence... Perhaps because you are an ignorant fool (?).

transhumanist!

Yeah yeah... dare even questioning the dangers and threats of such uncontrollable research run by faceless, unaccountable corporations, and you're an ignorant or a moralist, or conspiracy theorist.

Hey Megele, just who's gonna pay for the "unforeseen consequences" of nanotech being so mindlessly applied at a large scale upon living organisms?

When are we gonna find nano-scale instruments at Radio-Shack to counter the effects of those privately-owned and guarded tech?

Who is taking account, between Bechtel, Monsanto, Cargyll, BP (and so on) for the natural and health disasters they have already caused? For fuckign up with the crops and the gene code of several species, and for the bee colony collapses?

Get fucking real, or suck some corporate dick, sheep.

"There is no magical difference between things made on the nano-scale and things made on a larger scale, except for the scale itself."

This is entirely incorrect. Things on the nano-scale behave entirely differently because the laws of physics for super-small things -- that is, quantum physics -- are entirely different than those that operate at larger scales. A nano-object behaves nothing like a regular scale object.

"This is entirely incorrect. Things on the nano-scale behave entirely differently because the laws of physics for super-small things -- that is, quantum physics -- are entirely different than those that operate at larger scales. A nano-object behaves nothing like a regular scale object."

Again, there is no magical difference between nano-scale and regular scale, or sub-nano-scale, or gigantic, objects. They all follow the laws of physics, which we understand better over time through observation and trial-and-error, and which are being constantly refined and updated when we learn new things.

Get out here! @news is not for people who seek a true understanding of anything. Talk about philosophical bullshit other people made up or shut up!

Oh excellent. Looks like we found a volunteer to clear land and mine the materials needed for this holy nanotech.

Work work work for the nano-tech god

I realise that you're probably some teenager who still lives in his parents' house, so your conceptualization of work is probably limited at this point, but yes, most people work for a living, myself included. Nothing wrong with that per se - what ought to change is the way our workplace power dynamics function, as well as the way that we actually distribute resources and labour (ie according to need not according to capital). Work, in and of itself, keeps us all alive - that goes for the Guarani tribesmen hunting, gathering, and building shelters, as much as for the contemporary urbanite buying a home and food at the supermarket.

I don't think you'll get a comment from the poster you questioned, but I will answer as a substitute anyway.
For a start I thought it was presumptuous that you assumed the poster was a teenager and had no work experience. This made you an ageist fucker!
Your admition that you work and then referring to a stone-age tribal economy as somehow equivalent to your own mortgaged enslavement just showed me your inability to comprehend culturally diverse values and how social relationships are guided by them. In other words, YOU ARE A FUCKING MORON!

A.> I made that prediction of the poster's age for a reason: I shared their disdain for the working man/woman's life when I was a student and part-time labourer living in my parents' home. I have now lived on my own for years and work full time, like most adults do. In any case, I am confident in my opinion that that poster is most likely young, lacking in economic life experience, and most likely being subsidized by the work of others (people who pay for the place he/she lives, people who produce the food and products they consume, etc), but we'll wait and let them speak for themselves. As for ageism, it goes without saying that the longer you live, the more you tend to learn about life; this has a moderating (and cynicism-inspiring) effect on most people, thus the stereotype of the embittered old radical who settles down. I would no more feel bad about suggesting that a youthful opinion which I shared when I was younger and more dogmatic, might indicate the age of a similar person expressing that idea here, than I would that suggesting a toddler's opinions are a reflection of his/her age. That said, once again, work per se is not a problem - it is a necessity. The problem is the way work is assigned (according to capital not need) and the way its resulting resources are distributed (ibid). That question is the fundamental issue addressed by most anarchists in recent history, from Kropotkin's "Conquest of Bread" in the 19th century to the anarcho-syndicalist organizing of the CNT in the 20th, to the present-day neighbourhood assemblies in Greece.

B.> I do not have a mortgage. Whether I am "enslaved" in the proper sense of the word, or not, is debatable, and is an issue which I vacillate on myself. Needless to say, I desire more freedom - as do most people, civilized or primitive (the Guaraki folk songs which tell the foretold story of that tribe one day finding a utopian homeland of easy living and plentiful resources being one example of the latter)*.

C.> I do not suffer from an inability to appreciate "culturally diverse values and how social relationships are guided by them". Nothing that I have said indicates that. The equivalency is thus: tribal societies need to do things (hunt, fish, forage, trap, gather, construct, dismantle) to acquire the resources they need to survive, as do civilized people (namely via work).

* This may actually refer to a Guarani song. My major anthropology reading is a few years stale, along with my memory of it. I apologize if I'm mistaken on the name of the tribe in question.

I forgive you, I was snarky. Have you read Jarred Diamond?

I would have liked to wrong this stupid commenter, but it just feels like a waste of time and effort. The enforcers of the system can only be reasoned with through fear and mayhem.

The ITS, like Teddy K., understood this.

"You are wrong and I am right" is not a serious argument. Try again, this time using whatever meagre intellect you possess.

Though not elaborated upon in the comment, "the enforcers of the system can only be reasoned with through fear and mayhem" is indeed an argument. You should try reading sometime, because I hear there is a 5,500 word "diatribe" about it, not to mention another quite lengthy manifesto that was published in major newspapers about 20 years ago.

It is quite true that " 'the enforcers of the system can only be reasoned with through fear and mayhem' is indeed an argument." It just happens to be a bankrupt one.

Yeah, you system slave, "bank-rupt" is exactly what it is. Like those many banks I've broke apart in rebellious joy, along with comrades.

You don't need a thousand pages to make sense. You just need to make sense. Words, actions, fire, punches, hugs, gunshots, bombs... all those things get to make sense when they happen to you, physically.

I maintain that an idiot, or at best an enslaved fool, cannot be reasoned with without a bat on his head or a sense of Death.

Gunshots and bombs, really? You sound like a wannabe terrorist.

lol That comment reminds me of the good ol' Bush era.

but but but, now we got Hillary who is like "We Came, We Saw, We Killed!" Yeeeaaauh!

I've read FC's work, as well as Zerzan, Jensen, Glendinning, Perlman, Clastres, and countless other authors in the anti-civ/primitivist milieu. I do not hold my opinions for lack of education or knowledge, I hold them because, all things considered, those authors' works are not convincing. Many of their claims about primitive societies, particularly Jensen and Zerzan, are in fact openly, demonstrably incorrect. Civilization is not going down any time soon - nor should it.

Please share why.

Sure. At this point, the development of technology is too ubiquitous and too fast-paced to be stopped - on a very pragmatic, realistic level, it's simply not going to happen. Civilization as an organizational force is here to stay, and any localized interruptions of its progress (such as natural disaster, conflict, etc.) will merely result in the survivors invariably restoring it out of necessity (ie agriculture, permanent settlements, etc. being necessary to sustain themselves).

As for WHY civilization ought to be maintained as opposed to dismantled, here are a few reasons - logical, ethical, and otherwise:
- With concurrent advances in genetics, stem cell therapies, and our overall ability to understand the human body, humanity's ability to cure diseases and heal injuries is rapidly improving with each passing year. Sometime this century (estimates I'm familiar with range from Kurzweil's optimistic yet well-known 2040 to more pessimistic predictions which are decades later than that), medicine will have advanced to a point where it can cure aging itself. In the interests of curing disease and alleviating suffering, then, civilization's progress is not only necessary, but enormously positive in this regard. That level of biological and technological power would, of course, also open the door to plenty of physical customization - with transgender people being at the forefront of this right now, but by no means being the only potential beneficiaries.
- Civilized societies are inherently more powerful than primitive societies, thus why when the two worlds collide, primitive societies are almost always defeated. Deliberately manufacturing structural powerlessness (by eschewing technology and civilized modes of organization) is an astoundingly poor idea in a world with million-strong armies, flying drones, and N/B/C/R weapons.
- The destruction perpetrated on the natural world by industrial civilization thus far would take a remarkably long time to undo itself - literally eons. With sufficient advances in nanotechnology and environmental sciences, we could have a lot more tools at our disposal to clean up a lot of the pollutants we've created - if not modify ourselves and other living creatures to become immune to their effects. As primitive societies also offer no way to potentially restore extinct species to life and repopulate them in their prior environments, civilization is on the cusp of providing solutions to that as well (the much-touted, though scientifically questionable, attempt to clone a woolly mammoth in Korea being an early example of this).

Now, this isn't to say that a singularity-type explosion of technological progress doesn't invite its own existential risks (it definitely does, and these need to be considered and addressed as we move forward), merely that NOT having a singularity-type explosion of technological progress would yield results that are likely worse in most ways, namely the continuation of disease and aging, the inability to fix ecological problems we've created, and the stifling academic repression required to prevent any further advancement of our species' collective scientific knowledge.

At some point however you are going to have to have the old reified mindsets continue for your little thing to continue, and in the event of some kind of a disaster what's to say that humans will have it in them to build it back up again, we're not of the same mindset as we were at the end of the last ice age. Also as Terrence Mckenna points out the base structures that made what it is to be human possible happened before agriculture not after, agriculture was if anything a response to calamitous earth changes and was ultimately a significant come down, but was the best humans may have been able to do at the time.

Also do you consider that technology is not linear in development, for all we know humans could simply go in a complex but minimalistic down scaling direction in the future. Positions on death may also change as well, you have example like the piraha would simply sail toward that void with joy.

Also in case you haven't clued in, consciousness is inherently problematic, we like creating problems.

You know what? I don't give a flying fuck about your pages-long explanations of how biotech/nanotech will, one day, save us from "disease" and perhaps even death, and make us into gods. All that we've seen from your corporate-run scientific research, is accountability only to private interests, dangerous practices, intoxication of entire regions, death, food poisoning, the multiplication of cancer, chemical drugs that destroy the mind, electromagnetic pollution of the airwaves through an endless antenna arrays of many kinds, without talking about the must better-known problem of carbon-based transportation (cars and trucks mainly) being threats to life in any possible way they can, just multiplying over and over, albeit all the bullshit claims at trying to counter carbon pollution by corporate governments. This is your great civilization that is "unstoppable" (at least not by itself), and yes, Zerzan and Kaczinsky were spot-on about it, as if it's not being stopped through human intervention, it will be our grave.

To make you salivate, the military is already producing technologies able to track and kill humans, but that's just a glimpse of what they've got in store for all of us, especially at DARPA. And there are thousands of nuclear stations all around the planet who could get Fukushima at any point in the next few years, because they've been built 30-40 years ago with old, questionable tech.

Whether you've read or not these authors isn't much relevant. What did you make out of these readings is what matters. How did you used their ideas to question your own participation into this fake civilization is what matters here.

How does it feel when you see dead animals by the highway? When you say those sea birds bathing in crude oil by the Gulf of Mexico, and the gulf being then intoxicated even more by some "dispersant agent"? When you see a beautiful natural area full of life being destroyed by a shitty suburban sprawl? This is what I want you to examine, rather than made-up pipe-dreams induced by Popular Mechanics about how Monsanto is gonna save the planet.

What are you doing supporting a culture of death, a system based on repression and terror, if you seem to care so much about saving you and others from disease and dying???

Questions you probably don't have the honesty to answer.

Science and technology is not really the problem, it's how it is being run, and in who's hands it is being kept that is the major issue. And no it is not you, or me, or most people visiting this site. it is run by people who are arguing with billions, gold, diamonds & oil. To address technology as if it was some sort of impartial tool developed by an impartial "everyone" is completely stupid and immature. It's just being a dork.

What humans created, humans can destroy. You cannot deny that principle, no matter what.

so you're a workerist AND a transhumanist

That's my problem with workerists and commies... they always get to follow the system, wherever it throws them into. They'll still be into militancy, while religiously working in the construction industry, or IT.

"Coz, you know, it's "us" the proles who are the producers after all, so it's gotta be okay, no? So let's support Big Brother Jobs and the Apple! Once they put that chip into our brains, the revolution will finally happen!"

Workerists still don't understand the idea that this is an empire, because it is also producing the means to protect, reestablish or expand its power through space and time. The synonym of this is "totalitarian regime". As long as those means exist there is no hope in any worker-based movement, as the workers have got their feet and minds trapped into the machine.

The only way is to unplug people, as massively as possible.

you cleaned my floor? Thanks! This punk house is disgusting...

There are no anarchists in Mexico! It exists in its own historical and cultural paradigm. There is excessive catholicism though, and excessive banditry, significant drug syndicalism between police and druglords, highly rigged democratic dictatorship, widespread plebian marxist sentiments, rampant chaos from tequila drinking, but no, no anarchists there, sorry.

Of course not. Everybody knows only white academics are true anarchists.

What the hell are you talking about? I know plenty of anarchists in Mexico. There is also a history of anarchism in Mexico.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricardo_Flores_Mag%C3%B3n
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Anarchist_Federation

It's called racism. And every time this twit opens their mouth, you're going to hear it.

Wow, one day they're going to name a comma after you - and thanks for the insight!

--your biggest fan

lol yeah...

...or perhaps you were serious??? :O

Where can I find Magon these days? Is he sipping Tequila with chicks and guns in Chiapas? I rather think it's those drug barons who are doing that these days.

Anarchist Federation? You mean those liberals who make reading groups on some past anarchist movement? This looks like a never-ending loop joke.

... or perhaps there is an anarchist sleeping in every Mexican drug lord? Hmm, I think I'll consider getting hired in the assassination business there.

Am I late to this party?

Death to primmies! Death to things that aren't science... You know what? Fuck it, yall seem to have this trollfest down, I'm taking the day off.

You should just stick a pistol in your mouth and pull the trigger while you're at it.

hmn, imposter suicide troll, or fellow suicide troll?

Compulsory siesta for all nanotechnician workerists!!

Come at me. Imma bob black any packages delivered to me so you'd best come correct cuz I got my hand on my Mac 10 handle.

I am completely in favor of scientists carrying guns and blowing out what little brains are in the dumb faces of would be anarcho-toughguys/gals that try and this kind of assassination bullshit.

then you're a fucking traitor

and you, you're a psychopath.

Ummm, can I interject, I'm getting tired of the use of words like 'psychopath', 'sociopath' , 'paranoid', 'schizo' 'neurotic' (me actually to bring this topic up no?)
These are Western classifications for the psychological reactions to the pressures of modern capitalist society. Insane people ARE INFACT more sane than those that call themselves sane who live within the womb of the security net that slavery to the state provides.

Compulsory pig-fucking whilst defusing bomb!

>Bob Black (pig-fucker and accessory to the circumstantial evidence)

As I've said before, I really don't appreciate it when people who aren't me, claim to be me.

--- Bob Black (pig ffffucker and kitchen accessory)

Oh fuck anthropocentric humanist values, I'm going for a Stirnerist-Nietzschean pogrom, YES!AGAINST YUPPY AND HIPSTER OPPRESSION. They shall never drink chinese tea and take acid with me EVER AGAIN, the snales, aaargh.

STAAAAAARBUCKSSSS!!!!

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