aimagesI’m behind the curve on this, but Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek have written a very nice manifesto for accelerationism that you can find here.  While I’m just beginning to get a sense of what the accelerations are on about, my initial feeling is that this is the most exciting and promising proposal for political change that I’ve seen in a number of years (that’s different than saying I have no reservations).  It’s certainly a breath of fresh air compared to the models that currently dominate these discussions.  Put differently, reading this manifesto doesn’t fill me with pessimism, gives me the sense that there are real things that can be done, and doesn’t fill me with the sense that the authors are just in a state of willful denial that they try to patch over with happy talk about organization, protest, and subjects.  That’s a good start.  Here are the good points of the program as far as I can tell:

1.  While it has a place for critical analysis, it is not based on the naive– and self-servingly academic! –belief that critique is sufficient to produce social and political change (“I will vilify you for all time through my mighty pen!”)

2.  It clearly recognizes the futility and narcissism of protest politics.

3.  It calls for a clear-sighted understanding of how complex power is organized today (what I call “cartography”) as a necessary component for political engagement, and doesn’t disavow sociology and other cartographic tools such as economic knowledge as we see in the case of figures like Badiou and Zizek (figures who, while I adore them, I increasingly feel are merely “inspirational” discourses not unlike certain forms of Christian apologetics on faith.

4.  It clearly understands how ecology is a key issue today and therefore doesn’t restrict its Marxism to issues of labor and social justice (though these are at the core of its program as well)

5.  It does not repeat tiresome denunciations of technology and science such as we find among those influenced by Heidegger, Stiegler, and Adorno, but clearly discerns how technology and science are both necessary components of any effective cartography of the complex ecology of our political world today, and are necessary elements of solution (perhaps we’re finally moving beyond pious Heideggerian discourses on enframing and “Western metaphysics” as the “real problem”?  I sure as hell hope so!).

6.  It recognizes the need to form institutions such as think tanks and to acquire funding if we’re to produce any real political change.  It’s about friggin time!

7.  It recognizes the twin dangers of centralized political organization such as we find in some disturbing recent calls to resurrect “the party” and absurd claims that the party is the “position of the analyst” (those folks need to read some systems theory!), while also recognizing that ideas such that of spontaneous self-organization aren’t tenable either.

Perhaps leftist political theory and strategery is finally abandoning its romanticism, academism, and reaching a point of maturity.  I hope so!  For a critical perspective, see McKenzie Wark’s critique of the manifesto here.

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