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What is accelerationism?
Accelerationism is an ideology espoused by white supremacist hate groups and individuals. They believe that the white race is at risk, and that there is no political solution. So they attempt to accelerate the collapse of government and society through acts of violence, with the aim to rebuild on the basis of white power.
Accelerationism is a term white supremacists have assigned to their desire to hasten the collapse of society as we know it. The term is widely used by those on the fringes of the movement, who employ it openly and enthusiastically on mainstream platforms, as well as in the shadows of private, encrypted chat rooms. We have also recently seen tragic instances of its manifestation in the real world.
The concept of acceleration has existed for years as a fringe philosophy. Some of the earliest examples are rooted in a Marxist notion that the intensification of an unhinged force, such as capitalism, for example, will inevitably result in that force’s own self-destruction. However, some white supremacists have adopted the terminology and determined that a societal collapse is both imminent and necessary. On March 21, 2019, one anonymous 8chan user, who promoted white supremacist views, wrote, “I used to think acceleration was a marxist [sic] trick…Now, however, I see its value.”
Video: What is accelerationism?
This video is part of the story, White Hot Hate: “When Winnipeg Free Press journalist Ryan Thorpe went undercover and exposed a local recruiter for The Base, a neo-Nazi organization now a designated terrorist group in Canada, his investigation also revealed an international network of white supremacist accelerationists.” CBC News, November 10, 2021
Not voting, but violence
It’s called “accelerationism,” and it rests on the idea that Western governments are irreparably corrupt. As a result, the best thing white supremacists can do is accelerate their demise by sowing chaos and creating political tension. Accelerationist ideas have been cited in mass shooters’ manifestos — explicitly, in the case of the New Zealand killer — and are frequently referenced in white supremacist web forums and chat rooms.
Accelerationists reject any effort to seize political power through the ballot box, dismissing the alt-right’s attempts to engage in mass politics as pointless. If one votes, one should vote for the most extreme candidate, left or right, to intensify points of political and social conflict within Western societies. Their preferred tactic for heightening these contradictions, however, is not voting, but violence — attacking racial minorities and Jews as a way of bringing us closer to a race war, and using firearms to spark divisive fights over gun control. The ultimate goal is to collapse the government itself; they hope for a white-dominated future after that.
Accelerationism has bizarre roots in academia. But as strange as the racist movement’s intellectual history may be, experts believe it has played a significant and under-appreciated role in the current wave of extremist violence.
“It’s not an ideology that exists in a theoretical sense,” says Joanna Mendelson, a senior investigative researcher at the Anti-Defamation League. “It’s an ideology that has actually manifested in real-world violence.”
Accelerationists see the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity
As the world is paralyzed by the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), some violent non-state actors have welcomed the global pandemic as an opportunity to push their propaganda and ideology, and perhaps to strike at their perceived foes. White supremacist extremists see the pandemic as confirmation of many of the movement’s preexisting beliefs, and as an opportunity to pursue their violent aims, as the virus induces anxiety related to the economy, immigration, and uncertainty over the future.
A group known as “accelerationists,” in particular, has seized on the pandemic. Online, they have advanced a raft of conspiracy theories, disinformation, and hateful propaganda accusing Jews and migrants of responsibility for starting and spreading the virus, respectively. Accelerationists believe that the social upheaval they promote, which is viewed as a necessary prelude that will usher in the rebuilding of society on the basis of white power, has been made plausible by the scenes of illness and death dominating mainstream news coverage. […]
Accelerationists are especially dangerous because they believe an act of mass violence by a single individual (a “lone wolf”) or small cell can trigger their desired race war. Such attacks are intended to force the white population to recognize their “true” enemy, join a revolutionary uprising, and destroy the political system. Accelerationists organize themselves to facilitate these attacks, following the principles of “leaderless resistance” and calling on individuals or small cells to perpetrate revolutionary acts of violence without centralized leadership.
About this post
This post is a ‘stub.’ While not complete, it is intended to quickly share some research resources. We may or may not add more information over time. (Read: we have a very lengthy To-Do list).