Version 3.2_September 2016
Individual Paper: Accelerating Degrowth?
Accelerationism and Degrowth as contradictory soulmates
A skilled and interdisciplinary use of empowering technologies and proactive visionary thinking is, due to Accelerationist thinkers as Armen Avanessian or Nick Srnicek, the most viable strategy for emancipative transformation. Referring to a long history of left thinking (back to Marx himself), Accelerationist theoreticians claim that emancipation from the oppressive capitalist system should dwell on technology, infrastructure and cultural features developed by capitalism itself (networks, industries, internet, high-tech). Accelerationism doesn’t simply make things ‘faster’ or is a deal with the devil. Rather it is about establishing an open source programming space instead of simply stopping to eat meat or putting up a tent at Wall Street.
This clashes with numerous strains of the Degrowth movement that bank on small-scale direct action, consumer-centered sufficiency politics and sometimes folkloristic and regressive conceptions of ‘good’, small and slow styles of living. My position is that both movements could learn from each other: Accelerationists should be more attentive towards the importance of depth dimensions of change and direct action, while parts of the Degrowth movement should overcome their fixation on local, subject-centered transformation approaches, often accompanied by ‘technological illiteracy’.
Both transforming paths stress different dimensions that are necessary for accomplishing the joint target: an environmentally-socially just and sustainable society. After circumscribing basic features I will explore ways of collaboration between both movements, contributing to the convergence of Degrowth and left political strategies.
Start time: 11:30
Track: Degrowth and other social movements