Before I begin to type this I’m sure it’ll be full of moot points most here don’t need repeated or are completely wrong. But since I have no way of telling if the things I believe are wrong and bad, I’ll type it anyway. As you can imagine I’d love to have my view changed.
I am certain that, ironically, accelerationism is often a form of wishful thinking. I’ve heard and read that Biden is the accelerationist choice, that Trump is the accelerationist choice because he will be the death of the DNC (lol), and any number of variations. To be clear, I am referencing the same definition you’ll find on wikipedia which I happen to think most encapsulates what the modern American accelerationist might hope to achieve, this being accelerationism is the idea that capitalism and its historically associated processes should be accelerated instead of overcome in order to generate radical social change. If this is the definition I labored under (and if I had an idea of the two political parties in this country being like two ends of a rope that have drastically different interpretations of how our capitalism should be calibrated), then I would likely judge Biden to be the “accelerationist” candidate, because I feel neoliberal hellplanet will collapse sooner than neoconservative hellplanet. The same argument could be made for basically any candidate with very few exceptions.
I believe the accelerationist reasoning in each of these examples forgets (or willfully ignores) a number of things: One, that the only real divide between the DNC and the GOP–and specifically the elite tooling of either for the means of wealth extraction, power struggle, and so on–is essentially marketing; Two, that our “late stage capitalism” is by no means in its death throes; Three (perhaps the most damning for these arguments), the final two candidates each election are members of the ruling elite supplied by the ruling elite, and the last I’ll list; Four, the timeline supposedly being “accelerated” is already hundreds of years old, or even thousands depending on what it is you’re observing, and could be much older, and very arrogantly assumes both that capitalism has a life cycle which plays out in stages (your ‘the death of feudalism brought forth capitalism, which will bring forth postcapitalism,’ for example) with an endpoint somehow being defined by the penultimate step “???” and its successor “Profit,” ??? here often referencing acceleration itself and Profit referencing Left revolution.
You might remember Zizek saying in 2016 that he would vote for Trump, because he was probably more likely to disrupt the status quo here. The exact quote is here. He describes it as his very, very desperate hope that “[…]if Trump wins, both big parties, Republicans and Democrats would have to return to basics, rethink themselves, and maybe some things can happen there.” He also inadvertently demonstrated wonderful foresight when he said in reference to the ’16 election, “If Trump remains the Republican candidate, we will get a true “feelgood election”—in spite of all our problems and petty squabbles, when there is a real threat we can all come together in defence of our basic democratic values, like France did after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015.”
Here was our second “feelgood election.” Joe “’94 Crime Bill, NAFTA, Bankruptcy And Student Loan Improver, Iraq, Patriot Act, And So On” Biden somehow took the primary despite being in the top three most embarrassing candidates to dribble out nonsense again and again and again, and yet another little worm from California received the fast track to one of the highest offices on the entire planet but get this–she’s a half black girlboss! The mainstream media ran wonderful headlines such as “Biden Is Far Less Unpopular Than Clinton Was Four Years Ago, Polling Shows” (he was a massive four percent more popular). Countless memes, articles, reddit posts, tweets, conversations, sound bites, and so on described what did happen as what would happen: the Democratic Party continued to drift at sometimes blistering speeds to the right. One right-of-center portion of the country swallowed up a cult of personality as easily as another right-of-center portion of the country had done the same, and for the next four years we’ll watch that first portion celebrate their cult after constantly screaming about the second portion celebrating their own for four years.
Now it’s undeniable that some leftist action was spurred into life. This subreddit is a nice example. Unions received members, political organizations were founded and grew. Terms such as mutual aid and direct action are seeing quite a bit of practice and discussion, relatively speaking. As many people swallowed deeper the grillpill, others still became active in one way or another, specifically having their confidence in the state undermined. These examples and more are another interpretation of accelerationism: that the worse things get, the more leftism will be birthed from it.
Proponents of this interpretation have a misjudgment of what has happened and seek to point to these results as proof of concept–things got bad, more leftism happened. My great fear regarding accelerationist thinking is that its myriad hopeful utilizations exclusively serve to spawn a new group of useful idiots, and here we see a perfect example. Along with all this business, which is beneficial to ‘The Left’, we received quite a bit of trouble: The Establishment, let’s say, birthed out onto a plate a candidate so vile that the words “Is Far Less Unpopular Than Clinton Was Four Years Ago, Polling Shows” were maddeningly printed in earnest and enough Americans ate that shit with a smile to elect him. This establishment is made up of those who benefited most from Trump’s tax cuts, who were most sheltered as hundreds of thousands died and still more lost their livelihoods or their homes, or both. This establishment contains our warmongers, our Bezoses and Musks, our Buttigiegs and Rices, our Cheneys and Bushes. Anyone who thinks this establishment wasn’t cackling and absolutely beating its meat as Daddy Trump ‘4D chessed’ up some of their finest years is either out of their mind or irrational, and anyone who thinks this establishment wouldn’t have loved another 4 years is both.
Authoritarianism invited further authoritarianism and Trump–remember, the ‘accelerationist’ candidate–is now used as a bludgeon to argue that it’s morally good, and even ‘progressive’ with the VP. The rich continued to get rich. Those that many were sure would fracture off the democratic shuttle’s current trajectory–our would-be idiots-in-arms–are instead placated and returning to brunch in droves after our feelgood election. Protesters and looters are labelled as violent anarchists, and the militarized anti-terrorist police force finally has its domestic boogeymen in Antifa, the Proud Boys, etc. We’ll bailout whichever sector of the economy bursts first. I’m sure we’ll do something nice about policing and incarceration. Wages will remain stagnant, unions will remain suppressed, college will continue to degrade into a subprime mortgage lending crisis and will largely continue to be free mostly to those who serve the interests of the military industrial complex (which will soon feed on Iran or some such). The morally pure idpol “left” will continue to be marketed as such while the impure right owns the courts and every other goddamn thing. The wealth gap and debt pile grow. Small businesses have been slaughtered wholesale even as corporations were quietly bailed out with stock buybacks.
We see our enemies and our cancers emboldened–and almost exclusively emboldened. And worse, our would-be ideological adjacents drift further away from us, either toward the bliss of idpol, or ignorance, or to the GOP, or into apathy, or a combination of these and any number of other things. Those spurred into mutual aid and so on are outliers. The cancerous mass at the top only grows. And it doesn’t feel like we’re in a worse position than we would’ve been after Hillary–it seems somewhat like we’re perfectly set where the makers of chains ought to want us.
In fact, Trump set a number of precedents which surpassed Hillary’s neoliberal inertia in terms of expanding the toolbag. For those of you not in the know Article II of the Constitution describes the office in just a handful of paragraphs. In fact, the concept of “presidential behavior” is shaped by unwritten traditions and expectations. Merely violating these norms do not break any laws. Trump can fire people in oversight positions and replace them with loyalists, as long as he isn’t breaking any law in doing so. And while the Democrats screeched in bewilderment as he refused oversight, interfered to some degree in DOJ investigations, ran his ridiculous appointments scheme and whathaveyou, and while Trump’s supporters were gleefully cackling, you can believe the DNC was taking notes. And you can be sure that they know Biden will be judged even more softly than his old co-worker.
The argument needs to be made by the accelerationist that all of these things have brought us further down that nebulous road to revolution, or at least significant change. And when they describe how further economic strife will lead to more social programs, they’ll need to have a good reason as to why they expect the Biden administration to institute these–especially in wartime. Expect the industries profiting off of idpol’s undermining of Leftist causes to be just fine without a Trump to wail at. While I’d consider myself well-read on the coming strifes due to climate change and overpopulation and so on, all that was accelerated through electoralism was–I believe–stabilization of our next chapter in governance.
As a disclaimer, I don’t know anything.