Accelerationism

In political and social theory, accelerationism is the idea that capitalism and its historically associated processes should be accelerated instead of overcome in order to generate radical social change. Accelerationism may also refer more broadly and usually pejoratively to support for the intensification of capitalism in the belief that this will hasten its self-destructive tendencies and ultimately lead to its collapse.[1][2] Some contemporary accelerationist philosophy starts with the Deleuzo-Guattarian sociology theory of deterritorialization, aiming to identify and radicalize the social forces that promote this emancipatory process.[3][clarification needed]

Accelerationist theory has been divided into mutually contradictory left-wing and right-wing variants. Left-wing accelerationism attempts to press "the process of technological evolution" beyond the constrictive horizon of capitalism by repurposing modern technology for socially beneficial and emancipatory ends. Right-wing accelerationism supports the indefinite intensification of capitalism itself, possibly in order to bring about a technological singularity.[4][5][6] Accelerationist writers have additionally distinguished other variants such as "unconditional accelerationism".[7][better source needed] A far-right and white nationalist adaptation of the term surfacing during the 2010s eschews the focus on capitalism of the prior variants to refer to an acceleration of racial conflict through terrorism, resulting in a societal collapse and building of a white ethnostate.[8]

BackgroundEdit

In his essay "A Quick-and-Dirty Introduction to Accelerationism", Nick Land cites a number of philosophers who have expressed apparently accelerationist attitudes.[7] These include Karl Marx in his 1848 speech "On the Question of Free Trade", advocating free trade on possible accelerationist principles as follows:[9]

But, in general, the protective system of our day is conservative, while the free trade system is destructive. It breaks up old nationalities and pushes the antagonism of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to the extreme point. In a word, the free trade system hastens the social revolution. It is in this revolutionary sense alone, gentlemen, that I vote in favor of free trade.

In a similar vein, Friedrich Nietzsche argued that "the leveling process of European man is the great process which should not be checked: one should even accelerate it",[10] a statement often simplified, following Deleuze and Guattari, to a command to "accelerate the process".[11]

Contemporary accelerationismEdit

Prominent theorists include right-wing accelerationist Nick Land.[7] The Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (CCRU), an unofficial research unit at the University of Warwick from 1995 to 2003,[12] included Land as well as other social theorists such as Mark Fisher and Sadie Plant as members and is considered a key progenitor in both left-wing and right-wing accelerationist thought.[13] Prominent contemporary left-wing accelerationists include Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, authors of the "Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics";[5] and the Laboria Cuboniks collective, who authored the manifesto "Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation".[14] For Mark Fisher, writing in 2012, "Land's withering assaults on the academic left [...] remain trenchant", although problematic since "Marxism is nothing if it is not accelerationist".[15]

Along accelerationist lines, Paul Mason has tried to speculate about futures after capitalism in works such as PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future. Mason declares that "[a]s with the end of feudalism 500 years ago, capitalism's replacement by postcapitalism will be accelerated by external shocks and shaped by the emergence of a new kind of human being. And it has started". He considers that the rise of collaborative production will eventually help capitalism to kill itself.[citation needed]

Focusing on how information technology infrastructures undermine modern political geographies and proposing an open-ended "design brief", Benjamin H. Bratton's book The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty is associated with accelerationism. Tiziana Terranova's "Red Stack Attack!" links Bratton's stack model and left-wing accelerationism.[16]

Other forms of accelerationismEdit

Since accelerationism was coined in 2010 by Benjamin Noys to describe the aforementioned philosophical movement, the term has suffered from considerable conceptual stretching and has taken on several new meanings.[17]

Žižekian accelerationismEdit

Several commentators have used the label accelerationist to describe a political strategy articulated by the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek.[18][19] In a November 2016 interview with Channel 4 News, Žižek asserted that were he an American citizen, he would vote for Donald Trump as the candidate more likely to disrupt the status quo of politics in that country.[20] This usage of the term accelerationism bears similarities to the Marxist immiseration thesis.[citation needed]

Far-right accelerationismEdit

Since the late 2010s, neo-Nazis, white nationalists and white supremacists have increasingly embraced a violent form of accelerationism as a way of establishing a white ethnostate.[21][22][23] The origins of the far-right version of accelerationism dates back to the 1980s, when American Nazi Party-National Socialist Liberation Front (ANP/NSLF) member James Mason advocated in the newsletter Siege for sabotage, mass killings and assassinations of high-profile targets to create chaos and destabilize and eventually destroy the system. His works were later republished and popularized by Iron March and Atomwaffen Division, both connected to terror attacks and numerous killings.[24][25][26] According to Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit organization renowned for tracking hate groups and filing class action lawsuit against discrimination:

Other ideological variants of accelerationism seek to push beyond capitalism by bringing it to its most oppressive and divisive form, prompting a movement to build a just economic system in response. In the case of white supremacists, the accelerationist set sees modern society as irredeemable and believe it should be pushed to collapse so a fascist society built on ethnonationalism can take its place. What defines white supremacist accelerationists is their belief that violence is the only way to pursue their political goals. To put it most simply, accelerationists embrace terrorism.[26][8]

Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the perpetrator of the Christchurch mosque shootings that killed 51 people and injured 49 others, had embraced accelerationism in a section of his manifesto titled "Destabilization and Accelerationism: tactics". It also influenced John Timothy Earnest, the man accused of causing the Escondido mosque fire at Dar-ul-Arqam Mosque in Escondido, California; and committing the Poway synagogue shooting which resulted in one dead and three injured. Furthermore, it influenced Patrick Crusius, the man accused of committing the El Paso Walmart shooting that killed 23 people and injured 23 others.[27] Brenton Tarrant wrote:

True change and the change we need to enact only arises in the great crucible of crisis. A gradual change is never going to achieve victory. Stability and comfort are the enemies of revolutionary change. Therefore we must destabilize and discomfort society where ever possible.[8]

Although this tendency is distinct from Landian accelerationism, Land has promoted Atomwaffen-affiliated Order of Nine Angles that adheres to the ideology of neo-nazi terrorist accelerationism, describing O9A's works as "highly-recommended".[28]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Shaviro, Steven (2010). Post Cinematic Affect. Ropley: O Books. p. 136.
  2. ^ Adams, Jason (2013). Occupy Time: Technoculture, Immediacy, and Resistance After Occupy Wall Street. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 96.
  3. ^ Wolfendale, Peter (2014). "So, Accelerationism, what's all that about?". Dialectical Insurgency. Archived from the original on 14 December 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  4. ^ Jiménez de Cisneros, Roc (5 November 2014). "The Accelerationist Vertigo (II): Interview with Robin Mackay". Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona. Archived from the original on 9 November 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  5. ^ a b Williams, Alex; Srnicek, Nick (14 May 2013). "#ACCELERATE MANIFESTO for an Accelerationist Politics". Critical Legal Thinking. Archived from the original on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  6. ^ Land, Nick (13 February 2014). "#Accelerate". Urban Future (2.1). Archived from the original on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  7. ^ a b c "A Quick-and-Dirty Introduction to Accelerationism". Jacobite Magazine. Archived from the original on 2018-01-13. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
  8. ^ a b c "White Supremacists Embrace "Accelerationism"". Anti-Defamation League. 13 October 2020.
  9. ^ Marx, Karl, On the question of free trade Archived 2015-05-27 at the Wayback Machine, Speech to the Democratic Association of Brussels, 9 January 1848.
  10. ^ Quoted in Strong, Tracy (1988). Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of Transfiguration. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 211. Original in The Will to Power §898.
  11. ^ Deleuze, Gilles; Guattari, Félix (2004). Anti-Oedipus. London: Continuum. p. 260.
  12. ^ "CCRU". V2_Institute for the Unstable Media. Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  13. ^ Schwarz, Jonas Andersson (2013). Online File Sharing: Innovations in Media Consumption. New York: Routledge. pp. 20–21.
  14. ^ "After Accelerationism: The Xenofeminist manifesto". &&& Journal. Archived from the original on 2015-10-17. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  15. ^ Mark Fisher (2014). "Terminator vs Avatar". In Robin Mackay; Armen Avanessian (eds.). #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader. Urbanomic. pp. 335–46: 340, 342.
  16. ^ "Red Stack Attack! Algorithms, Capital and the Automation of the Common" (in Italian). EuroNomade. Archived from the original on 2017-02-11. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  17. ^ "What is accelerationism?". New Statesman. August 5, 2020. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  18. ^ "Melenchon and Žižek; Accelerationism and Edgelordism – Infinite Coincidence". infinite-coincidence.com. May 5, 2017. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  19. ^ "What's wrong with accelerationism – Reflections on Technology, Media & Culture". richardcoyne.com. May 14, 2017. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  20. ^ "Slavoj Žižek would vote for Trump – žižek.uk". zizek.uk. November 3, 2016. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  21. ^ Stuart Wexler (May 31, 2020). "White Supremacist Provocateurs Are Tipping America's Protests Into a Race War". Haaretz.
  22. ^ Mia Bloom (May 30, 2020). "Far-Right Infiltrators and Agitators in George Floyd Protests: Indicators of White Supremacists". Reiss Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law. Just Security.
  23. ^ "Far-Right Extremists Are Hoping to Turn the George Floyd Protests Into a New Civil War – VICE". vice.com. Archived from the original on May 30, 2020. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  24. ^ Poulter, James (13 October 2020). "The Obscure Neo-Nazi Forum Linked to a Wave of Terror". Vice.
  25. ^ "Atomwaffen and the SIEGE parallax: how one neo-Nazi's life's work is fueling a younger generation". Southern Poverty Law Center. 16 June 2020.
  26. ^ a b "'There Is No Political Solution': Accelerationism in the White Power Movement". Southern Poverty Law Center(SPLC). 13 October 2020.
  27. ^ Zack Beauchamp (November 18, 2019). "Accelerationism: the obscure idea inspiring white supremacist killers around the world". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  28. ^ Nick Land (October 11, 2020). "Occult Xenosystems". Xenosystems.

Further readingEdit

BooksEdit

  • Land, Nick (2011). Brassier, Ray; Mackay, Robin (eds.). Fanged Noumena. Urbanomic. ISBN 9780955308789.
  • Mackay, Robin, ed. (2014). #ACCELERATE: The Accelerationist Reader. Urbanomic. ISBN 9780957529557.
  • Noys, Benjamin (2013). Malign Velocities: Accelerationism and Capitalism. Zero Books. ISBN 9781782793007.
  • Srnicek, Nick; Williams, Alex (2015). Inventing the Future. Postcapitalism and a World without Work. Verso Books. ISBN 9781784780982
  • Ma, Mike, (2019) Harassment Architecture, (A scattered look at). Murray Media ISBN 1795641495

ArticlesEdit