#Accelerate

The Left co-optation of Accelerationism is a remarkable phenomenon, substantial enough to have made the 2013 accelerationist manifesto (#Accelerate) a document of indisputable significance. The twitter-format title attests both to its contemporaneity, and to the seamless fusion of its content with a strategy of promotion (which is to say, a practical politics). The success of this ideological venture has received a recent (and carefully calibrated) seal of approval in the form of a response by no less a figure than venerable warhorse of the European revolutionary Left, Toni Negri. Whatever the ultimate credibility and consequence of its analysis, Left Accelerationism has already demonstrated intrinsic cultural momentum.

As a creature of Right Accelerationism, Urban Future, naturally, is an antagonist (although a highly intrigued one). Engagement with #Accelerate will be stretched into a consistent thread here, over the course of the coming year. Among other things (and as Negri shows) such an engagement provides an opportunity to revisit very basic socio-economic questions within a re-dynamized micro-context. Even if the re-dynamization of the macro-context, or its opposite (deepening stagnation), has to be initially adopted as a problem — rather than any kind of fact — Accelerationist questions ensure the topic is not bypassed.

The authors of #Accelerate offer their own contextualization in a recent article, which takes “accelerationism’s sur­ging pop­ularity” as a fact to be explained:

The pas­sion that ac­cel­er­a­tionism mo­bil­ises is the re­mem­brance by the people that a fu­ture is pos­sible. In dis­parate fields — from politics to art to design to bio­logy to philo­sophy — people are working through how to create a world that is lib­er­ated from cap­it­alist in­cent­ives. Perhaps most prom­isingly, the classic dream of Keynes and Marx for the re­duc­tion of work and the flour­ishing of pos­itive freedoms, is making a comeback. In the push for uni­versal basic in­comes, and the move­ments for re­duced working weeks, we see the people them­selves be­gin­ning to carve out a space sep­arate from the wage re­la­tion and out­side of the im­per­at­ives of work. When the media stops re­porting the auto­ma­tion of jobs as being a tragedy and starts re­porting them as being a lib­er­a­tion from mundane work, we will know that the ac­cel­er­a­tionist dis­pos­i­tion has be­come the new common sense. We have reached a point in human his­tory where vast amounts of jobs can — and should — be auto­mated. Work for work’s sake is a per­versity and a con­straint im­posed upon hu­manity by capitalism’s ideo­logy of the work ethic. What ac­cel­er­a­tionism seeks is to allow human po­ten­tial to es­cape from the trap set for it by con­tem­porary capitalism.

The sole (querulous) rejoinder from UF at this stage: If this is accelerationism, what would an intentionally decelerationist program look like?

ADDED: Ray Brassier on Accelerationism and Communism (via Benedict Singleton, @benedict).

7 thoughts on “#Accelerate

  1. Pingback: Nick Land: On Williams and Srnicek #ACCELERATE MANIFESTO for an Accelerationist Politics | noir realism

  2. Once again in the article they dream of a utopia: “In place of folk political solutions, we should be pushing for full automation of work, reduction of the working week, and a universal basic income for everyone.”

    Am I assuming that someone will be handing out this universal income without work like the citizens of some of the small Oil countries? Are we to let the machines become slaves while we do what? Not everyone is capable of creativity… so what happens when those that are less than creative do nothing at all? Will we suddenly have creative police to make sure your enjoying your leisure time: and, if, not… well will enforce it?

    I love these guys, but dam… how ridiculous to return to Keyensian economics which became something else in the hands of his disciples anyway? All I see in this article is a return to half-baked ideas and some ill-defined return to Enlightenment as if it were a monolithic entity… a sort of Wizard behind the curtain?

  3. Pingback: Capitalist Accumulation and the Blind Accelerationism of the Left | The Real Movement

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