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Statement on the Catalonia Independence Referendum Vote and Spanish Government’s Response

Statement on the Catalonia Independence Referendum Vote and Spanish Government’s Response

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B.J. Murphy


On October 1, the autonomous community of Catalonia came together to vote for the future of its independence from that of the Kingdom of Spain. While the referendum was initially peaceful, chaos began to ensue once the Constitutional Court of Spain gave the order for police to raid Catalan government buildings and spots known where the referendum would be held, after having determined that the referendum is illegal.

In response, the Catalan people began protesting the police raids, demanding for recognition of their votes and for Catalan independence. Even the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, took to Twitter to condemn the raids, stating, “A cowardly president has filled our city with police. Barcelona, city of peace, is not afraid.”

Despite heavy crackdown and reported police brutality of the protesters, 42% of the autonomous community was able to successfully cast their vote, including Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont. The results: 90% voted in favor of independence.

And while King Felipe VI has since made a rare televised statement on the matter, accusing Catalan leaders of “unacceptable disloyalty,” Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, has officially determined that his government would unilaterally declare independence by “the end of this week or the beginning of next,” according to BBC.

While United States Transhumanist Party has no official declaration of support for other foreign general regions to secede from their respective countries, according to Article III, Section XXXI of our Constitution, it states:

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports the right of any jurisdiction to secede from the United States specifically in opposition to policies that institutionalize racism, xenophobia, criminalization of dissent, and persecution of peaceful persons. The United States Transhumanist Party does not, however, condone any secession for the purposes of oppressing others. Therefore, the secession of the Confederate States in 1860 was illegitimate, but a future secession of a State may be justified in reaction to violent crackdowns by the federal government against individuals based on individuals’ national origin or ancestry.”

As such, we firmly believe that a similar moral principle should be extended to the people of Catalonia who peacefully voted for independence from the Kingdom of Spain. We condemn the actions of King Felipe and the Spanish government for attempting to violently suppress the Catalan people’s right to democracy and to peacefully protest when the former is withheld.

Given our own country’s history of fighting for independence from the United Kingdom, we know all too well the lengths of which the powerful will try to demean, belittle, and oppress those who stand up to them. The events which led up to the American Revolution, too, were deemed illegal in accordance with then-British law. This gave our Founding Fathers a lot to think about as they began building this country – in particular, it was Thomas Jefferson who once declared, “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.”

And so, unlike the Kingdom of Spain, we, the United States Transhumanist Party, recognize and stand in solidarity with the Catalan peoples’ quest for freedom by breaking away from the country and to become an independent nation themselves.

Ed. Note: Originally, the article had erroneously specified that King Felipe VI had given the orders for the police raids of Catalan government buildings. After further inspection, we’ve realized that, while King Felipe did appoint the magistrates of the Constitutional Court of Spain, all decisions – including that of the police raids – were given independently by the Court itself. Our statement has been refined to accommodate this change of information.

B.J. Murphy is the Director of Social Media for the U.S. Transhumanist Party.

The Riots in Charlottesville and the Prevention of Violence – Article by Gennady Stolyarov II

The Riots in Charlottesville and the Prevention of Violence – Article by Gennady Stolyarov II

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Gennady Stolyarov II


Note: The observations in this article are offered in a personal capacity, although I consider them to be consistent with the United States Transhumanist Party Platform, particularly Article III, Sections II and XL of our Constitution, which directly oppose many of the mentalities and ideologies of hate and intolerance that precipitated the violence in Charlottesville. ~ Gennady Stolyarov II, August 31, 2017

I admire the courage of Ford Fischer, who reported the events of the Charlottesville street riots directly from the scene and obtained close-up, highly informative documentary footage regarding the tragic events that transpired. He was even a victim of collateral damage; some of the pepper spray aimed at the fascist marchers instead found its way to him.

I recommend that everyone watch his 23-minute documentary in order to have a better understanding of the facts on the ground.

My impressions, based on Mr. Fischer’s reporting, are that the entire situation was a volatile powder keg – with tempers running high and many regrettably radicalized, armed, and incensed demonstrators looking for a fight. “Who started it” was often difficult to discern in the various brawls – although clearly the murder was committed by a detestable and ruthless alt-right white supremacist. More generally, though, past a certain point, once the violence is in full swing, distinguishing between legitimate self-defense and the initiation of force becomes nearly impossible in the din and chaos (a confusion readily taken advantage of by opportunistic fanatics who relish violence).

This is why, to the extent possible, the infrastructure of society should be configured to prevent such “powder keg” situations from emerging in the first place. Once civil discourse (which could include heated but peaceful and polite debate) is replaced with the shouting of expletives and threats by lines of armed rioters, it only takes one particularly unhinged individual to commit an atrocity. Most people, I hold, are decent and inclined toward peaceful behavior; this probably included most protesters – even on the alt-right side (who probably just wanted to hear their leaders speak). However, events such as these necessarily attract the minority of persons who temperamentally crave violence – and those people, irrespective of ideology, rile up the rest until the chaos is uncontrollable. For them, ideology is epiphenomenal, and violence is an end in itself.

In the immediate moment, police should have taken a more active role in separating the demonstrators. The right of free speech, even obnoxious or heinous speech, should be protected as long as it remains speech only. However, there is no reason for “in your face” confrontations between two incensed opposing sides. Mr. Fischer noted that the police initially took a largely “hands-off” attitude with respect to brawls. This was a mistake on the police’s part; each brawl constitutes assault and battery – criminal acts. Both the protest and counter-protest might have ended peacefully had a line of police remained between the opposing sides at all times. What was interesting is that a contingent of private militiamen was also present and impartial, desiring only to keep the peace and aid those who were injured. There is a role for this kind of citizen initiative (but only to keep the peace, and only to help), and I wonder if this might be part of the solution for future events where the police fail to protect life and property.

In the long-term, though, what is required is a revival of cultural standards of decency and tolerance in discourse – the prizing of civility and the search for constructive common ground, rather than the complete denunciation and demonization of those who disagree with one’s point of view. Because of deteriorating norms of conduct and a toxic media culture that has fomented political insults as entertainment, we have reached a crisis point where too many people have become radicalized beyond the condition where they even recognize that common ground might exist. So they try to beat one another with sticks instead of beating one another in debate. But words can still work. Words can change the culture – not right away, but with enough perseverance. This will be the work of decent persons who abhor violence and desire for precious lives and infrastructure to be preserved.

Gennady Stolyarov II is Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party. Find out more about Mr. Stolyarov here.

U. S. Transhumanist Party Condemns, Protests Trump Executive Order Detaining Immigrants, Permanent Residents, and Naturalized American Citizens

U. S. Transhumanist Party Condemns, Protests Trump Executive Order Detaining Immigrants, Permanent Residents, and Naturalized American Citizens

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Gennady Stolyarov II


 

While the U.S. Transhumanist Party has generally exercised great restraint in the criticism of conventional political figures such as Donald Trump, a hard line must be drawn at violations of basic human liberties, dignity, and decency. The open, cosmopolitan world which transhumanism requires has no place for bigotry and irrational detainment of individuals – entirely peaceful travelers with no possible connection to terrorism – on the sole basis of national origin, religious affiliation, or skin color. Donald Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration contravenes the ideals of transhumanism and directly impedes their realization. Scientists, university students, intellectuals, and other peaceful, productive persons who could have contributed to the realization of a future of technological abundance, have already been arbitrarily detained and subjected to humiliating conditions due to an unconstitutional, ex post facto executive order which has been enacted by an autocratic Executive Branch in defiance of multiple court-ordered stays. Numerous renowned academics, including winners of the Nobel Prize and Breakthrough Prize who have contributed key advances to biomedical sciences, have condemned the Executive Order on Immigration precisely for the reason that it will thwart scientific progress and punish many meritorious individuals.

As a result of this extra-legal detainment and deportations, in defiance of multiple court orders, of entirely legal immigrants, U.S. permanent residents, and even certain U.S. citizens, the U.S. Transhumanist Party is obligated by its own principles and member-adopted statements to condemn the egregious violations of both the United States Constitution and of basic, universal human rights by the Donald Trump administration.

Indeed, Article III, Section II, of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, a part of our Constitution which was recently adopted by a democratic and transparent vote of U.S. Transhumanist members, condemns the types of restrictions entailed in Donald Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration in the strongest terms. The full text of this platform section reads, “The United States Transhumanist Party abhors all racism, nativism, xenophobia, and sexism. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to close national borders, restrict immigration of peaceful individuals, or deny opportunities to individuals on the basis of ethnicity, race, or national origin. The United States Transhumanist Party unequivocally condemns all demagogues who seek to segregate individuals on the basis of national origin, race, or ethnicity. In particular, The United States Transhumanist Party opposes movements describing themselves as ‘white nationalism’, ‘America First’, ‘race realism’, and the ‘alt-right’ – as well as the counterparts of those movements in other countries.”

The Transhumanist Bill of Rights – Version 2.0, adopted by the members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, in Article XXV, extends to all sentient entities the protections of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Surely these protections for sentient entities encompass peaceful travelers to the United States, as well as permanent residents and U.S. citizens irrespective of national origin. Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.” Furthermore, Article 11, Section 2, states that “No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.” Travelers currently detained at U.S. airports are being held in arbitrary detention, and they are being deprived of liberty and of precious hours and days of their lives for acts that did not constitute any manner of penal offense. Their visas, green cards, and U.S. passports were entirely valid and legally recognized when they boarded their flights.

Not only on the basis of transhumanist principles, but on the basis of universal human rights which have been recognized since the Age of Enlightenment, the actions of the Trump Administrations and U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement are contrary to the progress of humanity and transhumanity and decidedly on the wrong side of history. To be silent regarding the ongoing travesties now would risk future allegations of indifference to a great evil that is unfolding.

Therefore, on January 29, 2017, Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II and Secretary/Treasurer Wendy Stolyarov, participated in the Bridges, Not Walls protest in Reno, Nevada, adding their voices to a diverse gathering of over 500 individuals in an entirely peaceful and remarkably orderly demonstration which received overwhelming support from the residents of Reno in the vicinity. In the photographs below, you will see Mr. Stolyarov, wearing “Supporter of Indefinite Life Extension” and “No Hate” pins while he holds posters warning of the true motives of those who use the excuse of “security” to ruin the lives of peaceful, innocuous individuals. Who knows what great innovators in the field of life extension might be prevented from coming to the United States due to Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration? Let the potential innovators in!