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Friday, 29 November 2013

Allagmatic accelerationism (and the very power of deterritorialization)

I sometimes think the debate around about accelerationism picture the position in an unfair way. It is, as I understand it, about flows and their speed (and yes, about production and registration). Accelerationism is not a defense of capital nor is it a defense of any other flow in particular - it is not about territories but about their dismantling. Accelerationists are not in any sense committed to the recognized revolutionary power of capital, unless in the sense that revolutions should learn something with it - what I take to be very much in line with what Marx and Engels write in about the bourgeoisie in the Manifesto. Capital corroded despots, states, written traditions as empires corroded land-based powers, oral tradition and patriarchs before it. (Corrosion, of course, has never gone to its complete end.) To praise acceleration is to praise dismantling - the kind of action that revolutions often do. Capital itself became an individual - a territorial machine, a code, a somehow bordered entity. It has its allagmatics - the set of operations that keep constituting what it is - that involve work as a way to produce, market as a way to distribute, pricing as a way to register. Its allagmatics also involves, I believe, persons, human individuals, and the capacity they are supposed to have of taking individual responsibility. Capital depends on these grounds to have a territory. Maybe it depends on a centripetal family around which it revolves, as Deleuze and Guattari argue in Anti-Oedipus. Capital tends to concentrate. Of course, maybe it is not necessarily dependent on family and the Oedipus structure that privatizes fantasies. But I think individuals are central to its territory. Ready-made individuals are the very basis of the flow of capital - they are the poles around which capital can flow. Accelerationism focuses on the allagmatics that produces these individuals and keeps them going. It looks at the sub-individual and at the super-individual - singularities within the individual and outside it, in groupings and networks - as corroding forces that dismantle the individual human. Accelerationism, in this way, waves to the possible forms of human life that is not organized around stabilized human individuals, but rather emphasizes elements that cross them. It makes room for the political role of the multitudes, of the masses as agents that are different from a mere assemblage of individuals (an assemblage of pockets that are hubs for the flows of capital). One can buy (or sell) individuals within the mobilized masses but one cannot commodify the force that brings together the masses - when they are not just revolving around individuals.

Capital takes care that each thing is at the reach of someone who has a pocket. It is stricken by anonymity, black blocks, piracy. The biopolitical fight on capital is the struggle against the daily sponsors of individuals and their pockets - it is an allagmatic struggle through desires, miasmas, gift-giving. Anything that flows indifferent to the network of pockets. To accelerate is to go in a speed no individual can flow - the speed of gestures, of the masses, of the viral, of repetitions that are go through indifferent to the boundaries of individuals. It is about the economy of what runs more than pockets.

One of the best criticisms of the accelerationist political project I heard is one of the things Benjamim Noys told us in Anarchai last year. He reckons the whole ontological framework required to think accelerationism through is doomed to infect it with undesired commitments to the capitalist state of things. Noys thinks that a revolution ought rather to thought in terms different from production, registration, speeds and flows. He suggested loads of interesting Bataille-like alternatives but I'll consider only a simple one: the planning stance. The planning stance could be thought as the individual or as something else - say communal planning, confederation planning, global planning etc. The issues there are who plans and for whom. Planning, I take this to be the idea, is inevitable. Why can't we think in terms of plans instead of flows? I think this could be a different way altogether to base a politically revolutionary project. Plans, taken as organizations, introduce different individuated units. What I find attractive in this criticism, though, is that to a great extent its practical consequences amount to de-individuation - to challenge the sacred territory of a human with a pocket. It is, if I understand it, an allagmatic criticism.

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