accelerationism

anonymous asked:

What is your opinion on accelerationism, the idea that leftists should vote for authoritarian causes in order to make labour conditions so exploitative that the only choice for the working class is to rise in revolution?

I think a lot of this can be reduced to our informed relationship with the greater social body. If leftists vote for these measures, then it would appear on the surface that there is support for them. Without an outlet or any mainstream dissent, where would this revolution come from, then? Resistance must be visible, built at every point, on every candidate, and on every bill. It takes me 45 minutes to vote, drive and parking included, and I feel like this is a very small price to pay for trying to ensure that the “”pro-life”” candidate who wants to dismantle Planned Parenthood isn’t elected.

Even so, I don’t agree with this one-dimensional arithmetic that pushing a greater evil plus increased repression equals an earlier revolution. Suffering isn’t some enzyme that kicks off a cascade reaction for results we might find favorable. I’d argue that people are actually less inclined to resistance when they’re in a rougher spot, because that kind of change wouldn’t provide immediate relief. When someone is getting crunched between their job, their obligations, and their debt, ‘revolution’ is nothing but a word.

But now that’s all completely moot. It doesn’t matter what my take is when fascists and white supremacists are being legitimized and going to set policy. Social acceleration hinges on whether we have a say anymore, and we don’t. It doesn’t matter how we view this, we simply need to adapt. They set the tune for us and now we’ve gotta dance to it.

- Greg

To travel in space you must leave the old verbal garbage behind: God talk, country talk, mother talk, love talk, party talk. You must learn to exist with no religion, no country, no allies. You must learn to live alone in silence. Anyone who prays in space is not there.
—  William S. Burroughs, ‘It Is Necessary to Travel…’
When we speak of ‘post-Fordism,’ 'immaterial labor,’ 'cognitive capitalism,’ 'precarity,’ etc., we are certainly speaking of the material conditions and effects of capitalism as it currently functions. However, these are its conditions as it explicitly relates 'to us.’ This is what materializes on the side of current capitalism that interfaces with the human. What if we attempt to take stock of it from a different vantage point? What if we read capitalism not how in it manifests itself in relation to human bodies but in relation to what its destination reveals it to be: an Alien monstrosity, an insatiable Thing, that appropriates the energy of everything it touches and, in the process, propels things toward the inorganic? After all, aren’t depletion and dissolution its underlying logics? aren’t they what accompany its rampant drive to growth, its myth of unending prosperity?
—  Gean Moreno. “Notes on the Inorganic: Accelerations.” Dark Trajectories: Politics of the Outside. [NAME] 2013.
But which is the revolutionary path? Is there one?—To withdraw from the world market, as Samir Amin advises Third World countries to do, in a curious revival of the fascist “economic solution”? Or might it be to go in the opposite direction? To go still further, that is, in the movement of the market, of decoding and deterritorialization? For perhaps the flows are not yet de territorialized enough, not decoded enough, from the viewpoint of a theory and a practice of a highly schizophrenic character. Not to withdraw from the process, but to go further, to “accelerate the process,” as Nietzsche put it: in this matter, the truth is that we haven’t seen anything yet.
—  Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about writing something critical of the left, only to self-censor so as to ensure that their weakness and self-destruction is prolonged as much as possible. I don’t give them any kind of a hint, even if doing so would feel good. They need to suffer.
—  abcdefg

its naive to analyse capitalism in terms of political economy. capitalism is a machine which works in assemblage with instrumental rationality to assimilate all planetary matter into its operation. it functions well beyond human social systems - it’s a geological, cosmic phenomenon.

the problem with human-scale, human-oriented politics is that they only respond to the needs and agencies of a minority of the actants affected by technocapital. our tactics through/ against/ beyond capitalism need to be truly planetary if we’re every going to break out of technocapital security. 

trying to defeat capitalism while still maintaining the anthropocentric perception which let technocapital emerge in the first place is intrinsically a non-starter of a strategy. we need to be open to complicity with the radical outside of humanity. this whole planet needs to participate in the desecuritising of this whole planet. we (humans) need to accept that human agency might only be tertiary to this process. towards a communism of matter.

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A Brief History of Geotrauma or: The Invention of Negarestani

it is not just about ‘intellect’ as ideas in people’s heads. It is about the form of the relations which mesh human and machine intelligence together.It is not just about ownership and control of these means, although that is crucial. It is about the design of these very means themselves. Or sometimes the redesign. The people hack tech, but not with the tools of their own choosing. Sometimes you have to kludge together whatever you can. ‘Ocuppying’ tumblr might not be a bad example.

Ken Wark, This Shit Is Fucked Up and Bullshit

Socialism is inconceivable without large-​scale capitalist engineering based on the latest discoveries of modern science. It is inconceivable without planned state organisation which keeps tens of millions of people to the strictest observance of a unified standard in production and distribution. We Marxists have always spoken of this, and it is not worth while wasting two seconds talking to people who do not understand even this (anarchists and a good half of the Left Socialist– Revolutionaries).

Lenin, Left Wing

Despair seems to be the dominant sentiment of the contemporary Left, whose crisis perversely mimics its foe, consoling itself either with the minor pleasures of shrill denunciation, mediatised protest and ludic disruptions, or with the scarcely credible notion that maintaining a grim ‘critical’ vigilance on the total subsumption of human life under capital, from the safehouse of theory, or from within contemporary art’s self-congratulatory fog of 'indeterminacy’, constitutes resistance. Hegemonic neoliberalism claims there is no alternative, and established Left political thinking, careful to desist from Enlightenment 'grand narratives’, wary of any truck with a technological infrastructure tainted by capital, and allergic to an entire civilizational heritage that it lumps together and discards as 'instrumental thinking’, patently fails to offer the alternative it insists must be possible, except in the form of counterfactual histories and all-too-local interventions into a decentered, globally-integrated system that is at best indifferent to them. The general reasoning is that if modernity=progress=capitalism=acceleration, then the only possible resistance amounts to deceleration, whether through a fantasy of collective organic self-sufficiency or a solo retreat into miserablism and sagacious warnings against the treacherous counterfinalities of rational thought.

Needless to say, a well-to-do liberal Left, convinced that technology equates to instrumental mastery and that capitalist economics amounts to a heap of numbers, in most cases leaves concrete technological nous and economic arguments to its adversary – something it shares with its more radical but equally technologically illiterate academic counterparts, who confront capitalism with theoretical constructs so completely at odds with its concrete workings that the most they can offer is a faith in miraculous events to come, scarcely more effectual than organic folk politics. In some quarters, a Heideggerian Gelassenheit or 'letting be’ is called for, suggesting that the best we can hope for is to desist entirely from destructive development and attempts to subdue or control nature – an option that, needless to say, is also the prerogative of an individualised privileged spectator who is the subjective product of global capital.

From critical social democrats to revolutionary Maoists, from Occupy mic checks to post-Frankfurt School mutterings, the ideological slogan goes: There must be an outside! And yet, given the real subsumption of life under capitalist relations, what is missing, precluded by reactionary obsessions with purity, humility, and sentimental attachment to the personally gratifying rituals of critique and protest and their brittle and fleeting forms of collectivity? Precisely any pragmatic criteria for the identification and selection of elements of this system that might be effective in a concrete transition to another life beyond the iniquities and impediments of capital. 

–Mackay + Avanessian, 'Introduction’ to #ACCELERATE: the accelerationist reader

Excerpt's from: Steven Shaviro's Accelerationist Aesthetics: Necessary Inefficiency in Times of Real Subsumptio

“Kant says two important things about what he calls aesthetic judgment. The first is that any such judgment is necessarily “disinterested.” This means that it doesn’t relate to my own needs and desires. It is something that I enjoy entirely for its own sake, with no ulterior motives, and with no profit to myself. When I find something to be beautiful, I am “indifferent” to any uses that thing might have; I am even indifferent to whether the thing in question actually exists or not. This is why aesthetic sensation is the one realm of existence that is not reducible to political economy.”

“For beauty presupposes a liberation from need; it offers us a way out from the artificial scarcity imposed by the capitalist mode of production. However, since we do in fact live under this mode of production, beauty is only a “promise of happiness” (as Stendhal said) rather than happiness itself.”

“ Virtual reality supplements and enhances physical, “face-to-face” reality—rather than being, as we used to naively think, opposed to it. Neoliberalism is not just the ideology or belief system of this form of capitalism. It is also, more importantly, the concrete way in which the system works. It is an actual set of practices and institutions. It provides both a calculus for judging human actions, and a mechanism for inciting and directing those actions.”

“Yet at the same time, this ubiquitous aestheticization is also a radical extirpation of the aesthetic. It’s not just that sensations and feelings are trivialized when they are packaged for sale and indexed upon the most minute variations of product lines. It’s also that the two most crucial qualities of the aesthetic according to Kant—that it is disinterested, and that it is non-cognitive—are made to vanish, or explained away. Aesthetic sensations and feelings are no longer disinterested, because they have been recast as markers of personal identity: revealed preferences, brands, lifestyle markers, objects of adoration by fans.”

Accelerate the industrial revolution in the new century by introducing CNC technology into the production lines and achieving their full automation! 

Accelerate the work to make the railways heavy-duty, high-speed and IT-based!

Accelerate the development projects of the Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang international tourist zone and economic development parks!

north korea publishes 310 new patriotic slogans

CYBERIAN WASTELANDS: an essay proposal

The future is xeno’s arrow shot at a black hole – infinitely and intimately drawing nearer to some dread horizon beyond which survival is unthinkable. It tempts us with unending territories of experience and infinite spirals of intensities. What are the implications of infinite growth for bodies living in a system with finite resources? Growth beyond limits, beyond death – beyond hope?

In mechanical systems, we understand that the drive towards infinity is an apocalyptic one. A positive feedback loop in a speaker system will destroy first its message, drowning out signal in incomprehensible noise, and then the physical structure of the system itself, as the magnitude and intensity of the waste output exceed the limits of the system. An intensity of waste accumulates exponentially, accelerating its own production until it can no longer be sustained. Collapse is inevitable.

In human systems, too, loops of positive feedback form and hurtle us, howling, into new realms of possibility. Genocide spirals. Death lusts. Capital hungers.  A circuit is formed between human bodies and the production of capital, burning bodies and labour value. Between humans and something exterior, something outside of ourselves and outside of our control. Capitalism as a dark god at the end of time, a technology fed on viscera splattering the neutron-mist of universal heat-death with human remains. As soon as the circuitry we inhabit feeds back into itself we ride a tidal wave of waste output into the unrecognisable future – a postapocalypse drowned in the wreckage of a planet unable to sustain the fervour with which it produced. Positive feedback is the vector by which the apocalyptic future infects the past with itself, bringing about its own existence.

Feedback loops rewind causality – a postcybernetic operation in which the future is already determined but the present is a chaos of potential. Technologies proliferate like telomeres in a lung tumour, overseen by spirits of cigarette ash and photochemical smog. The sunset flickers between widening cracks in the skyline. The future #accelerates. And in a final blueshifted vision of our fate, they loom up and around us, inside us, inevitable and inescapable – CYBERIAN WASTELANDS.



(drawing on systems management theory, postcolonial theory, tikanga Māori, scifi, sociocybernetics and the mania of typing with a broken arm, i hope to explore in detail the role of positive feedback loops in producing waste, and what this might mean for those of us living in an era of production which accelerates beyond comprehension.)

I will never understand accelerationists. It’s like thmey only think of revolution as some theoretical objective and once a revolution is started everything will be okay. How can you be so far detached from the consequences of what you preach? Revolution is by definition violent and terrible, it is a means to an end not a fun prank you play on a few rich people or some shit. You wanna see a revolution go to Rojava and pick up a rifle, see how fun it is when real bullets are flying by you. Talk to the people there and ask if they want this; spoiler alert, none of them do. They want peace. They want safety. They want intact villages and intact families. That is the reality of revolution. It’s bloody, and violent, and scary. People die, people you care about. Imagine what people have to go through to be driven to armed insurrection. If you fart out accelerationist bullshit i question if you really have anyone’s best interest in mind or if you just like masturbating to guns and molotov cocktails.

Since the mid-1980s, as Britain, or, more specifically, London, has emerged as a global financial centre rivalled only by New York the idioms, codes, and rituals of high finance have become pressing concerns for British novelists. These concerns became acutely urgent with the onset of the global financial crisis or ‘credit crunch’. The sub-genre of contemporary British fiction dubbed 'crunch-lit’ by the critic Sathnam Sanhera has achieved prominence, popularity, and acclaim in recent years, but the novels in question have so far proved wholly inadequate to their subject matter, attempting to impose the venerable fictional traditions of realism, personalisation, and moralisation onto a crisis that was in many ways unreal, impersonal, and amoral. In this essay, I suggest that for British fiction that fully acknowledges the intellectual and aesthetic challenges posed by financial crises we must look to earlier decades and to overtly avant-garde techniques: specifically to the experimental science fiction of Christine Brooke-Rose and the academic philosophy-cum-cyberpunk writing of Nick Land. Brooke-Rose's Amalgamemnon (1984) vividly imagines the impending catastrophic breakdown of a wholly computerised global financial system, from which human agents are excluded. Similarly, Land’s 'theory-fictions’ or, in his preferred term, 'hyperstitions’ of the 1990s–most notably 'Meltdown’ (1994)–construe the sprawling, anonymous circuits of contemporary financial capitalism as tending inexorably toward crisis. Both Brooke-Rose’s and Land’s texts overtly present themselves as prophecies of financial disaster; as such, their time has now arrived, eclipsing in importance and relevance more conventional texts that respond directly to the ongoing crises of financial capitalism.

[…] Amalgamemnon parodies the tendency, typical of works of crunch-lit, to personalise financial crises by depicting a figure who, as Debra Malina suggests, appears to be none other than 'capitalism it/herself’. Brooke-Rose highlights the inadequacy of responses to crisis that think purely in terms of individual desire and action by emphasising precisely the impersonality of this notional 'person’. The student revolutionaries who kidnap this strange entity know that 'she’ will die 'unless fed exclusively on capital’ and attempt a radical reprogramming operation, feeding her not with infusions of capital but with readings from Das Kapital. In one of the novel’s strangest and most suggestive moments, the resistance that this strategy encounters is conveyed via what can only be described as the direct interior monologue of an entity entirely bereft of interiority, and of centre, essence, consistency, and coherence:

I could take vaster risks within the mind construct of high finance and the perpetual excitement of the movement of capital. They’ll never understand that they can’t win … as long as I continue to calculate myself into existence out of imaginary sums, increasing myself per day per minute if necessary, after all every financial operation might be pure fiction from my point of view.

[…] Narrated in the present tense, with all its urgency and immediacy, 'Meltdown’ ostensibly tells us what is happening, whilst also, like Algamemnon, implicitly identifying itself as a projection of what will happen. Land’s text is similarly self-conscious about it proleptic orientation, tracing a historical trajectory that–like the Mesoamerican Long Count calender in the imaginations of New Age Mystics–appears to zero in on the year 2012: 'Converging upon terrestrial meltdown singularity, phase-out culture accelerates through its digitech-heated adaptive landscape, passing through compression thresholds normed to an intesive logistic curve: 1500, 1756, 1884, 1948, 1980, 1996, 2004, 2008, 2010, 211 … ’ . As Land explains, these dates charts modernity’s race 'through intensive half-lives.’ Though the years enumerated after 1500 (which presumably stands as modernity’s symbolic start date) are at least partly the arbitrary products of a numerical scheme in which the gaps between the integers must progressively halve, it is a confirmation of Land’s underlying claim about the intensification of technological, economic, and political processes that each year carries some iconic world-historical resonance: the beginning of of the Seven Years War; the International Meridian and Berlin conferences; the Berlin Blockade; the Reagan election; Kasparov and Deep Blue; the Madrid bombings… Speaking in the late 1990s, one of Land’s former colleagues wryly recalled how Land went through a 'glorious phase in which he offered millennial prophecies for the next global meltdown in world markets, a deduction based on past such cycles, it rather smacked of an infatuation with the power of numbers.’ The tone here is affectionately mocking, but looking now at the version of these numerological musings committed to print in 'Meltdown’, one cannot help but notice that, whether coincidently or not, Land’s countdown includes the year–2008–which saw undoubtedly the most severe financial crisis since 1929, and arguably the worst in history. As the aftershocks of that crisis rumble on, the stark final paragraph of 'Meltdown’ seems more ominous than ever: 'To be continued.’

–Paul Crosthwaite, 'Soon the Economic System Will Crumble’: Financial Crisis and Contemporary British Avant-Garde Writing, in The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Fall 2012, Vol. XXXII

…nobody has power over the totality as totality any more! The biosphere is in decline as a result of a mass of private interests competing to chop it into bits of exchange value. The challenge is to claim the totality, to open it, to put modernity back in play as a space affording more than one path to a viable future.
—  McKenzie Wark, Celerity: A Critique of the Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics

There have been endless attempts at shifting from our market-based economy to something more egalitarian and enlightened, but nothing has stuck and some of the larger scale efforts have turned into horrific disasters. Anti-capitalists of various stripes haven’t stopped coming up with theories about how this system could finally fall, however. One of these theories is called accelerationism—the idea is that hyper-stimulation of the market on a mass scale will end with the collapse of capitalism. Consume like crazy, only drink from styrofoam, and throw handfuls of dead batteries into our oceans so the impending apocalypse can hurry up and get over with.

The spread of this idea is rooted in Marx’s belief that capitalism can’t sustain itself forever and will eventually fizzle out. The means by which people will bring about its end are unclear, but that’s where the ideas about accelerationism come from. Accelerationism is essentially the belief that the best way to shorten capitalism’s lifespan is to push it to the extreme. If normal capitalism is Mick Jagger, accelerationism is Jim Morrison.