In political and social theory, accelerationism is the idea that capitalism, or particular processes that historically characterised capitalism, should be accelerated instead of overcome in order to generate radical social change. "Accelerationism" may also refer more broadly, and usually pejoratively, to support for the intensification of capitalism in the belief that this will hasten its self-destructive tendencies and ultimately lead to its collapse.
Some contemporary accelerationist philosophy starts with the Deleuzo-Guattarian theory of deterritorialisation, aiming to identify and radicalise the social forces that promote this emancipatory process.[clarification needed]
Accelerationist theory has been divided into mutually contradictory left-wing and right-wing variants. "Left-accelerationism" attempts to press "the process of technological evolution" beyond the constrictive horizon of capitalism, for example by repurposing modern technology for socially beneficial and emancipatory ends; "right-accelerationism" supports the indefinite intensification of capitalism itself, possibly in order to bring about a technological singularity. Accelerationist writers have additionally distinguished other variants, such as "unconditional accelerationism".[better source needed]
A far-right, white nationalist adaption of the term surfacing during the 2010s eschews the focus on capitalism of the prior variants, to instead refer to an acceleration of racial conflict resulting in a white ethnostate.
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A number of philosophers have expressed apparently accelerationist attitudes, including Karl Marx in his 1848 speech "On the Question of Free Trade":
In a similar vein, Friedrich Nietzsche argued that "the leveling process of European man is the great process which should not be checked: one should even accelerate it", a statement often simplified, following Deleuze and Guattari, to a command to "accelerate the process".
Prominent theorists include right-accelerationist Nick Land. The Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (CCRU), an unofficial research unit at the University of Warwick from 1995 to 2003, included Land as well as other social theorists such as Mark Fisher and Sadie Plant as members, and is considered a key progenitor in both left- and right-accelerationist thought. Prominent contemporary left-accelerationists include Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, authors of the "Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics", and the Laboria Cuboniks collective, who authored the manifesto "Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation". For Mark Fisher, writing in 2012, "Land's withering assaults on the academic left ... remain trenchant"—though problematic—and "Marxism is nothing if it is not accelerationist".
Along accelerationist lines, Paul Mason, in works such as PostCapitalism: A Guide to our Future, has tried to speculate about futures after capitalism. He declares that "[a]s with the end of feudalism 500 years ago, capitalism's replacement by postcapitalism will be accelerated by external shocks and shaped by the emergence of a new kind of human being. And it has started". He considers that the rise of collaborative production will eventually help capitalism to kill itself.
Focusing on how information technology infrastructures undermine modern political geographies, and proposing an open-ended "design brief", Benjamin H. Bratton's book The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty is associated with accelerationism. Tiziana Terranova's "Red Stack Attack!" links Bratton's stack model and left accelerationism.
Since the late 2010s, the vanguardist faction of white nationalists and neo-Nazis has increasingly embraced a violent form of accelerationism as a way of establishing a whites-only ethnostate. The origins of the far-right version of accelerationism dates back to the 1980s, when American Nazi Party-National Socialist Liberation Front (ANP/NSLF) member James Mason advocated for mass killings or assassinations of high-profile targets in the newsletter Siege. Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the perpetrator of the Christchurch mosque shootings that killed 51 people and injured 49 others, had embraced accelerationism in a section of his manifesto, titled "Destabilization and Accelerationism: tactics". It also influenced John Timothy Earnest, the man accused of causing the Escondido mosque fire at Dar-ul-Arqam Mosque in Escondido, California, and the Poway synagogue shooting, resulting in one dead and three injured. Furthermore, it influenced Patrick Crusius, the Allen-born man accused of being responsible for the El Paso Walmart shooting, that killed 22 people and injured 24 others.