Thursday, 28 April 2011

Luddite commemorations: the Luddites200 Organising Forum

The first, and so far only, explicitly political group set up to commemorate the bicentenary are the Luddites200 Organising Forum. The group emerged from the 2010 London Anarchist Bookfair, with a brief to celebrate the Luddite bicentenary, attempt to rehabilitate the term 'Luddite' and to focus on contemporary technology politics On their website, there's a founding statement which we'll reproduce below:
November 2011 – January 2013 are the 200th anniversary of the Luddite uprisings: a great opportunity to celebrate their struggle and to redress the wrongs done to them and their name. Today science and technology raises many more critical social, environmental and ethical issues, but from GM food and eugenics to plans for engineering the planets climate, from surveillance to nuclear power, these issues are rarely addressed properly, partly because anyone who raises criticism is denigrated as a ‘luddite’. History has been written by the victors and the Luddites are portrayed as opposed to all technology and progress: it is ironic that while the ideology of technology as progress has hardened into a rigid dogma, which must condemn all critics as ‘anti-science’, in fact the Luddites opposed only technology ‘hurtful to commonality’, (i.e. the common good). They destroyed some machines whilst leaving others, and earnt their living using a complex piece of technology, the hand loom. In their spirit, we make no apology for calling for real democratic control over science and technology.
Like the Luddite Link, the project is in the early stages, but their website also tells us that they plan "public events throughout the country, including arts and theatre projects and a poetry competition, and a conference for technology politics activists." We also understand that they have a short slot to promote the project at next week's Luddite conference at Birkbeck.

We will keep you informed of developments with this group.

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