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Accelerationism

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Accelerationism is the belief that if one works towards something that one does not like, it will make things so intolerable that it will fall apart more quickly, or that it will induce the masses to rise up against it more quickly. One of the earliest uses of the concept was among post-millenialist Christians in the United States starting in the 19th century who wanted to expedite the end times (later coined as "imminentize the eschaton" by Eric Voegelin in 1952[1] and briefly popularized by sesquipedalian William F. Buckley[2]).

Actual accelerationism[edit]

Left accelerationism[edit]

Left accelerationism began with Mark Fisher. While some might dispute whether Fisher himself could be considered accelerationist or not (some argue that he was more of an influence on l/acc than l/acc himself), he was the figure of left accelerationism. Fisher writes:

For precisely these reasons, accelerationism can function as an anti-capitalist strategy – not the only anti-capitalist strategy (other anti-capitalist strategies are available, as it were) but a strategy that must be part of any political program that calls itself Marxist. The fact that capitalism tends towards stagflation, that growth is in many respects illusory, is all the more reason that accelerationism can function in a way that Alex Williams characterises as “terroristic.” What we are not talking about here is the kind of intensification of exploitation that a kneejerk socialist humanism might imagine when the spectre of accelerationism is invoked. As Lyotard suggests, the left subsiding into a moral critique of capitalism is a hopeless betrayal of the anti-identitarian futurism that Marxism must stand for if it is to mean anything at all. What we need, as Fredric Jameson—the author of "Wal-Mart as Utopia" — argues, is not a new move beyond good and evil, and this, Jameson says, is to be found in none other than the Communist Manifesto. "The Manifesto," Jameson writes, "proposes to see capitalism as the most productive moment of history and the most destructive at the same time, and issues the imperative to think Good and Evil simultaneously, and as inseparable and inextricable dimensions of the same present of time. This is then a more productive way of transcending Good and Evil than the cynicism and lawlessness which so many readers attribute to the Nietzschean program.” (Valences of the Dialectic, 551) Capitalism has abandoned the future because it can't deliver it. Nevertheless, the contemporary left’s tendencies towards Canutism, its rhetoric of resistance and obstruction, collude with capital's anti/meta-narrative that it is the only story left standing. Time to leave behind the logics of failed revolts, and to think ahead again.
—Mark Fisher, Terminator vs. Avatar: Notes on Accelerationism

After Fisher's untimely death, a lot of left accelerationism declined and deconstructed back into traditional Leninist politics. However, there remains many L/acc figures such as Srnicek, Williams, arguably Laboria Cuboniks.

Buzzfeed's founder Peretti is also a figure considered at times to be a L/Acc icon, due to his essay "Capitalism and Schizophrenia" in which he discusses Jameson and Deleuze, arguing for a schizophrenia that can transcend capitalism for he sees schizophrenia as not just the process of, but also the limit of capitalism.

Right accelerationism[edit]

Right accelerationism wants in short a patriarchal conservative state that does hyper-eugenics to increase IQ, because they see capital as the AI. It's bad for obvious reason, and is fundamentally self-contradictory because capital per Deleuze and Marx constantly deterritorialize and reterritorialize territories, and as such conservative values will become as time pass deterritorialized and reterritorialized, and would be pretty much washed away.

Unconditional accelerationism[edit]

Unconditional accelerationism's main point is that of antipraxis. Building on Land's analysis, U/Acc claims that there is no action that can lead to acceleration or deacceleration, and that "To the question ‘What is to be done?’, then, she can legitimately answer only, 'Do what thou wilt'". This however does not mean "do nothing", it rather means that "the unconditional accelerationist, more than anyone else, is free at heart to pursue what she thinks is good and right and interesting—but with the ironical realisation that the primary ends that are served are not her own." As such, U/Acc is not necessarily political, unlike the cybersocialism of left accelerationism and the neoreaction of right accelerationism.

Gender accelerationism[edit]

Gender accelerationism began with Nyx's Blackpaper which resembles the feminism seen in early Nick Land. Nyx posits (similar to Wittig) that lesbians and transbians are an Outside that remains unreterritorialized by the phallic. There are some rather problematic things however such as the implications of Nyx's hostility towards masculinity (which encompasses not only cishet masculinity but also transmasc individuals) and her focus on IQ.

Pseudo-accelerationism[edit]

Pseudo-accelerationism is the idea that if you accelerate class conflict by supporting neoliberal capitalism on steroids and oppressing the working class as much as possible, then they'll have no choice but to revolt against the bourgeoisie for you. This is a vulgar misrepresentation of actual accelerationist theory which is based on Deleuze and Guattari's concept of deterritorialization.

Why it doesn't work[edit]

Vulgar ccelerationism relies on the belief that if things got worse the state ideology apparatus would fail to repress the fundamental horror of capitalism. In reality, the state apparatus of capitalism is not so easily defeated, for as Žižek points out, capitalism has been in a crisis from the very beginning but has managed to overcome all of them. Instead what typically happens as the result of this "vulgar accelerationism" is in reality a deacceleration, which comes from the right wing regime suppressing technological innovation and so on in order to hold onto its power. Interestingly, Žižek himself is at times portrayed as an accelerationist in this vulgar manner, however this is not true — Žižek's support for Trump does not come from a wish for "acceleration" but rather to create a "civil war" [3] within the Democratic party through which the left would replace the neoliberal right which dominated the party before.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. The New Science of Politics by Eric Voegelin (1952) University of Chicago Press.
  2. Immanent Corrections: Getting gays straight and other odd things. by Jonah Goldberg (January 16, 2002 12:31 AM) National Review Onine (archived from October 13, 2007).
  3. https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/trump-hillary-clinton-populist-right-left-democratic-party-civil-war-a8975121.html