Reclaim Radical Futures

“The Right is primarily after power, in the fight for power (which for example it does not possess in Poland today) it is prepared to advance any leftist slogans that can count on popular appear. Let us speak openly: contempt for ideology is the strength of the Right because it allows for greater flexibility in practice and for the arbitrary use of any facade that will facilitate the seizure of power” Leszek Kolakowski ‘The Concept of the Left’

With the anti-defamation league recently publishing an article conflating accelerationism with a particularly violent strand of an already reactionary ideology. It occurred to me, that aside from the fact that much interesting, exploratory and emancipatory work has been done under the header of accelerationism and that it would be a shame to surrender the term due to its recent co-option, the strategy of re-purposing slogans, phrases and titles, of progressive ideologies to muddy the waters is not a new one.

In the early part of the 19th century, Murray Rothbard a previous adherent to the “Old Right” began dabbling with the ideas of individualist anarchism rejecting the minarchist stances approved by his peers in favour of complete state abolition. However, rather than the labour theory of value advocated developed by the iconic American economist Adam Smith and later expanded by David Ricardo and Karl Marx. Rothbard looked to incorporate Austrian School economics, suggesting that rather than the value of goods being in some way determined by their labour. They were instead to principally determined by their marginal utility, that is to say, the benefit or satisfaction derived by consuming a product. With this in mind, the way was paved for wages to be determined precisely by how much buyers of their services value the labour or indeed what the labour produces. 

Like the individualist anarchists Tucker and Spooner, Rothbard believed strongly in the idea that the defence of liberty and property should be provided in the free market rather than by the state. The idea being that competition would drive down costs to those who provided the best services at the lowest price. The resultant ideology Rothbard named anarcho-capitalism. However whilst anarcho-capitalism appeared to promise the full flourishing of the individual it became quite clear that Rothbard’s ideas deviated considerably from Spooner who advocated against wage labour instead advocating for communities of associated producers rather than establishments being held in the hands of a few business owners. Additionally, Anarcho-capitalism promoted the ideas of private defence,  justice, defence and courts would be subject to monetary pressures, potentially leading to those who had amassed the most having an outsized say over the legal system.

Anarcho-capitalism, in my opinion, is a doctrinal system which, if ever implemented, would lead to forms of tyranny and oppression that have few counterparts in human history. There isn’t the slightest possibility that its (in my view, horrendous) ideas would be implemented because they would quickly destroy any society that made this colossal error. The idea of “free contract” between the potentate and his starving subject is a sick joke, perhaps worth some moments in an academic seminar exploring the consequences of (in my view, absurd) ideas, but nowhere else. Noam Chomsky ‘On Anarchism’

Robert Nozick pointed out that pricing judicial institutions would most likely lead to a natural monopoly where once again a particular court system would wield disproportionate influence. Additionally, the general idea behind an anarcho-capitalist conception of voluntary wage labour ignores the basis of voluntary transaction namely a truly free choice, where an individual confronted by an active restriction of resources would most likely be pushed into taking up labour under conditions, they may not have chosen otherwise.

These conditions also exist in other contexts but they are anathema to the anarchism of Proudhon which advocated the abolition of private property and the restatement of the commons, or the anarcho-communism of Kropotkin who suggest a society not based on remuneration for labour but one based on need. Crucially both of these emancipatory projects looked to break away from the concept of wage labour rather than reconstitute them absent the state like Anarcho-Capitalism. Rather than trying to escape from what Anarchism deemed as unjust hierarchies, Anarcho-Capitalism offered only attempts to justify these same hierarchies, except this time with little real recourse to escape. 

It’s my contention that the acceleration offered by Siege and others in the reactionary milieu is the same, assuming the title of the name of truly radical theory to reconstitute a reactionary and ultimately conservative vision. Despite not necessarily referring to myself as an accelerationist, I still see the terrain of the radical theory outlined within it as an important one and crucially one that continues to propagate futures which seem truly futuristic and truly other. In order for such futures to continue to flourish within radical theory however it’s important that the ground established by these theories is not simply ceded to those simply looking to create burnt out dystopic visions of the present. 

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