Accelero-schism

Working on a re-ignition of the On #Accelerate series (which is still awaiting #3) has involved a re-reading of Pete Wolfendale’s recent defense of Left Accelerationism (against Malcolm Harris’ critique). As previously noted (briefly), it’s good.

The strength of Wolfendale’s case against Harris is not a topic this blog can credibly pronounce upon, since it rests upon the rhetorical efficiency of socialist political mobilization, and thus a very peculiar anthopological territory (though an entertaining one). Socialist reason that does not pass into or through political action is exposed as unreason by history. The ‘force’ of Wolfendale’s case, in this respect, is therefore inextricable from the organizational dynamics of his ideological tribe. (It is not a constituency UF pretends to court.)

The article merits appreciation here due to the accuracy with which it depicts the schism between Left and Right Accelerationist currents. He asks: “… what precisely should be accelerated?” The imperative form of this question is the signature of its Left orientation, but in every other respect it is impressively, and neutrally, on target. He continues:

Well, as the difference between left and right accelerationism shows, there’s a good deal of disagreement about this. […] Left-accelerationism begins from the premise that the deterritorialising force is not capitalism itself, but that the transition from feudalism to capitalism was the expression of an emancipatory drive that capitalism’s reterritorialising dynamics has systematically (but never wholly) suppressed. The various genealogical indices within the [Accelerationist] reader present a number of ways of thinking about the nature of this drive (e.g., Marx’s Prometheanism, Federov’s cosmism, Veblen’s machine-process, etc.), and the various original contributions present ways of reconceiving and appropriating these (e.g., Srnicek & Williams’ project of collective self-mastery, Singleton’s generalised escapology, Negarestani’s inhumanism, etc.).

The fissure is thus perfectly clear. Left Accelerationism rests fundamentally upon the contention that the modern social order includes an accelerative motor distinguishable from the capitalist mechanism. In the best case (philosophically speaking) intellectual proceedings will therefore lead to a clinical analysis and delimitation of capital circuitry, in order to describe, alongside it, a quite other historical dynamo, to which the capital accumulation process relates as a constriction. This is, as far as I am aware, work that remains to be completed (whether from Left or Right). Accelerationism in general requires a coherent capital theory, with which acceleration is to be identified, or differentiated. Appropriately enough, the task begins to look like a race.

Leave a Reply