Personal tools
Views

Accelerationism

From China Digital Space

Jump to: navigation, search

jiāsùzhǔyì 加速主义

The concept that Xi Jinping is hastening the demise of the Chinese Communist Party by doubling down on his authoritarian rule, often referenced by the mock-title Accelerator-in-Chief. In its original sense, accelerationism holds that strengthening the growth of the "techno-capitalist" state, not resistance to it, will bring sweeping social change. While jiasuzhuyi is used satirically, in the West this fringe political theory has become closely tied to white supremacist groups, which hold that violence and discord will topple the current political order and pave the way for their vision of the future.

Jiasuzhuyi was popularized on the Chinese-language forum Pincong in the late 2010s as a form of resistance to the CCP, and has since spread across Chinese social media platforms. Frequently invoked by Chinese liberals and pan-democrats, jiasuzhuyi has no fixed definition, but generally follows a certain logic: If the system is beyond saving, then helping to it progress along its current path, rather than resisting or trying to fix it, will in fact bring on its self-destruction. In short, things have to get worse in order to get better.

In a July 2020 op-ed for Initium Media, Wei Qi dissects the moral quandary posed by jiasuzhuyi: the hope is for people's misery to grow such that it upsets the balance of China's system of stability maintenance, an evil means to an ideal end; at the same time, adherents believe they must stand back and wait for the system to destroy itself, and thus have relinquished their agency as changemakers. In some sense, however, the Hong Kong resistance tactic of laam caau 攬炒 (mutual destruction) is an active embodiment of jiasuzhuyi.

Netizens believe that Xi Jinping's increasingly authoritarian rule will eventually be the catalyst for the implosion of the CCP, earning him the title of Accelerator-in-Chief. (State media often refer to Deng Xiaoping as the "Architect-in-Chief" of Reform and Opening.)

In many respects, jiasuzhuyi is the polar opposite of accelerationism. Nick Land, who first proposed accelerationism as a professor in the UK in the 1980s, moved to the PRC in the early 2000s, where he still lives and works as a journalist as of August 2020. In an interview with The Guardian's Andy Beckett, Land shared his admiration for the Chinese party-state as "the greatest political engine of social and economic development the world has ever known." His view of Chinese authoritarianism as a case study in accelerationism runs counter to jiasuzhuyi in the context of Chinese resistance discourse.