Discussing the Politics of Technology

breaking the frameBreaking the Frame is a low-tech event held in the UK next weekend.

“Technology dominates our world, but many people think ‘its just a neutral tool’ or that technology = progress. Although it does bring some benefits, most technology is designed and controlled by corporate, military and technocratic elites to serve their interests and exert their power. We think it’s time for a much more systematic and joined-up approach to technology that overcomes the democratic deficit in this area. We need to develop a new approach, based on bringing together the insights of different campaigns and movements, sharing skills, and learning from each other.”

“The Breaking the Frame gathering is a step towards creating the new politics of technology. We will be bringing together campaigns on the technology politics of food, energy/climate/ environment, work/economics/austerity, the military, the internet, surveillance health and gender, as well as trade unionists, radical scientists, artists and developers of alternative technologies. The aim is to learn from each other and to build a new network, to strengthen campaigns and make issues about technology more central in radical movements. Amongst the principles of a new critical discourse on technology are:

  • Opposition to technologies that are ‘hurtful to Commonality’ (i.e. to the common good, including the environment) and to ‘technofixes’ for social problems
  • Support for technologies that help to satisfy real human needs and empower the powerless e.g. some renewable energy technologies.
  • Technology should be developed under democratic control, rather than under the control of private interests and the military”

“Some of the issues we’ll discuss include:

  • What does a critical politics of technology mean in the 21st century: democratic control or ‘low technology’?
  • History of industrial society and environmental crisis; challenging the concept of progress through technology
  • Experiences in different campaigns and struggles
  • Alternative visions of social and technological development, and the transition to a sustainable and socially just society.”

Confirmed speakers include Simon Fairlie (editor of The Land magazine), Jerry Mander (International Forum on Globalisation), Hilary Wainwright (editor, Red Pepper), Theo Simon (Stop Hinkley), Danny Chivers (No Dash for Gas). Breaking the Frame Gathering, May 2-5 2014 Unstone Grange, Unstone Derbyshire (near Sheffield). The written reports about earlier Breaking the Frame Gatherings are very interesting.