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).