[DIYbio] Re: DIY movement is being hijacked

Hi Pieter, Christian de Lutz from Art Laboratory Berlin here. I'm not sure the far right is specifically 'hijacking' the DIYBio or DIY science movements. I think what you're (mis?)interpreting is their general appropriation of counter-culture language from the late 20th century. Generally this language was developed by various 'lefts': from 1960s anti-war movements of the 1960s to eco/green movements of the 70s and 80s, left anarchists, feminists, gay rights and minority rights activists, etc - basically most of the left with the exception of mainstream Social Democrats and Third Way neo-liberals.


Take the word 'alternative', which in US politics in the last year has become associated with Breitbart and various far-right, nationalist-populist groups in the US. As recently as two or three years ago it was generally a term of the left meaning the rejection of a unified mainstream monoculture (which is exactly what the neo-traditionalist right wants to re-instate - hence the Orwellian absurdity of their use for 'alternative')


I'm sure if you search far and wide enough you will find somebody from the DIYBio movement from any part of the political spectrum. But I'd be curious if you could find (m)any actual practicing 'Biohackers' who are far-right. I suspect you're more likely to find people far more representation from the left (and perhaps a number of people claiming to be apolitical).


Libertarianism is another question. It's not unconnected with the 'counter-culture,' especially in the US and specifically California. I still meet people claiming to be 'left-libertarian', which always sounds like an oxymoron to me but...


In the US there are certainly a fair number of DIYBio practitioners who use labs to develop their own private projects outside of universities (which are extremely expensive!) But you'll still find a big DIT/DIWO ethos there.


Personally, I'd like to replace DIY with DIWO completely, I think it's much closer to what the movement is about - collective exchange and production. Of course this isn't sexy to bureaucrats in Brussels, who still haven't seemed to have become aware of the after-effects of 2008 (and this cloistered lack of awareness may be the undoing of the European experiment, but being in the NL, I'm sure you're aware of that).


Also refreshing here would be viewpoints outside of the Western (ie US+EU) ghetto. Indonesia seems to have a thriving DIWO/Maker scene and a sense of community development and ethos that may be ahead of Europe. Returning back to Berlin from Java, I felt like going back in time...


The far right may be able to hijack individual states (Trumpistan, NL next month? France in May? Hopefully not!) but I can't imagine them hijacking a maker movement that they probably can't even understand. Generally success in Making seems to come from an openness to exchanging ideas that contains an implicit cosmopolitanism and curiosity at odds with what far-right ideologies are based on.


So if the EU survives I think our priority should be to convince Brussels on the myriad value and potential of these many grass root maker/hacker/DIY/DIWO orgs.

On Monday, January 30, 2017 at 8:14:27 PM UTC+1, Pieter Waag wrote:
Today I wrote a blog about what has been bugging me for a while now. The "DIY" narrative of self-sufficiency and independency is somehow being hijacked by extreme protectionists and nationalists. 

For example, the DIY antibiotics project (BioStrike) that I've been working on for a long time to bring across the urgency of the antibiotics , can be easily used as an excuse not to invest in antibiotics development. You can "Do It Yourself" right? 

Have we becoming the advocate of our own antagonist? 

Here's the full blog: http://waag.org/en/blog/diy-maker-movement-being-hijacked

Is anyone on this list confronted with similar situations? In the US you've got Trump, in the EU the Brexit, and with elections in about a month we've got plenty of trouble heading for us over here as well.

This whole "[Country X] first" and "Buy [Country X] Made" ideology has too much in common with the "mind your own business" interpretation of "Do It Yourself". I've got the feeling that the pretty DIYBio code-of-ethics is not going to cut it in the big picture. We need to do something.

Anyone interested in joining a more explicit statement on the indispensable necessity of collaborations, open attitude and reciprocity in the DIY movement?

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