techno utopianism

via Kevin Carson [via p2p foundation]

techno utopianism series

I. Capitalist Techno-Utopianism from Daniel Bell On
II. Categories of Leftist Techno-Utopianism
III. Other Non-Capitalist Techno-Utopianisms

IV. Analysis: Comparison of the Two Strands of Techno-Utopianism

  • Areas of commonality

V. Paul Mason
VI. Left-Wing Critiques of Mason

1\ counterfeit and real

Going back to Shenhav, “American management theory was presented as a scientific technique administered for the good of society as a whole without relation to politics.” [10] Taylor saw bureaucracy as “a solution to ideological cleavages, as an engineering remedy to the war between the classes.”


[11] At the level of state policy, the Progressives’ professionalized approach to politics was “perceived to be objective and rational, above the give-and-take of political conflict.” It reflected “a pragmatic culture in which conflicts were diffused and ideological differences resolved.” [12] Both Progressives and industrial engineers “were horrified at the possibility of ‘class warfare’” and saw “efficiency” as a means to “social harmony, making each workman’s interest the same as that of his employers.”



But the class struggles remain very much real — only under post-industrialism they center on the ownership, not of land or physical capital, but of knowledge


Knowledge can only be a wealth-creating resource — or capital — if it is owned. It can function as a source of rents only if it is enclosed, if access to it is restricted, if tribute can be demanded for allowing such access.

whoa.. wealth means…?

It’s no coincidence that the most fervent enthusiasts of the “Information Superhighway” in the ’90s, were also strident advocates of draconian “intellectual property” laws and subsidies to the telecom industry.


Although Romer classifies “intellectual property” as an “institution of the market,” it is in fact no such thing (except perhaps insofar as it’s an institution that enables people to charge money for something on the “market,” in the sense of the cash nexus, that would otherwise be naturally free). The fact that he distinguishes IP, as an “institution of the market,” from “institutions of science” like free sharing of knowledge, is an admission that for him the “market” is not simply the realm of voluntary interaction but the cash nexus as such. “Intellectual property” is an artificial creation of the state.

property ness


A firm that invested significant sums in innovation, but sold only at marginal cost, could not survive as a price-taker. It is necessary, therefore, that the benefits of innovation — even though non-rival by their nature — be at least partially excludable through “intellectual property” law. [23]

non rivalrous

And cognitive capitalism and Romer’s “new growth theory” are implicit in all the models of “progressive capitalism,” “green capitalism” and the like that we hear from Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Bono and their ilk. …

2/ categories of leftist

The ruling class, by definition, always selects among the variety of technological alternatives for one that best serves its interest; it follows that the ruling classes’ need for control is built into whatever technology is in use and there is exploitative by its very nature.


the very real class agenda embodied in that project. [28]


It makes the mistake of equating “capitalism’s intentions and its capacities,” and “ignores the consequences of [workers’] counter-strategies and resistances.” In particular, it neglects “the possibility — particularly apparent in the field of media and communications technologies — that capital’s laboring subjects may find real use-values, perhaps even subversive ones, for the new technologies.


Even post-Fordists from a Marxist background tend to downplay the significance of class conflict and the contradictions of late capitalism, instead framing the emergence of a post-capitalist society in largely peaceful and evolutionary terms.


One of the most important forms this contestation takes is workers use of “their ‘invention power’ — the creative capacity on which capital depends for its incessant innovation — in order to reappropriate technology


The “system of social machines” increasingly constitutes an everyday ambience of potentials to be tapped and explored. The elaboration and alteration of this habitat become so pervasively socialized that they can no longer be exclusively dictated by capital. [36] – dyer witheford

rev of everyday life..


Dyer-Witheford’s analysis is rooted in Antonio Negri’s Grundrisse-based approach to Marx, a treatment of class antagonism framed around the working class as revolutionary subject and constitutive element of communist society, and its historic role of abolishing “work” as a conceptual category as it now exists.

rushkoff job law et al


Thus labour can only be defined in terms of the relations of exchange and the capitalist structure of production.  – Grundrisse- Negri


Getting back to Dyer-Witheford’s own analysis of revolutionary subjectivity, it follows from all this that the main form of revolution ceases to be seizing the factories, and instead becomes — to use the term of perhaps the most notable autonomists, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri — “exodus.” …. Because the “social factory” is immaterial and permeates every aspect of life, there is no need to physically seize it

ps in the open ness

Likewise, as Dyer-Witheford paraphrases Negri, “the new communicative capacities and technological competencies manifesting in the contemporary work force…”

exist in “virtual” form among the contingent and unemployed labor force. They are not so much the products of a particular training or specific work environment but rather the premises and prerequisites of everyday life in a highly integrated technoscientific system permeated by machines and media. [

rev in reverse.. a nother way.. hosting life bits.. io dance .. et al

he whole of society becomes a wired workplace — but also a potential site for the interruption of capital’s integrated circuit. [47]


[Such alliances] expand the boundaries of official “labor” politics, so that the agency of countermobilization against capital begins to become, not so much the trade union, defined as a purely workplace organization, but rather the “labor/community alliance,” with a broader, social sphere of demands and interests. [49]

great… but not broad/systemic enough revolution ness… as seen in ie: stu voice ness… getting voice.. but minds still stuck in supposed to’s… so anything beyond the box seems like the real freedom.. when it’s just an interation of the box.. a kinder box


the Empire trilogy, coauthored by Negri and Michael Hardt, was a masterpiece of the autonomist tradition. And in particular the concept of “Exodus,” developed in the last book of the trilogy (Commonwealth) was a direct outgrowth of the ideas in Negri’s earlier work as well as Dyer-Witheford’s.

commonwealth/empire n&h


Living beings as fixed capital are at the center of this transformation, and the production of forms of life is becoming the basis of added value.

story about people grokking what matters

This is a process in which putting to work human faculties, competences, and knowledges — those acquired on the job but, more important, those accumulated outside work interacting with automated and computerized productive systems — is directly productive of value. One distinctive feature of the work of head and heart, then, is that paradoxically the object of production is really a subject, defined… by a social relationship or a form of life. [50]

Capitalist accumulation today is increasingly external to the production process, such that exploitation takes the form of expropriation of the common. [51]

To be sure Negri recently backtracked to some extent on his earlier focus on Exodus, based on what I consider a false lesson taken from the ostensible “failure” of horizontalist movements like M15, Syntagma and Occupy. In a 2015 interview he criticized the “exclusive horizontalism” of the 2011 movements, and suggested based on his assessment of those movements that a partial shift of focus towards seizing power was necessary.

[..] – N on horizontalism

Now we can reinterpret the question of power in terms of multitudes, in terms of absolute democracy — that is to say, in terms of a democracy that goes beyond canonical institutional forms such as monarchy, aristocracy and “democracy.” I believe that today the problem of democracy is best formulated and addressed in terms of the multitude. [52]

in terms of multitude… perhaps in particular in terms of redefining decision making.. jo freeman’s structureless ness.. and entropy.. and disengaging from consensus..


But unlike that of the maroons, this exodus does not necessarily mean going elsewhere. We can pursue a line of flight while staying right here, by transforming the relations of production and mode of social organization under which we live.


I think assessments that the wave of movements that began in 2011 somehow “failed” are fundamentally wrong-headed. The very choice of the word “failure” ignores the fact that networked struggles like Seattle, the Arab Spring and Occupy tend to reproduce themselves from one geographical location to another. Note that the following extended passage was written after the Seattle movement, but before the Arab Spring:


The global cycle of struggles develops in the form of distributed network. Each local struggle functions as a node that communicates with all the other nodes without any hub or center of intelligence. Each struggle remains singular and tied to its local conditions but at the same time is immersed in the common web. This form of organization is the most fully realized example we have of the multitude.


Both David Graeber and Immanuel Wallerstein regard the various networked movements since the EZLN uprising in 1994 as a continuing “revolutionary cycle” or “Fourth World War.” — in Wallerstein’s opinion being “the beginning of the counteroffensive of the world left against the relatively short-lived successes of the world right between the 1970s and 1994….” [55]

So rather than asking “What happened to Occupy?” or “What happened to 15-M?” as though they were discrete entities with a beginning and an end, it makes more sense to think of the whole trajectory of movements including the Arab Spring, M15 and Syntagma, Madison, Occupy, Quebec, the N14 General Strike, and so on, as one loose global network of associated networked movements


Here’s how Nathan Schneider described the phenomenon in an interview:

What did Occupy Wall Street succeed at? What did it fail at?

It very powerfully succeeded at introducing activists from around the country to one another and turned a lot of people into activists that weren’t before. It produced a tremendous number of networks, both online and offline, which continue to mobilize people on a number of fronts, though few are still called Occupy. …

What innovation in this area do you think is in store for us in the future? What should we be getting excited about?

…This is a movement that has an endless number of clever ideas appearing all the time, but it’s never clear which ones are going to rise above the rest until it happens. The next big idea might very well not be called “Occupy”, which may be a good thing — but the chances are high that, even so, it will be the result of networks that were forged during the Occupy movement. [56]

John Holloway…

Do you think there is a way to perpetuate such cracks beyond these economic ‘hard times’? Or is this type of autonomous popular self-organization bound to be something that flourishes in times of crisis and then secedes back into this kind of Kirchnerismo-style state capitalist populism?

shock doctrine ness

I don’t know, first I don’t think times necessarily get better and secondly I’m not sure that we should worry too much about perpetuation. If you look at Argentina, there was clearly a sense that things did get better. Like the economy, rates of profit recovered, in which a lot of the movements of 2001 and 2002 became sucked in into the state. But the problems have obviously reappeared somewhere else. If you look at Spain and Greece, firstly there are no short-term perspectives of things getting substantially better. Secondly, if they did get better, then the crisis would move on somewhere else. And the search for alternative ways of living moves on.

a nother way..

I think there is a growing sense throughout the world that capitalism isn’t working. There is a growing confidence perhaps that the cracks we create or the crazinesses we create may really be the basis for a new world and a new society, and may really be the only way forward.


What I don’t like about the idea of perpetuation is that it has to be a smooth upward progress. I don’t think it works like that. I think it’s more like a social flow of rebellion, something that moves throughout the world, with eruptions in one place and then in another place. But there are continuities below the discontinuities. We have to think in terms of disrupting bubbling movements rather than thinking that it all depends on whether we can perpetuate the movement in one place. If we think in terms of perpetuation in one place, I think at times it can lead us into either an institutionalization, which I think is not much help, or it can lead us into a sense of defeat, perhaps, which I don’t think is right. [57]



The most important thing to remember, as Graeber points out, is that “once people’s political horizons have been broadened, the change is permanent.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans (and not only Americans, of course, but Greeks, Spaniards, and Tunisians) now have direct experience of self-organization, collective action, and human solidarity.


But second, and at least as important, we have to ask ourselves what kind of “success” is likely to be achieved by leavening predominantly horizontal movements with a bit of verticalism in the form of electoral movements. Admittedly, the idea of supplementing horizontalist movements based on prefigurative politics and counter-institution building, with auxiliary political parties aimed at capturing the state and running political interference for the real effort of building the new society within the shell of the old, or perhaps helping the transition process along, sounds superficially plausible. The problem is that, in practice, such political parties wind up sucking the energy and life out of the counter-institution building effort in civil society, and diverting it instead into parliamentary politics. Or worse yet, when political parties formed out of horizontalist movements actually achieve state power, as with Syriza in Greece, they actually sabotage the efforts of those movements or give away their gains on the ground in order to cut a “realistic” deal with capitalist states. [5

exactly.. gupta roadblock law… huge

3\ other non- capitalists

For the autonomists and like-minded thinkers, the goal is Exodus rather than taking power. Since the means of production are increasingly coextensive with our relationships in civil society, we no longer need the obsolescent institutions of state and capital. We just need to tear down their enclosures of the social economy we’ve already built — and that can be done, to a large extent, by circumvention rather than conquest.

4\ John Holloway

A good contemporary specimen of the type is John Holloway’s approach of “changing the world without taking power.” That means

to create, within the very society that is being rejected, spaces, moments, or areas of activity in which a different world is prefigured. Rebellions in motion. From this perspective, the idea of organization is no longer equivalent to that of the party, but rather entails the question of how the different cracks that unravel the fabric of capitalism can recognize each other and connect.

…In the last twenty or thirty years we find a great many movements that claim something else: it is possible to emancipate human activity from alienated labor by opening up cracks where one is able to do things differently, to do something that seems useful, necessary, and worthwhile to us; an activity that is not subordinated to the logic of profit.


If we’re not going to accept the annihilation of humanity, which, to me, seems to be on capitalism’s agenda as a real possibility, then the only alternative is to think that our movements are the birth of another world. We have to keep building cracks and finding ways of recognizing them, strengthening them, expanding them, connecting them; seeking the confluence or, preferably, the commoning of the cracks.

entropy. – commons ness

…[L]et’s bear in mind that a precondition for the French Revolution was that, at a certain point, the social network of bourgeois relations no longer needed the aristocracy in order to exist. Likewise, we must work to reach a point where we can say “we don’t care if global capital isn’t investing in Spain, because we’ve built a mutual support network that’s strong enough to enable us to live with dignity.” [60]

rev in reverse


Guy Standing used the term “labourism” to describe this tendency on the Old Left (including Leninist Communism, Social Democracy and CIO-style industrial unionism). Unlike earlier socialist and anarchist models that looked forward to increasing leisure and autonomy and a shrinkage of both the cash nexus and the wage system, social democracy and industrial unionism presupposed universal full-time employment at wage labor as the norm.

They aimed at “full employment” with good wages, benefits and job security, with the understanding that management would be allowed to manage and labor would stay out of matters regarded as “management prerogatives” in return for these things. The “full employment” agenda meant

all men in full-time jobs. Besides being sexist, this neglected all forms of work that were not labour (including reproductive work in the home, caring for others, work in the community, and other self-chosen activities). It also erased a vision of freedom from labour that had figured powerfully in radical thinking in previous ages. [65]

But since then — especially in the past two decades — the conventional full-time wage employment model has become increasingly irrelevant.


All this suggests we need a new model for struggle and for the post-capitalist transition.


5\ Michel Bauwens

The main role of the US Navy is to keep the major sea lanes open at general taxpayer expense to subsidize the transportation of oil and other looted natural resources from the Global South, and to provide secure shipping lanes for container ships hauling offshored production back to the shelves of Walmart.

shock doctrine ness


Capitalism — like every other class society in history — has likewise depended since the beginning on artificial scarcities. Such scarcities include all forms of artificial property rights that erect barriers between labor and natural productive opportunities, so that producers can be forced to work harder than necessary in order support privileged classes in addition to themselves.

eisenstein et al


Perhaps the most important form of artificial scarcity today is so-called “intellectual property,” which is a legal monopoly on the right to perform certain tasks or use certain knowledge, rather than engrossment of the means of production themselves.


Like the classical slave economy and feudalism, capitalist political economy is reaching crises of extensive inputs and will be supplanted by a successor system that is able to pursue intensive use of inputs in ways its predecessor couldn’t.

output et al – self talk as data


The first transition: Rome to feudalism


It is in this context that Perry Anderson mentions for example that when Germanic tribes were about to lay siege to a Roman city, they would offer to free the slaves, leading to an exodus of the city population.

refugee camps as means to model a nother way


Hence, the phase transition goes something like this: 1) systemic crisis ; 2) exodus 3) mutual reconfiguration of the classes.


The second transition: feudalism to capitalism


Hypothesis of a third transition: capitalism to peer to peer

Again, we have a system faced with a crisis of extensive globalization, where nature itself has become the ultimate limit. It’s way out, cognitive capitalism, shows itself to be a mirage.

cognitive capitalism…  feeling of getting free.. but not really.. just another mirror.. feedback loop broken ness

What we have then is an exodus, which takes multiple forms: precarity and flight from the salaried conditions; disenchantement with the salaried condition and turn towards passionate production. The formation of communities and commons are shared knowledge, code and design which show themselves to be a superior mode of social and economic organization.

The exodus into peer production creates a mutual reconfiguration of the classes.

perhaps what we’re missing.. and what we can now do… reconfigure (disengage from) classes.. to thumbprints… ie.. nationality/class: human

no more labels

A section of capital becomes netarchical and ‘empowers and enables peer production’, while attempting to extract value from it, but thereby also building the new infrastructures of cooperation.

io dance in place.. hosting life bits… et al

This process will take time but there is one crucial difference: the biosphere will not allow centuries of transition. So the maturation of the new configuration will have to consolidate faster and the political revolutions come earlier

perhaps exponential fast.. as in.. leap…for (blank)’s sake

not just because: faster… but perhaps only way to disengage from irrelevants.. ie: no training manuals… no business plans…  not even youtube tutorials… just live people model ing a nother way

[see comments from this post – i added to word]


Cognitive capitalism” is increasingly dependent on p2p productive relations and communications infrastructures, and is attempting to incorporate them into its old corporate framework as a way of injecting life into the dying system. But it is a force that cannot be contained within the institutional framework of the old society, and can only come into its full development as the basis for a successor society.

indeed – cog capitalism as dependent … not regenerative.. begs a nother way


It can be argued that the adoption of P2P processes is in fact essential for competitiveness: a strong foundation of P2P technologies, the use of free or open source software, processes for collective intelligence building, free and fluid cooperation, are now all necessary facets of the contemporary corporation

competition..only perpetuates scarcity mentalities… need to boldly say.. good bye cycle.. hello stigmergy..

On the other hand, P2P systems are not just the outcome of plans of the establishment, but are the result of the active intervention of consumers avid for free access to culture, of knowledge workers actively working to find technical solutions for their needed cooperative work, and of activists consciously working for the creation of tools for an emerging participative culture. P2P is both ‘within’ and ‘beyond’ the current system. [74]

two loop theory (w in and beyond) … already happening..
in need of exodus type leap.. for blank s sake

Some of the more “progressive” elites see “cognitive capitalism” as a way out of the crisis, but it simply isn’t a viable alternative. Although cognitive capitalism needs P2P, “it cannot cope with it very well, and often P2P is seen as a threat…. [W]hile being part and parcel of the capitalist and postmodern logics, it also already points beyond it….” [75]

And in addition, as we saw above, the artificial scarcities on which rent extraction depends are becoming largely *unenforceable in the information realm.

we re lucky becoming *un enforceable…. too big to know… starfish ness

if they ever were.. ie:only by inhumane violence


1) The creation of non-monetary value is exponential
2) The monetization of such value is linear

In other words, we have a growing discrepancy between the direct creation of use value through social relationships and collective intelligence (open platforms create near infinite value through the operations of the laws of Metcalfe and Reed), but only a fraction of that value can actually be captured by business and money.


Furthermore, we lack a mechanism for the existing institutional world to *re-fund what it receives from the social world. So on top of all of that, we have a crisis of social reproduction: peer production is collective sustainable, but not individually. For all of this, we will need new policies, major reforms and restructurations in our economy and society.

*re fund – jessica o ness –  we hvae the means.. we just have to have the will.. to let go.. and let 7 bill people (jessica’s et al) figure out the refund ing/restructuations ness


Much as when “Marx identified the manufacturing plants of Manchester as the blueprint for the new capitalist society,” Bauwens sees commons-based peer production as the core logic of the post-capitalist successor society. [78]

  • Its product is not exchange value for a market, but use-value for a community of users.

huge to what blockchain could be used for… facilitating whimsy.. not measuring exchange/transaction

ie: hosting life bits.. io dance .. et al


  • P2P could be expanded and sustained through the introduction of universal basic income. [83]

(As an anarchist who sees universal basic income as a positive step compared to the capitalist welfare state but also sees it as at least potentially problematic as an end-state institution, I would note that the same function is likely to be served by other, more decentralized voluntary institutions for pooling costs, risks and income through micro-villages, multi-family cohousing units and the like.)

indeed – seeing bi/radical econ as temporary placebo… why it needs to be no strings… goal is that it is invisible..irrelevant.. ie: short bp


The peer-to-peer vision relies upon the three major sectors of society — the state, market and civil society — but with different roles and in a revitalized equilibrium. At the core of the new society is civil society, with the commons as its main institution, which uses peer production to generate common value outside of the market logic. These commons consist of both the natural heritage of mankind (oceans, the atmosphere, land, etc.), and commons that are created through collective societal innovation, many of which can be freely shared because of their immaterial nature (shared knowledge, software and design, culture and science). Civil society hosts a wide variety of activities that are naturally and structurally beneficial to the commons — not in an indirect and hypothetical way, as claimed by the “Invisible Hand” metaphor, but in a direct way, by entities that are structurally and constitutionally designed to work for the common good. This sphere includes entities such as trusts, which act as stewards of physical resources of common use (land trusts, natural parks), and for-benefit foundations, which help maintain the infrastructure of cooperation for cultural and digital commons. …


in the P2P economy this private sphere is reformed to serve more ethical ends by using proper taxation, revenue and benefit-sharing modalities to help generate positive externalities, e.g., infrastructure, shareable knowledge, and by using taxation, competition, and rent-for-use to minimize negative externalities, e.g., pollution, overuse of collective resources.

Cooperative enterprises are the more prominent and developed form of private organization in this new economy. [84]

perhaps there’s another way.. wo tax/coops as  enterprise..


The public sector of the P2P economy is neither a corporate welfare state at the service of a financial elite, nor a welfare state that has a paternalistic relation to civil society, but a Partner State, which serves civil society and takes responsibility for the metagovernance of the three spheres. The Partner State is dedicated to supporting “the common value creation of the civic sphere”; the “market” and the “mission-oriented” activities of the new private sphere; and all the public services that are necessary for the common good of all citizens.

It is very important here to distinguish the market from capitalism. Markets predate capitalism, and are a simple technique to allocate resources through the meeting of supply and demand using some medium of exchange


The essential characteristic of the new system is that the commons is the new core, and a variety of hybrid mechanisms can productively coexist around it, including reformed market and state forms. [86]

1 yr to try commons…huge

“Firstly, there is the mutualisation of knowledge, the idea that it is unethical to withhold basic keys of knowledge that could solve the problems of the world.

“The second key point of open-source is called the `sharing economy’. It involves mutualising idle resources.

“The third point is relocalising production. New types of technology — such as 3-D printing — mean we can apply a typical rule: what is physically heavy is produced locally; what is light is globally distributed.”


“Studies have shown that two-thirds of matter and energy go into the transportation of goods, not their actual production.


Although his approach is closer to the Exodus and horizontalism of Negri and Hardt, it is not purely one of quietism towards the state. Bauwens sees a need for active engagement with the state to manage the transition and to run interference on behalf of emergent P2P institutions, even if the primary path is evolutionary rather than by seizure of the state and implementation of a post-capitalist successor society through it.


Thus what we must do first is building bridges of cooperation and understanding across the social fields. …

huge to what blockchain could be used for… facilitating whimsy.. not measuring exchange/transaction

ie: hosting life bits.. io dance .. et al

…[T]he second step is to “furiously” build the commons.


By feeding our immaterial and spiritual needs outside of the consumption system, we can stop the logic which is destroying our ecosphere

pluralistic ignorance – revealed and disengaged


Thus, the P2P ethos demands a conversion, to a point of view, to a set of skills, which allow us to focus ourselves to fulfilling our immaterial and spiritual needs directly, and not through a perverted mechanism of consumption. As we focus on friendships, connections, love, knowledge exchange, the cooperative search for wisdom, the construction of common resources and use value, we direct our attention away from the artificial needs that are currently promoted, and this time we personally and collectively stop feeding the Beast that we have ourselves created. [88]

[from comments… added to words page – idiosyncratic jargon ness – interpretation ness.. and graeber model/revolution law ness]:

All well and good, but I must say if you wish to assist in the growth of humanity please write in *more simple terms. (isomorphism? **Wtf)
Can you point me towards an explanation of your ideas that ***a 12 year old can understand? Try to keep it ****short. Point to *****real examples. I feel like an idiot when I read this. I fear that many important concepts will be disregarded due to way( insert arcane intellectual verbiage) you communicate. Ok, I believe you are one of the smartest guys in the room; as evidenced by my inability to grasp most of the above, but if you can’t reach people does it really matter?
Accept my apologies I know you are doing your best. ******I want to be part of the conversation without having to learn a new language

*more simple – or perhaps.. we let tech help us communicate w/o having to translate/prove/interpret everything

**wtf – ok so acronyms are short.. simple.. but leave many people out of communication loop no..

***a 12 yr old – which 12 yr old..? ie: one that speak english? one that can hear?

****short – modeling is shortest way – no?

*****real examples – how to have real examples when creating/modeling a nother way… means no one has done it before.. [is this a real example of how we don’t grok there are no real – perhaps partial but not real/full – examples if you’re proposing something new]

******w/o learning new language –  back to idiosyncratic jargon

6\ accelerationism

Accelerationism, like autonomism and commons-based peer production, aims at unleashing productive forces from their capitalist institutional constraints, and achieving a world without work.


Accelerationism is the basic belief that these capacities can and should be let loose by moving beyond the limitations imposed by capitalist society. [89]


Although Accelerationism celebrates advances in cybernetic technology and network communications as the building blocks of post-scarcity communism, it is tone deaf when it comes to the specific nature of the promise offered by these technologies, and actually runs directly counter to them. This failure includes a lazy conflation of localism and horizontalism with primitivism and backwardness (to the point of treating “neo-primitivist localism” as a single phrase), and a lionization of verticality, centralism and planning.

missing it ness… by not disengaging


an accelerationist politics seeks to preserve the gains of late capitalism while going further than its value system, governance structures, and mass pathologies will allow. …

begs our imagination.. set us free


what we are arguing for is not techno-utopianism. Never believe that technology will be sufficient to save us. Necessary, yes, but never sufficient without socio-political action.


8. We believe that any post-capitalism will require post-capitalist planning. The faith placed in the idea that, after a revolution, the people will spontaneously constitute a novel socioeconomic system that isn’t simply a return to capitalism is naïve at best, and ignorant at worst. To further this, we must develop both a cognitive map of the existing system and a speculative image of the future economic system.

a non planning planning… ie: design for whimsy – stigmergy – entropy – antifragility


10. Any transformation of society must involve economic and social experimentation.

life must experiment to remain alive.. no..?


11. ……. Platforms are the infrastructure of global society. …… While much of the current global platform is biased towards capitalist social relations, this is not an inevitable necessity. These material platforms of production, finance, logistics, and consumption can and will be reprogrammed and reformatted towards post-capitalist ends.


14. … We need to posit a collectively controlled legitimate vertical authority in addition to distributed horizontal forms of sociality, to avoid becoming the slaves of either a tyrannical totalitarian centralism or a capricious emergent order beyond our control. The command of The Plan must be married to the improvised order of The Network. [91]

Given the amount of straw consumed in these passages it’s a wonder Nebraska has any left. To begin at the end, equating the stigmergic order of networks to “improvisation” is about as clueless as it’s humanly possible to be. And reducing the tactics of the horizontalist movements to “marching, holding signs, and establishing temporary autonomous zones” is an insult to the enormous effort of building counter-institutions by activists in M15,
Syntagma, Occupy and all over the world.


Michel Bauwens compares the Accelerationist approach to politics to that of the P2P Foundation:

What is seems to be in the end, is that the combined demand for full automation and the basic income, functions as an utopia, and while utopias are very useful to free the mind and the desires and show possibilities, they are also dangerous. They appear to be a political program to unite a variety of forces, who win power and then, afterwards, can start changing things. But what if we do not gain power this way?

At the P2P Foundation, we see that a bit differently. The first task is to create prefigurative livelihoods which actually embody different post-capitalist logics, and to build social and political forces around this concrete transformative change. …

In the end, asking for two utopian demands that are extremely hard to achieve and impose, seems an expression of the traditional leftist strategy, that we must first win power, and then ‘we will change everything’. The alternative is to build the future right now, to change the mode and relations of production where we can, right now, and to build political power and transition proposals on the basis of a counter-hegemony that has already changed reality through its practice and strength. [92]

7\ analysis.. comparison of two strands

Monopolies transfer income from workers and consumers to rentiers. And the authoritarian form taken by the technologies, as they are developed under a proprietary information regime, regards users less as the ultimate reason for the technologies than as a revenue stream to be permanently locked in via user agreements and licensing.


Lewis Mumford borrowed a term from geology — “cultural pseudo-morph” — to describe the process by which new, potentially liberating technologies were instead incorporated into the institutional forms of the old world, like new mineral deposits that gradually formed a fossil in the shape of buried organic matter.


The new technological wine still remained in the old corporate bottles, thanks to the use of patents and trademarks to enforce a corporate monopoly on the distribution of a product they didn’t actually make. But the rapid implosion in cost and scale of tabletop CNC machinery, especially open-source versions, are unleashing productive forces that are making “intellectual property” unenforceable. It’s only a matter of time before garage factories using small-scale general-purpose machinery to produce on a craft model are ignoring patents and trademarks and making goods for local neighborhood markets all over the world.


tech as it could be