Timescales and Ideology

Attitudes to time seem both a handy rule of thumb and a hint at deeper conceptual fissures. This is true for accelerationism and for other things.

Right accelerationists are obsessed with both immediate speed and deep time. Population genetics, rise and fall of empires, eternal cold darkness, Arthurian sovcorp CEOs, AI basilisks at the end of time. Aligning oneself with the waves of deep history. “Geology, go faster!”

Consider the conceptual timeframes of Bitcoin, from different points of observation. Epochal alternative to state money (thousand year), mathematical number theory results (timeless), solving the philosophical problem of constructing consensus time, yearning for seconds of transaction latency and getting hours.

Left accelerationists (or Fully Automated Luxury Communists given the decline of the L#A brand) work on an economic scale of time. It’s the decadal or century scale of Marx, multi-election political strategy, or the sub-millisecond latency of technological platforms.

Project Cybersyn, or a socialized amazon.gov, are illustrative. They are about steering, using rich computational sources of general intelligence. Communism emerging in immanent processes, and radically expanded scale limits.

Unconditional Accelerationism is/was as much a fracture event as a movement. It works in spirals and fragmented patchwork time. Survival and observation are key: scientific, poetic sniper-time.

Consider the DIY pancreas and its algorithmic loop-time rituals. Consider that every separate device has multiple clocks. Consider that every animal body has multiple internal clocks. The quantified, technologically constructed network of the federated self.

Accelerationism: A Brief Taxonomy

It is a moment of pause for the theory of accelerationism. The burst of self-identifying activity over the last few years has cycled into something of a bear market, even as the conceptual toolbox is more powerful than ever in navigating our present. Theorists of acceleration are connoisseurs of vertigo, and will insist any snapshot of their thought is dead or out of date. This taxonomy is both. But it’s short.

 

Accelerationism: ACC: Capitalism is a feedback cycle of increasing spiraling power, which it is not possible to comprehend or control from within, and therefore at all. The complexity of this alien system includes hyperstitions and reverse causalities. Capitalism melts and reassembles everything. Fictions become realities through their articulation. Future structures assemble themselves through their conditioning of the past.

Texts:

  • Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus; A Thousand Plateaus
  • Land, Meltdown
  • CCRU – Writings 1997-2003
  • Collapse Journal I-VIII

 

Right Accelerationism: R#ACC: Capitalism is modernity, science, intelligence. What is powerful in all these things is one identical force. What is best in the world is represented by this force, the product of sharpening by relentless competition, brutal empiricism and blind peer review, the butcher’s yard of evolution. Historically, it was possible to put a defensive brake on capitalism and intelligence. That possibility is fast receding or likely already gone, and was always undesirable. Ethically and therefore politically, we should align ourselves with the emancipation of the means of production. Artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, corporate microstates, and breeding a cyborg elite are all means for achieving this end.

Right accelerationism is entwined with the techno-capitalist thread of neoreaction.

Texts:

 

Left Accelerationism: L#ACC: The tremendous productive power of capitalism is a world system that is impossible to fully control, but it may be harnessed and steered for progressive ends. Only with the wealth and productivity of capitalism has fully automated luxury gay space communism become possible, and now it is within reach it can be seized. Only through computational power can the relationship between Homo sapiens and its ecosystem be understood and balanced. The great corporations and financial structures of the early twenty-first century are themselves prototypes of platform planned economies leveraging enormous computational power to fulfill billions of needs and desires across society. By accelerating progressive technological invention, reinvigorating the domesticated industrial state as a platform state, nationalizing data utilities, sharing dividends and redefining work, the system may be made sustainable and wealth shared with all according their need.

After a surge of activity, many left accelerationists rapidly swerved away from the name a few years ago. This was coincident with Srnicek and Williams’ book Inventing the Future, which is all about left accelerationism, without mentioning it once.

Texts:

 

Unconditional Accelerationism: U#ACC: To erect any political program that pretends to steer, brake, or accelerate this system is folly and human-centric hubris. The system can be studied as a matter of fascination, and of survival. The only politics that makes sense is to embrace fragmentation and create a safe distance from centralized political power. A patchwork of small communities built across and within networks, societies and geographies are a means for some to survive and thrive. Many small ships can ride through a storm with a few losses, where one giant raft will be destroyed, dooming all.

Texts:

 

Blaccelerationism: The separation of human and capital is a power structure shell game. Living capital, speculative value, and accumulated time is stored in the bodies of black already-inhuman (non)subjects.

Texts:

 

Gender Accelerationism: G#ACC: Everyone is becoming transsexual lesbian programmer cyborgs. Enjoy it.

Texts:

 

Zero Accelerationism: Z#ACC: The world-system is accelerating off a cliff.

Texts:

 

Accelerating The Contradictions: Capitalism is riven with conflict and contradictions. Revolutionaries should accelerate this destructive process as it hastens the creation of a system beyond capitalism.

No modern accelerationist group has held this position (D/G: “Nothing ever died of contradictions!”), but it’s a common misunderstanding, or caricature, of Left Accelerationism.

Texts:

 

Other introductions: Meta-nomad has a more theory-soaked introduction to accelerationism, which teases out the rhizomatic cross-connections between these threads, and is a good springboard for those diving further down the rabbit hole.