Accelerationism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

In political and social theory, accelerationism is the idea that capitalism and technological change[1] should be accelerated. Accelerationism may also mean that capitalism and its negative processes should be accelerated in order to trigger revolt and the implementation of a new system.[2][3][4] Some contemporary accelerationist philosophy takes its lead from the Deleuzo-Guattarian sociological theory of deterritorialization, aiming to identify and radicalize the social forces that promote an accelerationist process.[5][clarification needed] Accelerationism has been described as a "fringe philosophy".[1]

Accelerationist theory is 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.[6][7][8] Neo-Nazis, white nationalists and white supremacists have increasingly embraced far-right accelerationism.[9][10][11]

Accelerationist writers have additionally distinguished other variants such as "unconditional accelerationism".[12][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.[13]

Background[edit]

In his essay "A Quick-and-Dirty Introduction to Accelerationism", Nick Land cites a number of philosophers who have expressed apparently accelerationist attitudes.[12] These include Karl Marx in his 1848 speech "On the Question of Free Trade", advocating free trade on possible accelerationist principles as follows:[14]

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",[15] a statement often simplified, following Deleuze and Guattari, to a command to "accelerate the process".[16]

Contemporary accelerationism[edit]

Prominent theorists include right-wing reactionary accelerationist Nick Land.[12] The Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (CCRU), an unofficial research unit at the University of Warwick from 1995 to 2003,[17] 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.[18] Prominent contemporary left-wing accelerationists include Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, authors of the "Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics";[7] and the Laboria Cuboniks collective, who authored the manifesto "Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation".[19] 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".[20]

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.[21]

Other forms of accelerationism[edit]

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.[22]

Žižekian accelerationism[edit]

Several commentators have used the label accelerationist to describe a political strategy articulated by the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek.[23][24] 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.[25] This usage of the term accelerationism bears similarities to the Marxist immiseration thesis.[citation needed]

Far-right accelerationism[edit]

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.[9][10][11] 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.[26][27][28] According to Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit organization which tracks hate groups and files 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.[28][13]

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.[29] 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.[13]

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".[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Accelerationism: how a fringe philosophy predicted the future we live in". the Guardian. 11 May 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  2. ^ "What is accelerationism?". www.newstatesman.com. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  3. ^ Shaviro, Steven (2010). Post Cinematic Affect. Ropley: O Books. p. 136.
  4. ^ Adams, Jason (2013). Occupy Time: Technoculture, Immediacy, and Resistance After Occupy Wall Street. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 96.
  5. ^ Wolfendale, Peter (2014). "So, Accelerationism, what's all that about?". Dialectical Insurgency. Archived from the original on 14 December 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Land, Nick (13 February 2014). "#Accelerate". Urban Future (2.1). Archived from the original on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  9. ^ a b Stuart Wexler (31 May 2020). "White Supremacist Provocateurs Are Tipping America's Protests Into a Race War". Haaretz.
  10. ^ a b Mia Bloom (30 May 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.
  11. ^ a b "Far-Right Extremists Are Hoping to Turn the George Floyd Protests Into a New Civil War – VICE". vice.com. Archived from the original on 30 May 2020. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  12. ^ a b c "A Quick-and-Dirty Introduction to Accelerationism". Jacobite Magazine. Archived from the original on 13 January 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  13. ^ a b c "White Supremacists Embrace "Accelerationism"". Anti-Defamation League. 13 October 2020.
  14. ^ Marx, Karl, On the question of free trade Archived 27 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Speech to the Democratic Association of Brussels, 9 January 1848.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Deleuze, Gilles; Guattari, Félix (2004). Anti-Oedipus. London: Continuum. p. 260.
  17. ^ "CCRU". V2_Institute for the Unstable Media. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  18. ^ Schwarz, Jonas Andersson (2013). Online File Sharing: Innovations in Media Consumption. New York: Routledge. pp. 20–21.
  19. ^ "After Accelerationism: The Xenofeminist manifesto". &&& Journal. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  20. ^ Mark Fisher (2014). "Terminator vs Avatar". In Robin Mackay; Armen Avanessian (eds.). #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader. Urbanomic. pp. 335–46: 340, 342.
  21. ^ "Red Stack Attack! Algorithms, Capital and the Automation of the Common" (in Italian). EuroNomade. Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  22. ^ "What is accelerationism?". New Statesman. 5 August 2020. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  23. ^ "Melenchon and Žižek; Accelerationism and Edgelordism – Infinite Coincidence". infinite-coincidence.com. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  24. ^ "What's wrong with accelerationism – Reflections on Technology, Media & Culture". richardcoyne.com. 14 May 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  25. ^ "Slavoj Žižek would vote for Trump – žižek.uk". zizek.uk. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  26. ^ Poulter, James (13 October 2020). "The Obscure Neo-Nazi Forum Linked to a Wave of Terror". Vice.
  27. ^ "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.
  28. ^ a b "'There Is No Political Solution': Accelerationism in the White Power Movement". Southern Poverty Law Center(SPLC). 13 October 2020.
  29. ^ Zack Beauchamp (18 November 2019). "Accelerationism: the obscure idea inspiring white supremacist killers around the world". Vox. Vox Media. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  30. ^ Nick Land (11 October 2020). "Occult Xenosystems". Xenosystems.

Further reading[edit]

Books[edit]

  • 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

Articles[edit]