A Note on U/ACC

In his essay Unconditional Accelerationism and the Question of Praxis Edmund Berger makes the distinction between U/ACC and other forms of accelerationism:

Instead, U/ACC calls attention to the manner through which collective forms of intervention and political stabilization, be they of the left or the the right, are rendered impossible in the long-run through overarching tendencies and forces. Thus, while left-accelerationism (L/ACC) and right-accelerationism (R/ACC) seek to recompose or reterritorialize Leviathan in accordance with each of their own political theologies, U/ACC charts a course outwards: the structures of Oedipus, the Cathedral, Leviathan, what have you, will be ripped apart and decimated by forces rushing up from within and around the system, which in turn mobilize the entirety of the system towards its own dissolution point. Unlike L/ACC and R/ACC, U/ACC is not at the bottom a political theory; it is one of mobilizing materialism.[1]

Of course such a material reality is hardly new. This hostile reality that threatens any attempt at opposing political order did not just emerge with the rise of modernism and industrial capitalism. Consider James C. Scott's writing on the "golden age of barbarians":

There is, I believe, a long period, measured not in centuries but in millennia - between the earliest apparances of states and lasting until perhaps four centuries ago - that might be called a "golden age for barbarians" and for nonstate people in general. For much of this long epoch, the political enclosure movement represented by the modern nation-state did not yet exist. Physical movement, flux, an open frontier and mixed subsistence strategies were the hallmark of this entire period. Even the exceptional and often short-lived empires of this epoch (the Roman, Han, Ming, and in the New World the Mayan peer polities and the Inka) could not impede large-scale population movements in and out of their political orbit.[2]

Consider also the dynamic described in civilizations as described by Joseph Tainiter:

Four concepts lead to understanding collapse, the first three of which are the underpinnings of the fourth. These are:
1. human societies are problem-solving organizations;
2. sociopolitical systems require energy for their maintenance;
3. increased complexity carries with it increased costs per capita; and
4. investment in sociopolitical complexity as a problem-solving response often reaches a point of declining marginal returns.[3]

Berger considers modernity to be caught in a feedback loop, focusing on technological progress and market forces are being complex and unpredictable but at the same time fails to point out that we've always been in a wild and unpredictable world. The neat diagrams of traditional hierarchies have always obscured the social complexity that lurks beneath. Attempts to turn off the machine and return to simpler times is just replacing one type of complexity for another. We've always been alienated, always been part of a reality beyond our comprehension and control to one degree or another.

In light of such an analysis Unconditional Acceleration might be better named Universal Acceleration (or perhaps might not even be worthy of a name as all it does it point out the basic dynamics of entropy, complexity and the limitations of control in the face of those two forces). Once you take such an analysis seriously the notion of implementing a positive longterm political program becomes laughable. One gets the feeling that the only real solution the problem of politics in the long run would be to occupy political science classrooms and throw copies of accelerationist writing (the short essays would presumably be folded up into planes) at whomever tried to enter (such action would likely be done by robots, given the predisposition of those involved).[4]

  1. Unconditional Accelerationism and the Question of Praxis: Some Preliminary Thoughts, Edmund Berger ↩︎

  2. Against the Grain, James C. Scott, pg. 253 ↩︎

  3. The Collapse of Complex Societies, Joseph Tainter, pg. 194 ↩︎

  4. Also since more and more education is moving to the internet, I guess automated bots that post links in the comment sections as well. ↩︎