And yes, from the original work of Nick Land many different political movements and categories are born, starting from the same analysis and the same philosophical toolbox but arriving at very different conclusion. L/acc, R/acc, U/acc, NRX and so on have almost nothing in common to the neophyte and framing them as sides of a single movement is quite pointless and confusing.
As a xenoaccelerationist active in some L/acc circles, feel free to ask me questions or pointers for good readings.
What are 2 to 3 introductory texts you would recommend on acc in general and X/acc in particular?
I've read "Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics", "Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation" and "#Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader", what your thoughts on these books?
My apologies for all the questions, but since you're offering I'd figured I'd ask.
I would say that you need Inventing the future, that while being limited in many things, is a necessary read.
Then proceed with Capitalist Realism and if you like it, Fanged Noumena.
For some reason I was expecting something more interesting than the same feminism and transgender politics...
Open-sourcing hormones is not really "same transgender politics".
It's about empowerment through technology and how to rethink technology to empower people. every technology creator should read it.
But then what is "U/"? Utopian? Utilitarian? Unrestrained? Similar with "NRX", which I cannot even begin to guess at.
Seems many movements fall in love with their own jargon and spend time attempting to distinguish themselves from other movements but only end up sounding even more obfuscatory.
"U/Acc claims that there is no action that can lead to acceleration or deacceleration, and that "To the question ‘What is to be done?’, then, she can legitimately answer only, 'Do what thou wilt'". This however does not mean "do nothing", it rather means that "the unconditional accelerationist, more than anyone else, is free at heart to pursue what she thinks is good and right and interesting—but with the ironical realisation that the primary ends that are served are not her own."
Accelerationism is that the current neoliberalism order will "naturally" progress to a next phase of society.
I gather that left-accelerationists (L/acc) usually subscribe to the labor theory of value, and so automation's decrease of labor value to 0 will result in a collapse of capitalism that derives value of goods and services from the labor needed to produce them.
Right-accelerationism (R/acc) seeks to embrace the disruption of technology to a logical extreme for technologial progress. Neo-Reaction (NRx) wants to revert back to pre-democratic ideals as they see democracy as being incompatible with their techno-libertarian ideals.
I haven't heard of xenoaccelerationism (X/acc?) before but upon a cursory glance, it seems similar in that it embraces the disruption of culture and identity politics by technology's increasing encroachment and control on nature. It sounds like an overlap with transhumanism, but I am probably uninformed about the finer details.
Could you explain this term?
So there are a bunch of authors and collectives working to enrich, directly or indirectly, this ideological framework to make it more encompassing of different human problems. Xenofeminism is one of them but it's also a lot more than that. While there is a certain dialogue between xenofeminism and the accel world, they don't really pose themselves as "we like these two guys, let's add something to their work" but more as an indipendent field of research and an indipendent methodology.
Xenoaccelerationism is what sits at the conjunction of these two positions, that while similar, can still exist without the other. But to me, it's pointless to abolish work under accelerationism if we cannot abolish gender under xenofeminism. It's pointless to talk about technology repurposing under accelerationism without talking about technology dissemination and hacking under xenofeminism. It's pointless to fight bio-capitalism under accelerationism without fighting the structures that allow it under xenofeminism.
Also mind that l/acc is not an explicit political movement and even if you read and agree, probably you won't identify as a l/acc, something that many regard as nonsensical.
Acceleration makes sense on the surface, but it seems like Capitalism always adapts, with the current adaption being UBI. You have capitalists like Musk and Yang really pushing it, because it's a way to overcome the problem of automation and keep capitalism going. As Zizek put it, capitalism is "an undead vampire … it returns stronger and stronger."
As for Climate Change, I suppose if we accelerate towards that we may come out on the other side without Capitalism, but there's no way to know, and it seems much of the damage done to the Earth will be irreversible. Seems like at this point accelerationism is a failed idea to me.
Edit: just to add, I do think accelerationism maybe can work in electoral politics. Say for example the general's come to Biden vs Trump. In that case, an accelerationist approach is to vote for Trump, and I see an argument for that as a Hail Mary. Biden would keep the status quo and that's not enough to deal with climate change in time, Trump is more likely to break things and mess with the status quo and there would likely be more push back from the people against him then against Biden. But maybe Biden would be more responsive to any movement by the people? Idk, that's an example of where it could still be applied, but still seems questionable.
Heck, consider Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh's revolution survived years of the most powerful nation on Earth dropping more firepower on the tiny nation than was dropped in all of WWII. They won, America left, and Vietnam is a modern communist state.
Then again, I don't completely believe this... I'm kind of under the spell of Tolstoy right now, and tend to think that history just sort of happens, and we attribute the ebb and flow of it to the success or failure of individual leaders and their decisions, ignoring the broader forces. A lot of what led to success in these countries was going to happen regardless.
preemptive edit: Yes, I know these were murderous dictatorships. No need to mansplain how wrong I am, guys.
This is how a marxist views histories progression and I feel it is more applicable and holds up under backtesting than 'history just sort of happens'
Mao was a man of the people, who led his country to greatness, no backpedaling necessary.
Read Marx, but read Tolstoy too. Tolstoy argued that we all have 20/20 hindsight, and we like to argue how well our individual ideas or pet theories explain stuff that, well, just happened.
edit: I'm suddenly thinking of Bruce Sterling's novel Zeitgeist, a sort of magical-realism SF set around Y2K. When asked who would win the culture war between Islamic fundamentalism and Western secularism, the central character said "The side with the most televisions".
The Wikipedia entry is informative and concise but the grand scope and (some would say) madness of Land's vision only begins to emerge when one immerses oneself in Land's writings, starting from "Meltdown" . One doesn't need to be versed in Philosophy, Qabalah, Mysticism, Lovecraft and several different branches of the Occult - although it certainly helps - to grasp what Land is talking about. Just having read and understood Neuromancer is enough.
For a more conventional, historical, perspective see  and .
If you're wondering "is there any value in this" consider the timing. Land may have been a burned-out drug-fueled academic, but some would say he revitalized Philosophy with his willingness to go outside the norm and commune with what lies beyond the human. Reaching the apex in the mid 90s, well before the impact of the Internet was obvious to the mainstream, people laughed at him then, but it turns out, he saw it all coming.
“The definite probability that the allotment of time to decision-making is undergoing systematic compression remains a neglected consideration, even among those paying explicit and exceptional attention to the increasing rapidity of change.”
Also, now I understand what Charles Stross (and dot-commers) were likely "smoking" when he wrote Accelerando in the late 90's... (and maybe his claim of "being the first qualified cyberpunk author just when cyberpunk died" might have been a bit premature ?)
But it generally leaves me cold. This keeps coming to mind:
"Wo unto the world because of offences! For offenses must come, but wo to him by whom the offence cometh!"
You have to be pretty damn sure you can build a better new world before you burn down the old one.
Would-be revolutionists would do better to focus their energies on things that:
- even the "evil other side" could never convince themselves to call a war crime
- are resilient to and helpful after whatever collapse is foreseen
- will have some benefit if the collapse does not occur
- don't make things worse.
It is, in fact, possible to find these things.
The worst-case scenario is that there's a collapse and it brings neither a worker's paradise nor the return of kings, but pointless gang wars. You can build that worker's paradise, or aristocratic character, before the collapse, and if you're right that the system is unsustainable, you'll "start" the collapse in a much better position. Sure, there are likely entrenched obstacles in your way, but making an omelette does not justify killing a few people.
Get to know your neighbors!
You do realize that the history of kings around the world has been one of pointless gang wars, right? The great literature of those times (In Europe alone from the The Aeneid to Henry VI to the European empires) is all about battles between the aristocratic gangs at the top of the hierarchy fighting each other and laying waste to territory in the process. Urban II preached the crusade to export the surplus males in the aristocracy who were causing problems fighting for territory in Europe and get them to go beat up someone else instead.
Anybody who wants to return to such a state has to be a loony.
What is the natural state of human kind? Is it war? At the very least, it's obedient service to your group. Groups are forming more along ideological boundaries now, rather than racial or ethnic (at least in the developed world).
I'm philosophically individualist, yet even that value system can't escape tribalism entirely: in practice, we'll happily form tribes that value individualism to complete against outsider tribes that don't, with no trace of contradiction or irony.
What we can strive for, and I think history has proven successful (or at least capable of being successful), is groups based on voluntary association and/or merit, and inter-group competition that is net-positive, or at least minimally destructive.
There are historical instances of peaceful, voluntary disassociation of democratic states; the "Velvet Divorce" between the Slovakia and the Czech Republic comes to mind: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissolution_of_Czechoslovakia
But suffice to say, it's an open question what threshold of popular support justifies something on the order of California seceding the union. Voluntary association (and disassociation) is merely an ideal to strive for, and we will always fall short of that ideal in the real world.
Under that light, accelerationism is nothing else but our collective acceptance we're as powerless against the technocapital positive feedback loop as against the movement of tectonic plates. It's this separation from and casting out of the "human security system", that allows one to look at the phenomenon with objectivity, and it's this separation that most critics and readers that look at accelerationism from the prism of conventional human-centered philosophy are missing.
While you could probably draw some links between the two phases of his work if you wanted to, they're at odds with one another. In the Accelerationist framework layed out by Land in the 90s, neoreactionary thought would have been futile - everything, including reactionary social mores, would be deterritorialized by capital.
I get it, capitalism is an alien AI and we're just the hardware, and if not capitalism substitute in something like sexual selection instead. And our coordination problems are such that we cut any tall reeds that try to stand against this. Moloch! Nightmare in Moloch! So, OK, "humanity" has no agency.
But I think individuals do. At the very least, they can not make things worse. They can become the kind of people who, if dropped into a perfect society, wouldn't drag it down. And then they can (a harder task, in computation as well as effort!) become the kind that soften the blows of the elder gods, even while paying them proper respect.
I tend to hold with Nyan, as quoted in Meditations on Moloch(http://web.archive.org/web/20140801022058/http://slatestarco...):
And then there’s us. Man has his own telos, when he is allowed the security to act and the clarity to reason out the consequences of his actions. When unafflicted by coordination problems and unthreatened by superior forces, able to act as a gardener rather than just another subject of the law of the jungle, he tends to build and guide a wonderful world for himself. He tends to favor good things and avoid bad, to create secure civilizations with polished sidewalks, beautiful art, happy families, and glorious adventures...The project of civilization being for man to graduate from the metaphorical savage, subject to the law of the jungle, to the civilized gardener who, while theoretically still subject to the law of the jungle, is so dominant as to limit the usefulness of that model.
But I know what you're seeing. I wish I could shake your hand. Best wishes.
I upvoted you.
Isn't that just a social version of the precautionary principle?
You can never be damn sure you can build a better world without trying unless you are sure you can simulate that world ahead of time, and you can't be sure of that without validating your simulation. I personally suspect this sort of simulation is simply impossible because of well known "chaos theory" type phenomena like feedback loops in real systems. There is no way to A/B test history.
We now know that Marxist type systems of the sorts deployed by Lenin and Mao don't actually result in a better world and in many cases result in a worse one, but I don't think anyone could have proven such a thing ahead of time had the systems never been tried.
In practice the precautionary principle would lead to a world of absolute stasis since if the burden of proof is 100% on the actor then no action can be taken.
My personal view is that the ideal situation is a stable society with a frontier. That way you can go to the frontier and try new things and then the stable society can import the things that work. This isn't unique to me, and a version of it is called the Frontier Thesis. We once had this in the American West, but no more, so we should hurry up and build more rockets.
This is the first thing you learn as a Political Science student in university. The "science" half of the name is somewhat lacking when you can't experiment.
> We now know that Marxist type systems of the sorts deployed by Lenin and Mao don't actually result in a better world and in many cases result in a worse one
We don't know this. There's a lot more to economic security and human rights than private vs state control of production.
> We once had this in the American West, but no more, so we should hurry up and build more rockets.
While a frontier can provide some space for experimentation, redundancy is the real cure.
We haven't done this as a society though since there is an advantage to large scale when securing a nation's economy and currency with armed force.
The interesting new technology doesn't seem to be cheaper rockets but instead a new way to make sure our money is valued as we wish. Cryptocurrency's method of securing transactions against counterfeiters using math enables small-scale economies to operate without wasting too much resource on keeping order.
A system where cities/towns have more sovereignty would enable greater diversity and experimentation because a failure would be much easier to deal with.
Thousands of cities with each their own policies of how wealth spreads is the diverse dream I wish for as the world shrinks into fewer languages, customs, and ideas.
> We don't know this. There's a lot more to economic security and human rights than private vs state control of production.
We know that Marxism-Leninism didn't result in human rights, either. Neither did Maoism.
A rephrasing would be: We don't know for sure that a Marxist type system does not work because we have so few examples. Maybe we just haven't tried enough variations to find a version that compiles cleanly.
That's the problem with all social theories - running experiments on them takes darn long, usually results in piles of disenfranchised and/or dead people, and is in no way repeatable. (Frontier Thesis kind of addresses that by insulating the core of society from the experiments harsh results, but... you still have harsh results)
thank you in advance.
The main thing I think is that we are in an era of profound disillusionment with current systems, some of which is justified. For this reason many people have gone into things like NRx, alt-right / neo-fascism (they are not quite the same), and also into hard left ideologies like Neo-Marxism or even a revival of old school Marxism. People are looking for alternatives. The answer someone might have for "why did you go NRx" probably overlaps a lot with someone else's answer to "why did you go Leninist?"
NRx is particularly appealing to the hacker crowd because its popularizers successfully packaged it as transgressive and rebellious, a packaging that is paradoxically modern. It's also unapologetically elitist. There's always been a strain of that in the hacker world, so it fits that nicely.
As far as why there's so much elitism in the hacker world I could write a treatise on that. Maybe I should. Short short version: many people with these interests were socially excluded as children while simultaneously being told they were super-intelligent, resulting in a pretty serious mind-fuck. If someone asked me to design a brainwashing program to turn kids into sociopaths I'd basically describe my childhood, and I know for a fact that many others in the hacker world have similar experiences. I've worked hard to deprogram myself but I have sympathy for those who haven't as few human beings ever recognize that their youthful neurological imprints are maybe not optimal.
On a "rising elitists" - you actually made me thinking how much of my own childhood contributes to what I am, albeit from polar experience of "shut up already, be like everybody, why do you always have to ask questions etc". I still have these barriers , for better or for worse - I don't know. Probably kept me "out of sight, out of trouble" more than once, but also prevented me from going faster in life too.
The answer to your question: how did I get such beliefs---is pretty boring: I read, and I thought. Some things I read I agreed with, others I didn't.
The much more interesting question is: what are those beliefs?
You'll notice that many in this thread are eager to tell you, but the only person who's actually identified themselves as NRX is being cagey. This is not a coincidence.
Outside observers tend to see NRX through their own lens, while one of the chief goals of NRX is changing the lens in the first place.
So someone might ask: "NRX huh? What do you think about <political issue?>" A fully enlightened (tm) neoreactionary will answer, "Why, am I in charge of it?"
Neophyte neoreactionaries see this as a front to hide their plotting. Experienced ones see it as an eminently sensible answer to an insane (though common) question. Who cares what I think? Am I paid, expected, or empowered to run a society? Why do people keep asking me what I'd do if I did?
There's a whole life out there outside of politics.
If you still want to know, go read Moldbug.
That society fell apart collectively resulting in the sort of gang world that you're describing. Out of those ashes emerged individual city-states, which then aggregated using the tool of conquest into empire, which got big then fell apart forming the current status quo of nation-states, which technology, sophisticated forms of organization, and plain geopolitical luck allowed some nations to leapfrog the rest.
There really does seem to be some kind of collective human wisdom regarding societal organization. If there wasn't, then we'd oscillate back and forth between two kinds of social organization, likely war bands and empire. We'd reach a point at which no innovation could move the needle and that would be the end of progress.
Do you mean a single global human culture? We don't even know whether religion came before agriculture or the other way round. Citation really needed here.
I don't know anything about a single founding culture, but reading about Indo-European root words fires up one's imagination.
I can say that the context of the discussion was an assertion that I made that the Egypt-Greece-Hebrew civilization is what collectively invented the idea of good and evil. He corrected me saying that it was a major feature of this collective civilization.
Just now I tried going through Wikipedia, and I'm fairly certain what he was referring to is generally called Neolithic civilization. It was much more sophisticated than is commonly understood.
Especially since Neolithic civilization spans ~6K years, and appears at very different times in different regions, with cultural artifacts appearing in different order.
As for "good and evil", evidence so far says it probably started with Zoroastrianism, which is really at the tail end of the neolithic. Your Quora user either has access to not commonly available research or is misremembering.
RE: good and evil, his specific point was that societies were organized around the broad principles of a grand fight of one set of deities imbued with good traits fighting against another set of deities working against the good ones. Zoroastrianism is notable not because it invented good and evil, but because it was the first stab towards monotheism.
That's very different from "over a span of 6K years, there were a bunch of local societies at different times and places that all looked somewhat similar"
We really shouldn't underestimate the capabilities of Neolithic peoples.
Though I'm bearish on applying movie logic to social change.
This was maybe 8 years ago, global warming was well known, the horrors of the meat industry were well known. My main gripe with this theory is that it acts like we have a choice about whatever fate our nature is driving us towards.
I think that colloquially this word is used both by the left and the right to suggest the political tactic based on the sensibility that the political system is near collapse and attempts to "repair" the system from within are futile. Accelerationists are frustrated with the current system's perceived corruption, injustice, and immovability, thinking that acting in good faith will never attain the progress they aim for. They suggest that it is more valuable to push society and the political system to the point of collapse in attempts to incite a revolution, expecting that rebuilding the system from scratch, or at least in a society in chaos, will allow them to achieve their political goals in the new order.
Accelerationism seems to be the motive for a bunch of terrorism. For example, the Christchurch shooter cited as part of his motives wanting to spur debates on gun control, especially in the US, recognizing that these debates are increasingly dividing the country and pushing the country towards a civil war. Dylan Roof wanted to incite a race war. A lot of Islamic terror is trying to incite a pan-Islamic revolution. Antifa riots, destroys property, and often directly engages with police and right-wing groups in an attempt to weaken the "capitalist" social order.
You mean this? Cause antifa doesn't have a book. This is a book on the history of anti-fascist movements, and while you might not agree with it, it doesn't make it "the antifa book"
The latter version of Accelerationism is that the current neoliberalism order will "naturally" progress to a next phase of society.
I'm not the best at understanding or explaining accelerationism, but I gather that left-accelerationists usually subscribe to the labor theory of value, and so automation's decrease of labor value to 0 will result in a collapse of capitalism that derives value of goods and services from the labor needed to produce them.
Right-accelerationism seeks to embrace the disruption of technology to a logical extreme for technologial progress. Neo-Reaction wants to revert back to pre-democratic ideals as they see democracy as being incompatible with their techno-libertarian ideals.
I haven't heard of xenoaccelerationism before but upon a cursory glance, it seems similar in that it embraces the disruption of culture and identity politics by technology's increasing encroachment and control on nature. It sounds like an overlap with transhumanism, but I am probably uninformed about the finer details.
It’s not intended to be clear. Quite the opposite.
The difference is in technique. Old-school revolutionaries tried to destroy the current system by fighting it. Accelerationists try to destroy the system by trying to make it more what it is.
If you think of the system (current US democracy plus capitalism, say) in the center of a frame, a leftist would view it as being too far to the right, and a rightist would view it as being too far to the left. An old-school leftist would try to shove the whole country to the left. A left accelerationist would try to shove it to the right, thinking that the further right it gets, the closer it is to destroying itself.
Of course, their perspective is a bit off. The left (or right) accelerationist sees the current system as already being pretty far right (or left), not center. They therefore mis-estimate how much further they would have to move it to bring about destruction. If they fail to move it that far, all they've done is strengthen the side they're trying to fight.
Why do you ask? Why do you think this is a relevant reply to my post?
Right accelerationism differs from fascism in its relationship to capitalism I think.
But honestly, I think these groupings are a bit iffy. There are connections between Zelzany, Land, and leftist acceleration, but they are slight.
Peretti's academic writings offer one clue.
In brief, the paper argues that, going forward, capitalism will need to be constantly producing identities for people to adopt at an ever-increasing rate. And now Peretti's at the helm of a firm that's doing exactly that.
They haven't? Both of those have been trending down with no sign of stopping
I recall an episode from a fictional crime show where the obligatory twist behind a horrically toxic water pollution blaming a new industrial operation. It had killed three people and sickened more was a radical environmentalist who wanted to frame a factory they believed would pollute more long term. Ironically one of the give aways to investigators was something the industry no longer used.
Which... no. What people want first and foremost is safety and stability, and after everything burns down, the easiest way to get that is by putting an authoritarian strongman into power. Which, historically, has been the outcome of almost every large-scale revolution except the American one.
(As an aside, I don't know if you're American, but if you are, I will note that an unfortunate effect of the American Revolution is that it tends to give Americans a very optimistic view of how well revolutions work out. They don't really realize that theirs is a miraculous outlier; it's almost the only revolution which didn't put an authoritarian government into power for years or decades)
For instance, I am starting to think it was a mistake to 'solve' the ozone hole problem in the 1980s so quickly and decisively. I've heard some people try to dismiss climate change with remember all those other things that were going to kill us but didn't like nuclear war and the ozone hole. Maybe if it had gotten bad enough that the effects were obviously terrible and it left a generational scar on humanity, then we'd have an easier time negotiating bigger problems, like climate change mitigation.
If the atomic bombs hadn't been dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945, then it seems likely to me that an even greater tragedy would have been struck later. Maybe it was the only thing that kept us from an actual nuclear war.
It's not exactly a pleasant thing to contemplate, because it basically means the American Revolution was a fluke, but none of the other explanations I've seen are more compelling.
The war itself went well due to the huge geographic separation and the support from countries that wanted to end British dominance. Local governments were already in place, nothing local was "burnt down" except the British tax assayers office, roughly speaking.
And the obvious corollary that motivates the question: if one wanted to maximize the odds of a positive outcome to the next revolution (independently of whether one thinks that's a good thing), what ideas/technologies/institutions/etc would we want to promote or enact now, either from within the revolution itself, or in the surrounding cultural ecosystem?
Plenty of countries that used to have dictators (absolute monarchs) were able to limit them to merely symbolic figures, and bring in constitutions and strong parliaments. Some of these were also revolutions. See most of Europe and their colonies. Yes some have since regressed, but there's nothing particularly special about the USA besides the fact that it didn't have quite as much entrenched power, at first, and virtually unlimited ability to expand. So it was special in terms of it's early flexibility, but ever since it expanded to fill all its available space, seems to be pretty non-special.
Over the long term, capitalism has been increasingly restrained since the early 20th Century (since the mid-20thC, the modern mixed economy has displaced the original system named “capitalism” as the dominant system in the developed world, almost all current “capitalism” is really mixed economies); there have been short-term and local regression, sure, but overall capitalism doesn't accelerate.
As capitalism accelerates, inequality grows, poverty spreads, and pain/suffering become more widespread, people's eyes will open to con's as well as the pro's of capitalism.
Instead of walking by the homeless person and saying 'sucks to be them' people actually experience it.
I think alot of people view capitalism as the reason America is so great instead of being the surviving superpower from WW2 and coasting on that for half a century.
Capitalism was pretty oppressive in the early 1900s. We'll see what happens on the future.
So overall accelerrationism is more than just nihilism, it's instructive. Unfortunately, with suffering on a generational timeframe.
It's also, how government has progressed historically via people suffering. Now we're shifting from governmental tyrrany to economic tyrrany. The next few decades will be extremely interesting.