The following statement outlines the intentions and political position adopted by the Breaking the Frame Working Group. It was drafted and agreed by consensus in Autumn 2015.
We aim to break the frame that conceals the politics of technology
The dominant myths in our society claim that technology is inherently politically neutral. These narratives are designed to hide the ways in which power can operate through technology. They are so pervasive they confuse and stifle debate within scientific communities and social movements alike.
Breaking the Frame aims to dismantle this conceptual separation between politics and technology.
We aim to expose the common roots of problems caused by technologies
Technologies are shaped in ways that principally serve the interests of those who develop and control them (most often corporations, the military and the state). The direction of technological development has a massive impact on the overall development of society, so should be subject to democratic control.
Although there are many forms of power in our societies, Breaking the Frame encourages social movements to focus more on the ways in which the technological structuring of the world operates. We call this exercise of power over people and nature through technology, by industrial, scientific and political elites, ‘technocracy’.
We believe that social movements can benefit from exploring the idea that because different technologies – such as fracking, genetic engineering, digital technologies and psychiatric drugs – all emerge from the same industrial system, they tend to produce similar sets of social and environmental problems.
We aim to develop and promote new politics of technology
To transition to a sustainable and economically just society, we must get a grip on the politics of technology. Amongst the principles of a new politics of technology are:
• Opposition to technologies that are damaging to the common good (including the environment) and challenges to the placing of faith in ‘technofixes’ to solve social/political problems.
• Support for technologies that satisfy real human needs.
• Democratic control over the development of technologies.
We are addressing this in the following ways:
• Deepening our understanding of technocracy and the root causes of problems.
• Engaging with and supporting different campaigning movements, comparing insights and analysis to improve awareness and understanding of the politics of technology.
• Supporting campaigns on emerging issues.