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ITS
August 10, 2011 9:47 PM   Subscribe

A Mexican anti-technology terrorist organization called Individuals Tending to Savagery/Wildness (ITS) has claimed responsibility for two bombing attacks on researchers in Mexico.
posted by jeffburdges (42 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
To head off the "wtf Luddites" talk, it's not surprising that anti-technology resistance is on the rise in Mexico, considering what a general disaster the globalized 21st century has been for the country. Anyway, here's betting nobody in the USA will call it terrorism, since there aren't any Muslims involved.
posted by mek at 10:01 PM on August 10, 2011


Given the huge problems with organized crime in Mexico I'm sincerely shocked that anyone not involved in the drug trade thinks violence is a good route to solving problems.

On the flip side, I suppose Unabomber-crazy people known no national boundaries.
posted by GuyZero at 10:18 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Perhaps we should head off the "WTF Americans" talk first, since it is completely uncalled for.
posted by vidur at 10:19 PM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


If the average Mexican could choose between (a) having enough to eat and a lifestyle that allows them to enjoy family/life, and (b) increasing GDP by further whoring the country out to neocolonialism while continuing to experience its ramifications, I don't think it would be a difficult choice...
posted by anarch at 10:21 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Idiots Talking Shite
posted by Sys Rq at 10:21 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


It always interests me that people find the technology itself to be at fault, rather than the social or economic system that uses the technology.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:24 PM on August 10, 2011


"It's"
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:28 PM on August 10, 2011


I'm not saying "the globalized 21st century" hasn't been bad for Mexico, but it's hardly a technology-driven development at all. Mexican workers are being exploited as cheap labor, not replaced by machines.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:29 PM on August 10, 2011


And people call me crazy just because I live in paranoid fear of armed luddites. Who's crazy now? (These guys)
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:44 PM on August 10, 2011


To head off the "wtf Luddites" talk, it's not surprising that anti-technology resistance is on the rise in Mexico, considering what a general disaster the globalized 21st century has been for the country

I don't know mek, they are apparently motivated by the prospect of grey goo choking out all life on earth so maybe there's a little bit of room for WTF Luddites here. Even the person who coined the term "grey goo" thinks there would be no need for anyone to build tiny self-replicating machines. I'm no kind of scientician, but my understanding is that idea is pretty unlikely if not impossible.
posted by Hoopo at 10:48 PM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


There's more than enough crazy to go around.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:48 PM on August 10, 2011


Its the idea that 'wilderness' is somehow preferable to civilization which is problematic. I wonder if the one-two punch of pro-animal propaganda Rise Of The Planet of the Apes and the new Conan film (which I will probably see) will lead to more of these attacks.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:52 PM on August 10, 2011


Message just received by carrier pigeon
posted by joelf at 11:16 PM on August 10, 2011


Isn't it hard to build a bomb out of sticks and mud? These people should live what they preach.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:28 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


it's not surprising that anti-technology resistance is on the rise in Mexico, considering what a general disaster the globalized 21st century has been for the country

What is surprising is that this sort of conventional wisdom is pretty wrong. Very interesting article in NYT highlights the reality.
Per capita gross domestic product and family income have each jumped more than 45 percent since 2000, according to one prominent economist, Roberto Newell. Despite all the depictions of Mexico as “nearly a failed state,” he argued, “the conventional wisdom is wrong.”
There have been very real and significant gains in prosperity, despite violence and the perception that Mexico is foundering as a result of globalization.


If the average Mexican could choose between (a) having enough to eat and a lifestyle that allows them to enjoy family/life, and (b) increasing GDP by further whoring the country out to neocolonialism while continuing to experience its ramifications, I don't think it would be a difficult choice...


This makes little sense. Mexico increasing GDP by "whoring" itself out to whoever is willing to pay increasingly allows the average Mexican the ability to have enough to eat and enjoy life more than ever. Doing (b) causes (a). I assume "whoring" is supposed to be a bad thing, but it's not clear the negative effects outweigh the positive, as Mexico has progressed quite a bit in recent years.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:37 PM on August 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


I choose to believe that these individuals are actually time travelers who were sent back to prevent the eventual gray goo apocalypse, Terminator 2 style.
posted by bthrbt at 12:15 AM on August 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


2n2222 is right. Free trade benefits everyone and demonstrably works. Mexico has enjoyed high growth rates during the "general disaster" of "the globalized 21st century" and what it needs is more trade rather than less to make further progress. Why is an anti-technology terrorist group using bombs anyway? Shouldn't they be throwing rocks from the backs of oxen?
posted by joannemullen at 12:46 AM on August 11, 2011


bthrbt: time travelers from where, exactly? From a survivability perspective a gray goo apocalypse is the equivalent of the planet getting eaten by a black hole, only it takes somewhere between several hours and a day or two instead of mere seconds.
posted by Ryvar at 12:49 AM on August 11, 2011


Given the huge problems with organized crime in Mexico I'm sincerely shocked that anyone not involved in the drug trade thinks violence is a good route to solving problems.

Violence seems to working awfully well for Mexican organized crime, really.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:22 AM on August 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Free trade benefits everyone and demonstrably works.

A rising tide lifts all boats eh? Never mind the widening income gaps and ever-poorer underclass, GDP is on the rise.
posted by mek at 2:03 AM on August 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please, this is just hipster terrorism. "Yeah, I blew a bomb in a place you probably haven't heard about."

Nothing will come of this.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 2:18 AM on August 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


joannemullen: Free trade benefits everyone?

Really?
posted by bigZLiLk at 2:27 AM on August 11, 2011


You can read the group's manifesto on their web page:
Individuals Tending to Savagery/Wildness (ITS)
posted by whatzit at 3:01 AM on August 11, 2011


Does anyone know the original Spanish name for this group?
posted by ReWayne at 3:11 AM on August 11, 2011


Individualidades Tendiendo a lo Salvaje is the original Spanish name, según the linked news article.
posted by whatzit at 3:20 AM on August 11, 2011


thanks whatzit
posted by ReWayne at 3:31 AM on August 11, 2011


"a lo salvaje" translates more closely to "to/towards the wild" in context. Using "savagery", although technically one of its meanings, sounds a bit like editorializing.
posted by palbo at 3:59 AM on August 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


It always interests me that people find the technology itself to be at fault, rather than the social or economic system that uses the technology.

I think the argument is more that the social and economic systems arise as an inevitable result of the technology. It's strange that this should happen now, as I just read the Unabomber manifesto "Industrial Society and Its Future" yesterday and he spends quite a while talking about this.
posted by Ted Maul at 4:48 AM on August 11, 2011


Hipster terrorism: your favorite radical group has made it to Metafilter. That means they are mainstream. That means they suck.
posted by spitbull at 4:50 AM on August 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is definitely what Mexico needs right now. If only these guys had a TV.
posted by yerfatma at 5:08 AM on August 11, 2011


Isn't it hard to build a bomb out of sticks and mud? These people should live what they preach.

Yeah they built a bomb but then they blew it up to show how much they hated it.
posted by grog at 6:37 AM on August 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Perhaps they've been reading Technological Slavery; The Collected Writings of Theodore J. Kaczynski, ie. "The Unabomber" as some sort of new revolutionary manifesto, now that Communism is out of favor.
posted by stbalbach at 8:45 AM on August 11, 2011


bthrbt: time travelers from where, exactly? From a survivability perspective a gray goo apocalypse is the equivalent of the planet getting eaten by a black hole, only it takes somewhere between several hours and a day or two instead of mere seconds.

...A rag-tag band of plucky survivors...

...Struggling gainst all odds...

...Striking back against an insatiable foe...

...Triumph of the human spirit...

Oh, fine, I got nothin'.
posted by BrashTech at 9:46 AM on August 11, 2011


A Mexican anti-technology terrorist organization called Individuals Tending to Savagery/Wildness (ITS)

Hmmm . . . I wonder if they align themselves with this movement (previously on MetaFilter)
posted by jason's_planet at 10:29 AM on August 11, 2011


A rising tide lifts all boats eh? Never mind the widening income gaps and ever-poorer underclass, GDP is on the rise.

Is it preferable for prosperity and its indicators, such as rising GDP, to remain stagnant in the cause of stanching inequality?
posted by 2N2222 at 12:18 PM on August 11, 2011


I'm not sure "free trade" really exists. Often free trade agreements result in the erection of non-tariff barriers that have effects that counteract free trade principles, and many industries in NAFTA countries that produce tradeable goods and materials are still heavily subsidized. This is not to mention that the dispute resolutions don't appear to be enforceable and the decisions are not adhered to. The deck is heavily stacked in favor of the more powerful nations in the deal.

The claim that "free trade demonstrably works" is a blanket statement that would be difficult to evaluate and is not universally accepted, but I think it's safe to say free trade is not what's motivating ITS so it's not really that relevant to this thread, is it?
posted by Hoopo at 12:44 PM on August 11, 2011


From the "claimed" article:
"When these modified viruses affect the way we live through a nano-bacteriological war, unleashed by some laboratory error or by the explosion of nano-pollution that affects the air, food, water, transport, in short the entire world, then all of those who defend nanotechnology and don't think it is a threat will realize that it was a grave error to let it grow out of control," according to statement.

Replace the nano/virus stuff with "artificial intelligence"/"singularity" and it's like seeing what happens when Eliezer Yudkowsky gets bored writing Harry Potter fan fiction.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:02 PM on August 11, 2011


Since they have to know what technology is in order to be against it, I'd say Mexico has
come a long way in the last few years. And they want to have a space program. It's a
surreal country.
posted by eggtooth at 2:28 PM on August 11, 2011


This is the original blog post (Google Translation) where the ITS group claims responsibility for the attack. It's stupid enough to look like a joke, but I doubt anybody would care enough to make such a long post with footnotes just for a laugh. These fuckers make as much sense as the Mexican morenazis (brown-skinned nazis).

Perhaps they've been reading Technological Slavery; The Collected Writings of Theodore J. Kaczynski, ie. "The Unabomber" as some sort of new revolutionary manifesto, now that Communism is out of favor.

That might be true. Quote from their blog:
No matter what it's said, Kaczynski, Unabomber, Freedom Club (or however you wish to call it) is right.
They also mention another book (or maybe the same one with a different title) from Kaczynski.

By the way, the college is in a very quiet area in the outskirts of Mexico City, one of the less affected from narco violence (or at least it was like that a few years ago). The photo in the third link (guy with rifle and mask) is not a good representation of the zone.

My niece studies in that university. The bomb had just enough power to hurt a researcher and a guard, and to damage parts of the office. The students were quickly evacuated and classes were suspended for two days.
posted by clearlydemon at 3:59 PM on August 11, 2011


It always interests me that people find the technology itself to be at fault, rather than the social or economic system that uses the technology.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:24 PM on August 10 [+] [!]


As someone who has worked pretty hard on lesson plans and teaching efforts focused on identifying and discrediting technological deterministic assumptions, I am not at all surprised.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 2:44 AM on August 12, 2011


Since they have to know what technology is in order to be against it, I'd say Mexico has
come a long way in the last few years. And they want to have a space program. It's a
surreal country.
posted by eggtooth at 2:28 PM on August 11 [+] [!]


Also, we seem to have this strange idea that technology = the new. Steam engines are technological. Bronze working is technological. Writing systems are technological. Agriculture is technological.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 2:50 AM on August 12, 2011


I find these people interesting. Not in a good way, but I can tell you they're not your run-of-the-mill Latin American criminals. These are obviously educated people who write with impeccable grammar and spelling. They're sensitive enough to use awkward gender-neutral nouns and pronouns. They idolize Kaczynski, sound well-read, and have at least given serious thought to their ideas. How/why they made the leap into "bombing people is a good idea" is beyond me, but like I said, these are idealists and intellectuals who believe nanotechnology is a serious threat to the human race.

They're not the first. Remember Bill Joy's own manifesto of sorts? It's not entirely implausible that weaponized nanotech/biotech might get out of control. I do agree that it's crazy to think that killing a scientist or two would somehow prevent any of this, though.

I guess my point is that I think this thread has gone a bit off-track. (And frankly some comments are downright patronizing. "They have to know what technology is in order to be against it." Seriously? Have you even been to Mexico City?) From reading their rants I don't think these guys are anti technology per se. They are, I think, university-educated intellectuals who have radicalized gone off the deep end because they fear there is an imminent threat in emerging nanotechnologies.

I may share some of their worries, but I'll never agree with their methods. However I do think we should make an effort in understanding them and their motivations before a productive discussion can be had about this.
posted by papafrita at 10:37 AM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


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