Crack-Up

katak

“Rotted by digital contagions, modernity is falling to bits”.

Via The Guardian:

It is the most talked about viral scare story of the year so far, blamed for child suicides and violent attacks – but experts and charities have warned that the “Momo challenge” is nothing but a “moral panic” spread by adults.

Warnings about the supposed Momo challenge suggest that children are being encouraged to kill themselves or commit violent acts after receiving messages on messaging service WhatsApp from users with a profile picture of a distorted image of woman with bulging eyes.

[…]

The rumour mill appears to have created a feedback loop, where news coverage of the Momo challenge is prompting schools or the police to warn about the supposed risks posed by the Momo challenge, which has in turn produced more news stories warning about the challenge.

Tremlett said she was now hearing of children who are “white with worry” as a result of media coverage about a supposed threat that did not previously exist.

“It’s a myth that is perpetuated into being some kind of reality,” she said.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

 

 

The Vast Automaton: Notes on Alexei Gastev, Marx, and Andrew Ure

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In 1916 his poem Express: A Siberian Fantasy, Alexei Gastev depicts a journey, undertaken by a high-speed passenger train, across a vast wasteland that has been transformed by the pulsing tumult of industrial modernity. The vision is one of an open future, characterized by the tearing away of the parochial and the old: where there was once empty wilderness, now there are gardens, and where rural backwardness reigned supreme, connections of all sorts proliferate. Cascading networks of electrical systems, towns, roads, railways, and man-made rivers pierce the once-pristine wilderness and draw themselves as the circuits linking great automated factories. Roaring across this landscape at a quickening pace, not even able to stop in order to offload passengers (train cars are simply detached and rolled off onto parallel tracks when destinations come into view), the great train is moving eastward; shrinking behind it is the Old World of Europe, land of decrepit aristocracies and worn out traditions, and coming into view just ahead is the New World, just through a tunnel that passes deep beneath the Bering Strait. “[T]he motors are breathing fast and rumbling, pumping the air, and the tunnel is shaking like a steel pulse in the sleeping waters of the ocean. One half hour—and America”.

The situation depicted in Express is, as Charles Rougle describes, “a vision of the world on the threshold of a great revolutionary cataclysm”. With the real events of the October Revolution still a year out, the near-utopia of the poem was still that of a world dominated by capitalism, albeit one that was in the process of shedding its most regressive features. The anarchy of the market, where firms small and large collided freely in combat, was coming under the sway of great industrial monopolies led by faceless collectives. This is the importance of the ultimate collision of the train—itself perhaps a symbol of the revolutionary agency itself—with America, which in contrast with Old Europe was seen as a laboratory where the cutting-edge of techno-industrial tools and techniques were being forged. There is thus, already at this early of a stage, a foreshadow of Stalin’s comments, laid down in 1924, that the essence of Leninism consisted of the marriage of the “Russian revolutionary sweep” with “American efficiency”.

Indeed, Gastev would play an essential role in promoting this particular synthesis at his Central Institute of Labor (or, as it was more formally known: the Institute for the Scientific Organization of Work and the Mechanization of Man), opened in Moscow in 1920 with the personal support of—and funding arranged by—Lenin. Echoing Georges Sorel’s distinction between the ‘ethics of consumers’ and the ethics of ‘producers’ (the latter of which corresponded, appropriately, to the proletariat), Gastev had described mass society as being the battleground between “two demons”, one aligned with consumption and the other production. Revolution entailed a pact: “We are definitely on the side of the second. And our task is to infect these masses with by every possible proof with an unquenchable passion for effort, labour, energy” [quoted in Kendall Bailes, ‘Alexei Gastev and the Soviet Controversy over Taylorism’]. It was an uphill struggle, as Gastev had to work hand-in-hand with the dominant union system to convince the workers to submit themselves to time-motion studies in order to optimize their movements during the process of industrial production (a goal which could not, of course, be realized, as Gastev’s less mechanistic successors came to realize), which would have the correlated effect of speeding-up work. The horizon of this great work was to be, ultimately, the automatic factory, as he described in a 1919 article for Proletarskaya kul’tura (the official organ of the Proletkult movement, of which he was part):

Before us there is the prospect not only of an individual mechanized worker but of a mechanized system of labour management. Not a person, not an authority, but a “type”-a group-will manage other “types” or groups. Or even a machine, in the literal sense of the word, will manage living people. Machines from being managed will become managers.’

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It is for this reason that Gastev is best remembered as a Soviet Frederick Winslow Taylor. Lenin himself had declared in 1918 that embracing Taylorist scientific management was vital in developing the productive forces, describing it in ‘The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government’ as “the last word of capitalism” and “a combination of the refined brutality of bourgeois exploitation and a number of the greatest scientific achievements”. He continued:

The Soviet Republic must at all costs adopt all that is valuable in the achievements of science and technology in this field. The possibility of building socialism depends exactly upon our success in combining the Soviet power and the Soviet organisation of administration with the up-to-date achievements of capitalism. We must organise in Russia the study and teaching of the Taylor system and systematically try it out and adapt it to our own ends.

What Gastev sought to develop and deploy through his work at the Central Institute could not, however, be reduced to the simple goals pursued by the Taylorists. “Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country” was the dictum put forth by Lenin during the Eighth All-Russia Congress of Soviets. The higher stage of production could only be realized when the symptoms of underdevelopment and reactionary consciousness—small-scale production, the individual proprietor, the shysters and deal-makers, etc—were swept away by the advance of large-scale, industrial production, and it was precisely electrification that served as the necessary precondition for this evolution: “Only when the country has been electrified, and industry, agriculture and transport have been placed on the technical basis of modern large-scale industry, only then shall we be fully victorious”. What this meant, for Gastev, was nothing less than the production of a new type of person, a realization of a New Soviet Man appropriate to this convulsive, energetic epoch. “Electrification is the highest expression of machinism”, he wrote in How to Work. “This is not one machine, this is not a complex of machines, it is not even a machine-factory, not a machine-city, it is a machine-state, and when it is international, it is in the full sense of a mechanized globe… And, of course, in unison with this new machine worldview, you need to take a fresh look at the person”.

The new person would be a “man-assembler, who is full of ideas of treatments, technical tuning and adaptations”. Taylor’s scientific management sought to bring the human laborer into alignment with the operations of the machine, but for Gastev this was but only the first step. Everything was to be optimized in conjunction with the machine, including creativity and the drive to innovation itself. And once these powers were cracked open, penetrated by the radiant light of techno-science and their inner logic demystified, those tropes so hallowed by the capitalist bourgeoisie—individual creativity and the innovative entrepreneur—would fall away. They would be universal, anonymous, and collective, no different or separate from the universal, anonymous, and collective industrial system that was taking shape. Gastev:

We must deal with the energy of the human mechanism. In this century, when there are chronoscopes showing ten thousandths of a second, when there are ammeters and voltmeters, we will have to “measure” human energy. The science of nutrition of a working organism must be as exact a science as thermal sciences, like the science of nutrition of the steam engine, the nutrition of the electric motor; the consumption of human energy must be instrumentally measured to the thousandths of a small calorie, and the regulation of the work of the human body must be built on a system of carburetors feeding heat engines. There should be nothing sacred here. There must be a complete revolution. In this area, we need the same revolutionary appeal for scientific biologists, which the authorities have done in relation to engineers and economists in the electrification issue.

While there was a close relationship between Gastev’s thought and that of the Soviet leadership—despite his status as an outsider to the party, having distanced himself during a period of forced exile that resulted from his activities in the 1905 revolution—his promotion of scientific management and biomechanics triggered an opposition that congealed into an organization with a simple, but effective, name: the “Group of Communists”. In many respects, the Group’s opposition to Gastev and the activities of the Central Institute of Labor was that they fell short of the lofty goals that they had set for themselves, and that commitment to a Taylorist base prevented the realization of this higher stage of industrial culture. As Bailes summarizes, “The use of the stop watch as the sole means of determining work norms was an especially exploitative and uncritical application of Taylorism to Soviet industry. The most important problem of Soviet industry was to raise productivity without increased intensification of labour, and to raise wages in proportion to increased productivity”. What was desired was a means to scientifically manage production, and to increase the process of its processes and the volume of its output, without the influence Taylor—but in the end, the opponents gradually conceded. “Taylorism could not be rejected per se, [they] affirmed; the most ‘useful’ parts of the system, as Lenin had pointed out, must be tested and selected in practice”.

Decades later, Autonomous Marxists like Paolo Virno and Carlo Vercellone argued that the ‘phase’ of capitalist development that had come into being in the first half of the 20th century, characterized by the gradual evolution from Taylorism to Fordism to what we might describe as international Fordism, had been anticipated by Marx in the Grundrisse, and particularly within the pages of the ‘Fragment on Machines’ [for an overview of Virno and Vercellone’s argument, see Tony Smith’s essay “The ‘General Intellect’ in the Grundrisse and Beyond”, in the book In Marx’s Laboratory: Critical Interpretations of the Grundrisse]. Marx, in an uncanny foreshadow of the Taylorist moment and semi-automation, had situated the worker as becoming suspended between machinic systems, stripped of their individuality and their autonomy with regard to the production processes. This same movement was fundamentally connected to increasing technoscientific knowledge, which emerges from the drives of production and innovation, and then feeds back into it to push this great apparatus into higher orders. This knowledge becomes socialized, diffused, and universal in its application—a general intellect. It is in this stage interzone that Marx’s vision of post-capitalism emerges: the worker ceases to be an autonomous agent piloting production from within, but becomes a manager of that system. “Labour no longer appears so much to be included within the production process; rather, the human being comes to relate more as watchman and regulator to the production process itself” (see my earlier post on the question of an ‘Eco-Marx’ and ‘Promethean Marx’ for more on this).

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Gastev offered a similar assessment in How to Work, paralleling Marx’s concept of the General Intellect by describing the way in which the rapid innovation of technological systems compelled the further development of scientific knowledge. Swept deliriously by the machine and the stopwatch, Gastev went as far to the suggest the impending merging of the scientist and the engineer, noting how “it was not for nothing that [a] person who attempted to study the movements of an employee turned out to be the engineer Gilbert, and it was not for nothing that such a biologist who studied human labor movements, like Professor Sechenov, previously graduated from an engineering school. The development of modern technology pushes and transforms biology, it gives the formulation of these problems and forces biology to think so”. The engineer, here, is both a master of techniques and a product of them, and the recasting of all scientific professions in the model of the engineer comes from the deepening penetration of industrial modernity in every discipline, in every endeavor, in every facet of life. To flesh this out further, Gastev turns at last to Marx himself, citing from the first volume of Capital passages that illuminate the way in which individualized, independent ‘subjective character’ is leveled by a collective and cooperative “purely technological principle”. Speaking of large-scale production, Marx had written that the “whole process is decomposed here objectively, depending on its own nature, into its constituent phases, and the problem of performing each partial process and connecting various partial processes is resolved through the application of mechanics, chemistry, etc”.

Gastev praises Marx for his “amazing erudition” in drawing on a now-largely forgotten source: Dr. Andrew Ure and his 1835 book The Philosophy of Manufacturers. Described by Marx twice, one in the first volume of Capital and once in the third, as the “Pindar” of large-scale production, Ure’s influence radiates through Marx’s passages on the nature of industrial systems, stretching from his early critique of Proudhon in The Poverty of Philosophy to his late-stage works. It might seem curious that Ure, a consistent opponent of efforts to alleviate the conditions of the proletariat—and whose work Marx himself described as ‘naive’ in its ceaseless ability to “blurt out the thoughtless contradictions of the capitalist brain” [Capital Volume 1, p. 564]—would be so influential. Nonetheless, The Philosophy of Manufacturers was, for Marx, the “classical expression of the spirit of the factory”, and the reason for this was that Ure glimpsed the strange horizon that was being inexorably pulled towards:

Manufacture is a word, which, in the vicissitude of language, has come to signify the the reverse of its intrinsic meaning, for it now denotes every extensive product of art, which is made by machinery, with little or no aid of the human hand; so that the most perfect manufacture is that which dispenses entirely with manual labor. The philosophy of manufacturers is therefore an exposition of the general principles, on which productive industry should be conducted by self-acting machines. [The Philosophy of Manufacturers, p. 1]

The tendency of industrialization, in other words, was that of the progressive elimination of the human as an element in production. Ure breathlessly described the “sagacity” of the industrial giant Richard Arkwright, who had played a role in the invention of the spinning frame (and the immensely profitable organization of production that followed in its wake), for perceiving the outlines of a future world characterized by a “vastly productive human industry”. No longer a subordinate to the limitations of “muscular effort”, the output of these combines would be “the work of mechanical fingers and arms, regularly impelled with great velocity by some indefatigable physical power” [p. 14-15]. Elsewhere, Ure defined the “factory system” not in terms of a distinct plant or industrial site, but as “the combined operation of many orders of work-people, adult and young, in tending with assiduous skill a series of productive machines continuously impelled by a central power” [p. 13]. For Steve Edwards, these sorts of descriptions are a “revelry”, marking the “the closest capitalist thought has ever managed to a fully Dionysian moment”. Yet if Ure is intoxicated by the churn of capitalistic processes, it is hardly from the classical image of the commercial giant or by the mad-dash of the market; it is the machinic processes themselves that give rise to this Dionysian moment. Arkwright is not praised for bringing massified industry into being, but for understanding where it was going. Likewise, the “central power” that puts in motion the “work-people” and their “productive machines” is neither capitalist nor capital—it is thermodynamic power, heat converted into mutable energy.

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If the capitalist is rather unimportant except in its most abstract role, labor, likewise, is only important insofar as it disappears. Class struggle is for Ure a means to the ends of this disappearance, with the threat of the strike—or the event of the strike itself—serving as an impetus for the automation of functions previously served by the proletarian. “…surely science, at the call of capital, will defeat every unjustifiable union which labourers may form”. In many respects, Ure here anticipates the arguments of both Sorel and the Autonomists, particularly that of Mario Tronti. For the former, the cessation of the class struggle through the alignment of reformist ‘parliamentary socialists’ and the ‘humanitarian-minded bourgeoisie’ stalled out industrial development, a situation that he described as “decadence”. For the latter, the class struggle comes to unfold in cycles, characterized by the dialectic of proletarian offensive and the bourgeois response, which is to recalibrate the production process through the introduction of new technological systems and organizational paradigms. This argument arises in particular from a close reading of Marx’s chapters on the working day in the first volume of Capital, which illustrate quite clearly how the struggle to shorten the length of daily labor led to the introduction of machinery that intensified both the pace and the output of production—an analysis that was no doubt influenced by Ure’s own studies.

While labor gets squeezed out of the production process, it does not, Ure argued, disappear in full:

The principle of the factory.. is to substitute mechanical science for hand skill, and the partition of a process into its essential constituents, for the division or graduation of labour among artisans. One the handicraft plan, labour more or less skilled, was usually the most expensive element of production—Materiam superabat opus; but on the automatic plan, skilled labour gets progressively superseded, and will, eventually, be replaced by mere overlookers of machines [The Philosophy of Manufacturers, p. 20].

This language immediately recalls that of “Fragment on Machines”, with its depictions of future labor as the overseers of industrial-scientific processes—and indeed, the spirit of Ure’s Dionysian moment hovers above the pages of the Fragment. At the conclusion of the section just prior to the Fragment, Marx offers a lengthy citation from The Philosophy of Manufacturers that culminates in the following: “In its most rigorous sense, this term [factory] conveys the idea of a vast automaton, composed of numerous mechanical and intellectual organs operating in concert and without interruption, towards one and the same aim, all these organs being subordinated to a motive force which moves itself” [The Philosophy of Manufacturers, p. 13; cited in Grundrisse, p. 690, emphasis Marx’s]. Compare this quotation with the most famous passage from the Fragment, which appears but a page later:

…once adopted into the production process of capital, the means of labour pass through different metamorphoses, whose culmination is the machine, or rather, an automatic system of machinery (system of machinery: the automatic one is merely its most complete, most adequate form, and alone transforms machinery into a system), set in motion by an automaton, a moving power that moves itself; this automaton consisting of numerous mechanical and intellectual organs, so that the workers themselves are cast merely as its conscious linkages [Grundrisse, p. 690].

Much of this is a paraphrase of Ure, particularly concerning the self-movement of the automaton, set in motion by some motive force—but it is of particular interest that he is cited word for word in the description of “numerous mechanical and intellectual organs”. It is clear of the immense importance of this idiosyncratic conceptualization of the factory to Marx, and it would be a mistake to consider its vital role as diminishing in the passage from the notebooks that compose the Grundrisse to the final drafts of Capital. In the fifteenth chapter of  Capital Volume 1, Marx deploys a distinction between the tool and the machine by describing the latter as a “mechanism that, after being set in motion, performs with its tools the same operations as the worker did with similar tools [Capital Volume 1, p. 495]. Later in the same chapter, in the section dedicated to examining the factory system proper, Marx begins by offering once again the aforementioned quote from The Philosophy of Manufacturers, before discerning—in language drawn directly from the Fragment in the Grundrisse—a Janus-faced position embedded in Ure’s description. Noting a disjunction between the characterization of the factory system as the organization of massified labor and as something driven by a ‘central motive force’, Marx writes:

These two descriptions are far from being identical. In one, the combined collective worker appears as the dominant subject, and the mechanical automaton as the object; in the other, the automaton itself is the subject, and the workers are merely conscious organs, coordinated with the unconscious organs of the automaton, and together with the latter subordinated to the central moving force. The first description is applicable to every possible employment of machinery on a large scale, the second is characteristic of its use by capital, and therefore of the modern factory system [Capital, Volume 1, p. 544-545].

Thus the depiction of labor from the Grundrisse, as ensnared within the gears of fearsome and inhuman machinery, is retained, as it captures the reality of production under capital, that is, under the regulation of the law of value. Insofar this situation tends towards the autonomization of production, the increased centrality of technoscientific development, the lessening dependency on direct labor, and the opening up of free time as a historical force unto itself, it is a progressive development—but it is here that the real contradiction in Ure’s thought moves to the fore. Consider the following, drawn from the twenty-third chapter of Capital Volume 3, which resumes in brief the sketch of communism put forth in the Fragment:

It has already been remarked by Mr. Ure that it is not the industrial capitalists, but the industrial managers who are “the soul of our industrial system.”…

The capitalist mode of production has brought matters to a point where the work of supervision, entirely divorced from the ownership of capital, is always readily obtainable. It has, therefore, come to be useless for the capitalist to perform it himself. An orchestra conductor need not own the instruments of his orchestra, nor is it within the scope of his duties as conductor to have anything to do with the “wages” of the other musicians. Co-operative factories furnish proof that the capitalist has become no less redundant as a functionary in production as he himself, looking down from his high perch, finds the big landowner redundant. Inasmuch as the capitalist’s work does not originate in the purely capitalistic process of production, and hence does not cease on its own when capital ceases; inasmuch as it does not confine itself solely to the function of exploiting the labour of others; inasmuch as it therefore originates from the social form of the labour-process, from combination and co-operation of many in pursuance of a common result, it is just as independent of capital as that form itself as soon as it has burst its capitalistic shell. To say that this labour is necessary as capitalistic labour, or as a function of the capitalist, only means that the vulgus is unable to conceive the forms developed in the lap of capitalist production, separate and free from their antithetical capitalist character.

Both Ure and Marx conceive of the destiny of the development of the productive forces to be the automatic factory, watched over and steered by humans freed from the bondage of labor—yet there is a critical different, in that Ure sees this as the reality of capitalism itself, whereas for Marx this exists beyond domination by capital. The capitalist may be rendered redundant by the rise of the industrial manager, but this redundancy does not in anyway imply the elimination of the capitalist as a figure who persist as something glued, apparently permanently, to the side of production. This is because the law of value itself persists: capital may tend towards autonomization in lockstep with industrial automation, but because it remains structurally wedded to the labor of humans, this status cannot be automatically transcended. The progressive and regressive forces put in motion by this development come to lock into an infernal, self-reinforcing circuit that constantly unleashes this beyond, while always pulling it back lest these energetic torrents overflow the present conditions.

Conrad Bongard Hamilton, in an essay that covers much of the same ground as here, argues that Marx, under the influence of Ure, comes to give a new articulation of the proletarian revolution, and it is this particular conception that illuminates a way out from this seemingly impossible impasse. Taking cue from Marx’s argument (put forth in both Notebook VII of the Grundrisse—tellingly, the section that immediately follows the Fragment on Machinesand in the chapter 15 of Capital Volume 1) that communist society will be more appropriate for the application of large-scale machinery than capitalism, Hamilton urges a recognition of “the inevitability—and even desirability— of machinic agents as founding partners in a new society”. The proletariat is in the position to abolish the value-form, to break the imperceptible laws that regulate this society and block the emergence of the next—but it is also these same ‘machinic agents’ that appear as the ruination of the capitalist class by putting into motion the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. That this tendency is indistinguishable from increasing automation, and thus of the necessary conditions for the higher stage of production, illustrates how intertwined these forces are within the pages of Marx’s theory. It also illustrates the way in which Ure remains, despite all his foresight, within the confines of the bourgeois ideology.

When Gastev wrote that “[e]lectricity, electrical engineering, electrical industry” was the “most advanced industrial force” that “fatally requires a new person”, he was describing precisely a proletarian that was aligned with the machine. The paradox of his position was that this alliance was taken up in the wake of a revolution, and not prior to it, and it is within that paradoxical space that his enthusiasm for scientific management techniques, hatched in the laboratories of bourgeois ideologues in faraway America, must be understood. There are, of course, limitations to these thoughts, separated as we are by a near-century of events, many of them profoundly counter-revolutionary in character, others progressive in that they have advanced the scope and scale of productive capacity (consider the historical irony highlighted by Peter Drucker, that yesteryear’s Taylorism was the skeletal base for contemporary industrial automation). We’ve passed beyond proto-Fordism to Fordism to post-Fordism and perhaps something beyond, and industrialization has been supplanted by the fangs of de- and post-industrialization. The current moment resembles, more than anything else, a phase of industrial and cultural decadence, as the class struggle is violently ground to dust and any sense of forward progress entropically dissipates into a haze of generality.

Is there a more apt time, then, for a return to the revolutionary enthusiasm and development drive sketched out so briefly here? Not a return in the sense of farcical repetition, but to their spirit: the recognition that history isn’t over, and that a higher stage is still yet to come.

Steve Metcalf – Killing Time/Strife Kolony/NeoFuturism

While prepping materials today to begin work on the final stretch of my book—the last few chapters on the fringe-of-the-fringe of 90s cyberculture—I reread for the first time in quite a while  Metcalf’s deliriously enthralling contribution to the CCRU’s Abstract Culture zine. A tripartite experiment in tracking the Kurtz-gradient of modernity, ‘Killing Time/Strife Kolony/NeoFuturism’ is undoubtedly some of the best writing that have emerged from the period, having reached that delicate plateau where the uncontrollable energy of far-out subcultural creation collides with a competent grasp of various complex theoretical apparatuses. But most of all, it’s the velocity of the work that stands out: we’re propelled through history at an ever-quickening pace and are pummeled by increasingly fragmented sentences, concepts, words: an eschatological glossolalia that sketches the point where history doesn’t end, but explodes.

It’s been suggested in the Twittersphere that Nick Land’s philosophy of capital might fall under the rubric of what Alvin Gouldner called ‘Nightmare Marxism‘, a fearsome specter that likely “flittered through more than one dream of German social democracy and its Scientific Marxism”, in which the revolutionary force of the bourgeoisie is foregrounded, the supremacy of the West rises up as the machinery of history itself, and the proletariat becomes nothing more than a passive element through which these forces emanate—a mask that doesn’t know itself a mask. Such a description, however, does not grasp Metcalf’s vision, even though it is closely to related to Land’s own ( at least the CCRU-era Land—certain passages of ‘Killing Time’ are remixed in his ‘Cybergothic’ essay, or perhaps vice-versa). If the nightmare of history and the mutation of Marxism are the foundational elements here, then perhaps the best term to capture the brutal psychedelia of Metcalf would be Nightmare Maosim

Anyways, with the lapsing of the old CCRU website, this essay and others have been relegated to the abyss of the internet archive. I’m reprinting here for prosperity reasons (and also because it kinda sucks to read things on the CCRU’s website, nostalgia for web 1.0 aside).

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Killing Time 

Neo-Futurist instructions for operations in a war zone:

Axiom 1: Command of space metricizes duration in the distributed temporal segmentarity of counterinsurgent imperial metastasis.

Phase 1: 1939 – Berlin: Rhizomaniacs decouple Tank War Europa from its simulation in the underground beer halls of emasculated Weimar democracy, plugging the deleometers of total mobilization into a megamachine of mass death. 1946 – French Indo China: it washes ashore in the oil slick geo-strategy of ethnic cleansing in three movements:

  1. establish a system of strong points (microfascisms)
  2. spread ‘pacification’ forces out into a gridwork of small territorial boxes
  3. comb each square, from periphery to core, with the aim of netting insurgent forces at close quarters and drawing them into prepared killing zones..

Space invaders strung out across the rice paddies, occupying space in encirclement and supression campaigns – geo-eugenic anti-infestation measures: flea control. As the slick advances, the front disperses; converting vast expanses of territory into expanding periphery always already infested with insectoid guerrillas, broadening the insurgent target area.

On the strategic defensive in Phase 1, “analogically, the guerrilla fights the war of the flea, and his military enemy suffers the dog’s disadvantages: too much to defend, too small, ubiquitous, and agile an enemy to come to grips with. If the war continues long enough, the dog succumbs to exhaustion and anaemia without ever having found anything on which to close its jaws or to rake with its claws.” (Robert Taber, ‘The War Of The Flea”) An exact but rigourous aims of guerrilla fighters: attack to defend, alternated with long periods of catatonic inactivity; procure weapons; capture ammunition; kill; kill time; force the enemy to overextend lines; pick off small units; secrete terror; “select the tactics of seeming to come from the East and attacking from the West; avoid the solid, attack the hollow; attack; withdraw; deliver a lightning blow, seek a lightning decision” (Mao) in the five-minute assault.

Phase 2: Dogboys assembled in Chopper War U.S.A., gameboy faces, dromocratic technical-transport bodies of amphibious warfare, kill by strapping on the supple metallic microhead and diverting selection into the scansion of the central computing eye – scanning all the radii of isotopic space through the visor of the helicopter pilot’s helmet, deleometers gridding tele-space interfaced at a distance in the target selector – sharpening hyperleptic reflexes on audio-visual slaughter consoles. Projecting itself quickly, but lacking the impercep-tible speeds of insurgency, the whole campaign falls back on Tank War Europa, the Euclidean geometry of military space cross-hatching the central lowlands of the geo-political core, North to South, from the bunkers of suburban Berlin to the Siegfried Line, passing through the Maginot Line and the Atlantic Wall: trans-European odyssey telescoped into the abattoirs of a common, selective slaughter policy – mobile meat cull finally allowing the State’s death machines to leave the rails in the delirium of all-out suicide. End gaming sequence 1964: Chopper War U.S.A. falters at Ben Tre, on the Mekong Delta: “We had to destroy the town in order to save it” – green and fertile paddies and jungle denuded with Agent Orange, napalm, white phosphorous; colouring smooth space with the alien pixellated lines of a digital wargame. Phase 2 levels the scores.

Gridlock. Dynamic equilibrium of forces unable to exterminate each other. In the intervals between strikes, insurgent forces create freezones on the edge of No Man’s land: black economies making inroads into the white economy of the invading forces. Constant division of guerrilla forces into smaller units (1000s to 100s to 10s) – into n-1 units of the numbering number, diffused across an alloplastic vectorial field, looming in the faceless horror of omnipresence, infusing softening syndromes into the brain core of madrepoid space invader intelligence. Geo-strategic command squanders its logistical capital in launching search and destroy missions against a single, unified mega-unit that does not exist. Occupation of the South Vietnam fields is metricized in terms of the haemorrhage of the economy in massive Kapital bleed-out, speeding up to $3,000,000 per hour.

Axiom 2: Control of time smoothes out space into a vectorial multiplicity propagating revolutionary forces towards Nu-Earth.

Phase 3: Radical asymmetry between guerrilla swarm and State army – mere survival as involutionary victory versus the deathtrip equalization of standing force, converging on the annihilation of enemies in open, agonistic combat. Contracted, legal war, governed by international statutes and rules, spills over into escalating genocide as the invading State aim becomes untenable. “Hold space” melts into the relentless instruction sequencing special forces operations: “Kill kill kill!” Central authority divides into three zones:

  1. Zone of power – organic stratometers governing isometric command chains between State and army;
  2. Zone of indiscernibility – segmentometers relating to the diffusion of these chains through a microphysical fabric in optic space;
  3. Zone of impotence – deleometers relating to the insurrectionary flow of mobilization the State converts and diverts without being able to control and define.

For guerrilla forces, this third zone unleashes the lines of flight necessary for dispersal in No Man’s land, yielding control of the ambient, haptic, paranoid time-space of assassination which overturns central intelligence’s notions of where revolutionary desiring machines are going to hit next. War on n fronts which the State cannot win, short of thermonuclear obliteration. Multitudes of imperceptible dukich fighters swarm in haptic space, touching from too close to be destroyed, neutralizing the logistical supremacy of space invaders. Fourth dimension intrusion which “reduces central power to the level of a helpless, sprawling octopus. During the hours of day sporadic rioting takes place and massive sniping. Night brings all-out warfare, organized fighting, and unlimited terror. . .” (Black Nationalist Revolutionary Action Movement – position paper, 1961: Taber, p.145) Chopper War U.S.A. follows the deleometric line into abolition in the white hot intoxication of mechanized assault, dispatching patrols into the jungle safe zones of the N.V.A. swarms, gridding space with fire lanes (segmentometers), which break all bonds with the optic stratometers of slick conquest as they are swallowed by haptic space. Mobile rapid response units of space invaders are reterritorialized on the static black hole system of fire bases – waiting in the dark to be picked-off, limb, by limb, by limb; paralyzed in the suburbs of Necropolis: the neutralizing space in which the loss of movement for invaders means prolonged exposure to the jungle, infection, death.

Flashback 1945: Telegram 71 exhibits fascism at its apogetic point-instant as the despotic stratifier severs its head from the filth of the unworthy mass body in the ruins of Tank War Europa: as the Russian tanks close in, Hitler’s last order from the bunker decrees the total annihilation of Berlin. Time up. Game over. “We had to destroy the town in order to save it.”

Phase 4: Rewind. Dromoscopic Vietnam restarted by the film companies. Biomorphic horror rides solarized atrocity newsreels into the D.M.Z. of the arcade; fusing brain core, nerve cortex, and movement-image on the glutinous screen of the console. Video captured in the Persian Gulf, virtual war slams airborne cyber-deleonomes against an immobilized, sedentary enemy in U.N. tele-spatial media mash-up. Desert storm operators rewind resonating variations of the same captured events in playstation slick war space; loops of Tank War Europa shots, beneath Panavia fighter planes in smooth blue stratospheric kill zones; sampled shots of helicopter wreckage as foci of maximum arousal in adolescent sex substitutes. The speed of an accelerated lifespan, measured at a couple of (million) dollars per multiple tactical experiment on line. This time Chopper War U.S.A. is a success. But still the oil slick burns in the Gulf, spilling out petrochemical jihad. Thousands of dead black birds. Feed forward to European Unification model 2, great intercontinental meat market population regulator: “We had to destroy the herd in order to save it.” Guarantor of Western democracy, and another pitiful, moralistic rant block for the socialist elite. In the arcades, virtual war datableeds out of telecommercialcorporate control, washing amphibious pioneers of the end of the State onto the fractal subdivisions of coastlines of imperial glacis; smearing zones of indiscernibility into the transversal propagation media of insurgent forces – crawling out of a glutinous, liquid, inhuman deterritorium aligned on the future: sharpening hyperleptic reflexes on audio-visual slaughter consoles . . . . .

Strife Kolony

Name, unit and number: that’s all you get. Earth command Core emergency – “The pilot’s dead…” DOGBITE SHAM 101 SNAKE 1 SNAKE 2 SNAKE 3 ACE VIPERE SUPERKOOL HORNET 156 SHADOW – Swarm agency smart-bombing the 9 billion names of God off the central computing screen – memeplexed SHOWA KRU KZ 135 A-ZONE L ROXANNE SUPERBEE SPIX KOLA 139 SUPERSTRUT TRINITY CONCEPT 3 CRAZY CROSS 110 RENKERS COKE SWARM 911 – Telegraphic warnings sprayed on the machinic phylum – A PACK NAMED WOLF WASP TO MEET ORCHID THEY ARRIVE RED ALERT

KOOL KILLER

T1:Brain Core Crystal Company trading posts occupy Terra Nova, capturing the future in long wave, resonating Kondratieff cycles; katagenic dialectics of decline and renewal, falling back on the productive forces all the better to demonstrate a universal tendency for the reproduction of bourgeois surplus value. Already waging guerrilla war in the future, peripheral K-class Kommunism vibrates fibrous tentacles, as cones of attraction to the dark side, by means of a swarmachinic remix of the Marxian Critique of Political Economy; purpose unknown, effectuated as emergent havoc, rather than historical destiny, under three propositions:

  1. The universal propensity to extract reproducible bourgeois/human surplus value is analytically inextricable from seething allopoietic vivisystems.
  2. Transhumant markets, autochthonic desiring machines, and voodoo futures trading are all alloplastic vectors ungoverning the infrastructure.
  3. Katagenic desolation of the superstructure is immanent to the programming of production.

Short of theology and fascism, brain core capitalism is already virtually extinct. Crippled Archangel of Meat Cull Europa withers into grey dust on Terra Nova. Insect swarms arrive like fate – nth dimension intrusion across the spinal thresholds of the socius – passing memeplexed revolution sequences through the germ plasm of evolutionary vehicles. Becoming metallic. Becoming swarm. Unnatural participation as elan vital bootstrapping imperceptible colonization of Nu-Earth into virtual operativity.

T2:Celibate machines reproduce human surplus value, furnishing the bourgeoisie with recording rights to all of capitalism’s operative axioms, bringing organic stratometers, judgments of God governing isometric command chains, crushing down on schizonomadic economic swarm space. Diffused through the microphysical weave of spinal multiplicity, metrophage control command sequences institute the bourgeoisie as the optimal distribution profile for State power. No more dysfunctional despotic masters: slaves command other slaves in the ravenous stomach of the crystal factory complex – the mutant, urogenital servomechanism calibrated for the reproduction of the capitalist socius in the gambling dens of Terra Nova markets.

White terror. The whites are landing – taking islands in Africa in the dromocratic rush of the megamachine of amphibious colonization – we shall have to submit to baptism, put on clothes, and work. The proletariat is exhumed as the worker-soldier automaton, a spectacular species of drone collapsing into atrocity in the optic space managed by the bourgeoisie. A multitude of black bodies, soulless and bent on destruction, domesticated galleries of inorganic menace, crystal heaps of virtual anti-organic force stretched out over Kapital disequilibrium degree xero(x). Builders of cities. Professional killers. Synergists of First World Security.

Compressed between spinal levels of brain core strata, the proletariat is smeared into indiscernibility: datableed seeping out towards expanding periphery as metrophage institutes its target fronts. Oil slick endocolonization mobilizes in two waves:

1)Meat Cull Europa: distributing geo-eugenic single currencies across the ecu-menon, numbering populations as zombies, shunted into the carceral warrens of a Trans European concentration camp. Phnom Penh year zero: everything entered on the slate is hereby null and void in the axiom laboratories of the suicidal State, gridding tele-space down gun-sights in the royal science of deleometry, attacking the populations swarming across its skin like a rabid dog. In the Surgical Experiment Department of the Institue for Hygiene and Scientific Research, whiteman macroface vivisects swarm microhead – a miracle of modern science – and then watches it die. Farmed-out as prime E.U. girlflesh in the Joy Division, Daniella Preleshnik, stripped of arborified extensity, becomes a number – an insect; bughunted out of existence. Ka-Tzetnik 135633.

“Through the wire screen, the faces of those standing outside looked at her as into the cage of some rare exotic creature in a zoo. She was lying naked, her parted knees still strapped to the iron rods at both sides of the table. And in the hands of one of the assistants she saw the same instrument which they had that morning inserted deep into her body. She shuddered instinctively. She wanted to scream, but, as in a dream, the screams stuck in her throat. Her strapped life writhed within her.” (Ka-Tzetnik 135633:”House Of Dolls”)

Walk backwards. Say nothing. You’re being probed for Terra Nova extermination: as Cambodia burns, only two battalions of Khmer Rouge infantry remain in the petrified city.

2)Atroci-T.V.:Intersected at Zapruder frame 313, the President’s head explodes. Brain core splatters into ARPANet. Rhizomaniac Stealth Agencies monitor the accumulation of virtual assassination weapons, becoming insect to graduate miniaturized search and destroy missions, targetting unspecified enemy hives in the future. Special Weapons and Tactics are sequenced as SWAT, encrypting simulated World War 3 outcomes on black ice. Celibate machines rewind hypertelic memory through the crystal world of event strikes, global peace, deterrence. Calculated rhythms of airborne atrocity converge in montages of optimal disaster management: causing events in the future not to happen, even though they have already taken place – retrieved and reiterated in resonating tele space.

Walk backwards. Say nothing. History runs backwards, from Terra Nova; coursing in reverse down the inclined plane of purposive human teleology onto the inert vertebral surface of the perpetual present. K-class vivisystems seep into imperceptibility: constantly interrogated as the silent majorities, the masses implode into an amorphous statistical aggregate – a number-crunched black hole engulfing the social in static repetition of the same feedback loops. Unstemmable datableed, pauperizing the capitalist State. Arborified reprocessing of destitution – taking islands in Africa to distribute collective guilt, smeared across social democratic management of scorched urban flashpoints – racist endocolonization – cannibalizing the techno-kinetic fourth world of ghetto architectures into a beleaguered stratum: ripe for catastrophe management.

Time music creeps across spinal landscapes, marking-off no-go zones on Nu-Earth.

T3:Red terror. The capitalist state squirms in the shadow of the propagating minorities. Surging up through history, the war of the flea marshals the power of a nondenumerable, infinite set: a Kommunist swarmachine running numbering numbers across haptic space, assembling shock regiments, passing through n dimensions of imperceptibility, targetting the Hellbound bulk of dogman brain core. Eyes crystals sunk in offal – blacked-out in visions of China. Red Army as demonic alliance, counted-out in n 1 units of faceless multiplicity; acentred and always hiving off into smaller units, beggaring  imagination in the nebulous appearance of omnipresence.

Flashback 1949: strung out on the Long March, Mao captures the swarmachine on the resonating recording surface of neo-despotism after internal nomadism threatens to flip the socialist State into an ungovernable colony of imperceptible numbering numbers: proletarian schizo microhead, propagating minorities through hive contagion. Surplus value=inextricable. The socialist State confronts the same limits as its capitalist competitors in trafficking optimal crisis management scenarios: virtual extinction, depreciation of existing capital, peripheral datableed destroying majority as axiom – replicating what the captured global war machine sets out to exterminate. Every massacre rallies a minority of the dead minority – numbered legions of the living dead swarming towards the hive colony of Nu-Earth. Crisis management of the swarmachine – internal disjunction managed by the Party apparatus goes rhizomaniac in the constant adjustment of population to the target rates of the planned economy, and the correct line of Marxism-Leninism as interpreted by the Central Brain Core of the People’s Republic. The Chairman’s voice speeds up into an insect buzz as he speaks:

“Every year our country draws up an economic plan in order to establish a proper ratio between accumulation and consumption and achieve an equilibrium between production and needs. Equilibrium is nothing but a temporary, relative unity of opposites. By the end of the year, this equilibrium, taken as a whole, is upset by the struggle of opposites; the unity undergoes a change, equilibrium becomes disequilibrium, unity becomes disunity, and once again it is necessary to work out an equilibrium and unity for the next year. Herein lies the superiority of our planned economy.” (Mao Tse-Tung,”On The Correct Handling of Contradiction…”)

Categorical imperative: “Act as if there were no tomorrow.” Collapse into the future, occupying the sink holes taking commerce down into exchange rate mechanisms that clear all markets in all future states of the economy. A miracle managed by the guns of the military command core – invasion fleets poised off the coastlines of the black future – taking islands in Africa; washing red flags in the boiling Atlantic. Here we are stranded. but we’ll find new accomodation, we’ll make plans for mobile homes. Welcome to the Strife Kolony. Still life in mobile homes. Memory as fluid duration distributed across C.N.S. segmented worm and fibrous nerve cortex, reassembled in Red Army hive mind and crashed in Kommunist Pioneer year zero aphasia. Moon over China. Stir of light through dark shoals on jungle river beds. Tiles on graves and rotting temples. Blacked out….

T4:At the end of the river, the special forces are dashed on the reef of the faceless horror of an inorganic Kolony populated by insect Kommunists. Kommunists like us. Multitudes of imperceptible du-kich guerrillas swarm in haptic space, too close to be wiped out – even though targetted in infra-red and heat-sensitive sniperscopes, magnifying starlight to pixellate concealed enemies; mobile radar units; biologicals; cluster bombs; smart bombs; smart video war – more dangerous than the regular chuluc troops of the Red Army because cut across by a machinic phylum figuring multiform units in timespace. Crystal Company SWAT operations fail in K-class no-go zones: missions dispatched to follow individual units back to the megahive are picked off by snipers in the jungle. Swarmachines are virtual entities – hive multiplicities swamping organic, central control in emergent revolutionary assemblages; pack becomings rushing across the Body without Organs, propagated by epidemic. Express n dimensions of intensive differentiation by running the swarmachine sequence itself, shifting phase into the actual. By which time it’s all over for Metrophage….

Spinal landscape intersected at T4 dissolves in asymmetry. Snowballing nth dimension intrusion unleashes partisans of World War 4: autosatanic transformers as a swirl of metal flies, pulsing in contagious heaps as they spill out of evolutionary classification, crawling through cosmic continua. Involution through various becomings animal, vegetable, mineral, bacteria, virus, molecule, wavelength pulses digital voodoo codes into the target selectors of metallic probe heads. Allopoietic black magic – infusorian Kommunism – sorceror’s diagrams sprayed on the white walls: diagonal arrows routing instructions for anti-strata spill-out. Proper names. Numbering numbers. Borderlines of gangsta colonies, fracturing into smaller units as the social fabric rots – segments shifting co-ordinate points and dislocating, smearing macroface. KOOL KILLER 666.

After all the fasciculated bundles of intensity available to the bourgoisie have been gathered on the battlefields of crystal space, there are only minutes to go to Terra Nova phase shift into superstructural extermination as the peripheral vortex heats up. Chaos theory as a wave of arson in a climate of revolutionary emergency: “A single spark can light a prairie fire.” (Mao, War in the suburbs of Hell)

Eugenic galleries of bourgeois facial patter recognition burn. Decalcomania. Permanent material damage. Organic security melting away in the assassination fugues of derailed fear.

Katabolic vehicles breathe alien intelligence into fourth world swarms.
Nonorganic imitation of domesticated life
Assaulting the higher levels of organization.
Inhuman nebulae
Setting scales, forms, and screams in continuous variation.
Black patch psychosis blinkering Crystal Core optics –
Fixated on the rear-view mirror – scans newsreels of piled-up corpses.

Nightmare of buzzing and crawling.
Nocturnal escalation of guerrilla war – sinister K-class menace growing insolent as it pours out of time
in order to pass across space.
Helicopters crash against the treeline
Discarded dogboy faces hang from tendons in the burning wreckage of Chopper War U.S.A.

Phosphorescent vapour drifts across a blasted landscape.
Artificial vivisystems, choked in
Biosphere 2 crystallization
Datableed into n dimensions

Mechanosphere

From the wailing of elements and particles, to the howling of packs of animals, to the bleating of Doktor macrofacial slaphead sociological memory man praying for re oedipalization:

Stay with me
No family life – we could learn to fight it
Cling to me
This makes me feel uneasy
We are blacked-out in visions of China
Tonight
Stood alone here in this Kolony

In this Kolony.

In this Kolony.

In this Kolony…..

NeoFuturism

(0) Beyond the authoritarian mania of modernist econometric planning, and the nihilistic, selfreferential third cycle damnation of the ultramodern NOW, NEO-FUTURISM tracks a double process: – (i) where the operational political, economic, and sociological codes of universalized humanity contract – to the point where, condemned to endlessly circulate in an interminable statistical survey, they finally collapse into a black hole where meaningless signs reduplicate themselves. This is the secondary process. The humanities in flames. (ii) The primary process: where the abstract, generic value of human intelligence migrates beyond the madreporic core of an organism regulated by the negative feedback of theses archaic codes – becoming increasingly artificial and synthetic at intense speeds, converging on a future in which it has already been rewired. Here the “medium is the message”: a viral mechanism acclerating the replication of more of itself. Runaway capitalism; anarchic, “headless” self-organization. Invasion from the future.

(0.1) The secondary process, humanism as such, issues from the cold ecstasy of the space mind: the spatializing consciousness which segments and codifies the economic circulation of markets, linguistic signs, and libidinal capital into an organic unity – under the structural law of value. Equilibrium is maintained under the principle of commutability in the exchange of equivalents. It maps the totality of conditions for experience by asking (i) what is it? (ii) where does it come from? (iii) what does it mean? It evokes undead archaisms, which float suspended in cold limbo – power, the social, meaning: it’s all over, but it continues to haunt all the metrics covering segmented space – so many ghosts in the rear-view mirror. These codes constitute a stratified death sentence – effectuating all conditions of possibility, legislating by means of semiotic constants, dividing all virtual forms into actual systems of binary opposites, powered by negative feedback, issuing the judgement which allows the only possible metamorphosis: life passes into death, corporeality into incorporeality, being into nonbeing. It lives in the past. In dead space. Dead time. Hard outlines only secreted in death. Static, cold extermination; secured at the moment of its deconstruction.

(0.2) NEO-FUTURISM experiences this sinister verdict as an admonition to flee. It is our passeism. Paris in flames.

(0.3) A well-known economist recently wrote that “… in order for a competitive equilibrium to exist, each person must prepare a complete list of all future states of the environment which might obtain. And everyone must hold absolutely identical and correct beliefs regarding the prices which would exist in each potential state of the world at every point in the future. This is a world which, transparently, bears no resemblance to reality.” (Paul Ormerod, “The Death of Economics”, p.89)

(0.4) We quite agree. But: each person? Beliefs? NEO-FUTURISM puts an end to all that.
Anthropomorphic environments in flames.

(0.5) The environment is imperceptible auto-production: a process, not a container. Human technics began as counter-environments, automatic and robot controls, tools for natural and social domination; became immanent to the environment, and spawned a proliferating series of new counter-environments to limit the functioning of the old ones. At least some semblance of equilibrium was maintained in this simulation. Intelligent technics slip through the net of counter-environments and out of control, into the harsh swarming of dynamic equilibria. At the end of history, no-one will be there to put the brakes on positive feedback systems.

(0.6) The main questions are temporal and pragmatic: how does it work? What are the conditions for its survival? Econometric divination is completely dysfunctional. NEO FUTURISM operates as self=generating theoretical hype: it survives or dies on the basis of its trading on its estimated future value. It gambles. The virtual future bleeds into medium-term tactical planning, energizing its selection processes; icing short-term consensus in autistic panic; while replicating systems of catastrophic bifurcations (runaway accumulation and/or loss) which send the long-term into oblivion.

(0.7) NEO-FUTURISM only searches for these bifurcation points in order to make circuit diagrams which hack into the positive motion of the vortex of postmodern capital. It is the reverse of nihilism. Its negative moment is inseparable from the positive, smooth operation of its desiring machines – producing soft weaponry to overcome possible obstacles.

(0.8) NEO-FUTURIST ATTACK DEPENDS UPON THE INTEGRAL UNITY OF ITS TARGET. IT DOES NOT LIVE TO MOUNT ENDLESS, OPPOSITIONAL CRITIQUES. IT OPERATES AS AN IMMANENT POWER OF DISORGANIZATION. IT IS PARASITIC, EXPERIMENTING WITH THE SYMBIOTIC CONDITIONS FOR ITS OWN PROPOGATION INTO THE FUTURE. KATAGENESIS AND ANAGENESIS ARE SWITCHED INTO THE SAME CIRCUIT – BOTH STORING AND DETONATING EXPLOSIVES.

(0.9) Space is obsolete: a cultural ghost for tourists with peasant panoptica set on eternity in a cryonic vat. Idiotic gurglings of futurologists: “You and I: we’re gonna live forever.” California in flames. As global finance evacuates the territory and begins to exchange, by itself, in an orbital, virtual dimension the city is abolished as a commercial centre. London in flames – a provincial hamlet at best.

(1.0) Content fades. Media themselves loom large on the edge of planetary cyberblitz. Environmental process transfers from ontology to technology. No more human beings, not even in their hybrid, cyborg variant. Only desiring machines. Cultural studies in flames.

ACC vs DEC

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Modernity is in trouble. That’s the line, at least that is emerging from a particular sector of the twitterverse. It’s not a new line, of course: it’s the common call of the environmentalist movement writ large. What makes these new voices significant, however, is that their position is not only cybernetic, but transcendental. To declare oneself a decelerationist – and this applies to both those who seek a decelerationist praxis (as in, annihilating industrial civilization) or see deceleration as a given (leaving room only for mitigation and reaction when the SHTF) – is the engendering of an inverted mirror of the accelerationist. Whereas acceleration is the diagram of modernity, understood as the tragic loop of techno-capital undergoing amplificatory self-excitation, decelerationism throws the unconditional back upon the body of the earth, rife with its own loops and pressure points.

Between each there is a glimpse of a future political terrain to be caught. As anticipated with remarkable foresight by FM-2030, this terrain will be battleground where the “upwing” and the “downwing” collide. The latter looks to the earth, and thus would be like the extensive articulation of deceleration in the realm of politics, with the former being that of acceleration, gazing skyward. To those returning to the earth, the color green, and to those taking flight, black:

FM-2030 was an inveterate up-winger whose vitrified corpse awaits resurrection at the Arizona cryonics mecca, Alcor. However, even as the ecology movement was gathering steam, FM-2030 failed to see that the down-wing tendency could generate at least as much passion as his own political faith. Nowadays, down-wingers proudly self-identify as ‘Greens’. As for the up-wingers, they have begun to be colour-coded as ‘Blacks’ — and not simply because of their 1980s dress sense. The phrase ‘Black Sky Thinking’ was coined in a 2004 study by the centre-left UK think-thank Demos, and over the past decade it has increasingly been used to refer to schemes to make the whole inky expanse of the universe fit for human habitation.

As the political binary of left and right collapse into noise and nonsense (understood in the most unproductive sense), green and black stand to be serious contenders for their replacement – implying, by extension, a host of strange mixtures and hybrids, third positions, odd ghosts, and diagonalizations, but we’re running far ahead of ourselves…

The tragic loop of acceleration is that of positive feedback. This image is convergent with the thesis of John Michael Greer, Arch-Druid and decelerationist avant la lettre: civilization, particularly in its industrial phase, unfolds through phases of explosive positive feedback, thrusting creative forces to ever-higher heights. Yet this comes at an immense cost: for Greer, positive feedback is ultimately aberrant in nature. It breaks with the higher order feedback process that dominates nature and lends to it the capacity for auto-correction – that is, negative feedback, the return to homeostasis. Stripping themselves of the ability to correct their runaway trajectories, civilizations become suicide machines. The skyward flight becomes a terrifying fall back to the earth, culminating in green pastures littered with burning wreckage.

Greer’s bloody war between positive and negative feedback is thus a rigorous cybernetic account for cyclical theories of history. Read through the lenses of Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition, one could even say that Greer’s history is a theater where repetition of the same carries out its staccato dance; after all, it is under the repetition of the same that the abstract cycle is carried out, always bringing a system back to its initial condition. A society or civilization will always be born into the world, grow, engage creatively with nature, peak, curdle with corruption, stagnate, and collapse. Trace this pattern upwards beyond individual civilizations, to the swath of human civilization understood as a whole, or up even higher, to the great movement of nature itself, or the movement of the cosmos, and you’ll arrive at the position of Greer. There’s no better way to articulate the horizon of the decelerationist thesis.

On one hand, the conflict becomes one of competing motors governing development in itself: is it the knowing homeostat with gently violent negative feedback pressure, or is the homeostat missing, with the heat of cyberpositive runaway taking precedence (there is no easy answer to this question yet, but it is worth noting that both ultimately end in doom)? On the other hand, however, things get a little murky. If deceleration is raised under the specter of the cycle, this would imply that acceleration is that of the straight line. For Kant (and Deleuze as well), time is ultimately the straight line that cuts through everything that is. It is cold, uncaring, empty and open-ended development in its most abstracted sense, the permanent revolution that composes the stretch of the infinite itself. But this isn’t the time of acceleration itself. Following Land, acceleration must be thought of as unfolding within the straight line of time, but in the form of the spiral: the diagonalization between the straight line and the cycle, the uncompensated and the compensatory mechanism, attached to the running of “innovation and tradition together as Siamese twins” across its masked surface.

If acceleration is the accurate diagram of modernity, the cycle is already present. The future terrain stays the same, but color shades subtly adjust themselves. The burning question at the heart of it all – what is modernity doing? – can be answered as thus: critique. The posing of solutions to problems. If capitalism works by breaking down, by learning to learning, it is because modernity advances itself through encounters with problems that must either be solved or routed-around. The ecological pressure cooker bearing down on global civilization is the articulation of an immense problem, one that is indeed perhaps unsolvable. The cry to assault modernity on account of this problem is a forceful posing of the problem from the interior of modernity itself, the early spasms of a coming transformation.

The future, at least in the West, looks grim. Whatever molar shake-ups that took place in 2016 and 2017 are fading, the sheer weirdness of the time being slowly but surely recoded back into a neoconservative status quo. The bourgeoisie remain stupified, the political class broken, the great underclass masses go through the rotations. Yet will this not change, by very want of impending ecological devastation? As the noose tightens, the political articulation of deceleration will only proliferate. The existential risk of conflict will hang like a storm cloud as the black and the green draw respective lines – but this rain could very well be nourishing fluids for modernity. This is not to say that the dialectical parring is what saves modernity for itself, or that on side will necessarily win against the other. Instead, such a conflict would be learning, modernity itself working through to an other side that we cannot, by necessity, know in advance.

Understood as elements tangled in auto-critique and production, black and green are both trapped right from the start. It is in the rising from this to the level of the loops that the future of civilization will be made, or will be broken.

Gyres

Screenshot from 2017-08-11 15-39-20

Recently I started reading Tudor Balinisteanu’s Violence, Narrative, and Myth in Joyce and Yeats: Subjective Identity and the Anarcho-Syndicalist Tradition. The first chapter proceeds with a very interesting comparison of Yeats’s gyres of creative destruction as recorded in “The Second Coming” and Sorel’s account of the Myth of the General Strike:

…, on the one hand, for Yeats, the two cones represent contrary tendencies within the self. On the other hand, as Yeats put it, ‘this figure is true also of history, for the end of an age, which always receives the revelation of the character of the next age, is represented by the coming of one gyre to its place of greatest expansion and of the other to that of its greatest contraction’. At the moment Yeats was writing he perceived that the life gyre was sweeping outward, having almost reached its greatest expansion: ‘all our scientific, democratic, fact- accumulating heterogeneous civilisation belongs to the outward gyre and prepares not the continuance of itself, but the revelation as in a lightning flash, […] of the civilisation that must slowly take its place’ Critics have noted that Yeats’s fear of the forthcoming disintegration of human civilisation was brought ashore by ‘the blood-dimmed tide’ of historical events… Such frightening falling apart of established authority, mere anarchy loosed upon the world, inspired in Yeats the apocalyptic vision of the beast which struggles to become born in the violence of the world’s remaking. But this violence is a whirl of contrary tendencies: even though destructive it is also darkly creative. As Bakunin would have it in ‘The Reaction in Germany’ (1842), ‘the passion for destruction is a creative passion, too!’ The revolving gyres unravel the world at the same time as they weave a new one: a terrible beauty is born in which both grace and violence are manifested.

Yeats’s ‘The Second Coming’ is of course but one example, a most expressive one, of the perception of contrary tendencies within the modern consciousness, a consciousness in which grace and violence set each other in motion even as they revolve in opposite directions. Another expression of this dynamic can be found in Georges Sorel’s work… [it is] not so much the idea of disrupting the economy that matters to Sorel, as the idea of a narrative capable of accommodating those images which best represent the aspirations of social agents in a way that compels a joining of the fictional narrative subject and the subject of action. One finds that Sorel’s picture of the general strike has features in common with Yeats’s apocalyptic vision of the approaching of a new age, even though, it seems, Yeats feared what Sorel welcomed. While both visions of the future to come are seemingly steeped in violence, this is not merely the violence of force, but also the violence of recreation. Yeats fears the possibility of ‘new creation gone wrong’, but not the violence of creation. Sorel values the violent break with retrogressive patterns of social action, produced through the rejection of Utopias and consent to participate in the unanalysable unity of vision in which narrative subject and the subject of action inhabit each other, but not destructive violence or mere anarchy loosed upon the world.

Sorel’s position regarding the general strike as social myth expresses a movement toward unity at the levels of history and the self which in terms of Yeats’s figure of the gyres would correspond to the gyre’s movement to its place of greatest contraction. That would be the place of becoming the subject of a myth expressed in an imaginary picture (of the general strike) which embodies all the aspirations of a social group (the Socialists) giving precision and rigidity, or, rather, coherence and strength, to philosophical and political thought on social change. At the same time, this movement toward unity in the myth involves a movement toward disintegration in the sense that it expresses a complete break away from the tenets of the age which passes. This chasm which widens the opposition between the faithful and the faithless makes visible the contradictions of the established social world, thus fragmenting it and bringing it to a point which in Yeats’s figure would be that of a gyre’s greatest expansion.

Cue Amy Ireland, in The Poememenon:

When applied to the task of historical divination (our interest here), the waxing and waning of the gyres can be charted in twenty-eight phases along the path of an expanding and contracting meta-gyre or ‘Cycle’ which endures for roughly two millennia and is neatly divisible into twelve sub-gyres (comprising four cardinal phases and eight triads) each of which denotes a single twist in the larger, container Cycle. According to the system as it was originally relayed to George Yeats through the automatic script (an exact date does not appear in the Speculum Angelorum et Hominis or Judwali teachings), the twelfth gyre in our current—waxing—Cycle turns in 2050, when ‘society as mechanical force [shall] be complete at last’ and humanity, symbolized by the figure of The Fool, ‘is but a straw blown by the wind, with no mind but the wind and no act but a nameless drifting and turning’, before the first decade of the twenty-second century (a ‘phase of crisis’) ushers in an entirely new set of twelve gyres: the fourth Cycle and the first major historical phase shift in two thousand years.Laying Yeats’s awkward predictions (which he himself shelved for the 1937 edition of A Vision) to one side, the system provides material for the inference of several telling traits that can be combined to give a rough sketch of this imminent Cycle upon whose cusp we uneasily reside. Unlike the ‘primary’ religious era that has preceded it—marked by dogmatism, a drive towards unity, verticality, the need for transcendent regulation, and the symbol of the sun—the coming age will be lunar, secular, horizontal, multiple, and immanent: an ‘antithetical multiform influx’. The ‘rough beast’ of ‘The Second Coming’, Christ’s inverted double, sphinx-like (a creature of the threshold) with a ‘gaze blank and pitiless as the sun’, will bear the age forward into whatever twisted future the gyres have marked out for it.

In ‘Teleoplexy’, as the most recent, succinct expression of accelerationism in its Landian form (distinguished from the Left queering of the term more frequently associated with Srnicek and Williams’s ‘Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics’), Land draws out the latent cybernetic structure of the Judwalis’ system and employs it to reach a similar catastrophic prediction, although the somewhat restrained invocation of ‘Techonomic Singularity’ dampens the rush of what has previously been designated as ‘a racing non-linear countdown to planetary switch’ in which ‘[z]aibatsus flip into sentience as the market melts to automatism, politics is cryogenized and dumped into the liquid-helium meat-store, drugs migrate onto neurosoft viruses and immunity is grated-open against jagged reefs of feral AI explosion, Kali culture, digital dance-dependency, black shamanism epidemic, and schizophrenic break-outs from the bin’. Like the Judwalis’ system, the medium of accelerationism is time, and the message here regarding temporality is consistent: not a circle or a line; not 0, not 1—but the torsional assemblage arising from their convergence, precisely what ‘breaks out from the bin[ary]’. Both systems, as maps of modernity, appear as, and are piloted by, the spiral (or ‘gyre’). As an unidentified carrier once put it, ‘the diagram comes first’