In political and social theory, accelerationism is the idea that capitalism, or particular processes that historically characterised capitalism, 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.
Some contemporary accelerationist philosophy starts with the Deleuzo–Guattarian theory of deterritorialisation, aiming to identify and radicalise the social forces that promote this emancipatory process.[clarification needed]
Accelerationist theory has been divided into mutually contradictory left-wing and right-wing variants. "Left-accelerationism" attempts to press "the process of technological evolution" beyond the constrictive horizon of capitalism, for example by repurposing modern technology for socially beneficial and emancipatory ends; "right-accelerationism" supports the indefinite intensification of capitalism itself, possibly in order to bring about a technological singularity. Accelerationist writers have additionally distinguished other variants, such as "unconditional accelerationism".
A number of philosophers have expressed apparently accelerationist attitudes, including Karl Marx in his 1848 speech "On the Question of Free Trade":
- 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...", a statement often simplified, following Deleuze and Guattari, to a command to "accelerate the process".
Prominent theorists include right-accelerationist Nick Land. The Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (Ccru), an unofficial research unit at the University of Warwick from 1995–2003, 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- and right-accelerationist thought. Prominent contemporary left-accelerationists include Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, authors of the "Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics", and the Laboria Cuboniks collective, who authored the manifesto "Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation". For Mark Fisher, writing in 2012, "Land's withering assaults on the academic left ... remain trenchant"—though problematic—and "Marxism is nothing if it is not accelerationist".
Along accelerationist lines, Paul Mason, in works such as PostCapitalism: A Guide to our Future, has tried to speculate about futures after capitalism. He 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.
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 accelerationism.
Since the late 2010s, the vanguardist faction of white nationalists and neo-Nazis has increasingly embraced a violent form of accelerationism as a way of establishing a whites-only ethnostate with the origins of this idea dating back to the 1980s when American Nazi Party-National Socialist Liberation Front (ANP/NSLF) member James Mason advocated for mass killings or assassinations of high-profile targets in Siege. Australia-born terrorist Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the perpetrator of the Christchurch mosque shootings at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, which killed 51 people and injured 50 others, had embraced accelerationism in his manifesto The Great Replacement in a section titled "Destabilization and Accelerationism: tactics". It also influenced John Timothy Earnest, the man behind the Escondido mosque fire at Dar-ul-Arqam Mosque in Escondido, California, and the Poway synagogue shooting at Chabad of Poway in Poway, California, resulting in 1 dead and 3 injured and Patrick Crusius, the Allen-born man responsible for the El Paso Walmart shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, that killed 22 people and injured 24 others.
- Shaviro, Steven (2010). Post Cinematic Affect. Ropley: O Books. p. 136.
- Adams, Jason (2013). Occupy Time: Technoculture, Immediacy, and Resistance After Occupy Wall Street. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 96.
- Wolfendale, Peter (2014). "So, Accelerationism, what's all that about?". Dialectical Insurgency. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- Jiménez de Cisneros, Roc (5 November 2014). "The Accelerationist Vertigo (II): Interview with Robin Mackay". Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- Williams, Alex; Srnicek, Nick (14 May 2013). "#ACCELERATE MANIFESTO for an Accelerationist Politics". Critical Legal Thinking. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- Land, Nick (13 February 2014). "#Accelerate". Urban Future (2.1). Archived from the original on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- "A Quick-and-Dirty Introduction to Accelerationism". Jacobite Magazine. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
- Marx, Karl, On the question of free trade, Speech to the Democratic Association of Brussels, 9 January 1848.
- 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.
- Deleuze, Gilles; Guattari, Félix (2004). Anti-Oedipus. London: Continuum. p. 260.
- "CCRU". V2_Institute for the Unstable Media. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
- Schwarz, Jonas Andersson (2013). Online File Sharing: Innovations in Media Consumption. New York: Routledge. pp. 20–21.
- "#ACCELERATE MANIFESTO for an Accelerationist Politics". Critical Legal Thinking. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
- "After Accelerationism: The Xenofeminist manifesto". &&& Journal. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
- Mark Fisher (2014). "Terminator vs Avatar". In Robin Mackay; Armen Avanessian (eds.). #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader. Urbanomic. pp. 335–46: 340, 342.
- "Red Stack Attack! Algorithms, Capital and the Automation of the Common | EuroNomade". www.euronomade.info (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-02-09.
- Beauchamp, Zach (November 19, 2019). "Accelerationism: the obscure idea inspiring white supremacist killers around the world". Vox. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
- Waugh, Rob (March 18, 2019). "What is 'Accelerationism', the belief followed by the New Zealand terror attacker". Metro (UK). Retrieved May 26, 2019.
- "White Supremacists Embrace "Accelerationism"". Anti-Defamation League. April 16, 2019. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
- 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
- Brassier, Ray (13 February 2014). "Wandering Abstraction". Mute.
- Brennan, Eugene (12 August 2013). ""Debate is Idiot Distraction": Accelerationism and the Politics of the Internet". 3:AM Magazine.
- Galindo Hervás, Alfonso (2016). "Delay or accelerate the end? Messianism, accelerationism and presentism". International Journal of Philosophy and Theology. 77 (4–5): 307–323. doi:10.1080/21692327.2016.1262783.
- Land, Nick."Meltdown". Archived from the original on 2012-04-08. Retrieved 2013-12-10. .
- Moreno, Gean (2012). "Notes on the Inorganic, Part I: Accelerations". E-flux.
- Negri, Antonio (2014). Translated by Matteo Pasquinelli. "Reflections on the "Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics"". E-flux. Archived from the original on 2015-02-05. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
- Pasquinelli, Matteo (9 June 2014). "The Labour of Abstraction: Theses on Marxism and Accelerationism".
- Power, Nina (2015). "Decapitalism, Left Scarcity, and the State". Fillip.
- Wark, McKenzie (2013). "#Celerity: A Critique of the Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics" (PDF).
- Williams, Alex; Srnicek, Nick (14 May 2013). "#ACCELERATE MANIFESTO for an Accelerationist Politics". Critical Legal Thinking.
- Wolfendale, Peter (2014). "So, Accelerationism, what's all that about?". Dialectical Insurgency.